Original boho cool on Leeson Park for €2.25m

Art-filled, colourful residence where artists, academics and writers were entertained

  • Address: 52 Leeson Park, Ranelagh, Dubln 6
  • Price: € 2,250,000
  • Agent: Sherry FitzGerald
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There’s a stunning black and white photograph of Rosemarie and Sean Mulcahy by Amelia Stein in their house at 52 Leeson Park that captures their cool glamour, sense of fun and togetherness.

As a couple they were well known figures in the city’s art and heritage circles with Rosemarie, an internationally renowned Spanish art specialist and a popular professor at UCD. Her unusual career trajectory began when, while a teenage student in Spain, she started modelling for Balenciaga, a career that then took her to Paris. Returning to Dublin on the death of her father, she modelled for couturier Ib Jorgensen, and it was during one of his fashion shows that she caught the eye of engineer (and later artist) Sean Mulcahy.

The pair married and entertained artists, academics and writers in their Leeson Park home, which they filled with art, colour and decorative objects picked up on their travels. Rosemarie died suddenly in 2012, while in her 70s and on her way to her flamenco class; Sean, who lived on into his 90s, died earlier this year, and their property is now an executors’ sale. The house looks as though the couple had just popped out to Ranelagh for a bottle of milk.

Sean bought the two-storey-over-garden-level terraced house in the 1960s and cleverly changed the layout to a style that made the redbrick Victorian more liveable. It’s a design that is now very much in fashion with the kitchen installed in the rear reception room, taking full advantage of the room’s grand proportions, light and space, and a separate two-bedroom apartment at garden level. He designed the kitchen – a simple design that must have seemed daring and modern in the 1960s with its open shelves and teak island unit.

Stone staircase

There is an exterior stone staircase from this level down to the garden. Having only use for one bedroom – they made it the large room upstairs to the rear with a shower-room en suite and they used the two other rooms to the front as an office (for her) and a studio (for him). There is also a bathroom.

The apartment at garden level was used first for the housekeeper, then for visiting friends, and, latterly, with the addition of a sun room, as a painting studio for Sean. It was renovated in recent years.

Any bohemian couple with the same aesthetic sensibilities as the Mulcahy’s would most likely move in, hang their own art on the walls and enjoy this elegant house in all its faded grandeur and dated fixtures, including the avocado bathroom suite and cork tiled floors.

However, at this price – Sherry FitzGerald is seeking €2.25 million for the 266 sq m house – it is likely to be bought by someone trading up to the lovely leafy Dublin 6 road, and who will embark on a significant renovation programme. They may also seek to reintegrate the garden level – it will mean reinstalling a staircase.

The rear garden is long and maturely planted. Number 52 is one of the few houses on the road with its front garden intact – the iron railings haven’t been removed to create a drive in – so parking remains on-street.