Keep on the sunny side in Clontarf for €995,000

This three-storey home with its sloping glass front and solar panels that heat the sealed house is both light-filled and energy efficient. You can even enjoy home-grown grapes with breakfast


It took architect Sean Dempsey four years to get planning permission for this house in the late 1990s. He had always wanted to design his own home and, having lived through the 1970s oil crisis, was keen to go green.

Yet the planning authorities stuck with the usual remit that he should design in line with the other houses on the street: in this case the newer, non-Victorian section of Vernon Avenue made up of bungalows and two-storey houses.

In fact, Dempsey and his family lived in the bungalow next door to this site which formerly had two garages on it.

So at first he designed a home similar to the others on the street and got planning permission. Then he submitted a revised design with a conservatory on the front and got permission for that and incrementally he got the go-ahead to build this three-storey home with double-glazed panels sloping up the south-facing front, topped with a row of solar panels that heat the sealed house through an air-heat exchange system.

But despite years in the Clontarf sun, Dempsey and his wife want even more heat and hope to retire to southern climes. So the C2 BER house, at 195 Vernon Avenue, is on the market for €995,000 with DNG (having previously been with another agent at €1.1 million).

On the ground floor is a living room adjoining the conservatory to the front, where grape vines grow. “I have grapes with my breakfast each day,” says Dempsey, pointing to the four bunches that are still there despite the cold snap.

That breakfast is taken in the kitchen (with travertine floor, granite worktops and Shaker-style wooden units). This is to the rear of the living room and runs to the back of the house where there is an extension – overlooking the garden through triple-glazing.

Bougainvillea and vines
Despite the solar panels providing about 85 per cent of the heating and hot water over the year (with oil to back it up in colder seasons), the couple have put in a wood-burning stove, initially for the comfort of a blazing fire, but Dempsey made sure it did its work and so it feeds radiators too.

A home office sits off the extension, with a door on the other side leading to the front hall (there’s a shower room and utility on this floor too). Apart from the kitchen and extension, the house is mainly floored in solid maple.

There are six bedrooms, with en suites, on the upper two floors of the house with four to the front opening onto enclosed balconies behind the sloping glass wall where bougainvillea and vines add to the sunny ambience. Two bedrooms to the rear look onto the green-roofed extension.

The house pays for its keep with four of the bedrooms currently rented out. But new owners may want to bask in the sun alone.

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