Down by the sea: Ivy Lodge goes on the market
Ivy Lodge Lower Glenageary Road, Glenageary, Co Dublin: €1.32m
When Derek Behan and his wife bought Ivy Lodge just over 20 years ago, it was the symmetry of the villa that captivated them - that and the large garden to the front, which Derek quickly realised would provide parking space for a selection of his large collection of cars. As the proprietor of the Blackrock Auto Clinic, which looks after the health of many of SoCoDu's high-end motors, it's a hobby that merges seamlessly with Derek's day job.
On a warm summer's day, there are just three examples on view - a newish Mercedes, for everyday use, a gas-guzzling 1960s Ford Mustang that is in mid-restoration and something of a labour of love (one senses that it's a bit of a heartbreaker), and its polar opposite, a nifty two-seater Renault Twizy, fully-electric, that plugs into a regular household socket.
"I reckon it goes for 90km on 50 cents' worth of electricity," says Derek. "It's the perfect vehicle for nipping about the locality, with road tax set at a very affordable €120 per year."
All very well if you're the one driving perhaps, but not so comfortable if you're the passenger squeezing into the compact rear seat.
While there's plenty of room for cars, there's still a fabulous garden too. Because the orientation of Ivy Lodge, which is detached and dates from the mid 19th Century, is sideways to the Lower Glenageary Road, and the garden lies mainly to the front, it gets the sun all day long.
There's a magnolia tree that must be magnificent when in bloom, a fine lawn surrounded by mature borders, and a wisteria-covered pergola with a table and chairs for morning coffee and pre-dinner drinks.
To the side of the house is another secluded patio. The gardens are dotted with pieces of sculpture carved by Derek, who trained in the art at NCAD, from slabs of granite that he discovered in the grounds. One is in metal inspired by the basalt rock formation at the Giant's Causeway, and another is formed out of sections of exhaust pipes welded together in the form of a snake.
The detached house, which came to the market earlier this year priced at €1.45m but is now €1.325m, has 216sqm of living space. When the Behans bought Ivy Lodge in 1997 they set about a full restoration that included a new staircase linking the two floors internally, rewiring, replumbing, dropping floors and tanking the garden level.
"One day, a local historian called to the door and told me a story about the house," says Derek. "He said that it had been built by a widower who lived in a big house up the hill as a home for his spinster daughter. The father was getting remarried, and he wanted the daughter out!"
These days, Ivy Lodge is tucked away behind tall electric gates. A flight of granite steps leads to the front door and on either side of the entrance hall - papered in distinctive Mount Vernon Plantation Toile - are two dual-aspect reception rooms, both with their original bay windows overlooking the garden.
All the other windows in the house were replaced - at eye-watering expense, says Derek, because they were custom-made in mahogany and double-glazed.
On the return on the right-hand side of the house is the master bedroom, with the opposite and equally-sized room used as a luxurious family bathroom - complete with roll-top bath - and walk-in wardrobe. Up at the top of the house are two further double bedrooms, one of which is en suite.
On the lower level, the kitchen/dining/living space to the rear is where the Behans spend much of their time, and where there is space for Derek to paint. The smart utility room is under the front steps while, to the front of the house, are a formal dining room and a fourth bedroom, with an en-suite shower room that doubles up as a study.
While Ivy Lodge is in move-in condition, new owners may wish to explore the possibility of extending the house into the second patio area on the far side of the house, subject of course to planning permission.
Derek says that an architect has suggested that there may be the potential for building a second house on the site, but that this is something that prospective purchasers will need to investigate for themselves.
The Behans are now planning to spend more time abroad, so are preparing to downsize to a smaller home in the area. They can't imagine living anywhere else.
"We want to stay close to the sea," says Derek. "We love being able to walk the pier, and stroll to Dalkey for dinner and to Glasthule for drinks with friends at 64 Wine. Glenageary Tennis Club is just down the road. There are schools and shops close by. Really the location is just perfect."
Era: Mid-19th Century
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 284 4422
Viewing: By appointment