Boxing clever in Donnybrook for €825k

Striking contemporary mews-style property is an upside-down house with bags of style

This article is over 1 year old
Address: 3 Woods Way, Mount Eden Rd, Donnybrook, Dublin 4
Price: €825,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald

Even in desirable, mature residential neighbourhoods – and Donnybrook fits that bill – pockets of land with space for a one-off build can still be found.

Mount Eden Road is an L-shaped road that connects Morehampton Road and Belmont Avenue. Though mostly lined with Victorian redbricks, there is one distinctively different house on Mount Eden Road, close to the Belmont end: a two-storey pebble-dash detached house with a distinctive blue paint trim. Signs that recent building activity has taken place are to the side of that house, where a smart steel gate now guards the entrance to a section of Woods Way – where No 3, a striking contemporary mews-style property, is for sale.

The owner, working with her engineer dad, first thought a traditional redbrick, pitched roof mews would be the type of house permitted – but the planners had other ideas, wanting a build with architectural merit on the tucked-away site. With that in mind, they designed what she describes as “a box within a box” where every square centimetre inside has a function.

The planning and build process – she eventually commissioned Node architects, who have experience of the sort of contemporary space she likes – took three years and was completed four years ago. She is still tinkering with the interiors, getting the details right; she did the smart-looking panelling in the bedroom herself.

It’s an upside-down house – sleeping downstairs, living upstairs. Her double bedroom and the second room – which under planning rules does not qualify as a bedroom and is used as a study – are on the ground floor, where there is also a full-size bathroom and utility. Built-in wardrobes provide good storage and there is bespoke storage under the stairs

For her, building a contemporary house is about finding the fine balance between modern and cosy. She wanted her home to be a relaxing, warm space.

She had spent years squirrelling away ideas. The sleek, very shallow slit window, high up in the open-plan kitchen living area upstairs, is a distinctive architectural feature she saw in an art gallery, and it works perfectly in her home, providing visual interest but also throwing even more light into the space at interesting angles.

The 31sq m (332sq ft) terrace off the living area is the home’s outdoor space, accessed by glass doors that fully slide back. The terrace is not overlooked.

Discreet steps in the kitchen area lead up to a tiny book-lined mezzanine – she really was determined not to waste space – and, like the terrace, it enjoys rooftop views.

There is a small utility room off the entrance hall. An integrated garage with parking for one car was part of the planning requirements; access is via the lane that runs behind Mount Eden Road.

Asking for directions to Woods Way might confound even long-time Donnybrook residents. Up to 2016 it was called Belmont Court, before its name was changed by Dublin City Council. The owner of the house picked No 3 as her address – there is no No 1 or 2.

The entrance lane on Mount Eden Road with that steel gate is a right of way for three houses on Belmont Avenue, which use it, says the owner, for bins and bicycles.

She is now ready to take on another project, this time a renovation “that at least has walls and a roof”, so she is selling No 3 Woods Way through Sherry FitzGerald, asking €825,000.