6,200 sq ft +1,000 sq ft attic
Ever dreamt you dwelt in marble halls? You can, readily, at Cork’s Lee Mount, if you have €1.25m or so to spare. And, at that sort of sum, you are buying for far, far less than the cost to build to this marbled modern mansion’s level of detail and finishes.
There can’t be more than a handful of homes built/rebuilt to Lee Mount’s size, and specification, in and around Cork city. Fewer still come with a south facing aspect, and river views, thank to a key position on a 0.8 acre site, on the eastern end of Lovers Walk in Tivoli.
A direct ‘over the river’ link to the sounds and thrills from the new Páirc Uí Chaiomh stadium may even be a bonus, and for added heft and good measure, this all-brick and slate-roofed exterior Lee river home called Lee Mount is layered and sheathed internally in marble.
Flooring pretty much throughout this robust home’s two main levels, comprising 6,200 sq ft (with a further 1,000 sq ft carpeted above in the attic) is wall-to-wall marble.
Bathroom floors are marble too, as are all the wash-room walls, from floor to ceiling. Vanity units are framed in marble, with his and hers’ sinks ringed in this polished rock as well.
Even the pull out drawers in some of the loos have marble fronts to them: better hope they don’t slide out on bare toes.
There’s been a bit of an immediate market pique to Lee Mount’s arrival for sale last week, with calls and viewing requests already in to Cork’s Savills office from Irish and Cork people abroad, from Dublin and from city-based home-hunters in the know.
It’s a familiar house now, of course, glimpsed from the Lower Glanmire Road, but best seen from a promenade along the Marina, when it stands out as one of the most impressive-looking homes, in good, high standard company in Tivoli and Montenotte.
Where’s it’s least seen, ironically enough, is from Lovers Walk itself: the giveaway of something of quality on its site is the marking presence of its venerable, old limestone entrance pillars, with the name Lee Mount simply painted on them, framing sturdy wrought iron and wooden gates.
The entrance is next to a diminutive turret/tower house, now a private home and once associated with and on the original sprawling hillside grounds of the historic Woodhill House, built in the 1700s by Quaker merchant Cooper Penrose.
Woodhill was a refuge for Sarah Curran after Robert Emmet’s execution in 1803, and it also figured in the abduction of one Mary Pike by the villainous Sir Henry Brown Hayes of Vernon Mount, who forced her into a sham marriage, a crime for which he was transported to Botany Bay. (Woodhill was demolished in the 1980s and a ‘tribute’ 5,800 sq ft replacement build on three acres, is currently on the market with Savills, guiding €1.9m, down from €2.4 million when launched with other agents.)
Lee Mount is larger still, and last changed hands in the early 2000s for £300,000 or so when then sold for its owner of the time, property tyro Robin Power, and back then was less than 3,000 sq ft in all, most to the front/south of its site.
It’s been in the same private business/IT family’s hands since then, but after its purchase, it was majorly extended if not almost entirely rebuilt.
It now spans 6,200 sq ft in two wings, linked by a grand entrance hall, with even grander butterfly or bifurcated floating staircase in polished mahogany, overseen by a large arched coloured-glass window.
In the midst of this statement-making hall hangs an enormous crystal chandelier, with the steel needed for its support reassuringly glimpsed from an access trap in the L-shaped attic on high.
Whatever the age of the house’s front section, both front and back wings feel reassuringly solid, finished to the same uncompromising, expensive level, with immense hardwood internal doors in shouldered architraves.
There’s gas-fired underfloor heating at both ground and first floor levels, cosily distributed under the vast expanses of marble. There’s lots of wiring, Bowers & Wilkins ceiling mounted speakers are in key rooms (but the operating part of the sound system, based in the kitchen, has been removed) and there’s a massive supply of heating controls, switches and sockets (the vendor was in the IT business.) The rear 42’ by 21’ living room, right/north of the hall, is also a home cinema, with drop-down projector, drop-down screen, and dozens and dozens of socket points, some in groups of eight, enough for a small business or call centre.
The more original/front portion is a series of interlinked rooms, sun room to the east linking to an L-shaped family room, next a dining room and then a 30’ deep and 18’ wide kitchen dinner, making for a full width of the house; say 80’ or so, graced by two impeccable marble fireplaces in Adam style, a match for flawless ceiling cornicing throughout.
There’s almost a dozen sash-style hard-wood painted and double glazed windows with glazing bars, plus three doors to the south-facing raised viewing deck, at ground floor alone: a rough tot indicates perhaps over 70 bespoke windows in all, throughout the house: best buy the Windolene in bulk?
As might be expected, the kitchen’s none too too scanty either, it’s by SieMatic with high pelmet-ringing banks of units and framing Gaggenau and Liebherr appliances such as double fridge/freezer, coffee maker, ovens and grill, dishwasher and ceramic island hob, while worktops are a rough/ tumbled marble.
Separately, there’s a rear hall with utility room, cloak and guest WC, there’s a secondary staircase also in addition to the main hall’s Gone with the Wind showstopper and overhead are five bedrooms, four to the front with leafy Marina views, and five bathrooms in all.
One of the bedrooms is in the back wing, a room alongside has a spiral stairs to the attic, and the main bathroom’s back here also, with enormous, square Jacuzzi bath and the mother and father of all rainfall showers in the marble-to-the-gills wet-room set up.
Selling agents Michael O’Donovan and Lawrence Sweeney of Savills Cork say Lee Mount was “refurbished and extended in recent years, and combines state-of-the-art building technologies and old world the design, reminiscent of the Georgian era.”
Maximising the site’s southerly aspect and views is the large (750 sq ft?) elevated viewing (up on galvanised steel support) viewing balcony/deck, ringed in clear glass balusters... more Windolene at the ready.
Adding to the mix is a three-car detached garage by the entrance gates, with huge rainwater harvesting tanks secreted underneath on the site’s slope. Handily – given the windy week that’s been in it with Storm Ophelia making its mark across Ireland, Lee Mount has its own back up generator for continuous energy supply.
Close to city? Check. South facing? Check. Views? Check. Extravagant? Cheque. You’d hardly build to this finish for twice the price.