When Dave Cowzer bought his family home on Knocknacree Park in Dalkey in 2016, it was a fairly standard dormer bungalow. He was attracted by the views from its elevated site near Dalkey village – and by a new renovation challenge. He had already refurbished a house on Tubbermore Road in Dalkey. Now he wanted to modernise his family's new home "using a mid-century lens, and colours from that period". He already liked the "mid-century vibe" of Knocknacree Park, a suburban cul-de-sac of American-style houses built in the 1960s: "people sometimes ask me if I live in the ET estate," says Cowzer, with a laugh.
A creative director with an advertising agency, a novelist and a documentary film-maker, Cowzer also says he's a frustrated architect. Architect Kevin Ryan of Kavanagh Ryan designed Cowzer's extended and revamped house very much to his client's taste.
Now 5 Knocknacree Park is almost double its original size: a three-storey extension was built at the back of the now 235sq m (2,530sq ft) five-bed semi-d to take full advantage of its sea views; it also involved building over the garage. Inside, its style is, as Cowzer wanted, “a bit Mad Men”, featuring vibrant colours (yellow in the kitchen, purple or blue in some of the very smart bathrooms), geometric print wallpaper on some walls and matching black, white and grey mosaic-tiled floors in the entrance and bathrooms.
Unusually for an older house, 5 Knocknacree Park also has an A2 BER: it has solar panels, an air-to-water heat-pump system, an electric car charging point, external insulation, and double-glazed Munster Joinery alu-clad windows. Cowzer, his wife and three young children are moving on – he wants to renovate "a Victorian doer-upper" – and number 5, bought for €850,000 in 2016, is now for sale through Lisney for €1.695 million.
Steps lead down from the cobblelocked front garden into a lobby with mosaic-tiled floor and then into the front hall which, like most of the rooms in the house, has an oak floor. On the left, on the other side of a glazed wall, is a study and on the right, a double guest bedroom. There’s a smart shower room with bright yellow walls and white subway tiles, and a good-sized utility room, off the left of the hall.
The mid-century look is most evident in the back of the house where the open-plan kitchen/diningroom/family room has views of Dublin Bay across rooftops from floor-to-ceiling glass doors that stretch the width of the house, opening on to a wide balcony with a glazed balustrade. The kitchen has high-gloss grey units, grey polished quartz island unit and countertops, and walls painted a vivid yellow. The wall next to the dining area is panelled with slightly rustic-looking timber, as is the wall opposite in the family room. An arch from here opens to a sittingroom, with the same timber wall around the fireplace.
Steps lead down from the kitchen/diningroom to the self-contained garden level, which has underfloor heating: here there’s an open-plan kitchen/ livingroom/diningroom with floor-to-ceiling glazed doors opening to the back garden and a double bedroom with an en suite shower room.
Upstairs are three bedrooms at the back of the house, all with good sea views. The main bedroom has a fitted desk next to the window as well as fitted wardrobes – there’s good storage throughout the house – and a smart en suite partly tiled with white subway tiles and partly painted purple. Another bedroom has built-in bunk beds and a fitted desk. The family bathroom has a sunken bath and like all the bathrooms, underfloor heating.
Outside, there is space for a trampoline on the lawn; a limestone path leads down to a sheltered patio area at the end. It’s bordered by wildflowers and plants designed to attract pollinators. There is side access and space to park two cars at the front. Knocknacree Park is a short walk from Dalkey village and Dart station.