Windows on the world, but privacy too, in Killiney three-bed for €860,000

A house that plays to its orientation – windows to the south, walls to the north

 

In the 1990s, modern Irish design really got to grips with glassy, open-plan houses, so this 1970s house in Killiney was comfortably at the forefront.

When Colette and Sean Billings bought it 40 years ago, they replaced the floor-to-ceiling windows that had chunky wooden mullions and surrounds, with soaring glass wedges that span two storeys and afford sun in and views out to sea.

“It lets in amazing light,” says Colette, “and we even have our own solstice in an upstairs window that overlooks the sea. At a certain time in midwinter and midsummer, a square of sun comes through a slot.”

Calatrava

She and her late husband ran Billings Design (now run by one of their sons), creating cladding for major architects. Santiago Calatrava was just one who became a great family friend.

Yet despite all the glass in the house at Fernside Mews, which is for sale through Hunters for €860,000, it feels very private as it sits behind gates.

“That was one of the things I fell in love with. I love coming in here and closing the gates and the whole world is outside,” says Colette.

The 224sq m house, with a BER of D1, has an unconventional layout, with one of its three bedrooms on the ground floor below the main bedroom: they share a glass wall. Both have en suites and walk-in wardrobes. Another bedroom is upstairs beside the main bedroom and opposite a bathroom. Beyond is the upstairs living room with views out to sea, over Killiney Bay to Bray.

Downstairs the kitchen, which has an Aga, is the hub of the house. On the other side of the double-height entrance hall there is another sitting room and a conservatory beyond that, which the couple added on.

While unconventional, the layout is adaptable.The curved shape of the house creates a sheltered space outside, where there is a south-facing rockery.

The house was designed in response to its aspect with no windows to the cool north providing a shield, while the copious glass is to the south.

Brick walls were added inside the external granite walls creating further warmth.

And the house also imbues warmth of a human kind. “It’s a real fun house,” says Colette. “It thrives on being full of people: we were great entertainers.”

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