What a week to launch a property with a sandy beach located at the end of the garden. This unique house has echoes of the striking waterfront home in the 1991 film Sleeping with the Enemy starring Julia Roberts and Patrick Bergin. That was in fact only a shell and was demolished after filming of the psychological thriller concluded.
The Beach Haus in Bettystown, also lay idle as a shell for almost a decade until it was purchased by the current owner who could see beyond the vandalised, exposed and unfinished structure. It had started life as a builder’s swansong, but like many others fell foul of the recession.
“It had been left to the elements for so long but I could see what the finished product could be. I had a picture of all white and walnut against the backdrop of the beach,” says the owner who purchased the shell in 2006.
“One of the things that really sold the house to me was the magic door at the end of the garden wall (which gives residents direct access to the beach but keeps passers-by out) and the first thing we did was put a keypad on the door so we can go for a swim with no need for keys.”
The Beach Haus – in a nod to the Bauhaus style of the property – has tell-tale elements of that design in the rectilinear boxy construction and huge emphasis on expanses of glass. And like Bauhaus, this house is a great example of how functionality need not be boring – in fact this house is anything but.
Designed by New Zealand architect Craig Bradford, the property (which includes a three-bed guest house and two-bed apartment, both unfinished and amalgamated into the main house) extends to a very sizeable 929sq m (10,000sq ft).
The original plans included a gym, a sauna and wine cellar in the basement – which the owner currently uses as storage – but all the bones are there should new owners wish to finish out the vision of the original design. “It was planned to be a James Bond-style house and was even wired for an electric grand piano, and the dumb waiter (which connects the apartment with the main house) was where staff were to pass meals through.”
Set over three levels, the main house has all the living and sleeping areas on the upper floors to maximise the great sea views.
The expanse of glass is incredible. The two sea-facing bedrooms have balconies, while the two to the rear have terraces overlooking an internal courtyard.
Flooring throughout the entire house is terrazzo, which lay hidden under years of detritus. Now freshly polished and shiny and heated underfoot, it reflects the vast swathes of light throughout.
In the central foyer – off which lies access to the guest house – a floating cantilevered staircase was so cumbersome it had to be poured on site and the glass balustrade was so large it required bullet-proof glass.
“The original builder owner totally fortified the house. It goes down 3 metres on the beach side, so it would take a tsunami to knock it, and our engineer told us the amount of concrete used could support a building four times its size,” says the owner who spent 18 months finishing the house.
Interiors are high end and high spec with motorised blinds, zoned LED lighting and a Sonos audio system. The 10-foot high ceilings have acoustic panelling to ensure soundproofing.
Cedar was used as external cladding and the interiors are walnut – which includes an entire wall with a hidden panel for the 65-inch television screen. Cedar was also used on the four-car double garage just inside the electric gates.
“It’s like a green house, most of the time I don’t have the lights on (the property has a BER rating of B1) and with the views it feels like a constant holiday.”
This impressive one-off property, sits on a 0.5 acre site 16km from the M1 Dublin-Belfast thoroughfare. It is on the market through Savills for €1.25 million, an asking price which suggests strong value considering its size, waterfront setting and high-end finish.