Bungalow blitzed by design ingenuity for €1.6m

This Dalkey conversion shows its photographer owner’s eye for light and space

  • Address: Elba 9 Saval Park Crescent Dalkey
  • Price: € 1,600,000
  • Agent: Lisney
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Elba, 9 Saval Park Crescent, started life as a dark, ivy-clad bungalow with a granny flat attached. What now sits on the 0.2 acres of landscaped gardens is a superb conversion showing what can be achieved with excellent design. What is remarkable about this build is the owner didn’t engage an architect, but instead designed the conversion herself under the guidance of engineer Michael Rogers of Rogers Brassil Associates.

The owner, photographer Simona Doyle, used her understanding of light and space to create a bright family home where reception rooms flow into one another. The photographs don’t really do justice to what has been achieved with this property.

Doyle lived here for 40 years with her late husband Frank – founder and secretary general of the Irish Fishermen’s Organisation – before taking on the project in 2010 which took two years to complete.

“Five internal walls of the property were removed and three corners were cut from the house – we had a crane in the living room for weeks,” says Doyle. The result of removing these walls has created an open-plan living-dining-kitchen area which links to a wonderful triple-aspect sunroom through glass doors.


The granny flat was amalgamated into the property and now houses the main bedroom and guest suite. Rather than block the old aperture to the flat, Doyle created an alcove which now showcases a piece of one of her many interesting artworks.

There is an abundance of natural light within thanks to the use of remote-controlled Velux roof lights, and walls of glass windows. The master bedroom, which overlooks the garden, features a Velux strategically placed to view the moon at night.

The gardens were completely overhauled by Formality of Glasthule. “The site looked really small as it was sloped, but we used all the rubble to elevate the rear and level it out,” says Doyle. They now wrap around the property – catching all-day sunshine – and feature raised beds filled with swathes of purple agapanthus, olive trees and lavender. The planting was carefully planned so every window in the property frames the array of colours in the garden.

Modern office

The house extends to 205sq m (2,205sq ft) and now has four bedrooms, two of which are ensuite. A fifth bedroom was converted into a fine-sized utility room, and an old shed is now a separate modern office which overlooks the rear garden.

Doyle has just returned from a photography expedition at Lake Tanganyika in Africa – home to the notorious man-eating crocodile, Gustave. Weighing over 900kg, he is reported to have killed over 300 humans. She plans to return soon to Namibia to continue her work.

She is now downsizing, and her home is on the market through Lisney for €1.6 million.