Cranford Hall, Estuary Road, Malahide, Co Dublin Asking price: €1.4m Agent: Gallagher Quigley (01) 818300
He wanted to build a house in the French style but she wanted pure Georgian.
In the end it was the well known TV architect Duncan Stewart who ended up playing referee when he designed Cranford Hall for Paddy and Angela Beausang.
The end result was a mix of both design schools at the property overlooking the Malahide Estuary in north Dublin.
Paddy is descended from Huguenots and it would appear a penchant for French design lingers in his DNA. Meanwhile, his late wife Angela was in love with everything classically Georgian.
This was back in 1979 when well known environmentalist Stewart’s television career had yet to take off and he was a young jobbing architect.
The five-bedroom, two-storey dwelling, with reception rooms on both floors has been placed for sale this week and is set on a 1.8ac site with an option to buy an additional 10ac of farmland. The couple bought the land in 1976.
Paddy’s Beausang ancestors arrived in east Cork in the last decade of the 17th century, “I believe the family originally arrived into Youghal and settled in Ballymacoda.
“A lot has changed since then, including our religion,” he says.
The Protestant Huguenots were subjected to intermittent persecution in their native France.
In 1685 Louis XIV revoked the edict of Nantes which protected their right to religious freedoms and widespread persecution drove tens of thousands of Huguenots to flee France.
About 10,000 came to Ireland settling mainly in Dublin, Portarlington, Youghal, Lisburn and Waterford.
They brought skills in silk weaving and watchmaking.
A big win for Angela was the gated entrance which, although built from scratch in 1979, has since weathered well and looks like it has been standing in grand Georgian style for 200 years.
A tree-lined avenue meanders from a wrought-iron and pillared gateway through the extensive gardens to the house, which sits on a site with views across Malahide Estuary and over to Lambay Island.
Paddy, in turn, gained with a Mansard slate roof typical of French buildings since the middle of the 16th century. The four-sided hip roof has two slopes with dormer windows jutting out of the lower slope.
The type of roof takes its name from François Mansart, a French architect of the baroque period who popularised it in the 1600s.
The two garages at Cranford Hall which are built at angles to the dwelling house also sport Mansard tops and form a gravelled courtyard that is redolent of the French influence.
“That was Duncan’s idea,” Paddy says. “He thought the courtyard would complement the house, and it does.” There’s also the possibility of converting the garages into residential accommodation.
While the house stands on a 1.8ac site there is also an option to buy the remaining 10ac of land. This has been let to a local farmer, “It’s in barley and he keeps it in good order,” says Paddy.
He believes it should have development potential for low-density housing if Metro North goes ahead. One of the proposed stops will be “just two-and-a-half fields away.” While waiting for the metro to arrive, there is tax-free income from the land rental if leased to a farmer for five years or more.
The house itself is in a shallow V-shape with the main entrance at the inner apex. The positioning of the three buildings gives the courtyard a rhombus-like appearance.
The entrance porch leads to a double-height entrance hall with a gallery landing supported by Corinthian columns framing a marble fireplace. Arches either side of reception entrance lead to an inner hall.
An oval shaped lounge overlooks the gardens and again represents Angela’s Georgian priorities in the design of the building.
“She loved music and loved to entertain so we have two pianos in the house and plenty of room for entertaining,” Paddy said.
The oval room stretches out overlooking the estuary with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides. It is connected to a formal dining room and, in turn, with the kitchen/breakfast room.
Angela’s Georgian lean sees many of the receptions featuring that era’s proportions, its style of marble chimney pieces and some quite elaborate ceiling roses.
In many well-sited houses, the least used spaces often have the best views. Quite the opposite is case here thanks to Stewart’s interventions; while the kitchen is at the north-facing gable it has great views of Malahide Estuary and Lambay Island.
“There is a conflict here between view and sun; the view is to the north because the estuary is to the north,” Paddy explains.
At the opposite gable is a smaller family room while a guest bedroom and shower room complete the main downstairs accommodation. Other spaces include a guest WC, a shower room and a cloakroom.
Angela’s love for entertaining is evident again in the location of a reception room on the first floor above the oval room with (French) doors opening to a balcony. The remainder of the first floor is taken up with four double bedrooms and the family bathroom.
Other features around the house include cornicing and decorative plaster work along with wooden floors and a few sets of French doors connecting rooms and opening to the outdoors.
Because of the shape of the building many of the rooms have very interesting angles and shapes, particularly the kitchen and the reception hall.
There is a total of four chimney pieces on both floors, “At the time we built the house, electricity strikes were a common occurrence. I wanted to be sure we could heat the house no matter what happened,” Paddy says.
And with his four children having grown up, and making their own way, it’s time for Paddy Beausang to sell up. The property is for sale through Gallagher Quigley which is asking €1.4m for this ‘mock Frorgian’ by the sea.