Savills are delighted to present Hilltop, Monkstown, Co. Cork to the open market.
An inspiring and unique country home combining old-fashioned charm with modern living, wonderfully set on an enviable site overlooking Cork harbour
Hilltop: a Unique Property in its Setting, Architecture and Living.
The site comprising of five acres is located on the southern edge of a high promontory that forms part of the western side of Cork Harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world. An extensive road frontage together with mature woodland borders the northern boundary of the site ensuring complete privacy. Within the site the extensive panorama exposes eastern, southern, and western views that stretch for several miles affording glimpses of the Atlantic Ocean, the harbour and the varying topography and activities of the beautiful Irish countryside.
The Architectural Concept
Because of the nature of the site, i.e., its unique position, elevation and size, the architectural concept adopted was an organic one: the site and the buildings both externally and internally were to be considered and designed as one. It was to be as if the buildings emerged from the site and harmonised with nature itself, thus demanding that only natural materials be sensitively and extensively used internally and externally in the construction. Blending the design of nature and the overall construction into a coherent whole is unquestionably the unique hallmark of the world-renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and it is on visiting Hilltop that one experiences this unity of nature and building.
Entering the Property
At the top of a hill is the entrance which is accessed from either the western or eastern side of a country road that borders the northern edge of the property. This entrance is secluded and set back into the site by re-aligning some of the old boundary wall and gently splaying it over a distance to abut the signature pillars of Hilltop. These pillars are built of fired clay brick and capped with light grey granite; a theme seen throughout the grounds. Set midway on the eastern pillar and cut into a granite block is the name Hilltop in block letters.
Woodland and shrubbery abound the entrance and the inclined avenue leading from it, the ground is contoured in a manner that it rises above both sides of the avenue showing some of the lawns and garden that surround the property. On reaching a left-hand bend in the avenue which passes under a weeping beech tree one glimpses for the first-time part of a courtyard surrounded by the buildings of Hilltop sitting on a horizontal plane and nestled into the site. Major external features of the house and outbuildings blend beautifully into the natural surrounds.
The Natural Surrounds
The natural surround comprises of landscaped lawns and gardens bounded on three sides by mature woodland through which acess is gained to a meadow on the western side and to an attractive plot on the eastern side, both part of Hilltop.
These surrounds were created as integral to the architectural design. The optimum location and orientation chosen harmonised with the surrounding countryside and ensured that from sunrise to sunset, light would be always shed on the site and would at varying times throughout the day, light up different spaces within the house. The finished floor level chosen ensured an uninterrupted view for anyone sitting at chair level within the house.
The surrounds abound with hedgerows, undulating manicured lawns that sweep up on the southern side to a large patio surrounded by a low brick wall capped in light grey granite. Within the main garden a large circular sunken garden surrounded by a mature beech hedge has its own microclimate. A secluded private old-fashioned garden adjoins the western side of the house. It is accessed through low timber wicket gates from the north and south sides of the house. A hedgerow bounds the southern end of the garden and beyond this is a secluded walkway. Adjoining this walkway is a berm on top of which one can also walk. This berm defines the southern boundary of the property. Looking south it gives uninterrupted views that are breath-taking and panoramic. Looking north from the berm are the gardens and woodlands of the house which itself can be delicately glimpsed through the shrubbery and trees planted on the edge of the patio. It is from the southern edge that one can truly appreciate the unity of building and nature. It is something of a major architectural achievement that the siting and landscaping of Hilltop is not visible from the surrounding countryside.
Around the garden periphery and elsewhere inside the grounds, special attention was given to a variety of plants, shrubs, and individual groups of trees for their blossoming at different times in the Irish climate.
One is also struck by the amount of wildlife and bird song that is permanently seen and heard around the place. The robin, the thrush, the pigeon, the blackbird, the house sparrows, the wren, the swallows, the fox, the rabbit, the pheasant and more all are present at Hilltop. Ones connection with nature in the widest sense, near or far, is never lost.
External Features of the Buildings
Some of the external features that strikes one immediately are the long low lines of the natural brick buildings with their large overhanging eaves and low-pitched natural slate roofs sloping off in different planes. Brick chimneys capped in granite. The several tones of fired clay bricks that combine to produce a unique and attractive rustic effect. The soffit of the deep overhanging eaves surrounding each of the buildings, and extending a meter beyond the external brick walls, is masterfully finished in natural sand and cement. The inside of the soffit against the external brickwork and the outside abutting the underside of the gutter is trimmed all around with stained mahogany mouldings producing a highly attractive and subtle feature. Another stand-out feature is the gentle splaying of the downpipes from the gutter back under the eaves and dropping into the specially designed brickwork at the corners of the buildings.
An intriguing feature offering multiple views of the outdoors are the many long, narrow or wide, ribbon-windows set into the brickwork on granite sills and reaching up to the soffit. The house not only blends with nature but fosters a connection between its residents and the environment.
The outbuildings surrounding the cobble lock courtyard are an integral part of the overall design of Hilltop and are substantial buildings themselves. Any other uses that they may be put to requiring internal alternations can be easily effected. Presently the eastern outbuilding houses four international sized stables for horses with storage space for feed. The western building houses a tack room, large garage, a boiler, and oil tank for supplying the house and underfloor heating.
BER Details - BER E2 - BER No.116403759 - Energy Performance Indicator: 342.63 kWh/M2/yr