California dreamin’

Capistrano, 35 Hillside Drive, Castlepark, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14. €495,000


Capistrano, a two-bedroom, two-storey house at 35 Hillside Drive, does not look like the other houses on the street. It is accessed via a driveway and a red-brick archway, reminiscent of one of the properties in That ’70s Show or Happy Days.

Little wonder; it is a purpose-built extension on to the original property at number 35, which was built in 1964 by the late Jimmy O’Toole and his wife Carrie O’Toole, returning emigrants, and architects who had honed their skills in California.

The elements they borrowed from their time on America’s west coast are obvious, if you know where to look – wood-panelled ceilings, the tiled balcony leading from the upstairs bedroom, and the pale, wood-panelled wardrobes in the same room.

Capistrano hasn’t been changed much since it became, in the 1980s, the primary home of the O’Tooles, after their children flew the coop. There is little doubt, therefore, that any prospective buyer will be eyeing the property with plans for redecoration – but any modernisation that Capistrano requires will mainly be of the cosmetic variety. Windows are double-glazed; heating is gas-fired; the upstairs bedroom, bathed in light, is naturally heat retaining.

But its unusual design will be an acquired taste. Downstairs, a bedroom is located to the front of the house – behind this, a small study. To the rear, the living area has a red brick feature wall and leads on to the sun room, which looks out on to a small garden with mature shrubbery. The kitchen is small but functional, although it’s here that the 1980s are most obvious.

Upstairs, the master bedroom is en suite and opens on to the aforementioned tiled upper balcony, from which it’s plain to see what Capistrano’s main selling point wil be: size.

As far as the eye can see, houses are large, with at least three bedrooms apiece, and gardens are high maintenance. Capistrano is a Rathfarnham rarity: a two-bedroom house that would be ideal for downsizers.

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