Modernist box among the trees in Co Kildare for €635,000

The award-winning four-bed house is designed to reflect the colours of the mature trees that surround it

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Address: 'Aisling House', Bishopscourt, Straffan,Co. Kildare
Price: €635,000
Agent: Coonan Property
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Built 10 years ago, Aisling House was described by its architect designer, Grainne Hassett of Hassett Ducatez as a House in the Woods. Her vision for the beautifully situated four-bed detached house near Straffan, Co Kildare, was “for it to be a palette of browns, golds and greens, colours that would reflect the mature trees that surround it”.

And its soil brown painted render, aluminium windows and painted iroko timber frames all carry a slight bronze sheen thanks to the film that formed part of the architect’s spec. Put together by Daingean Joinery, they reflect the leaves in the surrounding trees.

Hassett’s execution won her practice a special prize for the project at the 2011 AAI Awards. Inside the house its large windows frame the sylvan setting, and outside the glazing attracts vain pheasants and small birds admiring their reflections. Rabbits and deer roam the half acre of gardens, unfazed by the modernist home.

The property is almost entirely open plan at entrance level. There’s a roomy hall area where an iroko timber staircase leads to the first floor. To the right is a room that the family use as a play room, but which was designed to be one of its four bedrooms and useful for guests.


Underfoot is a polished concrete floor warmed by underfloor heating. The kitchen, to the left, is anything but built-in with Belfast-style sinks bookending the counter top. Its solid walnut units were made by designer Colm Hassett, the architect’s brother and one-time drummer with Irish band Whipping Boy. Dermot Bannon cited this as one of his favourite examples of an excellent kitchen in an episode of his Room To Improve TV series

The living area is set into a corner, with glazing on three sides and furniture arranged around an open fire.

Upstairs feels like you are in the woodland canopy, Hassett says. There are three bedrooms at this level; two good double bedrooms and a third smaller room but big enough for a small double bed. All are floored in a rich cherry-like Merbeau floor by Junckers. There is a windowed shower en suite bathroom off the main bedroom where double doors lead out to a south- and west-facing terrace taking in rolling pastoral views.

The house is built on lands that once belonged to Bishopscourt House estate, a property that was built circa 1780 by Rt Hon John Ponsonby, speaker of the Irish House of Commons.

In 1914 the estate was bought by Edward “Cub” Kennedy and his Australian-born wife Doris Lumsdaine. He was a successful racehorse breeder, culminating with such fine animals as Roi Herode and The Tetrarch. He also dabbled in the then relatively new pastime of flying, according to the owner, building an airfield in an adjoining field, seemingly one of the first in the country.

The property, which measures 204sq m /2,200sq ft and has a C1 Ber rating, is seeking €635,000 through agents Coonan Property.

Alanna Gallagher

Alanna Gallagher

Alanna Gallagher is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in property and interiors