This 1960s home in a very popular location has a paddock, with pony and site potential, says Tommy Barker.
Maryborough, Douglas €950,000
Size: 1,900 sq ft on 1.5 acres
Best Feature: landed opportunity
IN Douglas, homes like the quaintly-called Karon Cottage — with its ‘Hamptons’ beach-house like interiors — don’t come to Cork City’s and suburban property market too often, especially those with a history of livestock, crops and enterprise.
It’s quite the one-off.
This four-bed, 1,900 sq ft family home has grounds of the utmost privacy and maturity and productivity, of 1.5 acres, on the edge of Douglas village.
Extended out of a distinctive 1960s bungalow design, it’s set right opposite Douglas Golf Club, and right next door to upmarket, 74-unit Elden apartment and homes development done by O’Flynn Construction, and where sales have been strong through 2016.
It’s likely that ‘back in the day’ when all houses and good grounds on the city’s perimeter were scouted out for development potential that Karon Cottage could have had a multi-million euro value attached to it, and would have been under a building death sentence as its grounds got gobbled up: but, now, despite recovery, we’re in very different days.
This most attractive home is almost modest in size relative to its grounds, and is single storey, and as it gets launched for sale with Sheila O’Flynn of Sherry FitzGerald with a €950,000 AMV, the selling agent says she thinks it will be bought to be lived in, and not totally replaced.
It may, though, get extended, and there’s certainly the option to add another storey on top of some, or all of the existing accommodation.
If that were done, there’d be tremendous views down over Douglas estuary and Mahon estuary, as evidenced from the site even now, but not at present glimpsed from the existing house.
And, whatever about the main house here, and how it may or may not be altered, there’s scope for one, or more further dwellings, now or in times to come, subject to planning permission, as an asset and option to next occupants.
Karon Cottage was built back in 1966, toward the end of a long field behind an earlier home (still visible on the main Maryborough Hill, behind tall trees) and which was where the current owner grew up.
He got the site, with a good distance still between the two dwellings, and down the years his entrepreneurial business spirit came to the fore.
At various stages, it had a piggery, with 40 pigs and six sows; it had 300 hens, and it had veg beds and lettuce supplies, with hundreds of heads going to Collins’ supermarket in Carrigaline each week.
It also, for a period, had grazing for a pony or two, and still has its stables near the retained paddock.
Here too for green-fingered buyers is a lovely garden, wooded walks, fruit garden and polytunnel, and the long approach avenue ‘twixt entrance and house has serried ranks of young Christmas trees, planted almost as a fun trial and a bet, and now at 3ft high, they’re half way on their route to market: Xmas 2020 could indeed bring quite a visionary 20/20 cash bonanza to this property.
Karon Cottage’s 1.5 acres, says Sheila O’Flynn, “offers privacy and a feeling of being in the countryside with all the benefits that family life requires on its doorstep.”
It’s true, too. It’s within a walk downhill to Douglas village, just past Elden’s entrance and the woodland-set Maryborough House Hotel, opposite where about a dozen large, one-off homes have now been built on serviced sites.
You could walk across the road to the golf course, clubs and cart in tow, and there’s easy access to the ring road network for all other destinations via Maryborough Hill, and the hill also gives swift access to the harbour and Carrigaline.
As to the house itself, it has been extended at least once already, and upgraded, with interior designer Carmel Downey of The Village Interiors in Douglas very actively involved in the project, and colours are a mix of Colourtrend and Farrow & Ball shades, for a low-key, relaxing look.
“I kept it in the style of the house, it’s quite simply done, really, I didn’t want to give it ‘shoulder pads,’” the designer who’s 25 years in the interiors business quips.
The sale includes quality roman blinds, other soft furnishings, all integrated appliances, and as the owners are downsizing and going to a smaller suburban home, there’s the option to buy some individual items of furniture that look so right at home here.
A totally calm space, it’s essentially tee-shaped with bedrooms down one side of a sheltered entrance hallway, and there’s a fine, formal front drawing room, with wide bay window and window seat, plus period-style open fireplace.
This room, like several others in the main house’s core, has exposed ceiling beams, as an original design feature of the ‘Canadian’ look that architect Denis Higgins went for some 50 years ago and which have stood the test of time.
The roof at this house is very low pitch and has some flat roofing, and to get light now into the centre core, into the kitchen, twin Veluxes have been fitted in the ceiling of this hospitable eating and dining room.
The kitchen’s revamp six years ago sees a country look, with units by B&K Services Cork, topped with limed oak worktops and the same timber appears underneath the main Belfast sink.
Flooring in the kitchen is a matching limed oak, in herring-bone parquet pattern.
Off one end then is a utility/boot room, with side garden access, and down three steps from the dining area is a large, dual aspect family room, with raised fireplace on an internal wall, and access through sliding doors to a big deck, BBQ area and gardens, with a feature copper beech in a corner, planted by one of the owners when he built back in the 1960s, and boasts an impressive girth.
Auctioneer Sheila O’Flynn notes the balance within the c1,900 sq ft of living space, with up to four bedrooms, reached via a central hall with display walls for books, memorabilia and photographs.
This ‘quiet’ side of an already quiet house has three double bedrooms, one fourth’s a single bedroom or a study, and the far-end master bedroom has both a spacious en suite and a walk-in dressing room, while the main family bathroom has recently been retiled with metro-style tiles around the bath.
VERDICT: Paddock and pony potential outside, as well as human comforts inside, in one of Cork’s most in-demand suburban locations.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved