Spacious grandeur in the heart of Waterford city for €885,000

Spacious grandeur in the heart of Waterford city for €885,000

Summerville House, off Passage Road, Waterford.

Summerville Avenue, Waterford

€885,000

Size

371 sq m (4,000 sq ft)

Bedrooms

5

Bathrooms

4

BER

Exempt

Verdict - Spacious, with sizable gardens and the grandeur of a bygone age.

THE 21st century sits lightly on Summerville House, an impressive Victorian residence with three quarters of an acre of gardens located off Passage Road in Waterford City.

Owned by the same family for the last 100 years, the 4,000 sq ft five-bed house in Summerville Avenue has had just one previous owner since it was built in 1861. This concentration of ownership means that it has been a lot less changed over the decades than might have been the case.

Displaying all the fine architectural features you would expect from a listed 19th century property, it has 11 ft high corniced ceilings and original floors, doors, shuttered sash windows, and marble fireplaces.

The layout shows a drawing room and a formal dining room, while space is also provided for a china pantry, a boot room, and a linen cupboard — all essential elements of a large Victorian household. 

Some 20th century influence can be seen in the bathrooms, the kitchen, and the small bomb shelter, which was built on at the side of the house in 1940. There’s very little evidence of 21st century technology in the rooms, although the house does have exterior CCTV and an alarm.

The large wall-mounted heads of a bison and a buffalo in the main hallway are relics from a very different era. "We call these Willy and Billy," says the owner, whose family have been solicitors in Waterford for several generations. "They are one of 15 sets of heads and horns around the house. All were shot by my mother’s grandfather in Africa in 1903,"

 
 

When being cleared out for sale, the house yielded up a hoard of long-forgotten items. "In one of the bedrooms, which was used as a junk room, there were rifles, telescopes, and top hats, as well as Second World War gas masks and some bayonets and sabres," says the owner, who also discovered the gun chest once owned by his ancestor, who went shooting in Africa.

Parts of the house have been disturbed very little over the years, exceptions including two windows at one side which have been blocked up. 

Quoting a guide of €885,000 for Summerville House, Purcell Properties say this is amongst the finest Victorian properties in this highly residential area, located around 1km from the city centre, and within walking distance from several schools.

"It is also extremely rare to find a property with a site as large as this one so close to the city centre," says auctioneer Conor Purcell.

Well maintained and well lived in, the house was reroofed in the 1990s, at which time a conservatory was also added. The owner says his father put a lot of effort into ensuring that this matched the style of the house. Like Victorian conservatories, it has been filled with plants and includes some grapevines which he says have been continuously bountiful.

Situated behind the triple bay window at the front is a spacious high-ceilinged drawing room which still has its original cornicing, shutters, marble fireplace, and French doors.

The formal dining room, decorated with some old family portraits, is similar — but has an original serving hatch and is dominated by a large dining table which is actually a 160-year-old convertible snooker table with pockets in the corners.

The kitchen at the back of the house is more modern and has cream granite-topped units and a ruby-red two-door Aga, both fitted in the early 2000s.

There’s a second large front reception room also with period features which was originally a study. Alongside it is the large, tiled, plant-filled conservatory added in the 1990s.

Off the back hallway, there are a surprising number of small rooms including two utilities, a shower room, a WC, as well as a china pantry and a boot room.

A staircase from the timber-panelled front hallway leads to the half landing — a space you will probably only find in Victorian houses. This has a linen room and one bedroom in addition to a WC and a bathroom.

The top floor has five spacious bedrooms, some of which have fireplaces as well as other period features. Looking less disturbed by modern influences than the more lived-in rooms downstairs, the bedrooms are filled with antique pieces of furniture which have quite possibly been there since they were new.

Enclosed at the sides by high stone walls, Summerville House's very sizable gardens have been planted with a variety of specimen trees, as well as some colourful shrubs. By the kitchen, there’s a terraced garden and, at the front, a perfectly even-lawned area which in Victorian times was a lawn tennis court.

Garden features include a pergola and a sundial while the grounds also have gravelled pathways, formal flowerbeds, and a number of outbuildings.

Mr Purcell says Summerville House has been attracting interest from local buyers as well as ones from Dublin who are looking at new options to work from home and see an opportunity to buy a large period house for a lot less than they would have to spend in the capital.

"We have already shown it to several Dublin buyers looking for family space who are considering relocating to Waterford," he adds.

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