109-year-old Edwardian elegance by the River Lee
A 109-year-old Douglas house will tell if Cork's trophy home market can surpass €2m
Ellerslie, Well Road, Douglas , Cork City, Asking price: €2.75m, Agent: Savills, (021-4271371)
ECONOMISTS are predicting a surge in property prices in Cork city over the next 18 months to rival that in Dublin.
The Leeside market is already ramping up noticeably, but the sale of one high-end house in Douglas might prove to be the next serious test of the city recovery.
Ellerslie is a restored Edwardian mock-Tudor house on 0.7 acres at Well Road in Douglas, with six bedrooms and three reception rooms spread over almost 3,500 sq ft. And it has a price tag to match, of €2.75m.
When Ellerslie was built, back in 1905, Douglas was still a village, once described in purple prose as "possessing a profuse powdering of villas and gemming and embroidery of gardens, shrubs and villa demesnes".
Since then it's become a teeming city suburb, whose famous sons include actor Cillian Murphy and rugby player Ronan O'Gara.
Ellerslie has had only three owners in its 109-year history. The current owners bought the place at auction in 1999, when it had a guide price of IR£650,000. They then set about a comprehensive - and expensive - restoration.
They extended the house at the back to create a new kitchen and utility room, taking the house's dimensions up to 3,498 sq ft, and they also added a detached building - in the same red brick as the main house - to the grounds to house a gym.
Many original features remain, including the double front door, antique fireplaces, the mosaic-tiled and stained-glass porch and the pitch-pine flooring in the hallways.
On the ground floor, off the wide entrance hall at the front of the house, is a drawing room with a marble fireplace and a bay window. Behind this is a sitting room with another bay window, an antique wooden fireplace and an oak floor.
The dining room, to the right of the hallway at the front, also has a timber fireplace and a box window.
A rear hall leads to the back of the house, where you'll find the kitchen, a study with fitted mahogany desk, book shelves and cupboards, a guest toilet and a utility room. The kitchen and breakfast room, in the new extension, is a Clive Christian hand-painted oak affair including a gas-fired Aga and with arched French doors leading to a Liscannor stone patio. The master bedroom on the first floor has a walk-in bay window, and an ensuite bathroom with Tagina marble-look wall and floor tiles, a cast-iron claw-foot bath and a separate pumped shower.
There are an additional three bedrooms on this floor, all with ensuite shower rooms, as well as a main bathroom with more marble-style tiling and another cast-iron bath. The second floor houses two more bedrooms, a shower room and steam room and a sauna.
The gymnasium on the grounds also has its own marbled bathroom, and the building might be used as a studio or home office instead. There's also a detached red-brick garden store. Permission has been granted for an extension to the west wing of the house, while it benefits from electronic gates and parking at the front. The 0.7-acre site includes a garden designed by Brian Cross, with a large lawn and mature trees; there's also a rockery with a water feature, and a garden pond with a fountain depicting the Three Graces (Beauty, Charm and Joy, in this version).
The house is equipped with a central vacuum system and heated by a computerised gas heating system, and its energy rating is C1. But what you save on heating bills you'll lose on property tax which, at current rates, will be €6,175 a year.
If Ellerslie achieves its asking price of €2.75m, it will be something of a record, as the €2m-plus market in Cork can hardly be described as hot. The only private house in Cork to surpass Ellerslie's asking price was Fastnet House in Kinsale, which sold for €3m in November.
The 6,000 sq ft mansion overlooking the sea, with indoor pool and leisure centre, reportedly cost €6m to build.