Light, warmth and simplicity in transformed Stillorgan semi for €1.95m

The owners of this 1950s home rebuilt it almost entirely, retaining just the front wall

Address: Seraya, 21 Priory Drive, Stillorgan, Co Dublin
Price: €1,950,000
Agent: Lisney Sotheby's International Realty
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A suburban semidetached 1950s house has a spruce but unassuming exterior – but inside, it’s been transformed into a smart, uncluttered modern home in walk-in condition. An Australian couple bought it in 2017 (for €815,000 according to the Property Price Register), hired architect Seamus Keller and rebuilt the house from the front wall back – the wall is all that remains of the original house.

They had clear ideas about what they wanted and, given their roots, they wanted as much sun as possible in their new home in Stillorgan, Co Dublin. The heart of the house is the large open-plan kitchen-dining-livingroom at the back with three roof lights over it and floor-to-ceiling glass windows the width of the house. Floors were dropped and ceilings are 3m (9.84ft) high.

They also wanted warmth and the house has an A3 Ber. The house has double- and triple-glazed windows, an air-to-water heating system ensuring a regular 21 degrees and an air-circulation system that pumps fresh air into the house. There’s underfloor heating on three levels – and low electricity bills, say the owners.

Simplicity is the key to its design: walls everywhere are painted white (except in two girls’ bedrooms, painted a very pale pink), floors are all 21mm thick oak, and all the bathrooms are fully tiled with attractive marble-effect porcelain tiles. (They are Italian tiles from a Polis range called Lineae, black with white lines on the floors, white with black lines on walls.) All the windows in the house have pocket blinds hidden in the ceilings, lowered at the push of a button.


Now Seraya, 21 Priory Drive, Stillorgan, Co Dublin, a 230sq m (2,475sq ft) four/five-bed with an extra 30sq m (333sq ft) of attic space is for sale for €1.95 million through Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty. It’s named after a sun-soaked island near Bali, a highlight of the couple’s backpacking travels nearly 20 years ago. The owners who live there with their two young daughters have been in Ireland for 10 years and planned to live in their new home for good, but the pull of family in Australia and a work opportunity combined to make their decision to sell. They plan to leave here at the end of summer and will be back in Australia in time for their eldest daughter to start high school.

Seraya is well suited for families in that it has plenty of space for home working. To the left of the front hall is a long room used as a home office as is one of the upstairs bedrooms; the attic bedroom on the top, second floor and a 27sq m (290sq ft) garden room could also be used as home offices.

To the right of the front hall is a family room the couple call the cinema room with speakers and a projector in the ceiling. There’s a built-in hall closet in the front hall, more useful storage in understairs drawers and a fully tiled toilet. Doors flush to the wall at the end of the hall can be used to close off the kitchen-dining-livingroom.

The Nobilia kitchen has a wall of grey units, a white Silestone-topped island, countertop and splashback, integrated fridge freezer and dishwasher and three ovens. A large pantry off it has room for another fridge and a large utility room is fully tiled like the bathrooms, with smart black and grey tiles. There’s a door to a side passage from it.

The wall of floor-to-ceiling glazed windows/doors at the back of the dining-livingroom opens on to a large patio with a built-in barbecue at the side and lots of room for garden seating. A 25m-long lawn has wooden fencing on either side, with the garden room at the end.

The oak staircases to the first and second floors have glass balustrades, designed to maximise light in the house. The four bedrooms on the first floor are all doubles – and original chimneybreasts were removed to square off two bedrooms. The main bedroom looks over the back garden: a good-sized walk-in wardrobe opens off it as does a fully tiled en suite with a step-in shower. A family bathroom has two sinks, a bath and shower and the fully tiled toilet is separate from it, as in older houses.

The top floor attic has a 2.45m-high ceiling and could be a guest bedroom or home office. It has an en suite shower room off it; there’s an under-eaves storage room on the other side of the staircase and a linen press as well as more under-eaves storage off the bedroom.

There’s room to park a couple of cars in the gravelled front garden.

Frances O'Rourke

Frances O'Rourke

Frances O'Rourke, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about homes and property