1970s styles with a modern twist

Two spacious homes – one one overlooking Powerscourt House and this one, a light-filled house with mature gardens in Mount Merrion – are fine examples of 1970s architecture


Built in modernist style in late 1968, San Michele was ahead of its time for Ireland. In 2008, Kela and Stephen Hodgins bought the house designed by Noel Dowley of the UCD school of architecture and it has since been updated under the watchful eye of Tania Miller of Kelliher Miller Architects.

The Irish branch of Docomomo, an international modernist conservation body, has described San Michele as “a unique example of modernist domestic Irish architecture”. It also said the Hodgins’s plans “would greatly enhance the original design”.

Although the footprint of the house has changed little, what was originally a redbrick house with white PVC windows has been replaced with an ultra modern white house with fine Iroko windows.

The rear of the house opens entirely to the south-facing garden patio, thanks to two vast sets of concertina glass doors off the kitchen and living areas.

The suspended floors and complex 40-year-old heating system meant the house needed a lot of insulation, draught-proofing and a new heating system.

The house is in lovely mature gardens behind electric gates and has two garages. One of the highlights of San Michele is the natural light throughout. The original pine floors now have a walnut polish and a lovely distressed patina from four decades of footprints.

The kitchen is large and airy with travertine floors and off-white Corian countertops that contrast beautifully with the aubergine kitchen units.

The large living area with full-height ceilings is what attracted Kela to the house. “We had just sold our Georgian house and I had become accustomed to high ceilings,” she says. “I also loved the fact that there are only two levels in this house compared to the three storeys and two returns we had before.”

There is no fireplace in the living room but the room has been plumbed for a multi-fuel stove so new owners can decide which design they wish to install.

There is also another family room, a utility and a play room on the ground floor.

Upstairs a large family bathroom and four fine-sized bedrooms (two en suite) with dramatic windows complete this lovely house.

The roof is solid concrete and, with permission, could accommodate a new master bedroom or a great roof terrace.

As for the Hodgins, they already have another restoration project in mind.

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