The clearest indication that Baile an Mhóta on Kerrymount Avenue is owned by a glamorous couple involved in the hospitality industry is the cocktail bar in the basement area. It’s the sort you might find in a smart city boutique hotel, complete with panelled walls painted a dark moody colour, several sofas, and small silver tables with matching stools dotted around the rich purple carpet, a full bar with taps and a discreet door to a climate-controlled wine cellar.
This bar area opens into the other part of the basement where the home cinema is located with its wall-sized screen and floor-to-ceiling purple velvet curtains on three walls for atmosphere and acoustics. Glazed doors lead out from the basement to a spacious sunken garden with giant planters and seating areas, wired for sound and with a sophisticated lighting system and umbrellas that make this space an outdoor room.
The entire area must have hosted some fabulous parties and family get-togethers – particularly in the early 2000s when this Foxrock house was renovated and extended.
When he bought Baile an Mhóta in 2005 for a reported €3.15 million, Paul Fitzpatrick – of the well known hotelier family – had already opened the Morgan Hotel in Temple Bar, and the Beacon Hotel in Sandyford while his wife Lisa was carving out a successful career as a fashion stylist, often appearing on TV.
Their plans for the house quickly transformed the classic Foxrock Edwardian on half an acre into a light-filled spacious and determinedly luxurious modern home, with six bedrooms, many bathrooms and several reception rooms.
That work involved building out to the rear, and to the side adding a two-storey-over-basement extension which has an additional front entrance opening directly into the family room. Also to the front, where there is parking for several cars, a double garage in the style of the main house was built. The work is so sympathetic to the original early 1900s design with its matching redbrick, roof slates, timber roof trim and pebbledash render, it is difficult to see where the old part ends and the new begins.
Inside it is a different story. The square front hall – which would most likely have originally had a timber floor, a cosy fireplace, and an oak and spindle staircase – is now in the style of a reception area, with high-gloss white floor tiles and a cloaks cupboard with mirrored doors, while a new bespoke staircase of glass and steel gives access to the bedrooms on the first floor and up to the those on the second.
To the left are the original reception rooms, knocked through and now running front to back with bay windows to the side and front and access to the rear garden. The kitchen is to the back of the house: it’s a superbly designed space with high ceilings, a vast marble-topped island, oak storage presses, some inset with rippled glass, and the usual array of quality appliances including a Falcon range and wine fridge.
A spacious pantry is cleverly hidden behind a false walnut and blackboard wall, and adjacent to all this is a dining table that seats a dozen people. The area looks out on the back garden through sets of wall-sized sliding glazed doors. This dining area in turn opens into a family room, where there is access down to the basement, and on to an en suite room described in the planning application as a room for a nanny which has its own entrance. There is utility and a guest toilet .
The six bedrooms are all large en suite doubles; the largest two have their own terraces overlooking the back garden.
In all there is 538sq m (5,800sq ft) of space spread over three well-planned floors and there is a B3 Ber rating – a strong rating in a house of this size and where the work was completed more than 15 years ago.
The gardens, designed by Diarmuid Gavin, wrap around the property, and are neatly landscaped with meandering paths, lawns, deep beds and high hedges for privacy. A contemporary garden room, with shower room, is used as a gym although it could also be guest accommodation or a home office.
The Fitzpatricks moved to California in 2017, and since then Baile an Mhóta has been rented, most recently to the Moroccan ambassador. That rental ended last October and in the past few months the house has been spruced up, with fresh paint and the rest, and is presented in turnkey condition. It is for sale though Sherry Fitzgerald asking €5.5 million.