Vintage home off Model Farm Road, Cork, on market for €795,000

Tommy Barker revisits a house which he declared a project in 2012, and which has since been doubled in size to the highest specification.
Vintage home off Model Farm Road, Cork, on market for €795,000

The Ridgeway, off Model Farm Road, Cork, €795,000

Sq m 303 (3,200 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 5

Bathrooms: 4

BER: B3

Best Feature: Magazine style

There are no flies on the just-doubled in size family home called Glengorm — the owners say it’s due to the fact it has a mechanical heat recovery ventilation which pretty much eliminates those pesky bugs from commuting through open windows into their living spaces.

That MHRV system, with air-to-water geothermal heating source, is just one of the “all mod cons” referred to now in Glengorm’s selling brochure, as it comes to market four years after it last got offered for sale, with location and scope to extend then in its favour.

It’s listed this week with agents Brian Olden and Malcolm Tyrrell of Cohalan Downing, with a guide of €795,000: that’s not inconsiderable, but it’s a stand-out example of how to future-proof a home that is half a century old, but supremely placed.

What’s here now is twice the house, and multiples of comfort factor, for over twice the price it last transacted at in 2012, in a far healthier market today too.

Set in the cul-de-sac block called the Ridgeway, off Bishopstown Avenue and Laburnum Park, it’s 150 metres or so from the Model Farm Road; Glengorm’s location is tip-top, ideal for easy proximity to CIT, UCC, the Bon Secours and CUH and its ever-expanding campus, and there are also plans for a Cork Science and Innovation Park further west at Curraheen, as well as a whisper of that area being touted for a major new hospital development.

Whether or which, Ridgeway’s location is only going to grow further in appeal and stature, and it was that rock-solid location base the drew Glengorm’s owners to this spot in 2012 when the original 1,550 sq ft semi-d went to market, guiding €335,000.

It sold, in a then still-flat property market for €320,000, and that was only the first portion of the spend that was to follow, with a well-regarded builder, Brian Malone, going on site for a six-month blitz.

Glengorm’s back garden overlooks some of the four large, A-rated houses built at Kilconnor, Bishopstown Avenue by Tim Lawton and the last of those 3,200 sq ft detacheds sold a couple of years ago via Timothy Sullivan for €993,000.

Earlier buyers paid a bit less after they launched in 2012. What might one of those four make now?

Glengorm’s 2012 buyers drafted in architect Boris De Swart, who’s a co-director of Studio D Architects along with Arthur Duff, of Duff-Tisdall Interiors Architecture; they asked him to do drawings for an extension, for “a really nice family home with a variety of spaces and visual connections to the garden”.

Thus, new two-storey elements were added to the rear and side, “stepped back so as to respect the streetscape and façade of the house,” notes Mr de Swart.

The result is living spaces that are flexible, bright and pleasant, and the two-storey void over the kitchen “connects that space vertically to the skylights and daylight above.

This void also marks the division between the old and new parts of the house,” he adds.

That approach resulted in what’s seen here now as Glengorm comes to market, a semi-detached home that has swollen in size to 3,250 sq ft of high-end interiors and thermal efficiency, with centrepiece a cut-through divide more or less scything up between old and new, with floor-to-ceiling height in the main kitchen space soaring up over 25’ to the roof’s apex, and lit from the south/rear aspect by two Velux windows way, way on high.

It’s a sort of architectural trope to talk about drawing the light into the core of a house: well, at Glengorm, it’s not just a trope, it’s a triumph.

Light canyons in and down to the heart of the re-imagined home, with a spread of linked and open-plan family spaces.

The original portion of this 1950s semi-d has its original two reception rooms off to the left of the hall, and they’ve been opened one to another, for a front-to back house span with rear garden patio access through French doors.

Like all other rooms, walls are white, and floors are rich walnut, and right now they are used as large, free-ranging playrooms by a lively set of twins, while a c 250 sq ft Shomera tucked into a back garden corner has been drafted into service as a study for an older sibling, facing the rigours of the Leaving Cert in a month’s time.

Those two sections — the Shomera and original paired receptions — are, in a way, almost peripheral to the newly-fashioned savannah of family living/dining space ranged off the so-airy kitchen.

Back here, the associated rooms have a south/south-west/west aspect, and include kitchen with large island, all with granite tops and Neff appliances, with a slim, side wine rack stretching from floor to ceiling.

The back windows here are similarly high, 9’ if not 10’ in three enormous tilt-and-slide panes which draw back for easy inside-outside flow (but mind any passing flies, keen for a fly-thru.)

Alongside is a dining section, next to squishy leather sofas, and further, by the side/end, are seating spaces, one by a large, picture window facing west with some statement antique and upholstered chairs and furniture.

Flooring here is all cream porcelain tiles, with underfloor heating throughout the ground floor and under solid walnut too, while real additional heat comes from a large central, flush-fitted, wood-burning fireplace with double sides and glass screen.

The fire warms the sofa seating section and the family room/den/TV on the other side.

This back room has a TV set into a wall alcove, some minimal shelving for display, and vents top and bottom of the fire for drafting/heat circulation and efficiency.

In addition, there’s a cloakroom, guest WC and shoe-closet off the hall, and a deep (try 23’ long by over 6’ wide) utility room with oodles of storage and dual access, both from the hall and from behind the kitchen, like some backstage area for the main show in front.

Glengorm’s staircase is now repositioned, and runs in a switch-back from hall to split landings with flat walnut hand-rail, serving ‘old’ and new’ upstairs sections, where there are five bedrooms, all floored in walnut and all doubles, two en-suite.

The master bedroom has a part-vaulted ceiling, with dressing room and Sliderobes, plus a top-notch bathroom with double shower and double ceramic sinks on a walnut plinth.

The calculated 3,250 sq ft doesn’t include attic rooms, and the owner notes that the architect didn’t think they were necessary, but they were done in the end for play uses, storage, study and anything else a colonising family might need.

The owners are trading again, and what they’ll leave behind when they sell is a fully-finished house that pretty much sets the bar for other aspiring ‘extendees’ with little or nothing overlooked.

Although semi-detached, it’s bigger than most family homes in suburban Cork, with accessible attic room and multi-purpose Shomera, and there’s still plenty of garden space left over, thanks to its corner site, and pitch-perfect aspect.

Rather presciently, back in 2012 we wrote here “Glengorm is in need of TLC and perhaps an extension, but with aspect and location boxes ticked, the house would reward the investment for family-home buyers.”

We added in ‘The Verdict’: “leafy and mature, and with good schools on the doorstep, Glengorm is a classic trader-upper with room to improve and extend.”

All that, and more, has been done, delivered, and bedded down.

VERDICT: Notionally a semi-d, but in no way done by halves.

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