House of the week: Blackrock Road, Cork City €1.1 million

Jesmond appears to be a bit of a beauty worth a shout-out about, amid good company right on the Blackrock Road past Ballintemple village.
House of the week: Blackrock Road, Cork City €1.1 million

Size: 190 sq m (2,040 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 3/4

Bathrooms: 3

BER: C2

Best Feature: has a special suburban aesthetic

Cork’s Blackrock suburb appears to have gone into a frenzy for house sales, with a series of sub-€1m and €1m-plus deals as clear evidence that many families survived the economic downturn with funds intact, or with very bankable employment prospects and/or strong income streams.

Into that fray, but with quite a serene demeanor, comes Jesmond, an attractive combination of easily-kept home with low-key, artistic flair, updated a decade ago from a more humble ‘cottage’, on a sublime 0.36 of an acre, crowned with an octagonal garden room half way down its tended garden.

Jesmond quietly appeared, with little fanfare, online in recent days, and appears to be a bit of a beauty worth a shout-out about, amid good company right on the Blackrock Road past Ballintemple village.

Selling agent is Trish Stokes of Lisney, who guides at €1.1m, and the agents say it may well have development potential due to site size, albeit it’s a lovely verdant garden with garage, and picturesque garden room to crown it off.

Built originally in 1913, as a cottage or small villa in the grounds of the adjacent Ballintemple House, Jesmond might even have a familiar fleeting sense of recognition for motorists on the Blackrock Road, thanks to its distinctive gable-end insertion of a double-height glazed box just over the old, front boundary wall and screening bamboo plants.

This bright box is an entry point downstairs, with tiled floor in the porch, leading to an oak-floored hall, and overhead it adds a viewing point twist to bedroom number three.

Jesmond’s re-roofing with peaked dormer windows in a brown clay tiled roof has, perhaps, altered the memory of what the original cottage underneath might have been like, but it seems memories or it are kept internally (or are smartly-sourced, right-at-home architectural salvage), such as Edwardian fireplaces, some exposed brick hearths, and several elegant, tall, stripped-pine internal doors, many with glass panels above the eye-line.

Also notable are the leaded window Arts-and-Crafts type sections topping some of the ground floor windows, along with other, newer windows Rationel-style, painted black.

Sensitive integration of such fine features — enhanced with more modern architectural interventions as well as a south-facing rear veranda — makes Jesmond a quietly pleasing home, all within an outline of what in more careless hands could have merely ended up as just a dormer bungalow home, albeit of a decent c 2,000 sq ft.

The sales details suggest the major reordering and transformative work was done by the current owners in 2006, when house changes and purchases were at top-dollar prices.

The art-bedecked rooms are bright, most notably the L-shaped kitchen/dining/living room, with its two fireplace options and feature full-width external shelter of a veranda through glazed French doors.

Separately, there’s a studio/bed four with a stove, just inside the front door, and a west-facing sitting-room is next along the hall with large, timber bay window and leaded glazing details up top, and has a feature cast iron fireplace with brass canopy, crowned and surrounded in a tall timber mantle.

Overhead, two bedrooms share an en suite, and the south-facing master en-suite bedroom is larger, with a deep gable wall window facing south, over the so-long back garden.

So long? Might it be farewell to the garden? It certainly has scope for another house or two or several, but the site currently is slender and access into the back will be key.

There’s a good tradition of house-scoping along this stretch, between Beaumont Drive and Menloe Gardens (see also feature for a Menloe arrival), getting built on in their rear and side gardens.

Demand is huge for both trading down, and trading up options and modern, comfortable easily-kept new builds (more than 500 people turned up at Lisney’s open viewings of 27 apartments at Blackrock House, the former Ursuline Convent, last weekend.)

It’s as probable that if Jesmond makes its €1.1m price tag, it will do so because its eventual buyers have greater plans for it, or for its grounds.

VERDICT: Lovely just the way it stands.

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