When Fionnuala and Louis O'Sullivan bought their Victorian house in the early 1970s they say "nobody wanted to move out to Killiney". Their new home on Killiney Hill Road had excellent sea views and lots of period features, but no heating, and they had to stuff newspapers into the windows to stop the wind blowing through.
Forty-five years later, Louis – who started the Irish Antique Dealers' Fair more than 50 years ago – and his wife are selling their meticulously cared-for period home, a particularly large 435sq m (4,682sq ft) four-bed. Palermo, which stands on an acre of mature gardens, is for sale with Savills for €4 million.
Furnished in period style and decorated in pastel shades with creamy carpets throughout, it’s a warm, bright welcoming home. The couple plan to move to Sutton on the other side of Dublin to live near their son Patrick, who now runs the antique, art and craft fairs that are the family business.
Palermo is one of many houses and roads in the area, named after places in Italy and built in 1848 by the Hone family, who were related to Irish artist Nathaniel Hone. The letter H is cut into the metal weathervane on the roof of a separate small mews house; Hones lived here until at least 1920.
The O’Sullivans brought their kitchen up from the basement to the ground floor after moving in “as the life was up here, with the children” and kept upgrading their home, especially in the past 20 years; they revamped the kitchen in 1999 and an en suite bathroom in the main bedroom in 2006. But fashions change, nowadays most families want big open-plan kitchen-living areas and new owners may well want to refurbish the basement to create that kind of space.
The front door opens into a big square, high-ceilinged porch and through glazed double doors into the front hall. The elegant drawingroom, still the family’s main living area, is painted a buttery yellow, has a large marble fireplace and a bay with three windows overlooking the sea.
A small door in one corner opens into the diningroom next door (which opens back into the front hall): three sash windows, with working shutters like most rooms in the house, share the same sea views as the drawingroom.
The kitchen/breakfastroom, with cream Shaker-style units, tiled splashbacks and a tiled floor, is across the hall to the right of the front door. Next door is a small study.
A large stained-glass window at the end of the hall matches another on the return of the stairs. There’s a small utility area at the end of the hall with a washing machine and a toilet. A door from here opens onto stairs to the basement, floored with the original terracotta tiles. The former kitchen is now a large livingroom with a stove set into a raised brick hearth. Other rooms include a sittingroom and office – both of which could be bedrooms – bathroom and a laundry.
Upstairs, the four bedrooms are as elegantly presented as the downstairs rooms: in warm pastel shades, with soft carpets and long curtains, they all have built-in wardrobes. The main bedroom has a large marble fireplace and three sash windows in a shallow bay, matching those in the diningroom below. This room has probably the best views in the house, stretching from Howth across to Bray Head. The en suite has cream tiles, a bath and separate shower next to a window.
Outside, steps lead down from a small patio into the very large garden, mostly in lawn, which rolls down the hill away from the house towards Strathmore Road. There’s a door from the garden onto Strathmore, and from here it’s a reasonably short walk (past Bono’s house) to Killiney Dart station. There’s a Victorian glasshouse on the lawn, and paths on either side.
Accommodation in a separate 71sq m (764sq ft) mews, built in the original stableyard, includes a small kitchen, bathroom, livingroom and bedroom.
Outside, double gates open into a long driveway with lots of space for parking. Palermo has an easy-to-miss entrance off busy Killiney Hill Road and it’s fitted with video surveillance for driving onto the road.