Friday 18 October 2019

Chance for trophy pad restoration

Grand Design opportunities on a grand scale are available to the buyers of €2m-valued St Heliers in Blackrock, says Mark Keenan

Storeys of the past: the original house was laid out with three elaborate receptions, a kitchen and 10 bedrooms
Storeys of the past: the original house was laid out with three elaborate receptions, a kitchen and 10 bedrooms
Original features of the house
Welcome: the hallway towards the stylish staircase
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

If you're looking for the grandest of Grand Design projects to work on to create a real wow factor abode then St Heliers, at Stillorgan Park in Blackrock, Co Dublin, is a very handsome and tall three-storey, 10-bedroomed Edwardian house built c. 1904 with some quite breathtaking red brick detail and a design which presents gables in all four directions.

The gracious Edwardian was sold back in the 1980s by long-time owners, the Gaynors. It was sold with its grounds on which developers built homes on three of its acres, leaving a still quite generous 0.14 hectares around the property.

This was a dangerous time for big houses like St Heliers and many suburban historic landed houses like this one were levelled by builders in the 1970s and 1980s at a time when the architectural conservation movement was just getting underway.

At this point, in stepped town planners and consulting engineers Kiaran O'Malley and the late Ronald Bergin who saw a way of saving the property and at the same time putting it to good use.

Welcome: the hallway towards the stylish staircase
Welcome: the hallway towards the stylish staircase

The consultants duly secured planning permission from An Bord Pleanála for a change of use from residential to office use, for which purpose the building has been used for the past 35 years. They established their respective professional practices at St Heliers and would provide strategic planning advice to a broad range of public and private sectors clients. From inside its gracious rooms the pair have contributed to projects like the Croke Park Stadium, the Ashleaf Shopping Centre, and Mount Juliet Estate. Then Ronald Bergin passed away sadly two years ago.

Now the property is being sold again, seeking offers over €2m. Many believe it's time for St Heliers to revert back to residential use. At 4,000sq ft, it represents a perfect project for someone looking to restore it as a luxury and prestigious private residence. The selling agents are not surprisingly getting interest from Embassy missions. Alternatively it can be easily split up into three large apartment homes with further potential to build at the side of the property. Finally it could remain in commercial use as stylish headquarters for a medium-sized company.

Thanks to its constant usage through the years, the house doesn't actually need a huge amount of work. Rewiring may be required depending on your view and the central heating system which is oil based could be upgraded. The kitchen will have to be reconfigured, but overall the bones are solid and everything else is already there. The original house was laid out with three elaborate receptions, a kitchen and 10 bedrooms.

The house is centrally positioned on the site with vehicular access at St Heliers Copse and surface level parking to the side and rear of the property. Its principal front elevation faces south towards Stillorgan Park. Internally, there is a very stylish decorative staircase that winds centrally through the building providing access to most of the rooms. There are sliding timber sash windows and fireplaces throughout and wooden shutters are a notable feature to the three main ground floor rooms.

It's handy for Blackrock Village and the sea front and it's a straight run in to the city. If you're interested in a period house conversion on this grand scale, contact Vincent Finnegan (01) 2984695.

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