Seaside penthouse with views to thrill on the market in Monkstown
With 360° views from the mountains to the sea, this Monkstown apartment is a true one-off
One night in October 1978, on stage in the Top Hat ballroom in Dun Laoghaire, Gavin Friday of the Virgin Prunes split open the plastic trousers that his mother had made for him out of raincoats. He wasn't wearing underpants, and the night has long been acknowledged as a seminal one in the history of Irish punk.
I can verify that the story is true, because I was there. Headlining that night were The Clash, whose tour manager reportedly threw The Prunes off the stage and out of the venue. Because they had no money, Friday and his bandmates had to walk home all the way to Ballymun from Dun Laoghaire with their gear. He didn't say whether he had another pair of trousers with him.
Ah, memories. The Top Hat ballroom has plenty of history, its stage having played host to The Stranglers and The Jam as well as just about every home-grown act of a certain vintage that you can think of. The venue later became a roller disco and for a while was a soft-play centre called The Fun Factory.
And then it was demolished and, in 2000, in its place appeared De Vesci House, an apartment development made distinctive by its architects with a circular top hat-shaped tower on the top, a nod to the glamorous past of the site.
This glazed tower forms the upper level of the penthouse apartment. On a bright February morning, the 360-degree views from the circular living room are spectacular, taking in Howth Head, the whole of Dublin Bay, the Aviva Stadium, the Dublin Mountains, Killiney Hill and Dun Laoghaire's harbour and piers.
Dr Katherine Howell, an academic in UCD's School of Medicine who is originally from the UK, and her partner Greg Dlugi, who is German and in the final stages of his training to be a pilot, bought the apartment for €305,000 in 2013 when it had been vacant for a couple of years.
They set about an extensive refurbishment that involved ripping out and replacing the kitchen and both bathrooms, repairing the windows and replacing the doors of the tower. "And painting over all the orange pine," says Greg. "That had to go."
One of only three apartments on the fourth floor, the penthouse is a duplex with 93sqm of living space. At the entrance level there are two double bedrooms, the master en suite, and a second bathroom.
The kitchen is fitted with smart, charcoal grey high-gloss units with white corian-style worktops, glass splashbacks and chrome handles. There's a matching island unit, and appliances that come with the sale include a Neff double oven and induction hob, plus an integrated microwave, dishwasher and wine fridge. There's underfloor heating throughout, supplemented by decorative infra-red heating panels on the walls of the bedrooms.
The apartment has two private terraces at this level, one off the kitchen that catches the evening sun and that Katherine and Greg use for barbecues when they are entertaining, and another off the master bedroom that gets the sun all day.
Upstairs, though, is the focal point of the whole apartment. The living room and its views are what it's all about.
The apartment comes with two parking spaces in the basement, and the use of both a communal terrace on the roof and large shared gardens down below.
Dun Laoghaire's West Pier is a couple of minutes away, as are the shops and restaurants of Monkstown Crescent and the Dart station.
With their first child due and their energetic dog, Blue, a handsome black Labrador/husky cross in need of a garden to run around in, the couple are on the hunt for a spacious house with plenty of guest bedrooms for their families when they come to visit. Having got used to the views in Monkstown, they have their hearts set on something up in the Dublin Mountains.