In Peter Pearson’s book, Between the Mountains and the Sea; the invaluable record on the history and development of Dublin’s southside, he tells the curious tale of how – on the Ordnance Survey map of 1912 – the village of what is today known as Shankill, was then referred to as Chantilly.
It took the name from an eponymous house owned by a certain Mr Tilly, whom Pearson describes as “charitable and generous” and who developed the villages of Shankill and Rathmichael.
In the 1860s local landlord Sir Charles Domvile had evicted tenants from his lands in the vicinity. Apparently he’d held a horticultural competition for his tenants and on discovering that some had won prizes for the largest cabbages and other vegetables, decided to raise the rent.
Unable to pay higher rates, the tenants were cruelly evicted but later rescued by Mr Tilly of Chantilly who gave the poor unfortunates a place to live.
Curiously, the only entry in Pearson’s book for Chantilly – a stunning Georgian pile in the area – is the one in relation to Domvile’s evictions and Tilly’s subsequent generosity. But this is a house that really lives up to its current brochure tagline of “comprehensive, interesting and chic”.
Perhaps its very seclusion back then is what makes this property so very important today: “It’s more like a small estate you would typically expect to see 30 to 50 miles beyond the city, perhaps nestled deep within Wicklow. But it’s right here in south county Dublin, with easy access to the Luas and the Dart,” explains Michael Grehan of Sherry FitzGerald who is handling the sale.
To be honest there’s not a hint of hyperbole to this, as the property – despite feeling like it’s a million miles from city life, with its extensive gardens and features – is centrally located between the Luas green line stop at Brides Glen and both the bus and Dart stops at Shankill.
It was last on the market in 2011, when receiver Grant Thornton had reduced the asking price from €2.5 million to €1.2 million, and it sold to the current owners for €1.55 million, according to the Property Price Register.
The Queen Anne-style house, which was later modified in both the Georgian and Victorian periods was restored by former owners and again given a total overhaul by its current residents who are now “reluctantly downsizing” from their magical pile: “We saw it in a downpour and even though it hadn’t been lived in for a while, it totally captivated us – it’s definitely the most romantic house we have ever lived in”.
No expense has been spared with the additions and renovations of this rambling Georgian pile. It formerly operated as a stud farm under UCD Veterinary Clinic, but now lies on a far more manageable 0.8 hectares (2 acres).
Not only is the main house (480sq m/5,167sq ft) laden with character, an old milking parlour and stables have been converted to a give a two-bedroom cottage (65sq m/700sq ft) and a one-bedroom apartment (49sq m/527sq ft). Then there are two garages (90sq m/969sq ft) that provide a car-wash bay, a dog-washing station, a wine store and gardener’s stores plus bathroom. There’s a whopping 790sq m (8,500sq ft) of pristine accommodation in total.
Interiors are stunning and testament to its owners who say that New York architect Gil Schafer and interior designer Michael S Smith (who was appointed by president Barack Obama and responsible for the 2010 makeover of the Oval Office in the White House) were influences for Chantilly’s current makeover.
Owners credit the vision of their friend, interior designer Corinna Knaggs of Knaggsie Interiors, who helped refurbish the space.
In terms of renovations the roof was removed, reinsulated and replaced, and a laundry room was installed upstairs – a clever move in such a large property. Another space that was given a huge makeover was the sunroom, which now has new windows – designed by its owners to match those of the front porch – and a stunning stained-glass decorative skylight overhead. Further restoration included that of decorative plasterwork, sash windows and shutters.
It has an almost feminine charm to it, making this pile more pretty than handsome, with layers of antique furniture, lush fabrics, Zoffany wall coverings and parquet flooring.
Four fine bedrooms lie in the main house and, as you would expect, the principal would give any five-star hotel suite a run for its money. Downstairs are four fine reception rooms in addition to a cinema room and large kitchen by the Design House Kitchen Company. This space is fitted out with expensive appliances that include an Insinkerator, a Quooker, three Fisher & Paykel dishwasher drawers and Liebherr fridges.
Add to this an indoor swimming pool and spa and really magical gardens since renovated and overseen by landscaper Dominick Murphy, who also added a parterre allowing a lovely spot for dining in the gardens. As every part of the gardens are filled with special varieties of acers, they are particularly captivating in autumn.
It’s really a credit to the owners and their team, who have done such a remarkable job on this slice of heaven just off the M11, which is now on the market seeking €4.65 million.