Violet Hill, Windgate Road, Baily,, Howth, Co Dublin Asking price: €4.5m Agent: Gallagher Quigley (01) 8183000
WHILE Bono famously grew up on the northside of Dublin, the U2 frontman has lived since the 1980s on the far side of the Bay - at a luxury period home with fab sea views at Temple Hill in Killiney.
But architect Colin Jennings who has worked on the rocker’s luxury 12,000 sq ft home reckons the U2 frontman has lost out by moving southside. Having also redesigned Violet Hill, a 4,465 sq ft seafront mansion with a swimming pool and tennis courts, right across the Bay at the Baily in Howth, he reckons the latter’s sea views are much better.
Jennings of Studio DSQ Architects adds: “I worked on Bono’s house too and a number of others in Killiney and Dalkey and the view from Violet Hill is one of the best in Dublin. It looks out over Dublin Bay to the front and to the side, you can see Dublin city. At night when the lights come on it’s just incredible.”
The south-facing four bedroom house, located off Windgate Road on the southern slopes of the Howth Peninsula is on two acres of land with no buildings surrounding.
Its completely uninterrupted bay vista features the Kish Bank lighthouse in the distance, ships coming and going.
To the right, is Wicklow Head, Bray Head, Dalkey Island and Dun Laoghaire. You can see as far as Sandymount, Poolbeg Chimneys and Dublin city below. And Killiney Hill too.
Jennings’ skills, adjusting big period seafront homes like Bono’s to optimise their views, were called upon by Violet Hill’s owners in 2016.
They tasked him with orienting the redeveloped house to take every advantage of its visual prowess from high up on Baily. “The idea was to make the most of the views from every room in the building,” says Jennings.
Originally a cottage on the site had itself been extended and redesigned in the 1980s. His clients were a New Zealand couple who had lived around the world and had grown-up children.
“They wanted to respect the existing building, while giving it an upmarket classic look,” says Jennings. “There’s a very particular aesthetic in New Zealand that they brought to the house. It’s edgy but at the same time classic.”
There was a curved extension to the front of Violet Hill which they originally planned to extend. But, when it was opened up, the structure was complicated and tied into the walls.
“We thought we could raise beams up or take them out, but the engineer said we couldn’t do it,” explains Jennings. “So, we had to take the whole extension down. We then rebuilt it, effectively adding five metres to the house.”
Next came the windows. All are now rectangular Chital style in steel (as opposed to aluminium) and these are lined up on a grid.
“There’s a huge amount of light throughout the house. In order to achieve this we widened and reshaped the windows,” he says. “That symmetry created a somewhat Japanese look which worked very well.” Obviously it also helped access to that precious vista.
There were stairs in the hallway which was blocking the view and these were removed.
It left a double-height void which now has a steel bridge joining the two sections of the house over the hallway which leads to the upstairs master bedroom.
Originally, they planned to make it in steel but the steel was too thick, so steel plate was used instead. The means you can see straight through the house.
The clients wanted to bring the back garden into the house so they put double height glass to the front and the back. “That set up a formal, classic feel which again is typical of architecture in New Zealand,” says Jennings.
The kitchen/dining/living area is to the front and is now L shaped and open plan.
It’s situated on the left of the building when facing the entrance.
Meanwhile, there’s a formal living room and connecting dining room to the right.
The lady of the house has given its rooms a classic New England look. Natural woven carpets, hardwood flooring, neutral tones and textured wall paper are earthy but elegant.
The kitchen is one of the big spend items in this house and comes with an oversized industrial size counter topped with polished concrete.
There’s polished chrome and glass on the cupboard doors, and the floor is solid stained oak. The stone fireplace in the kitchen/living area is surrounded by raw steel.
There’s an open fireplace in the sitting room with a white marble mantel piece and polished wooden coffee table. The overall aesthetic is tranquil.
There’s also a gym/bedroom downstairs plumbed for an en suite. Four bedrooms upstairs have big windows and are flooded with light.
The master bedroom occupies the entire south easterly area upstairs across its landing bridge and has views of the sea.
There’s a 15 metre heated outdoor swimming pool and a tennis court. The windows show off the pool on the side of the house. There’s also a decent sized garage.
“We built a fireplace out there and wrapped the whole area in rusted steel. In addition, we made a type of Cortex sculpture,” says Jennings.
”The fire gives out plenty of heat and the area is surprisingly sheltered. It can be used all year round.” Jennings adds that Violet Hill was one of the best jobs he ever did.
And with the family moving on, the property is for sale through Gallagher Quigley asking €4.5m.