Saturday 24 June 2017

Get down at 70s party pad for €995k

Private home in Killiney features a bar and marble stairs

There are over 120 various trees and shrubs in the grounds of Orchard House.
There are over 120 various trees and shrubs in the grounds of Orchard House.
The bar in the family room in Orchard House
The entrance hall.
The sunroom overlooks the back garden.
The drawing room has a vaulted ceiling with ornate plasterwork.
Ensuite bathroom with sunken bath.
Marble steps from the hallway

Katy McGuinness

Violet Hill is a private road that leads up a slope to the left as Church Road heads from the Graduate roundabout in Killiney towards Ballybrack Village.

There's been plenty of building activity in the area over the past few years, with some 60s, 70s and 80s houses and bungalows on large plots being demolished and their sites amalgamated with those of their neighbours to allow for development on a larger scale.

As you turn into Violet Hill the first two houses on the left are smart new builds that would put you in mind of houses you might find in the Hamptons or Cape Cod. Further up, mainly hidden behind high hedges and electric gates, is a mixture of detached properties of different vintages.

The current owners are not sure when Orchard House was built, but it appears to have been in the 60s or 70s.

Located behind electric gates and at the end of its own driveway, the split-level bungalow is private and secluded.

It was last on the market in 2008 (when the house was named Bri-Mar, a combination of the first letters of the owners' names), and was reported in the press as having been withdrawn at auction in May of that year, quoting €2.5m.

The owner at the time was Brian Slowey, a former Managing Director of Guinness Ireland and sometime Chairman of Aer Lingus.

The house does not appear to have been altered much since it last changed hands and, indeed, agent Vincent Finnegan's brochure states the house is now in need of extensive modernisation and upgrading.

That said, it has more than a touch of slinky 70s style about it, so much so that one wouldn't be surprised to hear strains of Demis Roussos' 'Forever And Ever' wafting through the air as one approaches the house, or to be met at the door by Alison Steadman in a kaftan, proffering cigarettes.

Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party is of course the ultimate 70s cringe-fest, although trivia fans will know that Abigail never actually appears on screen, as she is the 15-year-old daughter of one of Beverly Moss's (played by Steadman) guests, who is throwing her own party next door.

Orchard House is a property that conjures up images of fondue and Blue Nun and, given the previous owner's association with Guinness, it's not surprising to find the house has its own bar. It also has a family bathroom with an avocado green corner bath.

In total, the house has a generous 3152 sq ft of living space. The main reception rooms are to the front, overlooking the gardens, which are planted with an impressive range of over 120 different trees and shrubs, and include a number of water features. The Sloweys employed the same gardener, a Mr O'Toole, for a quarter of a century, and he is to be credited with keeping fastidious records of his work. Even in early February, the gardens are lush and full, so they must be even more wonderful in summer.

The drawing room has a vaulted ceiling with ornate plasterwork, which is mirrored in the pattern of the custom-made carpet below. Spanish-style internal wrought-iron doors open on to the dining room with a sunroom overlooking the garden at one end.

The dining room has access directly to the kitchen/breakfast room, with a handy separate utility and larder/wine store. The master bedroom suite has a huge walk-in wardrobe area, a separate shoe wardrobe and an ensuite bathroom with sunken bath and separate shower.

It also has its own marble-floored conservatory, intended as a private breakfast room. There are three further bedrooms, one currently in use as a den, and the aforementioned bar, referred to in the agent's brochure as a family room, plus a guest lavatory with a shower.

There are primary and secondary schools in the area, including Holy Child Killiney and St Joseph of Cluny, both within walking distance.

The Dart station at Killiney gives access to a further choice of schools, including Blackrock College and St Andrews, while the nearest shops are at the Ballybrack Shopping Centre. The M50 and N11 are both easily accessible at Cherrywood.

Agent Vincent Finnegan suggests that demolishing Orchard House is an option that may appeal to some prospective purchasers, given that the grounds of approximately half an acre could probably accommodate two new houses, subject to planning permission.

But the house could be lived in as is, and for anyone willing to take a longer-term view and upgrade the property over time, there is plenty to recommend it, not least a realistic asking price and the prospect of getting the house to pay its own by renting it as an authentic 70s location to television and film crews.

It could also - with the help of an architect with vision - be turned into a fantastic retro-style home with fantastic proportions.

Orchard House

Violet Hill, Church Road, Killiney, Co Dublin

Asking price: €995,000

Agent: Vincent Finnegan (01) 2984695

Indo Property

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