Once home to 11 bedsits, in 2011 No 2 Allevard was totally refurbished into a brilliant townhouse, as Tommy Barker discovers.
Sq m 299 (3,200 sq ft)
Best Feature: Classic remodelling
It would be interesting to compare the census returns at the Blackrock Road’s No 2 Allevard from April 2016 to those of previous years, and even with decades past.
At last weekend’s Census Night, it was home to a young couple and one child (with another arrival imminent) but five, 10, and more years ago, this impressive late Victorian/Edwardian home would have been teeming with people.
Originally built in the later 1890s as a large family home at the city end of Cork’s Blackrock Road, with a lower ground level, quite possibly for servants, it passed into the hands of investors who carved it up into bedsits.
As a result, when it came up for sale back in 2011 via a receiver acting for a bank, it was in 10, if not 11 bedsits and could, in contrast, have housed up to 20 people.
We carried it back then in these pages when the then selling agents said it could be converted into a smaller number of better quality apartments, or even possibly back into one family home after what would be ‘significant investment.’
Wow, did it ever get it?
The receipts for what was done and spent here would frighten many a mortal: money, and care and well-chosen fittings and finishes, were poured in, under a brand new slate roof and through out it turned out to be a total gut job.
What’s here now, as a result, is all-but unrecognizable: the chill factor is banished, along with the 11 electricity metres which defaced its hallway back in 2011.
Just about everything now is new, but done in sympathetic style to the house’s era, and what strikes straight away is the sense of proportion in the main rooms, and height, and space, and light.
“It’s a town house, in the classic sense of the description,” say selling agents Malcolm Tyrrell and Brian Olden of Cohalan Downing, who have just listed the 3,200 sq ft home with unstinting rooms and spec over four floors: there’s a lower ground level, with eight-person home cinema, no less, attic rooms of character, and two exceptionally fine floors in between, plus spacious hall, stairs and landings, carpeted to a hush.
It’s got restored grace now after the budget-blowing changes, virtually a total gut job inside, back to bare outside walls, more or less. Tts render is painted, its roof is natural slate, and with its many windows (most of them very large), all replaced with painted, double glazed sashes.
Those windows, which do so much to restore elegance to homes of this era, rise and fall on chromed chains, done by Munster Joinery, a local Irish company that is continuing to seize market share in the face of imported glazing rivals, with a range from passive to period, and all styles in between.
The replacement window are in crisp white (looking very smart especially in the front living room’s splayed bay window,) as are the internal doors and joinery, and walls are unsullied white too, creating a uniform, continental feeling along with the select colours and contrasts of well-chosen furniture and a few choice artworks.
Materials are natural, from wool and linen to flooring in porcelain and woods (gleaming walnut floors and stair treads), and the exterior is now freshly painted, walls are drylined, and light pours down the stairwell from an extra-size Velux up on the back roof pitch; the BER’s expected to be a most un-Victorian-like B, and the lower ground level was tanked and treated for any damp.
Heating is gas-fired, delivered through very solid white Victorian-style heavy-duty radiators, and as a result of getting the heat-in, heat-out balance right, it’s got the air of an extremely comfortable home, with four high-end bathrooms with pumped showers and plantation shutters.
It has en suite bedrooms at lower ground (bed five) and first floor levels, and two bedrooms and a bathroom on each of its top two floors, plus walk-in closet, and lots of storage.
Best room is the front drawing room, with deep bay window facing south, and with great ceiling height, while behind is a full width kitchen/dining room, with gleaming white units topped with white marble, courtesy of Glenline, who also did bathroom vanity units and tops.
Building work was overseen by Marcus Geary.
There are views from the back here over Monahan’s Road and a modern office block thereon, where serviced office providers Regus are due to open on the top floor next month. Beyond, the Marina and Montenotte over the River Lee can be glimpsed.
Set just east of Ashton school and the restored and upgraded Georgian-gem Clifton Villa, No 2 Allevard’s now as turn-key as any buyer might want...once they have the alarm codes and can negotiate the electric access gate onto the main Blackrock Road.
There’s off-street parking in front, with a deep, Gothic arch, limestone step and sheltered porch to its south facing, solid front door and secure walled in graveled drive/garden.
Then, there’s side access to a relatively compact back garden, needing landscaping; in fact planting front and back is about the only task left to any new owners in this case, and perhaps creating a ‘green screen’ at the front for day-long sun.
The vendors bought here in 2011, after it was withdrawn from a receivership auction (there were three mortgages on it) when it had a guide in a very raw state of €375,000 and they got it for closer to €320,000, knowing it was a major and costly refurb project.
They acquitted themselves well, had fun along the way, it’s now future proofed and wired for everything, and the home cinema in the lower ground level is ‘one in the eye’ for those who think watching a movie on a laptop is a cinematic experience.
With baby no 2 due, No 2 Allevard’s owners want another challenge and are on the hunt for something with more gardens for the family-rearing years ahead.
Cohalan Downing say it’s perfect for couples, families with older children, and those coming to Cork for work, keen on a home done to the highest of standards.