Coraville really is a cut above

In sanctified Blackrock, high-spec Coraville is a home where no corners at all were cut, says Tommy Barker
Coraville really is a cut above

Blackrock Road, Cork - €2.15m

Size: 646 sq m (6,950 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 6

Bathrooms: 8


Best Features: Expansive and private

THE 1980s house Coraville has been given wings, not by Red Bull, but by accomplished architecture and energy-efficient design.

And, now it must rank as one of the most accommodating family homes in Cork city and suburbs, set up for entertaining with a great 900 sq ft lounge, but also with a gym, and a lap pool for working off any holiday and party excesses.

Yet, despite having substantial 21st century wings added either side of its original central core, to now tip the scales at almost 7,000 sq ft, Coraville still manages to fly under the radar, even with a sanctified Blackrock Road address.

Unless you’ve been invited to visit, you’d just never know it is there, although its cover is somewhat blown by Coraville’s arrival on the property market, early in 2018 and setting a benchmark for the year ahead.

One of three upmarket homes secreted away past the splayed original Temple Lawn entrance, Coraville’s for sale with estate agent Trish Stokes of Lisney with a €2.15m asking price.

Viewings are by appointment only, with a car number plate recognition security feature at its low-key, hedged drive entrance once past two low-clusters of mid-1900s apartments built just inside the retained limestone entrance pillars to Temple Lawn.

Built in the early 1980s in the former, walled orchard grounds of the far older Ballintemple period house, Temple Lawn House, directly opposite the Lindville estate, Coraville last changed hands back in the mid-2000s, when it was bought by lawyer Clayton Love Minor of the well-known Love family business dynasty.

He’d grown up in the locality, and he, his wife Ellen plus four teenage/young adult children moved here in 2006, after a significant extension, and upgrade: they had purchased the hideaway Coraville from the Hegarty family, who’d built it as trade-down home (it had gone for sale at €975,000, and we reported it as sold at c €1.6m, one of two dozen €1m-plus sales in 2005.)

The original 3,200 sq ft home now lies at the centre of the far larger (6,950 sq ft) and expensively recreated 21st century, contemporary reimagining, and essentially holds six en suite bedrooms, with three access staircases; four are in a high-end modern wing on the western side, above a knock-out main living and party room with indoor/outdoor entertaining space, by a pumped water feature.

Elsewhere there’s a party-friendly kitchen/high-ceilinged family dining room, a formal dining room to family living room with garden access and open fire, hall and, overhead, a master bedroom suite with balcony cut into the slate-roofed south facing slope, plus two dressing rooms.

This main suite also has an en suite bathroom with steam shower and a very large and deep jetted Jacuzzi bath which isn’t too far off the size off the lap pool in terms of size and capacity: just as well Coraville’s core has a bank of solar tubes up top, for water heating.

Overseeing this most considerable series of extensions and updates was architect Sarah Kelly of Kelly Barry O’Brien Whelan, who’d worked with the Love family on construction developments before, and, as a result, Clayton Love Minor was familiar and comfortable with contemporary design, spanning both residential and commercial projects.

Ellen Love was most involved in the delivery and detailing, working closely with Sarah Kelly and another KBOBW Italian architect Francesa Nobili, who now is working overseas, with Oslo City Council.

The brief was for a family home for couple and four children, to allow for the changing needs of the family in the future, for entertaining and for accommodating extended family and friends, and the design followed with the enlarged building designed around the garden to the south, while minimising screening between rooms and the pleasant, settled gardens.

Given as it was built as the family’s children were getting older, the design allowed for a small part of the house to be used much of the time, and for additional areas to be heated and used as the population of the house expands and contracts.

Informing the environmental design was engineers Arup’s own thermal virtual environment model, showing anticipated areas of heat gain and loss.

Contractors were PJ Hegarty & Sons, and working back up from a new concrete ground floor slab, architects Kelly Barry O’Brien Whelan added a steel frame and prefabricated envelope, with a two-storey glazed link/stairwell to the new, west wing, with expressed steelwork/RSJ feature combined with considerable glazing, cedar cladding and render, adding to the original house’s 1980s slate-hung exterior and gables.

The kitchen was extended into an L-shape family-friendly relaxed area, with long runs of lacquered hardwood topped units and pale gloss cupboards and units, all done by Glenline, and at the heart is a gas fired Aga.

More ‘modern’ assistance comes from Neff microwave, oven, hot plate, coffee machine and electric and gas hob, while the large island holds one of two half’n’half Fischer & Paykel dishwashers, each mounted just at under-counter height for easy loading and unloading.

Hard-working Coraville’s hot water is collected in roof-mounted solar panels and stored in wax-filled tanks, yielding up to 70% of the family’s annual hot water, including the large Jacuzzi, and small lap pool.

Other heating is sent underfloor from a geothermal well, distributed via heat pumps and an insulated buffer tank, with a programmed gas-fired condensing boiler for back-up to the renewable-sourced calories.

