Great taste meets high-end design at Douglas property

There's only one thing that’s hick in the contemporary-designed detached family home at 4 Elden — and that’s the high-end, Rhatigan & Hick kitchen which was fitted five years ago

Great taste meets high-end design at Douglas property

  • Maryborough Hill, Douglas, Cork
  • €670,000
  • Size: 165 sq m (1,783 sq ft)
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 4
  • BER: B2

There's only one thing that’s hick in the contemporary-designed detached family home at 4 Elden — and that’s the high-end, Rhatigan & Hick kitchen which was fitted five years ago, when the house was finally being kitted out, writes Tommy Barker. Pictures: John Roche

The custom-made kitchen cabinetry was done by the Aughrim, Co Wicklow-based furniture makers, in solid hardwoods, hand painted and topped and tailed with quartz worktops and splashback. The piece de resistance is the free-standing rough-planed pantry press, a tall behemoth which has double doors swing open to reveal top quality joinery and shelves, a virtual workstation in its self, and capable of holding as much as many a small kitchen might in an apartment.

It’s quite the piece of work — and the owner of 4 Elden so likes it that she want to take it away with her when she moves, back to her native Dublin. Nooooh.

No 4 Elden was bought by interior designer Sarah Smyth and her Cork-born husband back about six years ago, in what’s termed a ‘builder’s finish’: this meant that it was sold without final finishes such as flooring, fitted kitchens, bathrooms and sanitary ware, or tiling, and a host of other things that help to turn a house into a home.

It suited Sarah down to the ground, of course, as it meant she could specify down to the tiniest detail, and up to the highest standard, using products and contacts that were very much her stock in trade in the upper echelons of the design world.

Not unsurprisingly, so, as the four-bed c 1,780 sq ft No 4 comes to market, the usual sales brochure’s details of rooms and sizes is added to by a list of brand names of wallpapers, paints and tiles that just might be familiar to readers of the more illustrious interiors magazines, either Irish or international, with the Wicklow firm of Rhatigan & Hick one of the notable Irish inclusions. One of their more suave touches are things like leather-lined drawers for cutlery, utensils’n’otherwise clattery stuff we fill them with.

The couple bought No 4 Elden back in 2014 after a work move brought them to Cork, and now once more are on the move, back to Dublin, again for work and family reasons, this time heading back with their two small daughters who’ve since arrived in tow.

(Having made the move down south, Sarah had started a pop-up interiors shop East Douglas Village, and later opened a more permanent premises for Sarah Smyth Interiors in the niche home-styling and furnishing mecca that is St Patrick’s Woollen Mills, also in Douglas, a base for many’s the varied furnishing and fittings businesses: she stepped back a bit from the shop after daughter No 2 arrived.)

New to market this weekend, No 4 is listed with Ann O’Mahony and Yvonne Corcoran of Sherry FitzGerald, who guide the 1,780 sq ft two-storey detached, in mint ‘showhouse-meets-showhome’ order, at €670,000.

It’s within the overall Elden development towards the crown of Maryborough Hill outside Douglas, and was designed and laid out by Hogan Architecture for developers the O’Flynn Group in the mid 2000s, with Elden launching in 2007 as the market peaked and then started its long dip.

The crisply- styled development is on six acres, named after a private house on that amount of grounds which O’Flynns had secured in the early 2000s, and is notable for its white render exteriors, deep glazing with Juliet style glass baluster balconies, and some internal split levels, especially in the smaller/terraced houses.

Just a small number of this four-bed detached type was included in the overall development of 29 houses and 45 luxurious apartments (think Ballsbridge Dublin equivalents), in a crescent-like apartment section on the development’s lower grounds, overlooking the wooded grounds of Maryborough House Hotel and the Maryborough Orchard section of super-sized private homes.

Launch price for the 165 sq m (1,780 sq ft) four-bed detacheds was in the region of €900,000, with terraced houses ranging from €475,000 to €570,000, but very few sold given the market’s demise.

The Price Register now shows 72 Elden sales, going back to 2010, with some of the higher prices (up to €730,000) being secured by the penthouse apartments.

