The pale orange front door in this Victorian terrace hints at the funky yet functional home within, says Tommy Barker.
Size: 88 sq m (950 sq ft)
Best Feature: Bang up to speed
The pale orange colour of the front door might, just, give a hint that there’s something surprisingly decent and different, beyond the front wall and dusky blue dash render of 3, Marina Terrace, in the heart of Cork City.
And, indeed there is far more here than first meets the eye: it’s a spacious delight inside, extended out the back at ground level with the imprint of an architect’s guidance and a good design eye.
It creeps up into the attic too via a tight spiral of steps for a tiny bit of extra space up top.
And it’s funky, and functional, all the way back down again.
It’s come to market just in the past week for its young family of owners, who extended and upgraded it in 2013 and it now scores a good B3 BER, not too scanty at all for a place with 1890s artisan area roots, in a location just 200 yards from the National Sculpture Factory, and just five minutes’ walk from City Hall.
No 3 is part of a Victorian terrace of compact dwellings inside a city community known for decades as Jew Town, after the arrival over 120 years of ago of refugee Lithuanian jews to Ireland, escaping Russian oppression and persecution, and who fetched up in Cork.
Many dozens of families of Jewish faith clustered here around Hibernian Buildings, Albert Road, Electric Terrace, Monerea Terrace and Marina Terrace, and at one stage Cork City’s Jewish community swelled to as many as 500 members.
Even today, Cork’s ‘Jew Town’ still has a sort of ‘Coronation Street’ community and neighbourly vibe to it; cats and dogs and even residents loll by doorways, or head to the 1989-opened public park green space and playground, called Shalom Park to recall the Jewish community’s strong presence here, up to the 1930s.
Since 2011, around Christmas each year a small ‘festival of lights’ is held almost next door to No 3 Marina Terrace at Shalom Park, to mark the end of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah: “When a light goes out, it symbolises the disappearance of our community from the city of Cork. But, the re-lighting of the lights every year symbolises the hope that some of our community may return and re-establish a community here,” said leader of Cork’s Hebrew Community, the late Fred Rosehill in 2012, who passed away in recent months.
Last year, the community held its last service in the South Terrace synagogue, one of just three in Ireland. (Currently being renovated, that former synagogue is now about to host services for the Seventh Day Adventist Church, currently based in Donnybrook.)
Back along Albert Road and around this enclave of narrow streets and small houses, it’s been all change too. The Elysian has come along, and is filling up with rentals all the more each month, there’s an Aldi in its ground floor, and next door to it the shiny new office building One Albert Quay, a €58m success story, was fully occupied this year, with a Starbucks downstairs.
For more independent spirits, ‘Jew Town’ also has a new cafe, Sonny’s Deli, as well as Salt restaurant, joining bustling bars like Goldbergs, the Sextant, and Cork’s first docklands district early-adaptor, the famed Idle Hour.
As a consequence, prices in the locale have been steadily on the up over the past five years, and No 3 Marina Terrace comes for sale with agent Andrew Moore who describes it as polished gem. He guides it at €240,000, and was busy block-booking viewings this week, to meet keen early visit demand.
Under offer already at the guide, it’s a cracker, and doesn’t disappoint: Mr Moore says it has managed to keep original charm, while also getting a wholly contemporary makeover, upgrade and extension “in a manner that meets all of today’s high-grade requirements.”
The kerb appeal picks up once over the threshold, with intricate-looking tiled hall, with a front den or study overlooking the street with a painted floor and extensive bookshelves. The long, knot-tiled hall leads back to a family bathroom with oversized walk-in shower and a back wall of mosaic tiles.
Light comes in from a glazed, low-pitched pane (called a laylight,) up on the sizeable extension’s huge flat roof.
Out in the extension proper, the home rolls out like some Tardis. The room’s almost 30’ long, with wall-mounted cassette stove, the roof above has two even larger laylights, and there’s some tiny LEDs inset into the sleek, grey marmoleum floor.
There’s a huge, sliding door almost the full width of the very back of No 3, opening to a south-aspected deck and small garden seating area, with shed, all simply landscaped. The back boundary wall is high for privacy, and over the other side is the office HQ campus of Bord Gáis, set well back from this most domestic of terraces.
Kitchen units are white gloss, topped with 3” of polished concrete worktops, with the same concrete surface around the island (with integrated bookshelves for cookery tomes) and sink.
Loosely broken up into zones for cooking/dining/sitting/chilling by the stove, it’s a well-worked and homely space. And, it’s super-bright.
Upstairs has two bedrooms, one fore, the other aft, and the larger in front is some 16’ wide and 10’ deep, with exposed roof trusses in old, stripped pine. As an age match, the floors at first floor level are buffed up old pine, with the honest patina of age and use.
Then, a slender spiral stairs goes up to attic/roof apex level to a small room with Velux and eaves storage under roof slopes, with simple glass balusters, and the back roofline over the stairs has two Veluxes, facing south and drawing light in, which is much favoured by the dozen or so healthy house plants, bathing in the warmth.
It all feels much larger than agent Andy Moore’s calculation of 950 sq ft floor area, mostly thanks to the size and stretch in the rear ‘great room’ and finish quality is excellent too, with little storage cubbies dotted about for day-to-day family detritus, and the many souvenirs here of global travels.
No 3 accommodated a young family of four, who are now trading up, and they leave behind a home to which they have pretty much done everything, to the next occupant’s benefit.
Its spatial layout is a bit like a pyramid, there is loads of living space at ground level (which is home to the only bathroom), there’s a good bit less at first floor level, although the two bedrooms here are ok-sized, and there’s only a modicum at attic level, with restricted head height. Yet, it’s a very useful add-on, and glimpsed in one section is the vent for the Vent Axia heat recovery system installed here, and which helped to earn the energy-efficient B3 BER.
VERDICT: Won’t hang around the market too long.
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