Glazing, much of it high-ceilinged, was specified to meet the requirements of the heat-gain model: toughened green energy outer pane and toughened laminated low E glass inner pane, while the link corridor’s roof glazing is self-cleaning, and low-level, recessed LED lighting is used in circulation areas, along with low-energy main lighting.

Opening doors/windows as natural ventilation sufficiently cools the building in summer, and shading comes from is provided by internal, louvred shutters, blinds and retractable external canopies or awnings.

The fully-considered brief saw another wing go out on the eastern side to accommodate a fitness suite off the high-ceilinged family dining/relaxing space by the kitchen; it includes a changing room with wet-room type shower, a fully equipped gym, and a c 300 sq ft pool room, with ‘Swim Ex’ lap pool with variable counter-current settings for low impact training, along with Vaporex air conditioning, and integrated home audio, which also features throughout much of Coraville’s ground floor.

On sunny days, sliding doors open back from this pool room to the west-facing terraces, which gets every last drop of evening sun, say the owners: for peace of mind when very young children are about, the area has CCTV cameras for keeping an eye on use.

Also at this side of the exceptionally well-serviced and adaptable home is a climate controlled wine storage room, a pantry, several other stores, a guest WC, back hall with access from the main approach drive/parking area, plus access to the attached double garage.

Back here too is one of Coraville now-three staircases for individual first floor access. This east end one leads to a self-contained suite with bedroom and south-facing balcony overlooking the fitness suite’s metal deck roof, private bathroom, landing and day room, and is ideal for independent living for an older adult, au pair, or guests.

It’s a long way away from Coraville’s four en suite bedrooms in far-flung western wing, atop the huge living space and past the more-centrally set master suite with its own stairs.

All four west wing bedrooms off a first floor corridor with pitched overhead rooflight are bright, good sized doubles with lots of storage, plantation-type louvered shutters which allow for varying degrees of privacy and light control, and all four have high quality en suite bathrooms with wet-room type easy draining showers.

Quality of all four is equally high and, should the next owners of Coraville have young children, they can opt to sleep in any of these four comfortable suites without feeling in any way hard done-by, and knowing they have the option once children get that little bit older of transferring to the private, mid-ships master suite.

(‘Mid-ships’ is an appropriate enough metaphor, as Coraville’s rich in paintings and photos and prints of the sea and yachts and

dinghies, and hardwood joinery is of a very high standard, of a type you’d find connecting decks on a luxury boat.

Heating at Coraville is provided underfloor and with individual room controls, and the BER is a very impressive B1, thanks to attention to the smallest detail, even down to sealing the joins where hardwood floors meet skirting boards.

Most of the main rooms are wired for sound, with powerful speakers set into ceilings, and sockets and switches are brushed steel, while there’s also CAT 5 cabling for all IT links and services.

Walnut flooring contrasts with pale cream ceramic tiling, matching external paving and white plastered walls, and lighting is low-energy.

Thanks to much internal glazing and walls of glass, Coraville has bright internal sight lines, and all the main living/day/dining rooms open via large sliding doors to a deep and full-width south facing terrace, paved in Portuguese limestone, and, again, all’s set up for entertaining al fresco.

The main dining room is a stunner, with a long bespoked table capable of seating 16, a match for especially commissioned feature sideboards at either end of this room, with glass along the longer two of its four walls.

Beyond, the very private mature garden has numerous power points, as well as gas supply points for BBQs or outdoor gas heaters, outdoor power sockets, speakers and water supply (the garden is as-purchased, only a decade more mature, largely unaltered as it was just so appropriate for the site and setting, complete with precision topiary/shrub trimming and has a wedding cake tree in pride of place on the lawn.

Around the entrance side, there’s a sort of dog-leg approach to Coraville from a secure entry point and, again handy for use by an inter-generation family, there’s a choice of three ‘front’ doors for different approach, or at different times of the day. The principal entrance is in the middle, where an internal porch/hall features a commissioned stained glass feature from Cork artist Maud Cotter.

Externally, there’s parking for lots of cars, plus there’s the very useful double garage, currently used for storage and for a classic 1950s dinghy restoration.

Lisney’s Trish Stokes stresses Coraville’s private setting off Blackrock Road “in one of the most sought after and mature neighbourhoods Cork has to offer. It will appeal to those looking for a unique, high specification family home in a great area.”

The location and address will hold sway with any local buyers with large budgets, while for anyone else relocating to Cork from abroad, high-spec Coraville’s a home where no corners at all were for the feature corner window in the whopping ‘great room.’

An example of the rarified echelons where money appears to be no object is Curraghbeg, in Woodview, off the Well Road in Douglas. This 1920s, run-down home on 1.5 acres sold in 2015 for a massive €2.4 million, and has just been demolished, with a 10,000 sq ft two-three storey family home under construction on its original footprint.

VERDICT: The new year’s off to a strong start.

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