House of the week: Hettyfield, Douglas

ONE of the joys of a south-facing home is having all your best, ‘good’ rooms up the front, bathed in sunlight.

House of the week: Hettyfield, Douglas

By Tommy Barker

ONE of the joys of a south-facing home is having all your best, ‘good’ rooms up the front, bathed in sunlight.

But that gift of a southerly aspect often means the most private spaces, to the back of such sun-dappled houses, face north, and may this restrict the more relaxed of sitting out options.

Fortunately, that’s not the case at Cedar House, a super-private family home, in the inner folds of Hettyfield, off the Well Road near Douglas. Its front garden could hardly be more private, or sheltered, thanks to decades of maturing landscaping and trees, lots and lots of them.

The family who built this home knew exactly what they were doing, choosing location and privacy first and foremost, and it’s no surprise, as the man of the house, one Pierce Moore, was one of Cork city’s best-known builders in his day, with many hundreds of suburban houses to his credit, if not even a thousand or so.

He built schemes like Avonlea Court in Blackrock, and Woodbrook, Summerstown, and Donscourt in Bishopstown, and he also built


a handful of detached one-offs in so-select Hettyfield in Douglas, keeping one, Cedar House, as his own home. Among his various trophy possessions was the Country Club hotel up in Montenotte, which he developed around a period house back in the swinging ’60s.

Almost as well known as his housing output was his personal choice of transport. Over the years, Pierce Moore owned several Rolls Royce cars, back in what must have been the forerunner of Celtic Tiger days, when a garage on the main Douglas Road sported the RR badge of an approved Rolls Royce dealership (it’s now a Iceland store, next to the Briar Rose). Back around the same early-boom era in the 1960s, a ‘Roller’ was also the car of choice of at least one other Cork builder, Tony Murphy, the man behind the Gay Future horse racing wheeze which sought to relieve UK bookies of some of their excess cash.

And, while Tony Murphy is recalled as often having bags of cement and a shovel sticking out the boot of his Rolls Royce, Pierce Moore’s cargo was more precious — any and all of his five children with his wife Ann, whom he’d insist on dropping outside their schools, in front of their classmates, to their squirming embarrassment, alighting from whisper-quiet chariots on wheels, with the marque’s hood ornament Spirit of Ecstasy on the front, whatever about having a shovel in the back.

Mr Moore died about 20 years ago, and now another generation, with his widow Ann, are undertaking a new-home build (it’s in the genes?), to the back and to the right of the classic Cedar House, which is now up for sale this sunny June.

Cedar House was built on a large site, back in 1966, to a good spec, and is as solid today, 52 years later, as it was back then.

It’s wide, two storeys tall, and is externally faced in a modest grey brick, contrasting with cedar sheeting, the original of the species, some set horizontally on the house’s upper section and on the vertical under ground-floor windows.

The cedar looks to be original, and has the sheen of layers of protective coatings, despite being up for a half a century, and has given the property its name.

Also benefiting from lots of careful ministration are the solid hardwood or teak window frames, holding double- glazed panes in a mix of small and larger sizes, while to the right is a more recent, double-aspect sun room addition, spacious at 28’ by nearly 18’ and with an oak floor, narrow oak strip vaulted ceiling, and with double doors at the angled corner, for front garden/side drive access.

Cedar House is guided at €875,000 by estate agent Michael O’Donovan of Savills Cork, who says the setting is top class, private, and that the house itself is spacious, and in very good decorative condition.

It’s about 2,600 sq ft all in, over two levels, and a key feature is the decent proportions of all of the main rooms.

Left of a wide entry hall and wide stairwell is a 25’ by almost 14’ drawing room, double aspect front to back, with wide marble fireplace, coved ceilings and double doors to a rear patio, running the full width of the house.

Across the hall is a 15’ by 15’ family living room, bright thanks to its southerly aspect, and beyond is the sun room, while to the back is a modern kitchen/diner, with integrated appliances, central island, Belfast sink, and granite tops. Behind too are several store rooms and a utility.

Internal joinery is in varnished quality hardwoods, and the staircase and return are extra-wide, leading to a landing with four double bedrooms, and main bathrooms.

Reflecting perhaps the time of its construction, there are no en-suite bedrooms, while the upside is that the main master bedroom is large, at 24’ by almost 14’, with a long wall of built-ins, and has a double aspect, with lovely front garden views.

Despite the fact that a tall new home is being built to the back, it’s not really overlooked, as it’s placed in a far corner, and the spot directly behind had been home to the Moore family’s swimming pool, wasn’t suitable to build over and now is being kept as a garden.

VERDICT: A trophy home of its time.

Hettyfield, Douglas, Cork


Size: 241 sq m (2,600 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 2


Best Feature: Great build

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