Foxrock fantasy mansion - D18 homeowner spent €1m transforming her jaded abode
D18 homeowner spent a million transforming her abode
What would you do if you had a cool million to spend on giving your home the ultimate dream makeover? This very pleasant challenge faced Dubliner Catherine Hamilton when she and her husband Gerry acquired a jaded 1950s-built Foxrock abode 17 years ago.
While husband Gerry attended to expanding the family's lighting business, Catherine was charged to head up the mission to create the perfect house for the Hamiltons and their children at the Mart Lane site off Westminster Road.
The job would take two years and end up costing a six digit sum. "The original house was much the same size as this one [just over 4,500 sq ft] but was a warren of small little rooms," says Catherine. "After living in it for a time we came to the conclusion that there was nothing we could do. So we decided to demolish it.
"I had worked out a picture of what our home should be. Both myself and my husband have always been antique enthusiasts and I was brought up in a period house in Clonskeagh, so it was always going to have that period look. I suppose you might call the style Mock Tudor."
The beamed and gabled Mock Tudor homes of the Edwardians widely recreated elements of 16th century Tudor design in the early 1900s and are some of the most sought-after city homes today. From the era of Arts and Crafts when the emphasis was on fine workmanship and romantic design, they encapsulated what Catherine would attempt to mirror in her project - her own personal imitation of a classic imitation if you like.
So while the exterior is a faithful replica of the genre - beamed gables, covered front entrance, overhanging roof and part brick, part-render frontage - once indoors, the rulebook has been thrown away and the rest is pure fantasy run riot. The interiors are bold, bright and elaborately ornate - a modernist's nightmare and a romantic's dream.
The reconstruction of the property, along with the floor finishes, amounted to €850,000 including Portland stone in the hall and kitchen/breakfast room (with underfloor heating) and the warm finger-cut floors of Honduran mahogany in many of the reception rooms. Carpets, curtains and decor accounted for another €100,000.
Reproduction period plaster covings and ceiling roses throughout the house are by Atelier Sedap and an inordinate attention to detail throughout includes some delightful cluster panels of Edwardian brass dome light switch panels. The lighting comprises distinctive period reproduction pieces by Lucien Gau.
One of the property's most striking features is the grand entrance hall, which has more than a touch of the baronial about it. With the lowest ceiling point at 13ft, the scale is huge. There's a detailed cast iron fireplace (genuine Edwardian) and a very elegant hand-carved oak staircase. Romantic fireplaces (chimney pieces to be exact), are a core anchor here and the four key pieces mark an investment of just under €100,000 between them. The very substantial drawing room, in unapologetically bold burgundy, has the showstopper - white marble with vessel maid figures flanking. There's a quaint oak-shelved library off to one side of it. The next big dream space is undoubtedly the massive main bedroom with its original French 19th century fireplace, a dressing room and ensuite.
The house also has four more bedrooms, a dining room, a study, a snug tv room, a galleried landing, a clutch of elaborate bathrooms, a double garage and a half acre of grounds with every child's perfect tree house. The Hamiltons are downsizing and their dream creation is yours for €3.1m.
Mart Lane, Foxrock, Dublin 18
Asking price: €3.1m
Agent: Vincent Finnegan (01) 2984695