HOUSE WEEK OF THE
HE spot occupied by this elegant home, Fenton, is, it could be said, in a parallel universe, a garden oasis filled with birdsong in lieu of traffic snarl, sandwiched between Cork city’s Blackrock and Boreenmanna roads. Life trundles on along both these parallel suburban roads, so close to the city centre — but here, in Ashton Park, it all slows down.
Dating to about 1940, and with quite modest exterior proportions, the detached five-bed home was built using great craftmanship, and fine materials by Meagher and Hayes, who built Cork’s Savoy cinema, and the fourth Art Deco Theatre Royal in Dublin.
Here, think high ceilings, terrazzo floors, feature mahogany staircase, doors and mahogany wall panelling in the hall and other joinery, solid brass door handles — plus a suite of bells back to the kitchen, used in earlier times to call for domestic service.
Fenton’s all on south-facing gardens of 0.8 of an acre, with the outline of a long-disused grass tennis court at the furthermost, southern boundary.
Of the very best Cork suburban homes to come along this year says Brian Olden of Cohalan Downing, it’s priced at € 795,000. That puts it well within the reach of many upper-end home hunters, who’ve been looking for something a bit special, yet one which won’t break the bank with immediate upgrade needs.
It has that instant feel of quality, designed to maximise aspect and its great site, with a huge garden, wide enough to allow house extension options
Ton either side, while its existing core needs practically no work at all, bar some insulation or decor changes. The hall’s a classic, clad in mahogany up to a height of 7’, and the two best formal rooms are to the back/ south, each with bay windows and French doors to a crazy-paved and flagstone terrace. The two overhead principal bedrooms also have bay windows, and long garden views, broken up by sections of rockeries, low walls and paths.
It’s the sort of house where all the brasses have been polished regularly, the front door knocker’s just the first example, and the entry lobby’s floor is pristine terrazzo. The same polished stone terrazzo is used more differently, on the vertical this time, in the kitchen, surrounding where a range cooker might look best at home, and there’s also a pantry, as well as a large utility leading to an enclosed rear yard and on to the attached garage.
Any new owner is going to improve and update the kitchen, and just how big a scale they want to do it on is entirely subjective, and budgets. With its highpitched slate roof and deep eaves, Fenton is going to look good extended in any sympathetic wa at all, and the goal will be to get as much new space grabbing its way to the south and sun and gardens.
There’s already a ground floor guest WC, main bathroom with cast iron bath and latterly added shower, and as one of the five bedrooms on the narrow side, new family owners might do a bit of bathroom/ en suite upgrades fairly smartly.
Positioning on the 0.8 acre site is spot on: there’s enough front garden for breathing space and parking, and some may see their way to leaving a driveway down the left to best exploit the site’s length, as there’s possible scope for a further dwelling on the former tennis court, as the long boundary on its west is bounded by detached houses built by Hegartys in the 1990s off the Boreenmanna Road.
Fenton’s tennis court section could well be a retirement bungalow option, when the main house has done its job accommodating its next family owners in style, comfort, and within a walk of the city centre.
VERDICT: It’s going to sell extremely well.