Property 2017: Thirteen of the best houses we wrote about

A lockout, a boat lift and a sale that nearly never happened - our writers pick their favourite homes

41 Niall Street, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7

41 Niall Street, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7

 

41 Niall Street, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7

Status: Launched in October seeking €345,000; went sale agreed “well in excess” of asking price. Agent: DNG. Review here.

Kitchen and outdoor space at 41 Niall Street, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7
Kitchen and outdoor space at 41 Niall Street, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7

This one-bed, single-storey, mid-terrace cottage measured just 50sq m when it sold last in 2015 for €175,000. But the couple who bought it utilised every millimetre, extending up into the attic to give them another 14sq m of space. They shoehorned in a cosy livingroom, a cool kitchen and a small yard where they constructed an open fire that could double as a barbecue – complete with chimney stack to disperse smoke – and transformed it into an outdoor space for use all year round. The renovation wasn’t just cosmetic, either. The property had an impressive B2 Ber rating. - Alanna Gallagher

6 Homeleigh, Porterstown, Castleknock, Dublin 15

Status: Launched in autumn seeking €2.49m.
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald. Review here

6 Holmleigh, Porterstown, Castleknock, Dublin 15

While the colossal external columns came the whole way from the Valley of the Kings in Egypt and now stand in the Valley of the Liffey, this writer’s viewing of the property ended up a little like Valley of the Squinting Windows as the vendor, estate agent and I got locked out – with phones and car keys locked inside.

The troupe of cleaners (a house of more than 743sq m doesn’t clean itself, you know) in a judicious move, had closed the giant front doors behind them while we were inspecting the swimming pool in the basement. The state-of-the-art security system was put to the test as we spent over an hour trying to get back inside.

The swimming pool at 6 Holmleigh, Porterstown, Castleknock, Dublin 15
The swimming pool at 6 Holmleigh, Porterstown, Castleknock, Dublin 15.

Eventually an upper window – at over 9m high – was found to be ajar, and after much searching, a ladder to reach the lofty height was sourced and in we climbed. It’s not every day breaking and entering is required for a review, but prospective buyers should rest assured that this mammoth property is impenetrable. The house is on the market through Sherry FitzGerald for €2.49 million.
- Elizabeth Birdthistle

Castletown Cox, Piltown, Co Kilkenny

Status: Launched in July on 513 acres seeking €17.5m.
Agent: Knight Frank. Review here

Castletown Cox, Piltown, Co Kilkenny

Discovering an impeccably restored Palladian mansion in Kilkenny was a real highlight this year. When the agent said Castletown Cox outside Carrick-on-Suir was probably the finest house in Ireland, it was received with a pinch of salt, but he wasn’t lying.

Few people have heard of this Georgian estate on 513 acres that was built by Sardinian architect Davis Ducart in 1767 as a bold statement home for the protestant Archbishop of Cashel, Michael Cox. Yet it would easily rank up there with such architectural titans as the Lyons Estate or Powerscourt House.

Its owners, the UK-based Magan family, bought it in 1999 and have since faithfully and meticulously restored it at a cost of many millions. But a real twist in the tale of Castletown Cox came when at the 11th hour efforts were made to stop its sale and our reporting of same.

Castletown Cox, Piltown, Co Kilkenny
The lavish interior of Castletown Cox, Piltown, Co Kilkenny.

It transpired that the property was at the centre of a family dispute, and a beneficiary of the family trust which owns Castletown Cox was objecting to the sale of the south Kilkenny estate. Presiding over the hearing at a late sitting of the High Court, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan concluded that the row centred on “an inter-family dispute in relation to a trust fund where the property asset of the fund is the most valuable asset and has been placed on the market by the current trustee”. He added that it was clear the trustee was taking a different view to the beneficiary that the property could be sold. Mr Justice Gilligan refused to grant an injunction. Consequently The Irish Times published its report. Castletown Cox remains for sale for €17.5 million through Knight Frank. - Madeleine Lyons

Lansdowne Lodge, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

Status: Launched seeking €4.5m in March, sold by August €4.25million.
Agent: Savills. Review here

Lansdowne Lodge in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 sold for €4.25m

The estate agent from Savills giving the tour of Lansdowne Lodge in Ballsbridge said, with admirable honesty (or at least modesty), “this house will sell itself.” Whether that turned out to be the case I don’t know, but what is known is that the truly charming period house in Ballsbridge went on the market in March with an asking price of €4.5 million and appeared on the Property Price Register in August for €4.25 million.

