Bespoke luxury in this modern home at The K Club for €1.5m
18 Churchfields, The K Club, Straffan, Co Kildare €1.5m
Straffan House, now home to The K Club, dates from 1832 and was originally built for Hugh Barton, of the famous wine family. Its design was based on that of a magnificent chateau at Louveciennes, west of Paris and not far from Versailles.
After the death of Barton, Straffan House passed through several generations of the family until 1949, when it was sold by Derick Barton to motorcycle manufacturer John Ellis for the sum of £15,000. Other owners over the years included car importer Steven O'Flaherty, the film producer Kevin McClory, whose credits include the James Bond film Thunderball, and the founder of the Iranian air force Nader Jahanbani.
Michael Smurfit bought the estate in 1988, restored the house at great expense, and opened The K Club in 1991.
When local developer Martin Flattery bought the site at 18 Churchfields at The K Club in 2005, it came with planning permission secured by architects Design Unlimited, of Wexford. There was pressure to start construction immediately, in advance of the Ryder Cup being held the following year.
Obviously, construction during the competition was a no-no, lest it put any of the players off their game. No doubt, the organisers wanted to ensure that there were no unsightly, unfinished buildings overlooking the course to be caught on camera as millions of golf fans tuned in from around the world to watch the competition.
Subsequently, Flattery brought in French architect Ghislain Luthers to advise on the finishes. Flattery's son Fergal says that his father wanted to bring the property "to the next level", so that the completed house would be able to hold its own in the competitive international market against high-end properties in Dubai, New York and London.
No 18 is a luxurious home, with a distinctive modern architectural identity. The house overlooks the Par 3 15th fairway of the Arnold Palmer-designed course, to which it has direct access via electric gates, and sits within an exclusive gated development of 22 houses.
The design of the house is configured to take advantage of the views out over the course from the rear, while to the front there is parking for several cars. There are tiled floors throughout the ground floor and things are kept warm with underfloor heating. At this level, the living space is open plan and has direct access to the patio through two double sliding doors. The fireplace is piped for gas and there is a separate television room that is tucked away, ideally suited to watching golf tournaments from different time zones around the world late into the night.
The modern kitchen has granite worktops, both electric and gas cooking hobs, an American-style fridge, double sink and integrated dishwasher, and there is a separate utility room. A guest bedroom with en suite on the ground floor has access to the patio.
A feature staircase leads from the open entrance hall to the first floor, where a large master bedroom suite with dressing room has access to the wraparound balcony looking out on to the golf course. Two further bedrooms are both en suite. Outside, there's a garage with electric doors.
"There were several trips to France and Italy to source materials," says Fergal. "We chose burr walnut for the internal doors, pear wood for the windows and doors and purple heart for the skirtings. The granite and marble came from Italy. I honestly don't think that there's a house like it in the country, there's nothing to compare in terms of finishes. Everything in the house is bespoke, even the fireplaces were handcrafted on site."
By the time the house was finished, the sky had fallen in in terms of the market for houses pitched at this level. Having expended significant sums on the construction and finishes, the Flatterys say that it is only now, more than 10 years later, that the market has recovered sufficiently for it to make sense to offer the house for sale, and it is being offered for sale by Sherry FitzGerald Country.
In the intervening years, the house has been maintained but not occupied or rented out. Fergal says that renting out a high-end property such as this would have devalued it, as potential purchasers prefer everything to be new and unused.
The Flatterys are keen to point out that it is not a bank sale and that they have a new development of 110 houses in Straffan being launched in the coming months.
Joint agent: Sherry FitzGerald Country (01) 237 6308/Property Partners Brady (01) 651 0000