Interior designer’s inviting Shankill home brimming with personality for €2.45m

Tastefully upgraded five-bed Georgian farmhouse includes striking contemporary touches and features beautiful mature gardens

Address: Abingdon, Shanganagh Road, Shankill, Co Dublin
Price: €2,450,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald
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When interior designer Corinna Knaggs and her husband, Trevor Dolan, bought Abingdon back in 2012, she knew exactly what she wanted to do with this fine old Georgian farmhouse.

Using her considerable design knowledge and experience, Knaggs set about upgrading and improving the house, bringing out its elegant period elements, and enhancing the modern parts of the house to create striking contemporary touches.

As you arrive up the sweeping driveway from Shanganagh Road, you can clearly see the tasteful juxtaposition of old and new on the facade of Abingdon. The previous owners had extended the house, turning it into a substantial home of 392 sq m (4,219 sq ft) – all Knaggs had to do was bring the two eras together in one large, wonderfully inviting home that is brimming with personality.

“This house loves people,” says Knaggs, and once you step through the imposing sandstone-detailed porch and into the entrance hall with its oak parquet floors, ceiling cornices and central rose and wainscoting, you’ll feel a definite reluctance to leave.


Abingdon was built around 1758, on a site that originally stretched for 700 to 800 acres all around, says Dolan. Today, the site is a more modest 1.6 acres, but that’s more than enough to encompass the driveway, parking area for several cars, the formal gardens to the right of the driveway, mature lawns and trees, large rear enclosed courtyard, outbuildings, an enclosed swimming pool and a separate, self-contained annex that provided additional accommodation of 69 sq m (742 sq ft).

Somewhere off the perimeter, says Dolan, there’s an old track that used to be a right-of-way for the 18th-century dairy farmer to bring his cattle down to the nearby seashore. With the annex, Abingdon comprises a total of 461 sq m (4,961 sq ft) and is for sale through Sherry FitzGerald asking €2.45 million.

A good example of the complementary contrasts can be found on either side of the hallway. To the left is a beautifully appointed formal drawingroom, with dual aspect overlooking the mature grounds. It has finely detailed ceiling cornice and a feature fireplace with decorative timber mantel, marble inset and slate hearth. The room exudes old-world comfort, and you can imagine cosying up here in front of the fireplace in winter with a nice glass of port. Also to the left is a classic-style guest cloakroom with a fully tiled floor and a wallpapered ceiling.

Cross the hallway and you’re whisked back to the future via the stunning open-plan kitchen/family/diningroom extension, with wide-plank solid oak floors, floor-to-ceiling windows and a door opening out to the front – which gets more use than the actual front door, says Knaggs.

Previously, the extension had bunker-style windows but Knaggs wanted to open out the area to the lovely gardens and bring in the light from dawn to dusk. The diningroom section is dramatic, with high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling glazing and double patio doors opening out to the private rear courtyard. Dinner parties here will never be dull.

The bespoke arena kitchen has been designed and laid out by Knaggs, and has a large central island with six-seater breakfast bar, lots of built-in wall and floor-level storage, an oil-fired Aga, Miele induction hob and worktop extractor, Miele double ovens, twin stainless steel sink units and a beautiful coloured-glass splashback.

Behind the main kitchen is a prep kitchen connected by glass-panelled, arched French doors. This is a great, flexible space with timber floor, lots of built-in units, feature lighting and a large glass atrium above. Double doors lead out to the private rear courtyard.

Another door from here leads down to the lower lobby at the back of the house, where there’s another bright, open-plan room with timber floors, inset lights, cast-iron fireplace and three sets of double French doors out to the rear courtyard. This was where the kitchen used to be, and it now serves as a study and design studio, and can be put to a variety of uses. There’s a cloakroom and shower room at the side of the house and a laundry room plumbed for washing machine, and with built-in storage and linen closet.

To the rear of the house, separate but easily accessible, is a bright, spacious TV/cinema/games room with timber floors and timber-clad vaulted ceiling with three Velux windows. There are three sets of patio doors with plantation shutters opening out to the rear courtyard, lots of built-in shelving and a media unit. Movie night is about to get a lot more interesting.

Leading up to the first floor is a bright, split landing with wainscot panelling, ceiling coving and centre rose, and the first floor landing is equally ornate. The principal bedroom suite has twin windows looking out over the front garden, and is big and bright, with ceiling coving.

Adjoining this via an archway is a large bathroom and dressingroom en suite, with a fully tiled floor, built-in his-and-hers wash-hand basins, and a fine centrepiece: a luxurious free-standing Victoria and Albert bath with chrome fittings. There’s also a separate fully tiled double shower behind glass, and the WC has a glass privacy door.

All five bedrooms are doubles; bedroom two is very spacious and looks out over the front gardens, while bedrooms three and four overlook the rear courtyard, and bedroom five has dual aspect to the side and front gardens. There’s a shower room with fully tiled floor, modern fittings and a Velux window above, and a family bathroom with fully tiled floor, underfloor heating and deep-set bathe with fully tiled surround, plus a fully tiled walk-in double shower.

The L-shaped guest annex, with painted concrete floor and vaulted ceiling, can be used as a separate studio apartment or guest accommodation – or even a party space – and has its own entrance from the driveway. There’s a built-in bar which doubles as a kitchen, with cast-iron fuel stove and a generous bedroom space with separate WC and shower room.

Outside, the beautiful, mature gardens really make Abingdon out of the ordinary, with a variety of specimen trees, mature fruit trees, olive trees, box hedging and flowering plants and shrubs. There are shaded tree-lined walkways and the formal gardens are made for quiet, reflective times. There’s also a potting shed, a garage and a free-standing summer house on the grounds. The swimming pool hasn’t been used for a while and needs a cleaning, but otherwise it’s ready to use, with the pool mechanism all working fine.

Shanganagh Road is close to Shankill village and the N11 and M50, and also close to the Dart route.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist