In Pictures: Turn-key property with games room in D6 on the market for €1.675m
45 Rathdown Drive, Terenure, Dublin 6W €1.675m
Back in 1796, young Robert Shaw was a man in a hurry. He came from a well-heeled Protestant family who lived in Terenure House, now Terenure College, and he aimed to rise speedily through the ranks of the merchant classes.
His ascent had begun the year before when, aged 21, he had been elected to the Dublin City Assembly (today Dublin City Council) to represent the Guild of Merchants.
At 22 he married Maria Wilkinson, daughter and heiress of Bushy Park House and its demesne, which was then in parkland and leased out to farmers. He had chosen well - Maria brought the land and house with her as dowry.
Robert went on to establish his own bank, Robert Shaw and Sons, in Foster Place and played an important part in the country's financial scene. By the time he was 30 he had been elected a member of parliament and in 1815, added Lord Mayor of Dublin to his list of honours.
But his achievements were crowned in 1821 when George IV visited Dublin and conferred a baronetcy upon him. Sir Robert and his family continued to live at Bushy Park House until 1953 when they sold both it and the land to Dublin City Council.
Built at the turn of the 19th Century, No 45 Rathdown Drive formed part of the Shaw estate. In fact, when the vendors Monica and Alan Holmes bought it in 2003, it still had two wooden fireplaces made by Hannah Shaw and her sister, descendants of Sir Robert, who had lived there.
"The fireplaces had Céad Míle Fáilte carved on them," remembers Monica, "but Míle was spelt wrong."
When the vendors first viewed the property it had an unusual flat roof - something that was almost a deal-breaker for Monica. "My hubby spotted it and I hated it because of its flat roof." However, Alan persuaded her that it had huge potential and they bought at auction for somewhere between €1.1m and €1.2m.
The couple, who own PaintWorld in Dublin 12, are hugely experienced at reconfiguring interiors, having advised on design projects for many years. At No 45, they have certainly applied that knowledge to great effect.
Many rooms have panelled walls in shades of grey while the hallway and stairs are fresh white. Monica customised the paint shades herself. The floors are for the most part dark-stained oak, polished marble or thick deep pile carpets. The main light fittings in the hallway and stairs are modern chandeliers. The effect is one of quiet luxury, expensive and comfortable.
The flat roof has been replaced with a new pitched roof that gives an additional storey with plenty of head room. The resulting space is now the master suite with a dressing area, an ensuite, and a Velux window that transforms cleverly into a balcony and gives heart-lifting views over Dublin and the mountains.
The couple also converted the garage adjoining one side of the house into a games room, central to which is a snooker table that converts into a table tennis table, says Monica, "and both get plenty of use". Rather than knocking through the rooms to the front of the house into larger open plan spaces, they kept them as two separate living rooms to the front of the house, overlooking the perfectly manicured front garden. One, Monica says, is her retreat for reading, and the other is for more formal entertaining away from the bustle of family life with three teenage children.
The study has a built-in desk and cupboard space that would lure the most reluctant student to their books and doubles as a cosy TV spot.
An extension was added to open out the rear of the house into a large split-level kitchen/dining/living room, which is a strong selling point. Windows wrap around two sides and there are double doors onto a sunny patio area.
The bespoke kitchen units come from McCauley Kitchens, while the granite countertops and Belling double hob and three ovens would satisfy the catering needs of any D6 hostess.
There is a sitting area with wood-burning stove and a generously sized dining table.
"This is where we sit most of the time," says Monica, of the airy space. "There's a lot of traffic in and out because we are so close to Terenure College. The boys come home with Sean, have lunch, play table tennis and then go back to school." Off the kitchen, a utility room houses all the laundry necessaries.
On the first floor, there are four double-bedrooms, and a large family bathroom with freestanding bath that dates from the original house. A fifth smaller bedroom could be repurposed as a study.
All the bedrooms have been lined with painted wood. "Alan is mad about insulation. As we decorated each room, he insulated it."
In fact, the house is in such immaculate condition that the new owners will be faced with nothing more onerous than to unpack their bags. The couple intend to stay local, but are selling because, Monica says, "Alan has two vintage cars and he wants a garage so that he can house them at home." The irony, she says, is that they had a garage. They just converted it into their games room.
She will miss the area. "I love Bushy Park. I go for a walk there with the dogs" - two cute spaniels - "every day." There's the market on weekends where you can buy cupcakes fashioned by none other than Twink or enjoy browsing artwork.
Terenure village is five minutes' walk away, and Rathdown Drive is set back from the main Templeogue Road by a belt of trees and grass maintained, says Monica, by DCC immaculately.
There are plenty of buses to the city centre here, as well as easy access to the M50. The area is well served by schools, both public and private, within walking distance.
- Agent: Bracken Estates (01) 496 6444