A Regency-style villa near landmark St John’s Church in Sandymount is a handsome detached house, with a magnificent back garden filled with a lush variety of trees and plants, sheltered by a very tall hedge. It’s one of three similar neighbouring villas a short walk from Sandymount Strand: according to one report, they were built in the late 1830s as seaside holiday homes.
No 28 is a 302sq m (3,250sq ft) detached five-bed on 0.2 of an acre. A protected structure, it has fine period details – ceilings that are nearly 14ft high, elegant cornicing, centre roses, original fireplaces – and has been well cared for since its owners bought it in 1987. They rescued all the shutters in the house and now, one of the owners says, “I don’t use curtains at all”. They renovated in the 1990s, re-roofing it (last year adding copper to all the roof valleys), replacing all the wooden floors and relaying the ground floor with original terracotta tiles, discovered when a carpet was removed. “I’m very proud of that job,” says the owner.
They also created a garden room at the back looking on to the colourful garden that is the owner’s “main passion in life”.
Railed double granite steps lead up to the front door, framed by an arch, opening into the cream-carpeted front hall. On the right is the very grand drawing room, which has a very deep bay window at the side and a tall sash window at the front. It has interconnecting doors – never closed, says the owner – in a wide arch opening into an elegantly furnished room with bookshelves, described as a library in the agent’s brochure. The rooms have matching marble fireplaces.
The two bedrooms on the left of the hall are doubles; the main bedroom at the back looks on to a pink-flowering Judas tree in the back garden. The front bedroom overlooks the front, where a “Cornus capitata” tree at the front entrance will soon be covered in white flowers. There’s a shower room, toilet and small store room (housing a new boiler) that would once have been the butler’s pantry, down a few steps on the return at the end of the hall.
Downstairs, at garden level, the separate kitchen and dining room open off each side of the downstairs hall, which is floored with the large, polished original terracotta tiles. There’s garden-level access to the house from doors under each side of the double steps at the front. The kitchen has more terracotta floor tiles, polished granite countertops, large sash windows overlooking the back garden and a dark blue Aga set into the chimney breast. The dining room, on the other side of the hall, is smart country-style: it has a polished wooden floor and a marble fireplace and is furnished with a large Welsh dresser.
There are three bedrooms at this level – two doubles and a single – a smart fully tiled family bathroom, a pantry and a utility cupboard concealing the washing machine. A cosy garden room at the very back has wooden floors, a wood-burning stove and a glazed French door to the back garden.
The house is in good condition but new owners may look to revamp it, creating a more open-plan kitchen/garden room. They might also choose to return the two bedrooms on the left of the front hall to their original use as a dining room or other reception room. Previous owners had turned one large reception room into two bedrooms: the cornicing continues through the dividing wall and agent Chris Bradley believes it should be possible to reconnect them.
The owner gives an enthusiastic tour of her much-loved garden, a cornucopia of colourful trees, shrubs and plants and a vegetable patch. She reels off names – they include Camellias, Magnolias, Choisya, Cercis, Abutilon, Myrtus luma – of flowers, shrubs and trees that surround the lawn. At its very end is a gravelled patio area with an urn of bubbling water at its centre.
A wrought-iron gate in a side entrance leads to the front garden, where’s plenty of room to park.
No 28 St John’s Road, Sandymount, Dublin 4, a protected structure that is BER-exempt, is for sale through Sherry FitzGerald for €3 million.