House of the week: Monkstown Demesne, Cork €850,000

THERE’S wood aplenty, inside and out of the aptly-named family home, Cedarwood. 
House of the week: Monkstown Demesne, Cork €850,000

Size: 324 sq m (3,500 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 5

Bathrooms: 3


Best Feature: A one-off in the woods

It has heavily timbered external cladding, internal floors in timber, ceiling beams and ceilings themselves are sheeted and sheathed in varnished pine, as well as having a virtual forest floor of timber decking outside, all in a heavily naturally wooded setting, that of Monkstown Demesne, fringing Cork harbour.

Cedar’s a timber much beloved in the last decade or two by the architectural and design professions.

Cladding in cedar became a design trope of contemporary design, with a bit of a split in opinion as to whether it should be treated, oiled, stained, or left to weather naturally, to an expected silvery grey.

That latter untreated way was the route favoured at the eponymously-titled Cedarwood, where the exterior cedar has indeed been left to mellow and weather of its own accord, which it has done over the past 15 years or so, matching in some ways the multitude of equally mellow brown brick which makes up much of the rest of its walls.

For want of a description, this late 1990s one-off build has aged appropriately... which is more than can be said of the accompanying timber decking, which is now in need of a good scrub-down, at the very least.

Architect-designed and specified Cedarwood has appeared in these pages before, as well as hitting interior design magazines like House and Home in its earlier days, when its wired-for-everything status was much commented upon: it’s commissioning first owner was big into his IT, and it had sound coming out its ears, as well as an alarm, CCTV, and a drop-down movie screen for DVD and projected TV watching, in the 31’ by 15’ indoor, heated swimming pool wing.

We last covered it in 2004 here, when it came for re-sale with a €1m price tag.

It sold, for an unrecorded price to a family with a background in the building line, and now they are trading down.

It’s now guided at €850,000, by Florence Gabriel and Ann O’Mahony of Sherry FitzGerald, who say it’s contemporary still, quite unique, and spacious, with five bedrooms and lots of design quirks into the bargain.

The current owners commissioned a bespoke glass panel for their hallway from craft artist Eoin Turner, and it joins some other unusual glazing features at Cedarwood, none more apparent than a glass floor section, above a fish pond (with live fish) which serves as a divide between the main house block and the swimming pool section, so you step over water before taking a plunge yourself.

Design day-one was by architect Conor O’Sullivan of COSA, who ensured the design was sympathetic to the very old wooded grounds around Monkstown Castle, golf course and demesne which is home to just a couple of dozen one-off homes, on individual sites dotted between century-old hardwoods.

This is site No 13 on a half acre mid-way in the demesne by an internal junction.

As an example of the site-specific design, a tiny stream running through the leafy grounds has been marshalled to run right past the house as a visual and audible ‘babbling brook’ feature.

Sherry FitzGerald describe the site’s character as ambient, and the demesne setting’s also convenient to shops, cafes and schools at Monkstown (as well as a marina) and to Rochestown.

Rooms at Cedarwood include a sunken/lower level living room by the pool, with an open gas fire, dual aspect and shared with the adjacent dining room, which in turn has garden and patio access.

There’s also a conservatory, with further garden and wildlife views, with the odd private passing, and sauntering, parade by red squirrels or a ruddy fox, naturally at home in the woods.

Other rooms over internal split levels in this L-shaped home include a kitchen with a terracotta tiled floor and granite worktops, utility, guest WC, cloakroom and five overhead bedrooms.

Upstairs, under angular and mono-pitch roofs, the master bedroom is away at one end with en suite and dressing room, and the others (three doubles and a single) have high, vaulted ceilings and mezzanine-like play/storage areas at their higher ends, and all have door access to an external, wrap-around balcony.

VERDICT: Gloriously woody.

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