Inside the five-star €1.95m home of Fitzpatrick hotelier Eithne Scott-Lennon
Tudor Lodge, Stradbrook Road, Blackrock, Co Dublin €1.95m
'We only had two children when we bought Tudor Lodge," says Eithne Scott-Lennon, "but our family was growing rapidly and we knew that we needed something bigger."
Eithne and her husband, James, went on to raise four sons in the house, but now it's time to downsize and let someone else enjoy it. And there's plenty to enjoy: the house has 482 sqm of living space and half-an-acre of wraparound garden.
Built in the 1940s, the extent of the house is not immediately apparent from the outside. "I love the fact that people passing by think that this is a dormer bungalow," says Eithne.
Located behind wrought iron gates on Stradbrook Road, near the junction with Newtownpark Avenue (and just along from the Quaker burial ground), there's more than a touch of the home counties about it - and it's easy to see why it would have appealed to the British Embassy as a residence for their First Secretary. Built in the Edwardian style, with a nod in the direction of the Arts & Crafts movement and touches of Georgian grandeur about some of the fireplaces and other features, it is a house well-suited to entertaining on a grand scale. The First Secretary did his share, by all accounts, and the Scott-Lennons have carried on the hospitable traditions of Tudor Lodge. It has been, they say, a great party house.
Eithne Scott-Lennon is, of course, one of the Fitzpatrick family of Killiney Castle Hotel and the welcoming of guests is in her blood. It's a trait that has been passed on to the next generation: sons Mark and Joe work in the family business, the former as general manager.
At home, the Scott-Lennons say Tudor Lodge has functioned as an unofficial Blackrock clubhouse ever since their sons went to school. The large garden (plenty of space for kicking rugby balls) and snooker room no doubt contributed to the attractions of the house for the boys' friends, and a Monday night snooker session for uncles and cousins is still a weekly fixture. "The person who doesn't show up buys the pizza," says husband James.
"The house is so big," says Eithne, "that the boys could have their friends in and we'd be having a business meeting in another part of the house and we weren't disturbed."
The Scott-Lennons bought Tudor Lodge at auction in 1986, when there was a sentry box outside and armoured doors and bullet-proof windows on the front of the house for the protection of the previous resident. They did much of the initial decorating themselves - "magnolia was the name of the game back then," says James - and furnished the house with pieces given to them by family members. "We accepted everything we were given," says Eithne, indicating a rather fine grand piano that came from her parents' house.
Ten years ago, they embarked on a major refurb that involved rewiring, re-plumbing and redecorating the whole house, and it is now a warm, comfortable and tastefully decorated home with not a trace of magnolia. The spacious hallway has a handy cloakroom and guest lavatory immediately off it. The morning room in the bay to the left of the front door is light-filled and lovely, while the formal drawing room and dining room are grand rooms with elegant proportions. A full bathroom on the ground floor means the ground floor could easily be converted into a self-contained suite. Also at ground floor level is the kitchen, with a separate utility room, an array of pantries and a boot room. The original butler's pantry and the butler's bedroom, the latter now a home study, are close by, but the new owners of Tudor Lodge will probably find themselves frequenting The Butler's Pantry shop instead, where they will find all manner of delicious things to eat. Upstairs, the five double bedrooms are spacious, with the master suite as luxurious as any hotel. There is extensive attic space which could be incorporated into the house. Outside, there's parking for five cars and a spacious verandah.
Agent: Hunters Estate Agent (01) 275 1640