One of only four houses on a cul-de-sac overlooking Vesey Gardens in Monkstown, in south Co Dublin, 4 Willow Bank is an imposing three-storey, six-bedroom property with all the qualities and proportions of Victorian grandeur. But, to the owner, it always felt like an oasis of serenity.
She remembers many mornings spent sitting on the sunny granite steps reading the paper and keeping an eye on her children playing in the park.
“We are surrounded by green, with the park to our front and the garden to the back, so there was always a sense of space and light in this house. We are near everything we need and everything we want.”
Those sunny granite steps lead into the bright, tiled hall on the first floor with drawing room, kitchen and dining room.
The south-facing drawing room is truly beautiful in its aspect, light and proportions, with original shutters on the six-over-six paned windows overlooking the gardens.
The huge mirror over the marble fireplace was bought quickly, on a momentous day, without measuring the space; the owners trusted it would fit and it did, with barely an inch to spare. The beauty of the mirror, its simplicity and lack of gilt could be a metaphor for the entire house; it fit, and it made the room, as the family made the most of the house.
The kitchen, with a vast array of blue built-in units, marble-topped counter and island, and Amtico flooring was redone in 2008. There’s a false ceiling here that new owners may want to take down to enjoy the full height of the room overlooking the courtyard and garden.
The dining room would make a beautiful study as it enjoys a better aspect and views than the study in the basement.
Downstairs was a self-contained apartment that the owners reintegrated to make a family room, studies, a bedroom opening on to the courtyard, and a small kitchen with vaulted ceiling that would make a fine cellar. This could be renovated for extra family living space, or the stairs could be blocked off to separate the apartment again.
Upstairs the four large bedrooms with beautiful windows make for calm, tranquil spaces; the main bedroom has a large bathroom with a steamroom.
The back bedroom has a deep window seat that bookworms will never want to leave. There’s a stripped-back simplicity and serenity to the house that extends to the garden – “one of the glories of the house”, according to the owner.
Beyond a gravelled drive with space for multiple cars lies a wide green space to the left of the house that hosted football matches and, later, marquees for 21st parties.
An iron gate in an old wall leads through to a second garden, with enchanting nooks, a treehouse behind a bamboo screen, a patio with a dining table that seats 10, overhung with the laden boughs of prosperous apple trees, reminiscent of a scene from a Russian novel.
Below the garden and under the back of the 341sq m ( 3,670sq ft) house, which is Ber-exempt, is a courtyard, the owners knocked an extension built here in the 1960s and found the steps that lead to the garden. There’s a door in the wall that leads out to York Road, handy for a quick connection to Dún Laoghaire.
This is a home waiting for a new family to enjoy it and make the most of life as the current owners did. A home filled with teenagers getting ready for nights out. Plans for renovations were drawn up but never executed as life constantly beckoned, knocking on the front door of Willow Bank and calling the family forth.
No 4 Willow Bank is on the market through Knight Frank seeking €2.8 million.