HOUSE WEEK OF THE

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - PROPERTY - Tommy Barker re­ports

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.

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