WATCH: Bespoke home a real work of art in Douglas

No 1 Berkeley is a suburban showstopper with one-of- a-kind craftsmanship, says Tommy Barker

WATCH: Bespoke home a real work of art in Douglas

Douglas, Cork - €745,000

Size: 214 sq ft (2,299 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 3/4

Bathrooms: 4


NEVER mind the current bedroom tally of ‘just’ three bedrooms – feel instead the interior level of investment and quest for luxury, at the quirky and individual No 1 Berkeley in Cork’s outer Douglas.

The owners of this detached, 2,300 sq ft home, set just off Carr’s Hill, styled it very much to their own needs and tastes, buying the 1999-built home around 2002, and were quite unstinting in their spending, and alterations, which included reducing the number of bedrooms from the original four- to three, to make for a quite palatial master suite.

Case in point of high-end spending? Well, it has to be the remarkable Art Deco style kitchen, crafted by Tipperary-based French joiner Jean-Philippe Hautier, in ground and polished stone in arching curves, and the very palest of timbers.

It’s very much a companion set and a complement for the free-standing furniture alongside, fashioned by none other that the globally-acclaimed Joseph Walsh, the genius craftsman who bends wood to his will and whose collectable one-off pieces are in the National Gallery, The Pompidou Centre in Paris, embassies and the the palaces of the Gulf states.

And, Joseph Walsh pieces are found here, plentifully, at home in No 1 Berkeley, newly up for sale and carrying a €745,000 price tag, and Joseph Walsh Studio furniture and special pieces such as the large dining room table, and eight sinewy seats in palest ash, plus a drinks cabinet also in ash that makes even the most intricate of origami look sober, are definitely excluded in the property sale.

The owners, who travel extensively across the Atlantic and elsewhere for business, are buying another, larger extended Cork period suburban home, hence No 1’s arrival to the market and they are definitely taking all of their ‘pet’ pieces with them, such as their bespoke Joseph Walsh ouvre collection; they say they started buying Walsh’s work after commissioning a company boardroom table set from him years ago.

It’s certainly quite the smart investment move as his more recent works (some now branching out into resin and stone, including Connemama marble) sell for many hundreds of thousands of euros.

Also likely to go with them when they pack the cases here will be the many original Graham Knuttle paintings, which adorn key room sections, as well as other collectables.

No1’s fresh to market with Sheila O’Flynn and Ann O’Mahony of Sherry FitzGerald, who say there aren’t too many homes finished to this level in the suburbs around Cork at present.

Yet! Having said that, they do in fact have one other fine family home priced at the exact same €745,000 level, just half a kilometre away at 11, The Vicarage, where a larger 2,700 sq ft extended five-bed family home went to market just a fortnight ago, impressing all who viewed so far.

Will there be much viewing crossover between 11 The Vicarage and 1 Berkeley?

The former, with contemporary decor and swish kitchen extension and its rooms over three levels, is a perfect fit for a growing family, while the latter, 1 Berkeley might better suit a smaller family, a couple or even traders-down keen of a bit of luxury.

Berkeley is set just off the foot of Carr’s Hill, opposite one of the entrances to Maryborough Woods and comprises just ten, broadly similar brick and dash faced houses in total.

It was developed by the Horgan family’s Hoburn Homes division, a decade of so after they delivered the highly regarded Paddocks scheme around the broad bulk of Maryborough Hill a mile or so away.

Berkeley launched in 1999, and resale prices by the mid-2000s had climbed to touch the €1m mark, before slumping back in the bust to the mid-€400,000s.

No 2, was the last to sell, in late 2015. It was a 2,200 sq ft five-bed, owned from day one by an Irish/Dutch family, and while it went to market asking €675,00, it shows up on the Price Register a year or so after launching, as having fetched €575,000.

Like several of the others in this row of solid builds, No 1’s on a sloping site, first encountered on the corner entrance to the cul de sac, and its appears to back into woodland, with a superbly landscaped sun-trap garden cascading down to almost a dog-leg bend, where the garden shed and store is well concealed from view, and it’s all over-looked from the flower-bedecked tiered patio by the sun room extension.

Internally, No 1 has living rooms left and right of the herringbone, limed oak hall floor, and that parquet pattern continues right through the house to run past and between the dining room seating section and the quite dramatic, kitchen, with Art Deco-like curving counter tops in a ground duo-tone stone Corian effect, embracing a special display of backlit carnelian mineral stone from Mauritius.

Adding to the full depth of the house (perhaps 35’ deep in all,) is the mid-section rear sunroom which opens full time to the kitchen/dining room, and to make sure heat isn’t lost, the owners here opted to put a solid, insulated roof on top of the original conservatory glass roof.

Along with a dozen roller blinds on each sun room pane, it also stops pure sunlight hitting the extravagantly upholstered chaise longue, and the curvaceous occasional table in the sun-room’s midst, other collaborative examples of the design/manufacture work of Philippe Hetier and the stellar Joseph Walsh.

Right now, No1’s quiet space is the 13’ by 11’ study/den immediately right of the hall on entry, via a clear glazed doors, with gas insert fireplace, while across the hall is the larger, 15’ by 13’ more formal oak-floored sitting room, also with a gas fireplace.

It has a slight bay window overlooking the front garden/drive, as well as an arch connecting to the more open plan dining room/kitchen/sun room, which stretches more than 30’ across the full width of the house,

and with its extravagant kitchen and crafted units in white ash and ‘thermobent’ stone, encompassing many Miele brand appliances.

Also at ground level are a guest WC, and utility with side passage/garden access, and further garden access is afforded by double doors in the dining room, and by a further set in the sun room.

The house’s staircase doubles back on itself to reach the wallpapered first floor landing of this two-storey build, where reconfiguration now means one top-drawer, 20’ by 12’ all-singing, all-storing master suite, complete with long walls of built-ins.

A short corridor leads to a dressing room/walk-in robe overlooking the back garden, as well as to a master bathroom suite, recently further upgraded with new tiling and pumped power steam shower, with adjustable mood lighting.

The sleeping section has a shallow bay window, and deep-button backed, high bed head, and the owners tracked down the bed after experiencing a similar one in a five-star hotel on their business travels, and made direct contact with the manufacturers to get a one-off delivery back home.

Also at first floor level are two further bedrooms (Sherry Fitz’s Sheila O’Flynn says there’s alway the option to convert the dressing room back to a fourth bedroom,) and the one to the front is en suite while the back one is served by the main, three-piece family bathroom with Jacuzzi bath.

VERDICT: No1’s a one-off.

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