Peek inside €2m Foxrock home with an indoor pool
Beaming with 'Orpenism'
The Stillorgan-born Orpen brothers William and Richard made a big impression in their respective professions on both sides of the Irish Sea.
William, the more famous, headed to London to make his mark as a painter and is today noted for his self portraits and war themes. Richard stayed in Dublin to become one of the most talented Irish architects through the late Victorian and Edwardian periods, during which some of the capital's most beautiful homes were crafted.
A writer with Irish Builder magazine credited Richard Orpen with bringing the modern bungalow to Ireland. The word comes from bengala - the popular low slung single-storey Indian home type, designs for which were brought back from the Raj during the Victorian era. The publication also credits Orpen with "quite a colony of pretty red-tiled gabled houses in the fashionable residential district of Foxrock".
While William, the painter, was also an accomplished draughtsman, Richard, the architect, could also paint. The latter was observed at a public event producing a watercolour seascape painted at speed using brushes held in both hands simultaneously. He was separately described as drawing a full size detail of a baluster, working with a pencil in each hand. Richard was also a cheery character who touched those who met him. "Orpenism and optimism to my mind, are synonymous terms," wrote an interviewer in 1922.
Among Orpen's pretty Foxrock "colony" is Chadsley House, a detached home on almost an acre (0.82) located on the Leopardstown Road in Foxrock, Dublin 18. Although it has been modernised, the house is still beaming with Orpenism. While we can't be certain when Chadsley was completed, it is designed to a gabled Edwardian style. However, the original panel front door and the style of the original chimney pieces suggest it might have been constructed some time in the 1920s.
Elegant touches include the box bay-windows and the ornate red-brick chimney stacks with graduated lips and layering, showing off Irish bricklaying at its most intricate. The owners have installed a period style conservatory around the front recessed arch entrance - a help with insulation - but those who would prefer to have the house as original can remove it easily.
It's in the main hall that Orpen's talents are let loose. There are ornate soft flattened arches here (a feature throughout the house) and the low return gallery staircase with turned balusters is very much the centrepiece of the room.
The owners have added a separate swimming pool and leisure pavilion at the back, with an indoor heated pool, a gym, shower and changing facilities. For those who like to keep fit, there's also a full-sized hard tennis court.
The house spans 4,187 sq ft - almost four times the size of an average city semi. Enter through the conservatory, then to the hall and there's a long dining room straight ahead. To the right is the family room and to the left is the drawing room. Also off the hall is the front drawing room and the study. The master bedroom has a walk-in dressing room and ensuite bathroom. There's the family bathroom, three other bedrooms and another kitchen and living room on this floor, with access to a good-sized balcony.
Because the site area is substantial, there will be development interest. An architect's report suggests three additional homes could be constructed on the site with access while maintaining the original Orpen-designed dwelling.
For a private buyer, this also suggests real long-term investment potential. Knight Frank seeks €2m.
Leopardstown Road, Foxrock, Dublin 18
Asking price: €2m
Agent: Knight Frank (01) 6342466