Inside Abington as Yvonne and Ronan move on
Yvonne and Ronan Keating’s mansion in Dublin's Malahide is for sale
Malahide’s Abington development became the capital’s first – and possibly last – purpose-built millionaires’ estate in 2000. When the mock Victorian and Georgian houses in the gated northside estate were built by Parkway Properties they were snapped up for between €2 million and €4 million each. Boyzone singer Ronan Keating and his wife Yvonne were among the first buyers when they paid €3.17 million for a six-bed showhouse, and soon other high profile figures followed.
The suburban enclave became home to Westlife’s Nicky Byrne and Georgina Ahern, former Anglo Irish Bank chief David Drumm (whose house sold in late 2012 for €1.34 million) and last year footballer Robbie Keane and his wife, Claudine, took up residence here.
Now the Keating family home is for sale through Sherry FitzGerald Blanc and Christie’s International for €2.45 million. (Number 50 became their home after the Keatings sold No 28 Abington back to Parkway a few years ago.) The 584sq m/6,286sq ft house was built in 2008 on a half-acre site at the end of a cul de sac (a few doors up from Nicky and Georgina) after Yvonne set about creating a bigger home.
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In late 2010, the family moved in to the six-bed property, and shortly afterwards the marriage ended. Now Yvonne says it’s time to move on, though she and the three children, Jack, Missy and Ali, plan to stay in the area. “The kids want to stay in Malahide, and the other priority is a fresh start.”
Finding a new home that ticks all the boxes will prove a challenge, given that Yvonne custom-built number 50 to an exacting specification, and the interior is entirely to her own design. Many of the key design elements, including fabrics and lighting, were sourced at the annual Paris interiors shows.
From outside the expansive sand-coloured brick and Portland stone façade looks like the daddy of them all in an area of outsized houses. Surely a riot of gilt, mirrored ceilings and chandeliers in the bathroom awaits within. But there’s little evidence inside of a pop star crib. In fact, restraint has been applied in much of the interior, creating a relaxed, homely feel throughout.
The ceiling heights, though generous, feel normal. The curved mahogany staircase in the inner hall avoids the usual “big house” opening statement but its narrow design, footlights, crystal-tipped silver stair rods and fitted cream runner set an Art Deco tone.
A neutral colour palette of creams on the walls and carpets and dark hardwood doors and wooden floors is set off by the occasional splash of colour from a feature wall, a painting or bright furnishings.
The sitting room features a Chesney stone chimneypiece and a gleaming black Yamaha grand piano in the corner. Days before, 50 friends and family had rung in the New Year here. Across the hall, three pendant globe lampshades suspended over the long glass table give the dining room a wow factor.
Yvonne says that when she was seeking inspiration: “I would spot a feature sometimes and work the room around it, while other rooms I approached like building blocks.”
An open living-kitchen-dining space is clearly the heart of the home. A velvet L-shaped couch provides lounging comfort in front of an open stone fireplace, with the streamlined black Poggenpohl kitchen behind. A colourful wall of Ikea-framed photos relieves the dark tones. The kitchen is unobtrusive, with a huge island at its heart and the usual culinary paraphernalia is concealed behind solid black handle-free doors. A pop-up extractor fan on the Wolf cooker banishes cooking smells as required via an underfloor flue. This, and the location of a large utility room upstairs typify how every element of domestic living was thought through at the planning stage.
Steps lead down to a light-filled garden room with a huge stone chimneypiece on one side and folding concertina doors on the other two sides which open back to create an immediate al fresco space in fine weather. Off the kitchen is a library-style cocktail bar and den/games room featuring an Andrew Martin stars-and-stripes Chesterfield sofa beneath Terry Bradley artwork.
Upstairs over two levels are six double bedrooms – one converted as a fully equipped gym. The other five rooms all have dressing rooms and bathrooms. Yvonne’s dressing room, off the bright spacious master bedroom, doubles as an office which she clearly uses a lot. Amid about 70 pairs of wall-hung shoes, is a PC and desk space, with a tailor’s dummy in the corner for alterations. The bathroom here features a most unusual glass-sided bath with sinks to match.
To the rear of the main house is a studio apartment with a soundproofed basement that could work as a home cinema. Next door, the much-loved family dogs are indulged with their own heated kennel.