Two Dalkey five-beds where the living is easy

Two houses – one a deceptively spacious bungalow, the other a fun modern layout behind a period facade – offer panoramicviews of Dublin Bay and restful gardens

Did you ever wish you could start from scratch with your house? Keep the site, but do a total redesign and create a space that reflects exactly how you want to live?

The owners of 29 Ulverton Road did this not once, but twice. First when they bought the house, back in the 1980s.

“It was absolutely derelict, just a shell, and we did it up as the perfect villa-style period home,” the owner says, but then, just 10 years later, a fire destroyed all their hard work. The second time around, they went for something completely different.

“We were on holiday and while we were away, our house transmogrified itself into a very large hole in the ground. It was totally destroyed and the idea of reconstructing it as it was was just too much.”

Turning into the leafy front area, which has off-street parking for at least two cars, the façade still has the restrained elegance you would expect from a period home. Inside it’s a different story. The owners decided to have a little fun with their love for art nouveau, which here manifests itself in split-level design and lots of stained glass, ironwork and wood.

“I like art nouveau because it was a total approach to design, everything fits in, so, for example, the stained glass was all done specially for the house.”

This glass work reflects themes from the railways – as much a part of Dalkey’s history as is the sea – and appears in doors, windows, and the glasswork of galleried walkways connecting the upper spaces.

Selling through Lisney for €1.075 million, this maze of a house has cosy areas opening into huge bright rooms. The master bedroom has a dramatic roll-top bath and a back wall that is part of a glass atrium, looking out to the gardens.

Many of the rooms have two access points, so there is a sense of a flow through the building. The kitchen is cleverly done in warm brick and tile work, with a dining and seating area, and an open fire.

French windows lead out to the 49 metre-long back garden, which is possibly the loveliest part of the property.

Designed in different areas, water runs through it, so there is a delicious and soothing sound as a backdrop to the mature planting. There are stone and gravel paths, past a little gazebo and a larger pavilion that houses a home gym.

At the end is a leafy secluded space, currently containing a trampoline and swings, but which makes me think of Swallows and Amazons , secret camps and the kind of adventures that make up those unforgettable parts of childhood.

“The house has all the obvious things,” says the owner, “privacy, space and, with three kids, you can have three different sessions going on and everyone fits in”.

It is evidently a fun house, inside and out. There’s an integrated Bang & Olufsen sound system and a projector and screen installed in the family room. The owners are getting ready for a graduation party when I call, there are drinks and glasses set up and plates of snacks dotted about.

29 Ulverton Road feels as if it was made for adventures and celebration.