No details of this meticulously planned house on the hill above Killiney Bay in south Dublin were left to chance by the engineer owner when he designed it as his dream home. He acquired a tumbledown property when he bought what was formerly the priest’s house within the grounds of Illerton, the former estate of the Bewleys, the founders of the coffee and cafe business that still bears their name.
With quite a tight footprint to work in, the owners sought and received planning permission to demolish the old house as it was uninhabited for years and derelict, and within 10 months of the initial demolition the new build was complete. Cleverly angled to maximise the intake of southerly sun, the wings of the house divide around a central, glazed hallway.
“When we built the house in 2005 we turned the house 90 degrees so it’s south-facing. The entrance hall is three metres wide, with a full screen of windows; we wanted to create a well to capture the energy from the sun,” says the owner.
This is a house that works. Expanding to 250sq m (2700 sq ft) with a B Ber, it has views over the glittering sea from many windows. With a handsome Belle Cheminée fireplace and sandstone surround, the livingroom is spacious enough to accommodate a study area; a desk placed before the window looks out to sea.
On the other side of the hall, which has a guest WC and utility opening off it, is a relaxed family room, with another sandstone fireplace and attractive, wide planks of walnut flooring. Glazed double doors, which lead through to the kitchen, are a feature throughout the ground floor as the owner wanted a seamless flow of space for parties and get-togethers.
The high-gloss McNally-designed kitchen looks contemporary and fresh, with Corian countertops, porcelain tiles, an Admiral American fridge-freezer, and a Rangemaster five-ring gas hob. The west-facing kitchen sees evening light pouring through the extensive picture windows; French doors open on to a terrace.
Cypress trees stand in front of the warm brick wall of the adjoining house, the old Bewley stables. The upper levels of the raised garden, a series of terraces to the rear of the house, offer super views over the bay, with patios and seating areas to maximise the space.
There’s a large balcony off the principal bedroom, where the angling of the house comes into its own. “The balcony is an incredible suntrap, it gets the sun all day,” says the owner. The principal bedroom has an en suite and a dressing area. Across the hall are three further bedrooms; the bedroom to the rear of the house has an en suite, while the others share a family bathroom.
Woodmancote is situated below the original Bewley house of Illerton. There is a 0.63 acre site behind the house, in what was part of the Illerton gardens, on the market without planning permission for €2.5 million, a measure of how exclusive this tiny enclave is.
A walkway leads to the Vico Road, meaning Killiney Beach and the Dart station are minutes away. The owners are downsizing as all their children have left home but they are staying in the area. Woodmancote is on the market with DNG Dún Laoghaire, seeking €1.8 million.