Pined away: Before and after tales of Glenville

Eight years on from his last visit to this Douglas property Tommy Barker is impressed by its renovation job.
Pined away: Before and after tales of Glenville

Eight years on from his last visit to this Douglas property Tommy Barker is impressed by its renovation job.

Masses of energy and a love of houses mark out the interests of the owners of Glenville – who also have the enthusiasm -after not one, but two home makeovers, and the rearing of twin girls also on their busy hands, to go on a renovation adventure all over again.

They bought this Cross Douglas Road period era, three-storey house back in 2012, when it came up for sale, bursting with an exuberant personality, strong colours, virtual forests of stripped pine, and a healthy disregard for decluttering.

It was jam-packed full of ‘stuff,’ over three levels, had a few four-legged mutts for company for the trade-down vendor, and must have taken a month to box up and leave.

It went for sale for €395,000, and sold after dozens of viewings and counter-bidding for €451,000.

When this home last graced these pages, we wrote in ’12 that “the past decade of minimalism gave Glenville a skip: if it even got its snooty nose around the front door, it could have seen there was no space for such an approach here — so it will be interesting to see how it’s dressed up by new owners.”

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Then, in our ‘VERDICT’ we summed up the chock-a-block characterful home as “a perfect antidote to minimalism, and a great property product to boot.

It’ll be interesting to see how it changes in new owners’ hands.”

Well, here it comes again, and while it’s utterly different inside, and quite a bit on the outside too, it’s still not ‘minimalist:’ what it is calm, comfortable, collected, enhanced.

It’s a reloved family home, done by a different family.

Anyone who viewed it eight years back, won’t recognise a thing, bar the preserved original features, main fireplace, and great setting and aspect.

The Irish Examiner first met the couple who’ve moved Glenville into a bright, fresh Mark 11 existence back in 2010 when they put their first home, a mid-terraced townhouse at Capwell Road up for sale, after doing a top-to–toe transformation of their compact three-bed home there.

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Welcome news of a pregnancy consolidated the couple’s decision to trade up from Capwell Road: apparently the disbelieving dad-tobe, when he heard that twins might be on the cards (and ultrasound scans) promised that they’d get a bigger home.

Their Capwell Road home hit the market in as-new, opened-up ‘love nest’ condition at €295,000, and sold according to the Price Register for a bit under that guide, at €260,000 in what was then a still flat, post-crash market.

It took them a couple of years waiting for something like Glenville to come on their radar, and yes, they had to pay over the AMV to secure it.

Then, they moved in and lived there for the best part of a year while making plans for what they’d do to upgrade it.

It got considerable energy upgrades — about 16’ inches of insulation in the attic alone, along with internal drylining throughout.

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Out of sight, but importantly, it was rewired, replumbed, and then extended at the back for a large kitchen/dining/family room overlooking the west-facing garden.

It has a Victorian-style rooflight inserted into the middle of the extension’s new flat roof, which is weather-proofed with fibreglass.

It has zoned gas heating, is wired for an alarm, and rooms have black-out blinds, with two top floor bedrooms off a landing: one of these to the front has an en suite with shower, the other one behind has great garden and distant suburban views.

Fireplaces were moved. It got new windows (lots of useful tilt and turns) and flooring was upgraded, along with new bathrooms, with high-end finishes, heated towel rads etc.

In fact, even rooms got repurposed; what had been the main bathroom on the first-floor landing return was made into a double aspect bedroom, and underfloor heating was installed in the main family bathroom, and also underfoot in the master bedroom’s en suite, reached via a walk-thru’ dressing room and with black granite window sill surrounds.

It got a new kitchen with granite-topped units and now has a large-sized, family-friendly utility/laundry room alongside it.

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Double doors open to a west-facing stone-flagged patio, ringed with old railway sleepers and with the extra-long garden lushly planted, cottage garden style.

When revisiting Glenville Mark II after an eight-year hiatus, it seemed an illusion that not only was the house enlarged, but the garden too?

No illusion. The couple went on an exploratory reccie past an overgrown far-end section, hacking back briars, and found it just went on, and on, and on.

They got 50% more garden than they had bargained for; tamed it, screened it off, and now it’s home to a very large shed, play area, space for the ubiquitous trampoline, and even got rear access to their property, from a communly-shared rear access lane, serving a number of Cross Douglas Road neighbouring homes.

A sneaky peek over high hedges reveals a number of other lushly tended neighbouring gardens of similar length, also with trampolines… an athletic child, or two, might almost be able to hop from house to house via trampoline?

Hoping for their own bounce now, the owners are looking once more to move, they’ve the energy for another project and will go a hunting and rolling up sleeves as soon as Glenville is in safe new hands.

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They’ve the creativity and skillset to reprise their involvement here, and their next home “will definitely be a do-er up,” in the same area so the twin sisters can stay in the same school with their classmates.

Auctioneers Ann O’Mahony and David O’ Donovan of Sherry FitzGerald have now listed the ‘as new’ condition Glenville with a €795,000, asking price, rightly describing its aura as ‘elegant,’ and highlighting its space, its great order over every one of its 2,165 sq ft, along with its bulletproof location.

Red-brick in front, with off-street parking, and with that super-long very private back garden, it faces Elegance Florists at the top end of the Cross Douglas Road by the main Douglas Road, and is the second house down, with very well upgraded homes of a similar era left and right.

It’s within a walk of the city centre, and as equally handy to Douglas village, with a large range of school options nearby, along with sport amenities, public parks and more.

A perfectly-pitched family home, it’s semi-detached, with a smashing interlinked main front and back reception room, with deep bay window, high and coved ceilings and each room features substantial original fireplaces, the one in the front room is now fitted with a stove and the one behind was relocated down from a first-floor bedroom.

Original, part-glazed double doors link those two rooms, and the hall alongside now has an oak herringbone parquet floor, done block by block by the man of the house, with his father-in-law, and the guiding hand of a professional as well for the painstaking effort, on top of the original encaustic tiled floor.

Same compliant, and capable, father-in-law also did all of the wall panelling in the hall, stairs and landings for an extra touch of period home trim, and it’s an immaculate job: how he feels about his daughter and twin grandchildren taking on yet another doer upper, and possibly once more calling on his talents, isn’t fully revealed.

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VERDICT

Catching up with the fit and able owners of Glenville, having previously seen their start home, there’s a feeling they might surface back in the pages in another decade or so, with another life chapter marked out in Renovation Number Three?

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Douglas, Cork

€795,000

Size: 201 sq m (2,164 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 4

BER: D1

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