Look inside: Stunning beachfront house hovering over the water in Howth for €3.6m

Four-bedroom property cantilevered over lake with direct access to Burrow beach

Address: 6 Claremont Road, Howth, Co Dublin
Price: €3,600,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Malahide
View this property on MyHome.ie

Hovering over the water, like an apparition, the Lake House in Howth has quite the story behind it. The owner saw the site listed for auction in The Irish Times in 2011 and bought what was a dilapidated seaside bungalow overlooking a lake on the site of an old limestone quarry.

The owner knocked the bungalow and started afresh. She chose Max O’Flaherty of AOF architects and Smithcon builders for the job, who were faced with many challenges along the way, not least the extremely narrow footprint of a site bordered by the lake in front and hemmed in by the protected dunes of Burrow beach behind. Ten years on, the house is softening into the landscape, yet still displays a stunning clarity of vision.

Located on the north side of Howth on Claremont Road with outstanding views to the west, north, and east to Lambay Island and Ireland’s Eye, the sea calls from every window at the rear of the 267sq m (2,874sq ft) house. A kink in the house’s centre improves the already stunning views and maximises the light fall throughout the day, building on the owner’s wish that the sun would track her, from rising on the east side of the house to setting on the covered deck at the far end, in the west.

The front door opens on to a vestibule with a bench. On the left is a bootroom leading to the garage and storage area, a swimmers’ bathroom lies to the left of a door opening on to the dunes and gated access to the beach. On the right are a set of sharply angled stairs leading to the split-level floors above.


In the living area on the first floor the roof, tilted to maximise solar gain and to reduce the visible shape of the house from the beach side, slopes towards the huge picture triple-glazed windows, with American oak frames, all overlooking the sea. To the right of the living area with tall, built-in shelving clustered around a stove, lies a covered deck where the owner’s sailing days are captured by incorporating the shape of a yacht’s keel into the roof of the deck, a sailor’s signature wrought in stone.

The kitchen, sourced from Porter & Jones, is a mix of the same American light oak used throughout the house and Italian Snaidero cabinetry. Silestone counters on the island extend into a small breakfast bar. Appliances include a Britannia range, Liebherr pantry fridge and a Quooker tap. A tiny outdoor coffee nook is tucked away to the right of the kitchen with views over the lake.

Four bedrooms and four bathrooms are split over two levels on the right of the house; the first level has a guest WC, a utility room and a bedroom with a Jack and Jill bathroom connecting to a livingroom with a stove. A kitchenette here creates a self-contained suite. As the house is cantilevered over the lake, there is stunning light here and in the principal bedroom above, with windows over both sea and lake.

A study is built into the top of the stairs leading to the second level with bedroom and en suite bathroom and the principal bedroom, which has an en suite, dressingroom and staggering sea vistas.

With comprehensive insulation and an A3 Ber, the first time I hear the Dart running on the far side of the road is when we step outside to examine the lake in front of the house, built as a private harbour by F W Higginbotham in the 1930s.

The owner has landscaped the lake surrounds in a natural, woodland style, with two huge Monterey pines giving welcome shade to the fish within. She uses a floating pontoon to maintain the gardens, and when the mood strikes her, to punt out on to the lake with gin, tonic and neighbours. A limestone wall is deep and high enough to provide privacy and security on what can be a busy road during the summer.

There are simply extraordinary views and vantage points in the back garden overlooking the beach, she has designated two seating areas as the beer garden and the gin garden, in between the chestnut groins that twist through the dunes, maintaining them.

“Living in this house has been an absolute joy”, the owner says, noting she will miss her daily swim and the Zen-like qualities of life here, but is moving abroad to live closer to family. Lake House is now on the market with Sherry FitzGerald Malahide, seeking €3.6 million.

Miriam Mulcahy

Miriam Mulcahy

Miriam Mulcahy, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property