Alpine airs on the Liffey for €950k
Foreign influences combined to give a Chapelizod chalet its character
If Ard Aoibhinn at Knockmaroon Hill in Dublin's Chapelizod has got something of an international look about it, it's because this is a house that has been forged by many varied foreign influences.
Originally thought to have been built some time in the 19th century, it was then a small cottage attached to the Brass Castle - a great big imposing building believed to be linked to the British military in Chapelizod.
The site is mentioned in the Gothic ghost story The House by the Church Yard, published in 1863 by Sheridan Le Fanu. Le Fanu, who wandered around Chapelizod's ancient streets gaining inspiration for his famous tales of terror, names the site as the location of guest accommodation at which the story's villain Dangerfield lives.
In the 1970s the cottage was acquired by a builder, who came here from Rhodesia, and the property was extended at that time in all directions. Today the rear walls are original and inside the house the front wall of the original cottage is contained within the internal structure. The old front door is now part of the passage through the hall.
The home that emerged contained some notable Rhodesian building characteristics including the external overhangs, which serve to shelter from the sun in what is now Zimbabwe - but here in Ireland are equally useful for avoiding the rain - and a series of slit windows which would serve to admit light without allowing the house to overheat.
We can presume that the sudden fall in temperature experienced by the then new occupants saw them insulate the resulting house to a far higher degree than was common in the day - more was added since giving it a respectable C2 BER rating for a house that largely originates in the 1970s.
Thirty five years ago the house was bought by a former diplomat and one time consul to Mongolia and his Swiss wife who have altered it slightly, for the most part with the addition of Velux windows for extra light along with upgrades to the heating.
Timber floors in oak and maple were added and combined with the extensive use of pine ceiling panels and rugged timber beams, to give this house a warm internal "wooded" look which is resonant of an Alpine chalet.
There's wooden beams and boards everywhere overhead, sometimes painted and sometimes exposed. This is most evident in the converted attic which is low roofed, and completely enveloped in timber. All of this ceiling panelling contributes additional insulation. The main rooms face south to optimise the sun's rays.
At 2,700 sq ft, the house is more than twice the size of the average semi. According to the owners, it's next biggest advantage after its warmth is its seclusion.
It sits on a half-acre site which is set back from the road and is not overlooked by any other properties or public routes. The back boundary wall of the property is also the boundary wall of the Phoenix Park, which was constructed of stone in the 1630's.
The house is laid out on five different levels which undulate throughout via a few steps up and a few steps down here and there. This makes the house ideal for older residents who don't fancy having to go up and down stairs.
The main receptions include the living room and the study - one of these with a wood-burning stove and thus increasing further both its eco credentials and chalet look, while the inclusion of a sauna adds once again to the latter. There's a well lit kitchen and diner and a rounded and glazed conservatory to take advantage of the sun in winter.
This property has four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The upstairs attic conversion is not included in the estate agent's 2,700 sq ft floor area.
One of the best aspects of the property is the living room which is pine beamed and panelled overhead and with an oak floor underfoot. There's a very large fireplace and overall the look is somewhat continental.
Neither does the total floor space figure include the outhouse - which is insulated and electrified and could serve as a home office, a children's play room or a teenager's den. This was constructed by the current owners for the purpose of breeding Irish setters and would suit a variety of conversion uses.
The house has a solar panel fitted to help with the energy bills and heating is gas-fired. Access to the site is via remote control electric gates.
Chapelizod is in a convenient location for those who need to get into the city, which is four miles away along the River Liffey.
In fact, the Liffey can be seen from parts of the site. Fishing is popular around Chapelizod where a weir is located and the river is used for kayaking and canoeing.
The other big amenity here is the Phoenix Park itself which is famously Europe's biggest city park and is popular for Sunday walks as well as a wide range of sporting events and activities. It also contains Dublin Zoo, one of the city's best day excursion locations.
Chapelizod maintains its medieval village look about it with old churches and ancient mill buildings and residences side by side with more modern homes. The village is located in two postcodes, northside and southside of the Liffey with winding slopes giving it character. Bartholomew McElhatton seeks €950,000.
Knockmaroon Hill, Chapelizod, Dublin 20
Asking price: €950,000
Agent: Bartholomew McElhatton (01) 6426262