THE only thing blue about this Blackrock village home is its name. Other than that, Blue Cottage is as sunny, and cheerfully inviting a home as you could wish for; at a reasonable price too especially; given its location: it’s as low down an entry price point as its front door is low-set.
Set just off Convent Avenue and Rope Walk, and 250m from the Castle Road between the pier, reinvigorated village core and Blackrock Castle, once inside and safely past the low-slung threshold, Blue Cottage swells like a Tardis.
You definitely would not think there was 1,250sq ft here, and it’s well finished out and prettily presented, front to back and from top to bottom.
Its current owners have been here for 15 years, loving every minute of it and fell for it the first time they (safely) crossed the threshold under the low door lintel, and bought it from its last last owner, who was an interior designer.
It’s a racing certainty that the “falling for it” narrative will be repeated all over again in the next few weeks, as it starts with open viewings today at 11/11.30am.
A growing family (no 3’s a lively boy) has reluctantly spurred the owners into thoughts of trading up and especially the wish for a bigger garden for ball kicking for their younger two, while their reluctance is compounded by the fact they just don’t want to leave Blackrock and this old world corner of it.
It was already popular enough back in 2002, but now, post-recovery and after the success of the walks and markets and village makeover, well, it’s gone stellar. In Cork terms, at least.
Top homes on and off the Blackrock Road can sell for millions, and sites can top €500,000.
Lions tour rugby captain Peter O’Mahony was one of the later arrivals to the Castle Road, and the vendors of Blue Cottage had also fancied the place that O’Mahony ended up buying, Tenby Cottage, but felt they’d little or no chance of out-gunning him: in fairness, there aren’t too many would stand in O’Mahony’s way, one way or the other.
Game’s on in earnest in this family’s home-hunting stakes, though as their two-year old boy just might be following in determined ball-carrying steps, and so the dainty Blue Cottage is up to the chase by a scrum of viewers.
It’s listed this week at a manageable €320,000, just about the price point (well, say €311,000) a survey this week by Real Estate Alliance calculated the new average of a Cork city three-bed home to be.
Blue Cottage isn’t average. Dating back to the 1800s, and originally likely to have been a fisherman’s cottage given its scale and proximity to the waters of Cork harbour, it’s a bit of a dote.
Selling agents are Florence Gabriel and Ann O’Mahony of Sherry FitzGerald who say it’s “a stunningly restored, extended home with a peaceful patio garden area to the rear, in a very quiet part of one of Cork’s most sought-after suburbs”.
By a little trafficked lane by Rope Walk and Convent Avenue which is parallel to Castle Road, Blue Cottage is one of the original fishing cottages of the community that passers-by stop to admire... and at that they are only seeing the front facade.
The beauty’s deeper than that, and it does indeed open out Tardis-like past the low-ceilinged vestibule, with a main living room with wood-burning stove and painted wood sheeted and beamed ceilings.
Off to the side is a smaller, den-like family room, also with a fireplace, book shelves and all quite cocoon-like, before it opens to the rear extension, now home to a good quality, country-style kitchen with Belfast sink slung under dark hardwood tops and amid painted units.
It all got re-extended a few years ago, so now there’s a decent-sized dining space beside the kitchen, capable of seating eight in comfort. It has two, roof-set plastic dome windows and, beyond, is access to a walled patio garden that’s packed with flowering trees and shrubs, belying its compact size.
It’s quite literally an outdoors room, part-decked and part-paved, ringed in lilac, cherry trees, roses and fuchsias, and it all gets to bask in afternoon sun, surrounded by high stone walls.
Furthermore, there’s a converted side annexe off to the right, with solid timber garage door right now, and within is a playrooms/study with west-facing Velux on high, whilst alongside is very attractive, timber wainscoted family bathroom, with cast iron roll-top bath and separate corner shower and overhead Velux. The floor is in a Victorian style pale tile, and is heated under-foot.
Also overhead as a bit of a theme are wood-sheeted ceilings, painted white, and continuing up the narrow stairs to the first floor level’s three character-filled bedrooms, two to the front, one to the back.
Windows are painted timber, and double glazed, and a number at ground and first floor level have hand-made pine shutters in lieu of curtains. The main bedroom, almost incongruously for the country cottage-style effect so convincingly realised thus far, has a wall of mirrored sliderobes, while bedroom number 2 has been painted in a pale, pastel pink for a five-year old daughter who clearly isn’t conceding room to a blow-in, two year old brother.
Preparing for viewings, and perhaps a deluge of interest given the €320k price tag and the prime ‘old’ Blackrock setting so close to the Marina, castle, cafes and Sunday market, Florence Gabriel and Ann O’Mahony note the way the owners have blended the old features with the new, and say it’s ready to do the charm offensive all over again.
Mind your head going in and out, and don’t worry about the overheads.