Dublin 4 new-build with high-spec, future-proofed finish for €3.25m

Five-bed home with A1 energy rating built to exacting standards across three floors

Azalea, 139 Stillorgan Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4
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Address: Azalea, 139 Stillorgan Road, Donnybrook, D4
Price: €3,250,000
Agent: Lisney
View this property on MyHome.ie

If pressed we are all guilty of squandering a little time daydreaming about building our own home. Some of us get to realise it, and of that elite a tiny minority get to play with budgets of the scale seen at Azalea, one of two brand-new homes with A1 building energy ratings, constructed on the site of an older house at 139 Stillorgan Road.

When the owner, Mark Feighery, bought it in 2018, he was a baby-faced 29-year old who had lived in New York and Singapore where he worked as a trader. He paid €1.075 million for it, according to the Property Price Register.

The plan was to extend it and live in it. “I was building it as my forever house and had applied for just one property, but [planners] insisted that I put two on the site,” he explains.

“I had done quite well. I had the money and also had the help of my parents who had built three homes of their own over a 30-year period.” The plan had been to build the two, live in one and rent out the other; but having been scouted to work in an Amsterdam-based firm, he isn’t sure and is bringing one of the detached houses to market.

Dual-aspect drawing room at the front
Dual-aspect drawing room at the front
Entrance hall with statement staircase

The five-bedroom house has an A1 rating, a rare thing even in new builds. “I knew what Ber rating I wanted. I wanted an A1 rating without sacrificing performance.” He also wanted hot water on tap, and on being told that the air-to-water heat pump system would not be able to cover the demands of five en suite bedrooms and some 351sq m/(3,778sq ft) of space, he insisted that a gas boiler also be installed.

And the results speak for themselves. It is a spacious house, set over three floors with three large and separate rooms at hall level, itself unusual – many designers opt for two rooms with the second feeling decidedly more poky when contrasted with the large open-plan kitchen.There's a formal sitting room at the front; a media room, complete with projector and large screen and painted a midnight blue in the middle; and a sizeable eat-in kitchen/family room at the rear.

The kitchen opens out to a large south-facing garden, more than 10m wide and 15m long, where there is a separate home office of 20sq m (215sq ft).

The kitchen, which has a utility with side-door access, was designed by a New York-based architect friend, when he couldn’t find what he was looking for here even having visited a dozen top-tier designers.

Media room with projector
Kitchen/living room opening to rear garden

The design and sound-system of the cinema room is by his father, and is set out to sound’s golden ratio. Feighery snr spent 40 years in the AV industry and has designed the AV Uno ceiling speakers, which are also in every single room.

The property is set well back from the road and is blissfully quiet despite being on the ferociously busy N11, thanks to the triple-glazed, alu-clad Carlson windows. Airtightness and insulation levels are also impressive. For example, in addition to the 110mm in the cavity wall there is a further 50mm insulation board used on the interior of the external walls to remove completely any discernible traffic noise.

Kitchen and dining area
Back garden with patio and separate office
Dual-aspect double bedroom
Walk-in wardrobe

“He came to us with a huge amount of visual references and was very exacting in the spec that he wanted,” explains Áine Nic an Ríogh, principal architect with Drogheda-based VCL Consultants, who designed the home. The practice specialises in both architecture and civil and structural engineering design and you can feel that additional level of back-end building detail as you pad through the property in stockinged feet. It is solid and spacious with ceiling heights exceeding 2.7m at entrance level.

Feighery hired all the contractors directly and spent every day he was in the country on site. “The amount of things you have to keep abreast of; the short-cuts people take if you’re not on top of it.”

He says he was able to give the project his full attention when he was on gardening leave. But it’s still a big undertaking, the arc of which forms the backbone of every TV renovation show ever made.

Everyone he talked to reinforced the difficulties facing him. They told him to double the budget and treble the time it would take to complete. The former was definitely true, he says, less so the latter, although Covid-19 saw no building work happen for three to four months. Delivery schedules were also thrown out by the Suez Canal blockage.

The house is now a blank canvas, except a feature chandelier by Copperfish Lighting Company and statement staircase in the hall. The four main bedrooms, all of which are en suite, are located on the first floor with a dual-aspect space that could be a fifth bedroom, unfurnished, occupying the entire second floor.

From here you can see the treetops. It would make a gorgeous second sitting room, as it seems a waste to use it only for sleeping, but buyers can make up their own minds.

Living area opening to garden
Stairs and landing
Shower room

One thing is certain: every square centimetre of this house is future-proofed. It is for sale through Lisney, with an asking price of €3.25 million.

Two doors down, on the same side of the road, SherryFitzGerald is selling an extensively refurbished original house. The four-bedroom, two-bathroom, 314sq m C3 Ber-rated property is asking €2.25million.

Is this the start of a brand new career in development for Feighery? No, he says: he’s currently focused on his trading career. Would he do it again? “Not immediately,” he says, after a long pause. “And this is with the luxury of 18 months off to focus on it. If I hadn’t had my parents’ help, I’m not sure it would have been finished at all.”

Alanna Gallagher

Alanna Gallagher

Alanna Gallagher is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in property and interiors