Tuesday 23 April 2019

The master bedroom in this iconic home on the River Lee has views over the river and city

No2 Bellevue Villas Lower Glanmire Road, Tivoli, Cork

Asking price: €550,000

Agent: ERA Downey McCarthy (021) 490 5000

No2 sits in the middle of the terraced row on the Lower Glanmire Road
No2 sits in the middle of the terraced row on the Lower Glanmire Road
One of the reception rooms
The view of the river from one of the picture windows
The sitting room in the granny flat
The drawing room

Bellevue Villas is impossible to miss as you come into Cork from Dublin.

Built in 1844, the iconic terrace of three Georgian houses is set on an elevated site that overlooks the River Lee.

No2 is nestled in the middle and has recently come on the market in mint condition. It has changed hands several times over the years. Some owners were kinder than others, but it was serial conservationists Peter and Gaye Houghton that brought it back to life.

About 20 years ago, the couple bought the three houses when they were sold as one unit. They restored and revived them all beautifully and then sold them on as individual homes.

One of the reception rooms
One of the reception rooms

The current owners bought No2 in 2014 for €410,000. They too treated the listed property with great respect. They didn't have a lot to do structurally but improved it where they felt it was needed.

The main roof was completely replaced in the summer of 2015 with new roof tiles and Bangor Blue slates in line with the conservation guidelines. The three flat roofs at the back were also replaced at this time and the two extensions were insulated and plastered. It seemed like a waste to have scaffolding up and not take full advantage, so the vendors also lined the three chimney flues from fireplace to roof level.

And they didn't stop there. Thirteen double-glazed windows, handmade by local joiners to replicate the exact design and dimension of the originals, were fitted. The basement was completely renovated, as were the front door archway and fanlight.

It's fair to say that the 4,000 sq ft of living space, set over five floors is really something special. It still feels like you're entering into a house from a bygone era, but with every modern convenience at hand.

To add to the romanticism of the house, it is accessed either by a pedestrian Victorian footbridge, or a private modern bridge for the pragmatists among us.

With the rise in rail services, along with a 19th-century covenant that guaranteed safe passage to Bellevue Villas, it is said that Iarnród Éireann agreed to fork out €15m for this new flyover bridge from the Lower Glanmire Road.

The sitting room in the granny flat
The sitting room in the granny flat

The road, that only serves these few houses, leads you to security gates, adding to the privacy and safety of the terrace that is surrounded to the north by a 70ft-high rock face, to the east by a 20ft-thick wall, and the railway line to the south.

The shared space at the front of the terrace provides four parking spaces for each house. There is also a renovated, four-bed coach house on the grounds that dates back to the 1780s.

As soon as you step through the red front door, you appreciate the sympathetic restoration that this house has undergone. The hallway has its original coving, picture rail and centre light piece.

To the left is the sitting room, with marble fireplace and two large sash windows. An archway with double doors leads into the dining room, and the kitchen beyond.

Perhaps the only thing new owners may like to change in the house is the size of the kitchen. While it fulfils its duties perfectly with enough room for a double oven, it's small when you compare it to the massive kitchens most people desire these days.

At the half landing, you have a bathroom and a door down to the basement.

Up on the first floor is the drawing room with views of the River Lee and Páirc Uí Chaoimh. With the high ceilings, open fire, three picture windows and beautiful cornicing, it's not difficult to imagine a cocktail party or two in this room. Also on this floor is a double bedroom with ensuite bathroom.

Up again to the second floor, where you'll find the master bedroom.

This is the vendors' favourite room in the house because of the views out over the river and city. The room was originally designed with an adjoining nursery, which is now used as a walk-in wardrobe.

There is another double bedroom on this level, with an ensuite bathroom.

At the top of the property, there is a study or home office, a small gym, another bedroom and extra storage.

These four floors will surely provide adequate space for most families, which means the basement could be used to generate extra income.

Just because it's called a granny flat, it doesn't mean you have to drag the grandparents to live with you. Given the current rental market in Cork city at present, this one-bedroom 'apartment' could fetch €1,500-plus a month.

Recently renovated to the same standards as the rest of the house, the basement has a separate entrance down a few steps at the front of the house.

A large kitchen with the original paved floors has been fitted with ivory units and the cosy sitting room has a solid fuel stove. The double bedroom has carpeted floors and the bathroom has a corner shower.

Agent ERA Downey McCarthy is sure to be banking on a professional who works in Cork city to snap this one up, but it's not beyond the realms of possibility to think that a professional from Dublin city with roots in the rebel county could be interested in this too.

If one had the luxury of not having to be in the office every day, the train station is just a short walk away, so on the days when travel was necessary, a trip to the capital would take two-and-a-half hours.

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