At this level of the market, that’s a very speedy sale – especially as the house came on the market at a time when agents were acutely conscious that there was a considerable supply of houses in the €3 million-plus category and not the corresponding number of wealthy buyers looking around.

One of the factors that makes Lansdowne Lodge stand out is that for a large property on 0.6 acre in a highly public location, it is hidden away behind tall hedging, giving little hint that it is an intact Victorian townhouse complete with coach house, conservatory and sweeping lawns. And, another unusual feature, it came on the market this year for the first time since it was built in 1860. In the 1890s Thomas Robert Baillie-Gag arrived from Derry to take up his new job as solicitor to the Post Office and rented Lansdowne Lodge.

He then bought the 361sq m (3,891sq ft) house (including coach house) and it has been in the family since. The siblings who sold it this year had inherited it and, after renovating, rented it out for four years .

Another appealing and unusual feature is that it hasn’t had a 1970s – or, worse, 2000s – makeover, so there aren’t any jarring extensions or interventions. It has an authentic period house feel – helped by its many original interior features. It’s currently for rent for €6,500 a month. - Bernice Harrison

Eagle Lodge, Sydney Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin

Status: Launched in May seeking €4.5m, since reduced to €3.95m.
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald. Review here

Eagle Lodge, Sydney Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin

A standout house of 2017 was Eagle Lodge, a magnificent Georgian manor on Sydney Avenue in Blackrock. Previous owners sold the house in 1998 only to buy it back, as they missed it so much, and one can understand why.

Its interiors are jaw-dropping. Even though the bathroom cost more than €22,000, and the dressingroom came from Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland, at no point does this house scream ostentation. Instead it is refined and elegant.

Kitchen/livingroom at Eagle Lodge, Sydney Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin
Kitchen/livingroom at Eagle Lodge, Sydney Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin

It came on the market again in 2008 with a whopping €10 million price tag, eventually selling for €2.9 million to the current owners, who upgraded the property. Sherry FitzGerald has since reduced the asking price from €4.5million – listed in May this year – to €3.95 million.

The house is designed for entertaining on a grand scale – the 24ft cobbled wine cellar with a capacity for 1,000 bottles ensures that Grand Crus remain at optimal temperatures for sipping in the Italianate gardens. - Elizabeth Birdthistle

33 Olivemount Road, Windy Arbour, Dundrum, Dublin 14

Status: Launched in September seeking €495,000; price increased to €560,000 in November and recently went sale agreed for more.
Agent: SherryFitzGerald. Review here

Number 33 Olivemount Road, Windy Arbour, Dundrum, Dublin 14

This modest house was refurbished in 2008 when the owner extended into the south-facing back garden to build a simple but large open-plan kitchen, dining and livingroom that spanned the width of the property.

He ran the kitchen in a galley style down one side, leaving plenty of space for a sizeable dining table overlooking the garden. A lantern rooflight was installed, allowing more light to stream into the space, and it still managed to retain a cosy sitting corner in the original back room, an area big enough to fit a decent-sized sofa, a pair of armchairs and with the option to install a warming stove. It looked beautifully simple – the design was well considered. - Alanna Gallagher

54 Kenilworth Sq, Rathgar, Dublin 6

Status: Launched in May seeking €2.5m, appeared sold in October for €2.4m.
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald. Review here

The front of 54 Kenilworth Square in Rathgar is walled, with the advantage of covered side access to the rear from both sides.
The front of 54 Kenilworth Square in Rathgar is walled, with the advantage of covered side access to the rear from both sides.

Victorian and Edwardian redbricks abound in Dublin and most differ little in their layout, give or take some grander flourishes. As a consequence it can be difficult and intimidating for owners to apply a unique decor stamp within such a well-worn template.

