House of the Week: Tánaiste's former Cork home gets contemporary makeover

It’s only about two years since No 1 Abbottswood Downs was last for sale, but, for those who viewed back in 2015, and who might still be looking for a well-located family home (or, just curious) it will feel entirely different if they come back, now that it’s freshly up for sale once more.

Pics: John Roche

Dating to the very early 2000s, and originally owned by Government Minister Simon Coveney and family, it’s been given a contemporary-style makeover, very much indeed inside as a contrast to its traditional, brick exterior, with contrasting black accents for effect, and it all feels wholly bright. 

Heck, even much of the art work and photography on the wall is black and white: it’s a theme running throughout.

The theme is sort of set from the get-go, with a B&W photo of the famed ‘Rat Pack’ of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jnr on a hall side wall, next to a feature porthole window, and elsewhere photos from the movies include Al Pacino in Scarface, also in black and white.

There’s almost the feel of a penthouse apartment now to the interiors, and that’s hardly surprising as its owner is in business internationally, and travelling constantly, over and back across the Atlantic.

No 1 Abottswood Downs isn’t getting the use the owner feels it deserves, hence the decision to sell on, and it’s back for sale now with agent Ann O’Mahony of Sherry FitzGerald. 

She guides the mint-order home at €595,000: when she last listed it in early 2015, it had a €575,000 asking price, and that’s exactly the figure it turned up as making on the Price Register by August ‘15.

It hasn’t been extended, but it has been upgraded and updated. Walls are white, furniture is white, in the main, kitchen units are white too, as are glass splashbacks and worktops, though the well specc’ed kitchen’s ‘white goods’ are in brushed steel, mostly AEG appliances.

The slick kitchen was done by Midleton-based Chris Keating House of Design, and he also fitted out one of the four first floor bedrooms as a very large walk-in robe/dressing room, with high-end fittings. 

A new owner who might want to make more bedroom use out of this fourth bedroom can keep as little, or as much, of this wall-mounted clothing accoutrements as they like, and it’s plenty big enough for a double bed.

Flooring throughout at ground level is a pale, wood-effect tile, prompting the thought that heating might now be under-floor; but it isn’t, it’s still heated by radiators, albeit ones hidden away behind white cabinet covers.

There’s c 1,800 2,000 sq ft here, over two levels, and it’s all in walk-in, as-new condition, so any changes or extra alterations will be entirely discretionary. 

Colourful oversize paintings of new owners’ choice, or rugs, or vivid furniture sources, would immediately alter the impact and really is a white canvas, able to instantly adapt to any new occupancy.

No 1 Abbottswood Downs is the first house to be seen entering this Fleming Construction development, off and above Cork’s Monastery Hill, and it’s on a decent 0.3 of an acre site, which slopes down steeply to a far corner on the left, and which rises up above it to the back.

A sliding electric gate now screens the front, with parking for several cars within, and there’s access either side of the detached home to the rear garden and grounds, which include decking to the back.

All exterior walls are in brick, and there’s quite an American ‘New England’ to the design as a result, and No 1 has a single storey sun room addition on the back, here from day one, used as casual family dining space at the end of the kitchen.

Throughout, internally, No 1 feels good and spacious, airy and bright. The hall’s extra wide, with porthole side window (and glimpses to the north east of Cork harbour and Mahon Estuary in the distance), and ceiling height is well above standard, not only at ground floor level but overhead also, with most lighting recessed LEDs. 

Upstairs, meanwhile, the master bedroom is en suite with large shower enclosure, and the family bathroom now is retiled also, and has a jetted Jacuzzi bath.

Back at ground are two reception rooms, interconnecting with glazed double doors in between; the front room’s about 16’ square, the rear one’s not much smaller, with garden access, and both share the same room-to-room white tile to tie it all together visually.

A wood burning stove that had been in the house back in ‘15 has been removed, and the chimney opening blocked over, but a fire surround is easily reinstated if a new owner so wishes, says Sherry Fitz auctioneer Ann O’Mahony who adds No 1 “has been lovingly maintained, is in walk-in decorative condition and would make a superb family home for anyone wishing to move to the southern suburbs.”

VERDICT: Contemporary and almost international in feel.

Rochestown, Cork


Size: 168 sq m (1,800 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 3



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