Mike Soden’s Mespil Road home for €2.3m
Mike and Lou Soden bought 37 Mespil Road in 2002 when he became chief executive at Bank of Ireland. They upgraded the canal bank property and are now moving on to the late Albert Reynolds’s former apartment on Anglesea Road
Number 37 Mespil Road is Mike and Lou Soden’s 20th home, they think. An international career in banking saw the Sodens live at various times over the past 45 years in Canada, the UK, Norway, the US and Australia. But Number 37 became home when Mike returned to take up the role of chief executive of Bank of Ireland in 2002.
By 2004 he had resigned amid controversy over accessing websites forbidden under the bank’s online policy. The temptation then must surely have been to pack up and head elsewhere?
“We could have hopped on a plane and run away but we wanted to be bigger than that,” says Lou. Mike adds: “Once we came back to Ireland and settled we knew we were coming back for good. Lou has made sacrifices every time we moved. When we came back to Ireland I had never seen her happier with family and friends.”
The handsome redbricks set well back from the road on the banks of the Grand Canal between Leeson Street and Baggot Street bridges are nowadays mainly in commercial use. Though next door – the one time home of singer Percy French – sold last year for €1.1 million, and it will continue in residential use.
With no children the Sodens opted for the buzz of the city over the more obvious leafy suburbs close to schools. “This is a bit of an anonymous road. We’re very much town people, we both love to walk everywhere. The National Concert Hall is 10 minutes walk and you’ll nearly always pick up a last-minute ticket,” Lou says.
The three-storey Victorian was purchased for €2.3 million in 2002 in walk-in condition, and the Sodens spent a further €600,000 modifying the protected structure to their requirements.
Working with a quantity surveyor and builder, they extended out to the south facing rear creating a large kitchen/ breakfast room with vaulted glazed roof and floor to ceiling windows.
It’s clear the 3,800sq ft (353sq m) house was redesigned to accommodate an easy flow, and with entertainment in mind. Upstairs at hall level the formal interconnecting reception rooms mirror each other with matching marble fireplaces (gas fired) and original plasterwork.
A large triptych photograph of Albert Bridge dominates one side of the entrance hall, and serves as a reminder of the view from their London apartment when they lived in the converted original studio of leading UK architect Norman Foster’s building near Battersea.