Look Inside: This huge five-bedroom €850k lodge is the perfect party home with three big reception rooms
Designed to look as if it has always been in the landscape, like its namesake
Among the most famous visitors to Deetjen's Big Sur Inn, deep in the redwood forests of California's central coast, were Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller, Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.
The inn was established in the 1930s by Norwegian Helmuth Deetjen and his Californian wife Helen Haight. For decades they hosted diverse bohemian guests, with Helmuth, or 'Grandpa', becoming more reclusive all the while and 'Mrs D' famously getting increasingly fat.
After their deaths, Deetjen's Big Sur Inn was placed on the US National Register of Historic Places in 1990, and some years later Siobhan Cosgrove came for a visit with her future husband while on a tour of California.
So taken were they with the charms of the place that, when they were building their dream home together about 10 years later, they decided to name it in the inn's honour. So Deetjen Lodge arrived in Co Meath.
This was back in 2005, and the couple were married with two daughters. They commissioned local architect Declan Clabby to design a house that would look as if it had always been there in the landscape - much like its Californian namesake.
It's nothing as remote though, as its Big Sur counterpart. Deetjen Lodge is in the townland of Jarretstown, about halfway between Leixlip and Dunboyne - both about five kilometres away - and about 15 minutes drive from the Blanchardstown junction of the M50.
"Even though it's Co Meath it's so central," says Siobhan. "We're only about 10 kilometres from the Phoenix Park here but we're in the countryside. So it's the best of both worlds."
The couple now have five daughters aged between seven and 15, and the older girls attend Mount Sackville school in Chapelizod. "The drive there takes only about 20 minutes even at peak time at eight in the morning."
Before giving up work four years ago, Siobhan used to commute daily to the city centre. "I took the train from Confey (Leixlip) and could get into town in 35 minutes. It's not bad at all. Nearly everyone around here commutes."
In designing and building the house, the couple were particular about certain features such as a natural slate roof and genuine timber sash windows, and they clothed the house in a shawl of Virginia creeper, giving it a well-settled, established air. "A lot of people who come to visit think it's an old cottage that we restored," says Siobhan.
The heritage-quality features continue inside, where there are marble and hardwood floors, marble fireplaces and a curved, open-string staircase in the entrance hall. But it's undeniably a modern house, with geothermal underfloor heating and a B2 energy rating.
It's 3,132 sq ft in size with five bedrooms (three en-suite). Four of these are upstairs including the master bedroom, where the en-suite has both a roll-top bath and a walk-in shower, and where there's also a walk-in wardrobe and a balcony.
The fifth bedroom is an en-suite guest room on the ground floor, to the left of the entrance hall. This level also has three main reception rooms together with a playroom or home office.
Right of the entrance hall is a dual-aspect drawing room with a bay window and a marble fireplace. Steps lead down from there to a living room with a vaulted wooden ceiling and four windows overlooking the garden. The living room has a hardwood floor and another marble fireplace.
Next to the living room is the open-plan dining room and kitchen, with steps separating the two areas. The dining room has a hardwood floor and double doors to the garden. The kitchen is fitted with handmade cabinets and a centre island with stools lined up at a wooden breakfast bar. It also has an oil-fired Aga and more French doors to the garden, and there's a separate utility room for the noisy jobs.
"It's very much a party house," says Siobhan. "The reception rooms do flow into each other well. And we've had many parties here. This has been a very happy home for us really."
It's on 2.2 acres of grounds behind electronic entrance gates and a limestone wall, and has a detached lofted garage with an office and a shower room. There are lawns, trees, flowerbeds and shrubs, but it's not all garden. Part of the land consists of a post and rail paddock behind the house.
And although the house itself may be big enough for Siobhan's family of seven, the grounds are not. Four of the five girls are mad about ponies, so Siobhan and her husband are now upsizing - they need a place with stables and more land.
"We're very sad to leave. Three of the kids were born here and it's a great house and a great area. The neighbours are fantastic," says Siobhan.
Deetjen Lodge is for sale with joint agents Savills Country (01) 663 4350 and Dillon Auctioneers in Dunshaughlin (01) 825 9154. The asking price is €850,000.
Jarretstown, Co Meath
Asking price: €850,000
Agent: Savills Country (01) 663 4350 and Dillon Auctioneers in Dunshaughlin (01) 825 9154