Restored glory in Killiney for €2.8m

Purchased as a renovation project eight years ago, the owners of Abbeylands, a handsome double-fronted Victorian built in 1861, have carefully safeguarded the original features of this spacious home and modified it for contemporary use. Now they are ready to take on a new refurbishment challenge


You could pass Marino Avenue West a hundred times and fail to notice it. A narrow winding road tucked off Killiney Hill Road, it’s only the high-security entrances that hint at what lies beyond. This is a road of very fine houses, many of which were built in the 1800s on grounds that roll down to Station Road below and command views over Killiney Bay.

Abbeylands is a handsome double-fronted Victorian built in 1861 with connections to the Martello Tower nearby. Its original entrance was off Military Road in a portion of the garden to the front of the house that previous owners sold, slightly compromising the garden and the access.

The remaining tiered garden to the front has been arranged formally and faithful to the symmetrical boxed-hedge Victorian style, while the rear garden is elevated with a glorious apple tree – as old as the house – in full fruit at its centre.

Abbeylands was purchased as a restoration project eight years ago by Sinead Lennon and her husband Paul Murphy. Lennon, whose background is in interior design, was keen to tackle a period renovation, having previously refurbished a smaller house in Kilteragh Pines in Foxrock. Now the couple are ready to move on to the next project and are selling Abbeylands through Sherry FitzGerald for €2.8 million.

Decorative plasterwork
The house is a mix of contemporary furnishings that work well with the many fine original features of the house. Restraint was applied in the simple rendered stone façade set off by a lime-white treatment on the windows, sills and elegant corbels beneath the eaves.

Up two short flights of granite steps the airy entrance hall makes a strong first impression. Running the double depth length of the house, light streams through from a tall stained-glass feature window on the first return and bounces off the gleaming black and white porcelain tiles underfoot.

Lennon confined the colour palette to subtle shades of white throughout. Fussy window dressing and flooring were eschewed in favour of original shutters and bare floorboards. In the spacious dining and living rooms tall sash windows, original fireplaces and decorative plasterwork steal the show.

Unusually – and conveniently for a period home of its type – there’s a doorway off the living room which leads to a sunroom that was added by the previous owner and runs the length of the house to the kitchen. The bay area to the front offers a sunny repose for the adults from the family room which tends to get overrun by the three growing children and their friends.

The kitchen is a glossy Danish design though some exposed brickwork and Irish marble keep it real. French windows lead out to a sheltered rear patio, accessible also from the family room.

A former mews has been incorporated into the main house, adding more kitchen/ utility space downstairs and a very secluded den for the kids upstairs. The house is arranged over three storeys at the back and two to the front, so the master bedroom and guest bedroom enjoy lots of space to the front of the house.

Coach house
The upper landing here has been cleverly reworked as a bright library space, fitted with Higginbotham bookshelves on one side. Three further double bedrooms and a family bathroom with a stunning standalone bath are arranged over the upper floors to the rear.

Interestingly, both the master bedroom and a rear bedroom had a window removed at one point to minimise the historic rates once calculated on the number of windows per house.

In addition to the house’s extensive 418sq m (4,500sq ft) of floor space, a coach house and garage out the back offer potential for conversion as further accommodation.

The house next door, Valparaiso – a very different property in a very different state – sold for €1.85 million in March 2011. Whoever buys Abbeylands will have little to do except drink in those views.

Meanwhile Lennon is eyeing up her next project. “Arts and crafts maybe . . .”

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