Friday 18 October 2019

For the 'big house' trade down

Those with sizeable furniture should look to Enniskerry

Kilcroney is a gated residence accessed by a private lane.
Kilcroney is a gated residence accessed by a private lane.
The living room and dining area in Kilcroney
The large entrance hall with winding staircase.
Kilcroney is a gated residence for extra privacy
The rear of Kilcroney with room for al fresco dining.
The study is simple but elegant.
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

Can you really 'trade down' to a 3,000 sq ft 'smaller' property that stands three times the size of the average city family home?

Well you might do if your previous property was a 6,000 sq ft trophy home on its own grounds. In fact, what people view as a 'smaller more manageable' pad depends wholly on personal context - on what you've been used to previously.

Empty nesters who have raised their families in a 1,000 sq ft semi are wont to trade down to a two bedroom apartment and be delighted to be finally rid of lawn mowing, hoovering two floors and exterior maintenance. On the other hand, those trading down from 6,000 sq ft plus period trophy homes might end up in a five-bed estate house and be chuffed to shed the expense of pool maintenance, groundsmen and professional cleaners.

This is why most of the interest in Kilcroney Lodge, a 3,000 sq ft fantasy 'trade down' built by a couple of empty nesters outside Enniskerry a decade ago, has thus far come from those seeking to trade down from big piles in Dalkey, Killiney and Greystones - particularly those with 'big house' furniture in tow.

It's something that many trading down from top-end trophy homes tend to forget: that their 'big house' furniture - those 10ft high bookshelves, the four-seater sofa suites, the 10 seater dining tables - don't tend to sit too snugly in a home half the size.

This is one of the reasons why Dublin's furniture auctions are strewn with larger quality pieces which end up being disposed of at a fraction of their true worth.

Meantime, those who cram their big sleigh beds and massive sofa L-sets into smaller homes regardless will end up with room dimensions that appear shrunken thanks to unsuitably large furnishings.

But when Kilcroney Lodge was designed a decade ago, it was sketched out according to the owner's own needs and one of their specific briefs was to cater for the larger furniture they wished to hold on to from their previous home.

For this reason the rooms at Kilcroney Lodge are laid out in unusually large dimensions for the overall size of the house - the ceilings are all over 10ft high and the large hall is a double height space with a gallery area. This pad will take any number of grandfather clocks, barrister's desks and stand alone 'tallboy' wardrobe sets. It's only slightly further out for those who have previously lived in coastal south Dublin and only up the road for top-end downtraders from Greystones or Delgany.

There's also privacy - the house is accessed from a private lane which includes a handful of detached abodes located off it.

There's security - the house is within an enclosed site of one acre with access by electronic security gates. The setting is rural even though the property is within a kilometer (walking distance) of the scenic north Wicklow tourist town of Enniskerry. The area is popular because of the views (they include the frosty-topped Sugarloaf)) as well as ease of access to the sea and the area's beaches. There's long walks to enjoy in the Powerscourt Gardens and Avoca Handweavers is located off the next motorway exit.

The house was conceived as an homage to a period lodge, so it has that olde worlde romantic character (there's a Juliet balcony off the master bed chamber) without the disadvantages associated with spending a fortune on heating old bricks (Kilcroney has a C BER rating).

As would be expected from a dream home trade-down project, there are some high quality fittings and materials involved including Italian travertine tiling in the bathrooms, solid oak floors and there's a bespoke handmade kitchen.

From the aforementioned entrance hall, there's the living room which runs the full length of the house and includes a crafted fireplace within which is housed a rustic solid-fuel stove.

There's a traditional style kitchen, an elegant study and a lounge. Upstairs there are three bedrooms with the master chamber running the width of the house.

Along with its romantic balcony, it also has a wood-burning stove and an ensuite with a substantial stand-alone bath tub. The other two bedrooms are also double sized and each comes with its own shower room to avoid congestion on the mornings and evenings of family stayover events.

Outside there's a two-car garage with space overhead to allow an office, studio or hobby conversion. The gardens have been expertly tended and include rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas and assorted tree ferns.

Finally, those with an intention of retiring to golf will be spoiled for choice with local courses including Old Conna, Powerscourt, Glen of the Downs, Greystones and Delgany.

Kilcroney Lodge

Kilcroney Lane, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow

Asking price: €1.5m

Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 2866630

Indo Property

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