IF IT ain’t broke, don’t fix it: that could very well be the motto of the owners of Dunloe, a 19th century original home on Cork city’s Blackrock Road.
About a century and a half old, this mid-terraced four-bed home has huge originality in its exterior facade, old sash windows with a feature wide Wyatt window with side panels, original hefty door with a simple fanlight above, as well as in its interior appeal, with ancient, worn and wide-plank pine floors buffed to a sheen.
It’s been a family home to its owners with young children, and now they’ve decided to trade up to a larger purchase, within the vicinity, very much fitting a relocation mould that’s become very evident in Blackrock/Ballintemple.
Who’ll come out of the woodwork for Dunloe? It could be almost anyone with a decent, yet not entirely unreasonable budget, given the preponderance of €1m-plus house sales in the area in the past two years.
Estate agent Timothy Sullivan guides Dunloe at €565,000, and says it could suit a couple, a young family, relocaters and traders down.... the gamut, essentially.
It’s sort of a house of two halves, old and original to the front, more modern and modestly extended to the back, where a kitchen/dining/family space opens to a south-facing, mature back garden and patio.
Upstairs, via an initially narrow side hall and stairs, Dunloe has four bedrooms (three doubles and a single) with one en suite, plus main family bathroom, and just like its ground level, there’s great old world charm to the rooms aloft.
Almost as a contra-trend to fashions for pale colours and greys, the occupants have kept the original front room (the most charismatic space in the c 1,800 sq ft home) quite deliberately old fashioned, in feel, with original fireplace and walls are painted a deep red.
It’s a perfect room for a night in, of a winter ‘s eve, and while it might feel a tad on the dark side (it’s north facing) it opens immediately to the kitchen (with granite-topped units), with stronger, southerly light getting in from a much-glazed back wall beyond, with a family/dining spot up a few steps from the kitchen hub.
In addition, there’s a den/study to the side, giving access to a store/pantry and to a ground floor guest WC, and this windowless room is floored in the same black and white small tiles as the L-shaped hall, and opens back to the hall through a feature, stained glass door.
The current owners bought Dunloe from agent Tim Sullivan a number of years ago; it was already extended, so they merely made their own decorative changes for taste, and it has the hallmark of a much-appreciated home with period Georgian air. Location is directly opposite the Lindville development of Victorian-styled homes just on the city side of Ballintemple village, within a walk of the city centre.
The most recent comparable sale was of another mid-terraced home called Madore which dates to the 1790s in this row of aesthetically-appealing houses of varied shapes and sizes, and Madore made €700,000 after being bid well above its AMV.
However, compared to Dunloe, double-fronted Madore was a bigger home on bigger gardens, at over 2,000 sq ft inside, and had had a painstaking architect-supervised restoration carried out since the year 2000.
Tim Sullivan says the Virginia-creeper faced Dunloe is quite deceptive on its grounds, and while access, nosing onto the main Blackrock Road, can be tricky for some of these neighbouring homes, Dunloe has a wide, gravelled front parking arrangement, easily taking two cars, plus it’s on a bus route, with shops, schools and services all to hand.
On the wider front, and for those with even more funds, there’s still a handful of €1-2 million Blackrock Road homes to come to market in the next several months, and one low-key launch last week was Rose Lodge, an early 1800s six-bed home on a half acre between Blackrock and Ballintemple, which is listed with Casey and Kingston guiding at €1.46m.
Cork City Council last month began street/pavement improvements to Blackrock village around the pier area, while the arrival of the restaurant Salt at Victoria Road lays down a marker that Blackrock, as a sort of state of mind and aspiration address, begins where the docks leaves off.
VERDICT: Irresistible appeal for lovers of older homes.
Blackrock Road, Cork
Size: 168 sq m (1,800 sq ft)
Best Feature: Faithful to roots.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved