Fallon & Byrne duo’s Ranelagh Georgian home for €1.2m

Kitchen is the engine room of Mountpleasant Square house where ideas flourish

  • Address: 26 Mountpleasant Square Ranelagh Dublin 6
  • Price: € 1,200,000
  • Agent: Sherry FitzGerald
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Sometimes the last place for inspiration is at an office desk. For Archimedes it was his bath that provided him with the lightbulb moment, after which he ran naked through the streets of Syracuse shouting “Eureka”. Recently Christopher Stringer, a since-retired industrial designer at Apple, and one of the designers of the original iPhone, admitted in court during the long-standing smartphone patent war Apple versus Samsung, that a small group of designers would sit at a kitchen table, where they would trade sketches in an honest circle of debate for new ideas.

In 2006 at 26 Mount Pleasant Square in Ranelagh, it was also a conversation at a kitchen table that led to the idea behind Fallon & Byrne by its founders, Fiona McHugh and Paul Byrne.

McHugh, who at the time was editor of the Sunday Times after cutting her teeth at Reuters, the Economist and Bloomberg, sat with her husband, developer Paul Byrne, and discussed the notion of a high-end food emporium, and Fallon & Byrne, which now operates two outlets in Dublin with further 10,000sq ft food hall and casual dining area in Rathmines due to open in November, was born.

The New York-style food hall, wine bar and restaurants recorded a €13.2 million turnover earlier this year, but back in 2006 “we took a leap of faith, said ‘Let’s do it’, and people thought we were mad”, says McHugh.

She bought their home 20 years ago. “The French say a home and a husband should be coup de foudre” – literally love at first sight. It was, as she bought the house the day after viewing it for the first time, and not long after meeting Byrne. Over the years, the couple added an extension and converted the attic, which now gives 200sq m of space over four floors.

The family spend most of their time at garden level; one large space incorporating a living area, kitchen and dining room, which opens out to the rear garden through French doors.

The kitchen features a large Britannia range and a plethora of ovens. The poured terrazzo countertops, which echo the flooring running throughout this level, are an interesting feature.

The garden, though not large and one of the reasons the couple and their three children are upsizing, was designed by landscaper Susan Maxwell. It is divided into three tiers, which allows plenty of options for al fresco dining, overlooked by mature shrubs. Blue tits, robins and wrens have made the garden their home.

As the property has both easterly and westerly aspects, sun shines on the garden from noon each day, and also floods the interiors with light.

At hall level the interconnecting dining and drawing rooms feature fine sandstone fireplaces, which were sourced at Wilson’s Yard in Co Down, as the originals were removed prior to purchase. Here and at garden level the array of interesting light pendants and lamps work well with the combination of contemporary and period decor.

Upstairs the property has three bedrooms – two fine doubles and a single. The master has great views to the dome of Rathmines Church and the pediment of Corrigan’s Pub.

In the second double bedroom, carpenter Joe Heffernan created bunks resembling sleeper cars on a train, which have the added bonus of desks underneath where the couple’s sons do their homework.

The attic, which was converted in 2006, is currently used as a fourth bedroom with a bathroom adjacent.

The location on the square means the property is completely hidden both from noise and sight from Ranelagh Road, thanks to the shelter of mature trees from Mount Pleasant Lawn Tennis Club, which lies to the fore.

26 Mount Pleasant Square is a lovely Georgian home, filled with light, interesting decor and a kitchen table that, if it could only talk, would recount an interesting tale or two. The property is seeking €1.2 million through Sherry FitzGerald.