Clontarf home once featured on RTE's Showhouse on the market for €895k
Winstonville House was a star of Tiger era property TV with host Neville Knott
This classic, period home in Clontarf - Winstonville House - became a TV star in its own right during the property boom years.
For a time during this period, television was overrun with property TV programmes, such as Location, Location, Location, Changing Rooms, Property Ladder and Homes in the Sun. with presenters like Kirsty Allsopp and Sarah Beany becoming household names
The classic cream tinted Victorian villa on the Malahide Road in Clontarf, Dublin 3, was acquired by the firm of Paul Dufficy and Co in the Celtic Tiger era which spent a fortune restoring the property along with its adjoining and identical neighbour, and kitting both out with top class materials and gizmos.
And in 2002, around the time the job was being completed, both adjoining houses were among the most plush featured in Showhouse - one of the many copycat Celtic Tiger era Irish property TV vehicles hosted by our own property boom small screen superstar, the ever wholesome Neville Knott.
The popular series gave interiors professionals and designers an identical house each to furnish and kit out in competition with each other, with the winner judged at the end of each programme.
Winstonville House was taken on by Dun Laoghaire based interiors expert Mary Ryder, who was pitted against competing designer Eunan Byrne.
For her part, Ryder had worked with NBK designs, an award-winning architectural practice, and went on to design interiors for retailers, bars and nightclubs as well as private clients, before setting up her own practice.
However, it's not clear today whether the most unusual aspect of this house - a hidden bathroom - was the idea of Ryder or the renovating developers who funded the projects. The 'secret bathroom' is an upstairs shower room, hidden away off the main upstairs landing, behind a floor to ceiling panel of faux bookshelves complete with fake books.
The feature is completely convincing and those wishing to use said bathroom facility have to know how to find and pull open the panel to get to it.
While it could conceivably be used as a panic room in the event of a break in, the vendors don't seem to remember why it was installed. We presume it could provide a decent prank opportunity at parties (albeit a risky one) directing people upstairs when they request the bathroom.
All the top class bells and whistles installed back when the boom was getting boomier are still in evidence at Winstonville House, which comes with an internal vacuum system, a video intercom, electronically operated front gates and a lot of very expensive marble, stone and designer wood surfaces.
The kitchen has stone work tops and the hall comes with a shining porcelain tiled floor. The result of the boom era renovation was the transformation of a period home into a comfortable, modern abode, and it could be argued that many of the renovations which took place back then would not be permitted today - for example, the installation of double glazed windows. The original shutters are still here and intact.
Accommodation includes an entrance hall leading to a drawing room with an open stone fireplace, and a similarly equipped dining room. Both have polished walnut floors and include original period ceiling coving and centre rose designs.
There's a family bathroom on the return with marble tiling, a sunken bath and a heated towel rail. Upstairs is the master bed chamber with walnut flooring, and lit by two sash windows at the front of the house. This comes with its own en-suite shower room with a copper spiral towel rail. The second bedroom is also double-sized, as is the third and fourth, the latter with built-in wardrobes.
The 'hidden' bathroom comes with a shower cubicle, wash hand basin and a toilet.
At the other end of the house is the kitchen with a range of timber built-in wall and floor units and an island unit, marble worktops and floors, and an integrated fridge and freezer. This level also includes a dining room, a home office, a utility room and a bathroom.
Clontarf DART station is a four minute walk away, and the property is also near the Casino in Marino. While little has changed with the layout and styling of this home since the Tiger years and its Neville Knott Showhouse outing, one big difference is the price. Having been offered at €2m in 2007, it is now available for €895,000 through Sherry FitzGerald's Killester branch.
64 Malahide Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3
Asking price: €895,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 833 6555