Browningstown property is both fun and funtional

No 16 Browningstown Park East is a turnkey family home with a funky twist in a top location, writes Tommy Barker.

Douglas/Ballinlough, Cork


Size: 110 sq m (1,186 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 3


This home, No 16 Browningstown East, featured in these editorial pages, back six years ago, as a doer-up, guiding €245,000.

In April 2012, we noted “it needs modernising, to be sure, but the very traditional three-bed semi-d at 16 Browningstown Park near Douglas in Cork could be a job for life for a new owner, prepared to spend a bit more on a refurb.” Well, it sold in jig time, turning up on the Price Register by September of that year at €220,000. It got that heralded refurb, clearly evidenced in these accompanying images, but having fitted its occupants like a glove since, they’ve decided now to move on once more.

In fact, indicative of the demand for such well located ‘mature’ homes, the Register shows 24 Browningstown sales, about 16 of those since 2013, at a price range of €340,000-€540,000, with more and more nudging into the €400,000-plus category.

The crisply done No 16 Browningstown Park East’s selling agent, as it comes to a hungry, early spring market is Trish Stokes of Lisney, and it’s one of the better presented suburban semis to come for sale in recent months: it’s been a slow start to 2018, for sure, so good viewing levels should be expected.

Anyone who came to view No 16 in its original state (or any other of the ‘original’ Browningstown/Ballinlough semi-ds since) is likely to be impressed by the changes wrought, the overall updating, the colour and personality added, with fun and functionality now a grace note.

While gaining an en suite in one bedroom, plus having a guest WC at ground to mean three loos in all, it’s hardly grown, and the quoted square footage now is barely 100 sq ft more than it had in its original state, but it all feels bigger, or at least more accommodating.

That’s primarily thanks to a slender, single storey add-on spanning the full width of the back of No 16, pushing the now-opened out back kitchen/living/dining area out to 6 metres square, or about 20’ by 20’ and thus a good 400 sq ft of hard working, efficient and enjoyable space for day to day family life, dining and chilling.

Three overhead Veluxes help draw light down into the extended kitchen, while contemporary light fittings on tensioned steel wires do the same job from on high across one Velux come evening time, backed up by pendant lighting over the island, plus LED recessed lighting.

Most if not all of the lighting here now has a modern feel, working well with a freshly-tiled hall which continues its grey layout unbroken into the kitchen area, around a new Kube gloss kitchen and stepped island: backing the wall units above the hob is a glass splashback in confident aquamarine’s all quite cool.

Other splashes of colour abound to equally good effect, in furniture and seats and rugs: whoever moves in next might want to continue to go with the fresh updated look, but, having said that, it’s easily all cooled down too for more conservative tastes, too.

Considerable work has been done here since 2012, but not everything got junked.

The front sitting room has kept its original pine floorboards, all revarnished, and that’s the case too in the three overhead bedrooms.

All other joinery though has been updated, with simple oak ‘Shaker’ style doors, many of them glazed with sandblasted glass to let light bounce around whilst still maintaining privacy. Unusually, while the two ground floor rooms are now, sensibly, interconnected, the owner opted for just one connecting door, flanked by two matching sandblasted glass panels in oak frames.

Again, going against the predicted ‘double door’ trend at the back of the house, the access now to the raised decking is via a single sliding door, even though the entire back wall is glass. ‘If you don’t need doubles, why install them? ‘ seems to be the motto.

All bathrooms are now fresh and replumbed, the house is rewired, old aluminium windows got junked for new double glazing, new central heating includes some tall, wall-mounted rads, lighting is via LEDs, and the original open fireplaces in front and back reception rooms now have gas inserts, so that, along with new double glazing all around, and insulation upgrades, No 16 achieves a very respectable B3 BER.

Least altered probably is the first floor, and some viewers may feel the bedroom space (two doubles and a single) to be a bit on the tight side after the installation of one en suite to the back bedroom No2, and built-ins throughout.

“The house with all the works done to it returns a B3 energy rating and they have done everything they could with this home,” observes Lisney’s Trish Stokes, adding “the side allows for further extension should a purchaser want even more space.”

While all freshened up internally, what works really well too was keeping so much maturity in the back garden to maintain screening from neighbouring homes (and, also clever was putting in small, high up clerestory windows above kitchen gable wall units for shafts of southerly light, while keeping privacy high).

Now, outside the back sliding door is a raised timber deck and seating space, with a few steps down to the mature back garden (east facing rear aspect), where there are palm trees, potted plants and paving stone steps to the back boundary and a garden bench.

Noting that Browningstown Prk East is very handily close to a range of good primary and secondary schools, all within an easy walk (one, our Lady of Lourdes Girls NS on the Ballinlough Road is currently in for planning approval for extension) auctioneer Trish Stokes say “homes in this area rarely come to market in such good condition and number 16 Browningstown Park East will appeal to buyers looking for a fantastic, turnkey family home in a superb location.”

The profile of stronger house sales in the vicinity, however, has seen the best prices paid for well-extended homes with a good deal more floor area that No 16s’, and buyers in the locale have indeed been a mix of better funded FTB’s and traders down/traders-in. So, families looking to grow in coming years may well want to consider extending to the side, and/or going up into the attic, if only for more bedroom accommodation.

VERDICT: A funky new year arrival.

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