It also shows the sale in 2019 of No 3 Elden, just to the right of No 4, which went to market last summer with Sherry Fitz’s Ann O’Mahony, guiding €630,000 and it sold very swiftly for its €630k asking price, according to the Price Register where it surfaced by September 2019, with its relocating vendors taking a very early bid.

The same Price Register recorded No 3 Elden fetching €396,476 in 2012, while No 4 sold for €392,000 in 2014. At these levels, they would have been probably recorded as net of VAT, as new homes, and sold at the afore-mentioned ‘builder’s finish’ throughout.

What later got lavished on No 4 isn’t exactly revealed, but it’s clear little or no expense was spared, from the kitchen to interlined curtains, with a roll-call of wallpaper roll providers in between.

No 4 is quite a deep home, from front to back, and unlike many Hogan Architecture Cork houses (eg, Lindville, the Paddocks, Mount Oval, Court Cairn, Cois Chuain etc) , isn’t spread over internal split levels, especially at ground level.

Most flooring at the ground level is white oak oiled engineered boards, done by floors specialist Tom Gavin, and it runs from the hall past the front living room with stove to the rear kitchen, dining area and family room behind again, overlooking the walled-in back garden, designed and planted by Lavender Landscaping, with buxus, bamboo, hydrangeas and grasses.

Some of these four-bed detacheds were designed with dropped ceilings for recessed perimeter lighting in the living areas, but the couple eschewed these and got a slight bit more ceiling height, about 9’, instead.

The front room, about 16’ by 13’ or just over 5 metres by 4, has a limestone fireplace by Cork Stove and Fires in Pouladuff, and the same company also supplied a second stove, gas-fired, in white, for the back garden wall in the family room.

The spacious front room has floor-to-ceiling windows, radiator cover and painted walls, with paints throughout the house generally from the Little Green company, or from Zoffany.

The hall has a storage area, nice setting to the velvet-carpeted stairs with lofty views up towards the landing, and there’s guest WC to the front, with part wood-panelled walls, Andrew Martin papers and the sink’s on a stone plinth.

Not unexpectedly, the kitchen is the heart of the home, reconfigured from the initial developer/architect’s plans, and now has those painted hardwood units by Rhatigan & Hick, larder press (negotiable!), and banks of appliances, mostly Miele ones, with pale quartz stone worktops and splashback. There’s also a utility room with a neat, simple timber wall mounted pull-down airing /drying rack (sort of a Sheila Maid thingy, only on a wall), laundry appliances and a door to an external side passage for outdoors access.

The kitchen/dining/family room also has rear garden and patio access, via two sets of sliding doors, and continues the white oak flooring too, and is very bright, thanks to a largely southerly aspect. The walled back garden has limestone patio and an insulated steel storage shed, with power supply and storage shelving.

The grounds, front and back are pretty much low and/or easy maintenance, with off-street parking for a couple of cars in front on a cobbled brick drive, with the recently-upgraded main Maryborough Hill running up past the back wall, and with Douglas Golf Club on the far side of that road too.

Back inside and upstairs at No 4 Elden are four bedrooms, two of them have en suite bathrooms and either could qualify for master suite status, with bespoke built-ins, glass Juliet balconies fore and aft in bedrooms one and three.

Wallpaper in the front one is by Cole & Son and the rear has papers by Zoffany, with headboards by Ken Jackson, who also supplied much of No 4’s impressive range of curtains and blinds, while several rooms also have good quality timber plantation shutters, included in the sale.

There’s a landing airing press and, handily, an electrically-operated attic trap door for easier access to a storage level. Bathrooms, meanwhile, have marble tiles, by Fired Earth, with one floor an incredible job in a very small, basket-weave pattern, and there’s a good mix of vanity units, sinks and showers (plus bath in in the main family washroom), all above the usual spec.

Sherry FitzGerald estate agents Yvonne Corcoran and Ann O’Mahony say No 4 has many unique touches and “has been designed to an exceptionally high standard throughout, with the owner having a fantastic eye for style and elegance, giving its next occupants a turn-key property of the highest order”.

VERDICT: Great sense of style, so it’s likely many bidders will want to get as much optional bits, from the best of curtains, to the kitchen larder press, include in a final negotiated price.

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