Saturday 10 December 2016

Carefree living in Bray for €895k

Sans Souci is ready and waiting to welcome a new family

Katy McGuinness

Published 04/03/2016 | 02:30

Sans Souci is a two-storey-over-garden-level house with six upstairs bedrooms.
Sans Souci is a two-storey-over-garden-level house with six upstairs bedrooms.
Drawing room with fine period features and marble fireplace.
The grand entrance.
The lower level with its large hearth.
The dining room.
The current kitchen is located on the entrance level.

Sanssouci was the name given to his summer palace at Potsdam by Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. So fond was he of the palace that he chose to be buried there. Later, it was the name of a Haitian palace erected by slaves freed in the early 19th century.

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'Sans souci' means 'no worries' or 'carefree', and it's the optimistic name of this two-storey-over-garden-level handsome house in Bray, which has been a happy family home for its current owners. After 25 years, they are planning to downsize to a smaller home in the area now that their children are grown-up and have moved out.

Meath Road is one of the best residential streets in Bray, located parallel to the seafront and a brisk four-minute walk from the DART station, making it eminently commutable into Dublin city centre. Standing at the front steps of the house, there are views across to the nearby Sugarloaf and Little Sugarloaf, good destinations for a bracing Sunday walk to help work up an appetite for lunch.

Built in the 1880s, and with 3,500 sq ft of living space and six bedrooms, Sans Souci is ready and waiting to welcome a new family to make the house their own. If all the space available in the house is not required to accommodate the new owners, the configuration is such that the garden level could be separated out from the main house and converted into a self-contained two-bedroom apartment. The garden level already has two en-suite bedrooms, a kitchenette and a spacious sitting room. Selling agent, Darren O'Neill of Sherry Fitzgerald's Bray office, estimates that the rental income for such an apartment would be in the region of €1,300 per month, "if not more".

The current owners have installed reclaimed wooden floors at garden level, use some of the space as a sculpture studio, and have located their kitchen on the entrance level. Originally, of course, the kitchen would have occupied the large room to the front at the lower level, with ancillary pantries, store-rooms, and perhaps a cook's bedroom to the rear. New owners could replicate this arrangement (perhaps without the cook's bedroom, but with an en-suite bedroom for an au pair) and make the most of the original hearth by installing an Aga to keep the whole house cosy.

Sans Souci has an elegant entrance hallway, featuring original timber floors, stained glass, ornate ceiling coving and an elaborate centre rose. The inter-connecting drawing and dining rooms are also rich with period features, and the drawing room has a fine bay window to the front and an impressive marble fireplace.

The kitchen is fitted with floor and wall units and is plumbed for a dishwasher, but new owners may wish to upgrade the room, if they do not relocate it to the garden level or move it into either the dining or drawing room.

Upstairs, Sans Souci has six double bedrooms. For a time, the current owners ran a B&B from the property, so three of these have small en-suites, and there is also a family bathroom. The east-facing master bedroom and the other bedroom to the back of the house have views towards Bray Head and the sea.

In terms of schools, Bray has a good choice of primary and secondary schools, including an Educate Together national school, Loreto for girls, Presentation for boys and the fee-paying St. Gerard's (whose most famous recent alumnus is Hozier) for both.

Bray has SuperValu and Tesco supermarkets and a decent selection of other shops, while local restaurants include the well-regarded Platform Pizza and Box Burger, which are owned by the same family as the perennially popular Harbour Bar. The multi-award-winning Campo de Fiori, named after the famous market square in Rome, is owned by Laura and Marco Roccasalvo ­- the latter is the head chef - and known for its intimate atmosphere and authentic Italian cuisine.

The Kilruddery estate is a fantastic local amenity for families. Home to 16 generations of the Brabazon family, the current house comprises a Tudor Revival mansion, incorporating an original low-level 17th mansion, designed by architects Richard and William Vitruvius Morrison and built in 1820 on the instructions of the 10th Earl of Meath. The house has been used often as a film location and featured in My Left Foot, Far & Away, The Tudors and Camelot.

The grounds of Kilruddery, meanwhile, are host to a weekly farmers' market that takes place on Saturdays, an al fresco supper club from May to September and a host of other activities including yoga classes, ClapHandies and guided walks with Mike's Hikes. The Squirrel's Scramble zip-wire park is a magnet for children of all ages and will undoubtedly be the birthday party destination of choice for the younger residents of Sans Souci in the near future.

Sans Souci

Meath Road, Bray, Co Wicklow

Asking price: €895,000

Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 2866630

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