This was not the case at 54 Kenilworth Square. From the outside it conformed very much to its Victorian roots; but inside it was a canvas for the design flair of its Swedish textile artist owner. Over a one-year period the 345sq m (3,718sq ft) property had been fully refurbished with a modest two-storey extension added in the rear return. The entire house was a masterclass in pared-back elegance, with polished timber floorboards and a cool blue-grey and white colour palette throughout. The owner had taken the then bold move of repurposing the formal interconnecting reception rooms at hall level for use as the kitchen/dining space. The livingroom also featured a fabulous floor-to-ceiling wall of crammed bookshelves. In fact, the bespoke storage in every room in the house was striking, and explained that “pared back” feel.

The rear garden at 54 Kenilworth Square in Rathgar follows a circular theme and incorporates distinct morning, afternoon and evening sunshine spaces.
The rear garden at 54 Kenilworth Square in Rathgar follows a circular theme and incorporates distinct morning, afternoon and evening sunshine spaces.

A cosy garden room, part of the newer layout, featured a warming stove and glazed door access to the garden. The compact garden had been very cleverly landscaped to a circular theme by a friend in return for interior and textile-design favours. The inclusion of a wall of very tall birches created a jungle effect, but also very effectively connected with the upstairs living areas. Effortlessly cool in every way, number 54 launched in May seeking €2.5 million and was sold within about four months for €2.4 million. - Madeleine Lyons

Emsworth, Malahide Road, Kinsealy, Dublin 17

Status: Launched with 17 acres in November seeking €7.5m.
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald. Review here

Emsworth in Kinsealy, Co Dublin, on the market seeking €7.5 million

The tunnel linking a Georgian villa, Emsworth, to Charlie Haughey’s former home, Abbeville, in Kinsealy, Dublin 17, was the headline-grabbing angle on a story about the house which went for sale at the beginning of November. (A trapdoor in the entrance hall leads down to the tunnel, now sealed off on both sides.) But there were plenty of other angles, including the house’s history and the lengths to which the owner had gone to upgrade both house and garden.

Emsworth in Kinsealy, Co Dublin, on the market seeking €7.5 million

The only intact Gandon villa to survive in Ireland, Emsworth stands on 17 acres of gardens which the owner, a Dublin financier, had gone to huge trouble to restore. The gardens include formal water features, a walled garden, paths – and a zipline – through woodland, a new lake, tennis courts and a heated outdoor swimming pool. And this is not in a remote country estate, but in a house 12km from Dublin city centre. The owner spent several million pounds lavishly renovating the 407sq m (4,330sq ft) property inside and out, giving it all modern comforts but keeping the period style of the house, built in 1794.

It’s for sale through Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes agent Roseanne De Vere Hunt for €7.5 million. Meanwhile, it’s been reported that the Japanese business family which bought Abbeville (on 250 acres) next door in 2013 for €5.5 million may be making new moves to develop the house and land. - Frances O’Rourke

Albany Lodge, Albany Avenue, Monkstown, Co Dublin

Status: Launched in February seeking €2.995m, later reduced to €2.25m and mews retained. Sale agreed.
Agent: Knight Frank. Review here

Albany Lodge, Albany Avenue, Monkstown, Co Dublin, sold for €2.25 million

The place name “Albany” in south county Dublin has huge potential to confuse. There are two new homes developments near each other in Killiney with that name, and three houses on Albany Avenue in Monkstown, Co Dublin, also include Albany in their names. But Albany Lodge, a pink Regency villa on the corner of Monkstown Road and Albany Avenue, must be the only one with an entrance hall that looks like something from a Jane Austen movie.

Albany Lodge, Albany Avenue, Monkstown, Co Dublin has an entrance hall straight out of Jane Austen
Albany Lodge, Albany Avenue, Monkstown, Co Dublin: an entrance hall straight out of Jane Austen.

A large circular skylight in the ceiling with a stained glass centre is surrounded by intricate painted plasterwork. Tall mirrors face each other across the space, which is painted vivid yellow, and pillars flank the entrance into the downstairs hall. Two blackamoor statues – apparently original to the house, built around 1830 – bear lamps at the foot of a staircase in an inner hall.

