Mak­ing good even bet­ter

Tommy Barker vis­its a high-spec home which was good to be­gin with, and has been fur­ther im­proved

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Cover Story - Pictures:

The houses in Cork’s The Vicarage scheme were good when they were built, day one, oh about a decade ago — but, now, with its wis­te­ria climb­ing vig­or­ously up its front fa­cade, and a knock­out rear ex­ten­sion, No 11 is a stand-out ex­am­ple of how they can be fur­ther im­proved.

The project, off Carr’s Hill on the edge of Dou­glas vil­lage, was un­der­taken by de­vel­op­ers Fri­nailla, who’d flown very high in Cork terms (and who’d bought sites very high too), over a few short years.

When they built, they gen­er­ally used good architects, and were ac­tive and am­bi­tious, as­sem­bling ma­jor sites such as Grand Pa­rade, Water­course Road, the Good Shep­herd Con­vent in Sun­day’s Well, and Victoria Cross among oth­ers, and also bought a whop­ping 70 acres for house build­ing out­side of Dou­glas.

Many of their sites were moth­balled for years, or Nama’ed and/ or re-sold, but The Vicarage with its 17 homes de­signed by Kin­sale ar­chi­tect Richard Rainey did get launched, and built, start­ing to sell in 2008 as the mar­ket went into de­cline, only to get whacked al­to­gether by the global bank­ing cri­sis and Ireland’s own, painful twist on it.

Right by the en­trance to The Vicarage, Fri­nailla also built dozen­sof­goodqual­itya­part­ments, over base­ment park­ing, in two blocks in a scheme called Tem­ple Grove, and last year 35 of those apart­ments were sold off in one lot to a pri­vate in­vestor, for c €6m.

When The Vicarage launched in 2008, there were two house types, each de­tached, with a high spec, smart home wiring, un­der­floor heat­ing, and they were sized from 2,000 sq ft to 2,368 sq ft, and priced at c €850,000 to €1.1 mil­lion. Ouch.

Af­ter a half dozen or so sales, ac­tiv­ity slowed and some later sales had a lower spec­i­fi­ca­tion or level of fit-out and fin­ish: the Price Reg­is­ter shows nine sales since 2012, at prices from €299,000, and the two most re­cent ones were at €555,000, in 2015, and €635,000 ear- lier this year, when No 13 sold. The place is back on buy­ers’ radars, and as the land­scap­ing has ma­tured, it’s all look­ing very well in­deed.

Now, with it own fa­cade ‘land­scap­ing’ of frond-ly Wis­te­ria, No 11 The Vicarage is fresh to mar­ket for its own­ers who’ve been here from quite early on.

Hav­ing bought it in 2008 be­fore start­ing a fam­ily, they opted to ex­tend the house four years ago, as their brood grew to four lively chil­dren.

Now, they’ve spot­ted some­thing else and are hop­ing to trade up to that other goal, hence No 11’s ar­rival to mar­ket with Sheila O’flynn and Ann O’ma­hony of Sherry Fitzger­ald.

It has grown sub­stan­tially out the back thanks to the ground floor add-on, so now has 2,745 sq ft in all, over three lev­els of ex­tremely well-kept and well­specced space.

The en­tre­pre­neur­ial cou­ple are in the hos­pi­tal­ity busi­ness in Cork city and county, so it isn’t much of a surprise to find that the kitchen is what mo­ti­vates them, and it’s what they de­signed the rear ex­ten­sion around.

As it turns out, it’s the ab­so­lute mak­ing of the place, the hub of a busy fam­ily home.

You sense that it’s good and spe­cial as soon as the the front door opens, and you get to see through hall to the show-stop­ping kitchen space off in the near dis­tance, and beyond its huge slid­ing doors to the land­scaped back gar­den in the fur­ther dis­tance.

You know from these bear­ings too that there’s a whole lot of home in be­tween, and it’s al­most an ef­fort to pay any at­ten­tion at all to the ex­cel­lent, and well-sized, wood-floored front sit­ting room en pas­sant, or to the enor­mous, per­son-sized gilt mir­ror on a side wall: you just want to see the back.

When­they­bought,pre-chil­dren, the kitchen was just about OK size­wise, but like many other buy­ers at The Vicarage, it was one of the first things they sought to al­ter. Over the past few years, a num­ber of other home own­ers along the scheme’s two sec­tions (sort of in­ner, and outer, in cul de sac Vicarage,) have fol­lowed suit with larger kitchen add-ons or knock­throughs.

Here, they went big, deep and wide and open plan, yet with clearly-de­fined sec­tions, for cook­ing/en­ter­tain­ing/gath­er­ing, and fam­ily chats and catch-ups at the

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.