House of the Week: Vandeville, Ballinlough

There's just a lovely, minded and clearly very much appreciated feel to the short run of neighbouring terraced homes, which comprise Cork’s Vandeville, writes Tommy Barker.

House of the Week: Vandeville, Ballinlough

No 4 Vandeville, Ballinlough Road, Cork


Size: 102 sq m (1,100 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 2


There's just a lovely, minded and clearly very much appreciated feel to the short run of neighbouring terraced homes, which comprise Cork’s Vandeville.

There are just four houses proper here — or, is it five?

The family selling No 4 have invented a fifth, having discovered a nest, sheltered out of harm’s way, in the set-back porch above their brightly painted pink front door. It’s home to a blackbird, and they’ve christened it No 5 Vandeville. Will it go for a song?

Set by the very start of city end of the Ballinlough Road, the terrace of four solid, period era houses most likely dates to the turn of the C19th or early C20th century, built as the city moved out past its traditional boundary and toll booths, and near the St Finbarr’s Hospital campus 100 metres away to the south.

Just on the west/city side is Marble Hall Park, and then leading on eastwards from Vandeville is a longer run of lower-slung terraced homes, called South View ... as they, too, face directly south.

Passers-by often stop to admire the four that comprise Vandeville, due to their slight set back from the road and path, beyond low walls, with wrought iron railings, gates as well as short gardens, with well-tended hedges between them.

Each is graced by generous, single storey bay windows, and set back entrance doors, and No 3 has a lovely old climber snaking up its plaster facade and slate-capped bay, ready to burst into spring glory, adding an extra grace note, while the subtle, original white marble name plaque declaiming that Vandeville stands between Nos 2&3 by an entrance pillar.

It’s all just a roundabout way to come to appreciate that there’s just something a little bit extra special about these four homes. And now comes the chance to glimpse beyond a front door.

New to the market is No4 Vandeville — an extended and upgraded three-bed, c 1,100 sq ft family home, gently upgraded, sympathetically ‘opened up,’ and only being sold now because its owners have the chance to ‘go larger,’ renovating a similar era home one of them grew up in.

They bought here 11 years ago, before their own children arrived, and they acquired No 4 after a rear extension had already been added on. They reworked it further, tweaked it and moved the kitchen, and brought new, gloss units, and an updated interior, and made it utterly homely.

Then, in the smartest move, they opted to open the front room into the ‘mid’ reception room behind, and that then continues into the kitchen.

As a result, there’s now a clear and long internal run from front to back, door opes have changed too to suit, with a part-curved wall ‘massaged’ in, in one section, and two sliding ‘pocket’ glazed doors have been snuck in, dividing or linking the main, airy living space to the hall, where the original period encaustic floor tiling still stands, in pristine order.

Original too are the stairs’ pitch pine newels and smooth-varnished pine handrails, showing both respect for old, original architectural features and reintegrating them into an updated home, far more fit for modern day-to-day family life.

Overhead are three smart bedrooms, two doubles and a single, with a roof skylight over the stairs for extra light, and the owners also tackled the first floor bathroom, with its pleasant old timber door and original hefty cast iron bath, and into this calming back room they also brought a new look, new units, feature mirror and a double shower.

What else? Well, they very cleverly brought in a deep window seat in the sun-flooded front room, with capacious storage underneath, and topped it with a deep upholstered cushion. It’s practically a day-bed as a result (albeit on rather public display,) and it’s a favourite lolling spot for their children, both of whom are in the single digit age category.

The owners are in the throes of doing up another house, nearby, in which one of them grew up, so the reaons for uprooting are all positive and exciting.

In charge of the sale are Florence Gabriel and Ann O’Mahony of Sherry FitzGerald, who readily enthuse about its charms, and they guide the attractively presented, and eminently practical, home at €360,000: it may well be bid handily above that once viewers get past the front gate.

Within such an easy walk of the city centre, and served by regular busses along the Douglas Road by St Finbarr’s campus, it’s going to appeal to couples, traders-down and traders-in, at a bare minimum, and feels more than its c 1,100 sq ft thanks to clever ground floor layout, which sees almost an anciliary dining room tucked away by the kitchen, with dual access back to the hall.

Also to the back is a guest loo, and the back garden past double doors is about as neat as you’ll see this side of real summer, with patio, dark painted old rail sleepers,painted up stout fencing, trimmed lawn, shed, wood store (for the living room’s stove,) and oil tank for the central heating.

Handily, too there’s a side gate in the back garden which open to a long run of green laneway, which runs the entire length of South View, and culminates at No 4.with abundant birdlife, thanks to nesting boxes and feeders and the presence of a chestnut tree, sycamore and a Chinese apple tree. Did we mention the blackbird at No 5?


A delight.

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