Restored Aga is at the heart of a vintage rectory in Dublin home for €1.85m
The rustic kitchen is the nerve centre of a renovated Cork City abode
For so many typical Irish families, particularly in rural parts, the kitchen remains the beating heart of the home. It is the buzzing welcome centre in which homely business is conducted, in which day-to-day guests are fed and provided with cups of tea, where the real craic happens at family party events, where shoes and boots are shucked off on bad days.
Even in a world where family members are separated under one roof by social media and a tv in every bedroom, the traditional-style kitchen is where meals are shared and the really important family chats take place.
Fans of the traditional kitchen arrangement will argue that the pulsing heart must be nothing less than a substantial and solid stove - whether solid fuel (for turf, coal or wood) or oil.
In this country, the die-hard following tends to be for the trinity of Stanley, Rayburn and Aga - the latter generally acknowledged as being the luxury model.
The stove heats the house, the water, keeps the food hot, the kettle boiled, and dries the family clothes. Sometimes it simply warms bums, allowing a safe lean against the support bar provided.
So beloved are some long serving workhorse stoves that there is a growing trend to have them restored like a beloved old steam engine or a vintage car.
The vintage Aga at 2 Carr's Hill has already had its overhaul. An example of a truly traditional kitchen, albeit modern and bespoke, can be found at the restored 1870s built former Church of Ireland rectory.
The current owners bought the property in a run-down condition from the Church of Ireland in the early noughties.
Then the Church used the proceeds from the sale of portions of the original site to construct a brand new version on the retained segment of the original land.
When the owners of 2 Carr's Hill began their restoration work, which took place from 2002 to 2005, one of the first tasks to sort out was to take out the elegant decades-old Aga that graced the kitchen here and send it off to specialists to be reconditioned restored and cleaned up, ready to beat again at the heart of this unusually modern period home. Now ready for a few more generations, this cream Aga has been installed in the coved arch which would have housed the home's original iron predecessor back when this property was first built.
As a rectory for a wealthy centre of commerce, the kitchen here would have regularly cooked for large tranches of evening guests hosted by the rector to socialise and discuss church business.
The current owners extended the kitchen and replaced the units with handmade elegant wooden versions which include decorative pillar work, coving and large drawered units with large hanging grab handles.
The parish was presumably a wealthy one because this rectory was substantially larger than most which were built around this time and tended to be three or four bedroomed.
This one has six bedrooms and five of these are double sized. The entire house spans around 3,800 sq ft, or almost four times the size of an average city home.
In addition to sorting the kitchen, the current owners also conducted some more substantial work which included replacing the entire roof in sympathy with the Victorian vintage of the building, as well as the replacement and restoration of the floors.
The latter allowed some modern touches to slide seamlessly into place, like the addition of underfloor heating through many of its main rooms. The house has also been rewired and replumbed and like its vintage AGA, is now ready for a few more generations of families without any alterations being required.
Located a few minutes' walk from the centre of Douglas, the house also comes with an unusually large site of three quarters of an acre, a remnant from the substantial overall former church-owned grounds. The gardens are arranged over three different levels and this property also includes a separate coach house, which itself offers a range of options, perhaps for a home gym or additional offices for a professional owner.
The grounds are entered through some elegantly-wrought iron gates and visitors pass up a gravelled driveway to an apron in front of the house.
There are four reception rooms on the ground floor in addition to the aforementioned open-plan kitchen/dining room and living room space, which leads outside through double French doors.
The lounge comes with a splay bow window and a fireplace and large window shutters, as does the dining room with its wide plank walnut floor and a stone fireplace for the gas-fired inset.
There's also a playroom and a study, likely to be where the original rector conducted most of his official affairs through this home's history as a church property. All the receptions come with period coving and ceiling work.
New owners will also have one eye on any future development potential or investment value offered by the unusual site in the years ahead. Cork, like Dublin City, is straining to provide an adequate supply of homes to meet demand.
Savills of Cork (021- 4271371) meantime seeks offers in the order of €1.85m.