The detached 358sq m (3,850sq ft) five-bed on 0.37 acre was put on the market by Knight Frank in February 2017 for €2,995,000, then the price was reduced to €2.25 million in August after the family decided to keep a mews site in the garden. It has just gone sale agreed for close to that figure, says agent Jacqui McCabe. - Frances O’Rourke

1 Bath Terrace, Passage West, Co Cork

Status: Came to market in October seeking €480,000.
Agent: Cohalan Downing. Review here

In all of 2017, what was my keeper? The house I’d seriously think of selling up and moving for? Number 1 Bath Terrace in Cork’s Passage West is an adorable Victorian two-bed (though there’s more room upstairs), which came for sale with Cohalan Downing last October for €480,000.

1 Bath Terrace, Glenbrook, Passage West, Co Cork
1 Bath Terrace, Glenbrook, Passage West, Co Cork

The owners were lovely, and had done an equally lovely job on their home, sensitively incorporating the house’s history into their refurbishment, while also including what is now my new (but hitherto undreamed-of) must-have: a private jetty, with boat lift at the end of the garden. Sick of Cork’s commuter traffic? Why, now you can simply sail to town. If you fancy that kind of lifestyle, it’s still for sale. - Gemma Tipton

7 Estate Cottages, Northumberland Road, Dublin 4

Status: Launched in June seeking €500,000, sold for €600,000.
Agent: Finnegan Menton. Review here

Number 7 Estate Cottages, Northumberland Road, Dublin 4

An interior designer was the last owner of a house that had been empty for 10 years before it went for sale in June this year. A neighbour whose husband had grown up in Estate Cottages, Northumberland Road, Dublin 4, remembers glamorous parties being thrown in the house that had been revamped and extended over 30 years ago. Estate Cottages, a terrace of 12 small houses, was originally built in the 1890s for labourers on the Pembroke estate, and apparently only Protestants could rent one then.

Number 7 Estate Cottages, Northumberland Road, Dublin 4

By June 2017, number 7 Estate Cottages, the 74sq m (800sq ft) terraced brick cottage near the Grand Canal, was in a sorry state, needing up to €200,000 to extend and renovate, builder Kevin Moran estimated.

Agent Finnegan Menton was looking for €500,000 for the house; agent Glen Burrell sold the property to an Australian cash buyer – a returning Irish emigrant – for €605,000. - Frances O’Rourke

The Penthouse, Merrion Village, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

Status: on the market since July seeking €1.95m.
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald. Review here

Bedroom at The Penthouse, Merrion Village, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Bedroom at The Penthouse, Merrion Village, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

Something similar – but definitely different – was going on at another penthouse, this time at Merrion Village in Ballsbridge, which went on the market in July seeking €1.95 million.

Bathroom at The Penthouse, Merrion Village, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Bathroom at The Penthouse, Merrion Village, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

This 207sq m (2,228sq ft) two-bed had off-white leather padded walls, 14-carat gold leaf detailing, a mirror on the master bedroom ceiling and a kitchen that reminded me of a bar on a luxury yacht (or rather my idea of what one might look like). Once again the views were spectacular, but even the sweep of Dublin Bay couldn’t compete with the interior design. It’s still up for grabs. - Gemma Tipton

16 The Warehouse, Clanbrassil Terrace, Dublin 8

Status: Two-bed launched in autumn seeking €550,000.
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald. Review here

The Warehouse, Clanbrassil Terrace, Dublin 8

In 1999, before the explosion in apartment building in Dublin, developer Michael Roden, working with architect Mary Donohoe, had a vision for an old warehouse on Clanbrassil Terrace in Dublin 8: to convert the 1950s industrial building into 41 apartments. And not the dog-box type – these took their lead from the old building and were true lofts: big, open-plan apartments with high ceilings that buyers could configure how they wanted. They were mostly bought by owner-occupiers looking for something different.

The Warehouse, Clanbrassil Terrace, Dublin 8

The owners of number 16 The Warehouse initially had the 107sq m (1,150sq ft) space as a one-bed and then carved out a second bedroom as their needs changed. The development is built around an inner private garden, has a caretaker on site and plenty of parking. The Warehouse is unusual for a 1990s apartment block in that its design has stood the test of time. Number 16 is for sale through Sherry FitzGerald for €550,000. - Bernice Harrison

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