Hollywood Hills glamour in Killiney mansion for €10m
Spectacular Ananda is one of the hottest properties to come on the Irish market in some time
- Address: Ananda, St George's Avenue, Killiney, Co Dublin
- Price: € 10,000,000
- Agent: Knight Frank
Trundling around in our lockdown hamster wheels, the days begin to look the same, as do the neighbourhoods and landmarks within our 5km perimeters.
Well, here’s a sight for sore eyes. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the latest Bel Air listing in sunny LA, but this extraordinary home – largely shielded from public view on its discreet Killiney hilltop site – is 100 per cent Irish.
From the outside, Ananda is a low-slung property tucked away fortress-like behind granite walls high on Killiney’s St George’s Avenue. Originally the one-acre site on which it sits was part of the original grounds of Kenah Hill when it was owned by the late property developer and owner of Mondello Park, Martin Birrane, in the early 2000s.
In 2005 the site was bought with planning permission by the current owner, an Ireland-based retailer who was then moving from Ballsbridge with a growing family.
“It was very challenging as it was an acre of land that had never been built on,” says the owner. “We stood at the back of the site and took a chance on it. The huge excavation revealed a magnificent granite wall at the rear and immediately we wanted to incorporate that into the house. The excavated rock was used for the boundary walls.”
It took a further two years to complete the Ross Cahill O’Brien-designed property. The resulting connection between the building and the landscape, the walls of windows overlooking Killiney Bay, sedum roofs and sheltering overhangs are reminiscent of the work of US architect Frank Lloyd Wright with a distinct LA vibe. Well set back at the top of the hill, the elevated site provides vast sky views, where on a clear day Wales can be glimpsed in the distance.
When it came to the interior layout – running to 929sq m/10,000sq ft – the owners had a clear idea of what they wanted. “The idea was to live together as a family of six, but we wanted lots of privacy too so it needed shared spaces and boundaries.”
This included a recreational area in the basement for the kids, a bespoke office, workstations in each of the bedrooms, and a separate gym and shower area with those same great sea views.
The house is accessed via electric gates and a rising sweep of driveway to a relatively low-key entrance. Once inside, the receptions and shared living areas have been cleverly arranged in two directions. In the entrance hall a long bank of silver wood storage features a pivoting frameless door to the kitchen/dining/living area to the left. This can be closed over completely, giving no clue to that side of the house when entertaining.
Guests move straight from the lobby to a double living area where pre-drinks are served beside a glass climate-controlled wine room with a wall of suspended wine bottles – very California. Behind it there’s a walk-in fridge and service pantry for easy access to drinks, hors d’ouevres etc.
The living room beyond is arranged around a windowed fireplace and granite hearth set into a curved concrete wall.
When it’s time for dinner, the owner says there’s a nice reveal moment when the secret door opens and guests move through to the double-height kitchen dining area. Floor to ceiling windows run the length of the space and these pocket back into the wall, creating an immediate connection out to the garden and barbecue area for al fresco dining without the toing and froing and gales a-blowing.
The decor has been largely inspired by the owners’ travels. The oiled wide-plank oak floors running throughout are from Belgium (where the owners visit frequently) and predate their widespread adoption in contemporary Irish interiors.
The custom-built kitchen is from Strato Cucine, the very top shelf of architectural kitchen design. The owner met with designer Marco Gorini in Milan to finalise the detail and 13 years on it has stood the test of time aesthetically.
The addition of a long shallow window in the curved kitchen wall adds interest and a practical view to the comings and goings on the entrance side of the building. Night-time privacy is assured as the glass can be made opaque at the flick of a switch.
The use of curved lines in the windows and walls and warm natural interior textures add warmth to a design that could be otherwise austere. The mid-century architecture is nicely complemented by a pair of red Bibendum chairs commissioned from the sole licensee to Eileen Gray’s iconic designs.
A silver wood study tucked behind a frameless door off the double living area, featuring curved cabinetry and full-length windows, is the stuff of work-from-home dreams.
Upstairs are five bedrooms, with two pairs of bedrooms sharing a bathroom each. The main bedroom suite, as you would expect, enjoys the best views in the house from its curved corner window and has no less than two walk-in wardrobes, his and hers. There’s a further guest bedroom suite on the ground floor and another at basement level, presumably suited to live-in staff or an au pair.
The unfussy landscaped gardens are neatly arranged in rectangles of lawn on the southside of the property, with simply planted borders and five Northern Alpine olive trees. The completely flat site – something of a rarity for a hillside property of this size – has two distinct entertaining areas: the barbecue patio and an outdoor fireplace with seating area at the end of the garden, ideal for catching the last of the evening sun.
The owner says Ananda (Sanskrit for “happiness”) has proved blissful to live in during lockdown, when it was needed for study, work, recreation and working out.
“Never a day goes by, regardless of the weather, that it’s not a beautiful special place to live. The sunrises are magical, in particular just as the sun breaks over the water. We previously almost always used the car, but now we walk to the village in about 12 minutes.”
Killiney Beach via Vico Road and Killiney Hill Park are within about 15 minutes’ walk.
With family now grown and the property exceeding their needs, the owner says it’s time “for someone else to come and raise a family here and appreciate it the way that we have”.
As for where they are headed next, it seems they’re taking a Zen approach: “We haven’t really thought about the next step. The pandemic has made me live in the moment and so we’re not really looking forward yet. We’ll just have to see what way it falls.”
Ananda is one of the hottest properties to come on the Irish market in some time. It’s for sale through selling agent Knight Frank, seeking €10 million, and will prove an interesting test of the pandemic market for luxury residential properties.