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House of the Week: Douglas, Cork €475,000

SALE AGREED

Saturday, August 09, 2014

By Tommy Barker
Douglas Road, Cork
€475,000
Sq m 168 (1,800 sq ft)
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2
BER Rating: E1

Built on market gardens associated with a large Endsleigh house along Cork’s (now) suburban main Douglas road, No 1 Endsleigh Gardens is a bit of a treasure — once you find it.

Built just as the Second World War was starting in 1939, it’s a semi-detached cottage hidden from the main road near Douglas village, by Regina Mundi girls’ secondary school, in a mini-oasis of greenery, sharing its discreet and leafy access avenue with just one other adjoining house, which also has been upgraded and even more extended.

No 1, at some mid-1900s stage, belonged to one-time Cork Lord Mayor Stephen Barrett (in 1960, sandwiched between Lords Mayor Jennie Dowdall, in 1959 and Anthony Barry, 1961), and its current owners bought it exactly 20 years ago from another family of owners. Now, with their own family largely reared and scattered, they are set to retire from jobs in UCC and are heading to the country and coast, having made maximum use of this most-handy location.

They’ve considerably upgraded this cottage, stoutly-built by Daniel Hegarty in ’39, and have extended/opened up slightly in order to get spiral stairs access to the first floor, where they now have fitted in three dormer bedrooms and a bathroom.

Opening up this upstairs space meant making maximum daytime use of the existing ground floor, home now to a study/family room with wood-burning stove to the back, as well as a front living room next to a 22’ by 11’ kitchen/diningroom, with scullery/pantry off.

And, there’s a long central hall, with breakout behind for the winding stairs, a ground-floor bedroom, and a bathroom with teak panel along the side of a bath. Woodwork is the stand-out feature of this home’s upgrade, as one of the sons raised here earned his passage as a craft joiner (with O’Sheas) and so there’s lots of old pine and pitch-pine integrated into its makeover, with rooms opened up and beams installed.

Salvage items surface too, like some stained glass and double doors (pitch pine again) with leaded and coloured glass panels, most likely from some ecclesiastical building. It all combines to give real visual warmth and charm, without being overworked.

Despite the fact the house is only 80 years of age, it has almost been given a Victorian character, carried through in things like polychromatic floor tiles and costly repro ornate cast iron rads for the gas-fired central heating.

Real warmth is granted by things like triple-glazed windows all around, from Careys of Nenagh, and dry-lining of external walls; heating sources include a new condenser boiler, an open fire, a gas-insert fire, and a stove.

Despite the work done, this home still hits a poor-ish E1 BER — but doesn’t seem to deserve it. A few quick fixes (super-insulating the hot water tank?) would jump it up a few grades.

On very attractive grounds, complete with double garage/potting shed, the east-facing No 1 Endsleigh Gardens is new to market within the past fortnight via Woodward Auctioneers, who confidently guide at €475,000 given recent strong Douglas sales, pent-up demand, and the fact this is such an unusual offer.

Agent Tom Woodward reckons a buyer could be a trader down, a trader up, or a trader in, as it’s of a type that can accommodate all these home-hunting segments.

It’s got a lovely raised sitting-out deck area in front, off the dining room, but the evening sun wheels around to the very sheltered back garden.

For new owners looking to make an improving mark, even the simplest of extensions (lots of glass?) across the back linking/replacing the scullery over to the family room would be the absolute business....even though there’s plenty of space already. It’s just to catch those afternoon and evening rays.

VERDICT: Individual, yet it’s got huge, warm appeal even from first glimpses.

Best Feature: Lovely hideaway home

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House of the week: Burlington, Douglas, Cork
Saturday, April 19, 2014

By Tommy Barker
Size: Sq m 184 (2,000 sq ft)
Bedrooms: 4 Bathrooms: 3
BER rating: Pending
Best asset: Waterside setting

THERE aren’t too many properties with water frontage in the very heart of Cork’s Douglas village — but Burlington is one of the rare breed.

This pad, a modest bungalow on first approach (but more of a US-style clapboard two-storey overlooking Douglas estuary on the other,) is for sale with agent Tom Woodward, who guides €450,000 as a spring offer, having had it quietly on the go over the winter at a higher, c €500k price.

Mr Woodward reckons the quality and uniqueness of the waterside setting teeming with wildlife makes it prime for modernisation — or even replacement, and quips "it’s a bit of an ugly duckling, but it could be a swan."

The site, of a half acre, is indeed very special, with its own section of shoreline, and an old barn-like shed that looks like a place to make moonshine, a touch of the Bayou or Everglades by the Douglas Estuary.

It’s set just by the overpass through suburban Douglas village, between its two major shopping centres. Ignore the cars and the drone beyond on the south ring, and you could be in deepest countryside instead of what’s arguably Cork’s best serviced suburbs.

The setting is inside the cul de sac called — what else? — Riverside, and Burlington is one of a half dozen homes sequestered here. It last came to market in 2009, initially guiding €900,000, later that year with a change of agent it dropped slightly to €850,000, didn’t sell, and has most recently been rented out.

In the meantime, another property here also with water frontage came to market in 2009 with agents Frank V Murphy guiding €285,000; No 5, a derelict cottage on a 0.3 acre site, sold in early 2010 for €301,000 according to the price register and its buyers got planning permission for a modern replacement.

Right now, with a market pick up well established thru’ the past year and a clear demand for sites and/or new builds, that’s most likely to be the direction viewing interest will come from for Burlington — even though it’s still got a charm and appeal as it is.

However, it could well be one of those situations where it’s cheaper to start from scratch than strip back and work forwards again, so it’s a spot where surveyors, engineers, architects and builders are likely to be consulted before bidding gets seriously into gear.

Agent Tom Woodward says only a handful of houses here have direct access to the estuary/Tramore River, and notes there’s beguiling water views to be had from the sun room and upstairs living room at the house’s timber-framed rear.

What initially looks like a two or three bed cottage fans out behind to provide for good living areas and four bedrooms, with two en suites, while a sign of the house’s old, warm heart is the presence of an Aga in the country-style kitchen.

The gardens/site are the best aspects of the property, stress Woodwards, who last year sold a do-er upper semi-d at Douglas Hall Lawn for c €300,000 after dozens of viewings, and where its views over the estuary were a key driver of interest.

There’s great bird life, otters and even, occasionally, seals to be seen. Detached Burlington has a large site close to the ring road’s trajectory, and direct access to the estuary, with its grounds sloping down to the water, fringed by mature trees.

What with that proximity, and the old barn/shed, it’s a spot crying out for a strip of decking, or a jetty, and the inevitable old sign saying ‘Gone Fishin’.

VERDICT: This is a site any architect worth his or her salt would kill for, to get the chance of a pretty special one-off design.
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