Luxury Howth home which boasts its own tennis courts on the market for €1.8m
1980-built luxuryhome has potential for conversion
What did a millionaire's dream party pad look like back in 1980? How did contemporary design roll at the top of the market when disco reigned and the beat of the Nolan Sisters ("I'm in the Mood For Dancing") and Abba ("Super Trouper") filled the glitterball spiked dance floors?
This was when ladies sported high perms and angular shoulder pads, company managers dreamt of a Ford Granada Ghia and entertaining at home meant 20 cases of Harp stubbies, a case of Babycham and three platters of cocktail stick stacked cheese cubes with a glace cherry on the top? Maybe even a fondue.
Cutting edge homes in 1980 were all about flat roofs, red bricks, razor sharp angles, high chimney breasts of random rubble, and smoked glass and panel pine - everywhere. But only a few really big versions were built - this was a time when unemployment was at 20pc, strike blackouts were a weekly occurrence and Fianna Fail was telling us all to tighten our belts.
The embodiment of contemporary 1980 residential architecture is Horizons, a sprawling 4,500 sq ft residence on an eagle's nest site near the summit at Windgate Road, the Baily on Howth Head. The builder constructed it as his own private home and also, as was typical in those days, likely as a centre for corporate entertainment and guest invited parties - using the opulent surrounds as his salesroom. In 1980s Ireland, winning contracts often depended on how much booze you could pour into someone.
The house was later acquired by the Duffy family in the mid-1980s who left the American ranch style property largely untouched and now bring it to market after all siblings have flown the nest.
Although of 1980, the quality of the fit is still very much apparent. The house is framed in poured concrete with a reinforced roof, which means it is rock solid and can be remodelled easily and the huge roof areas are suited for planting up in gardens to enjoy the views (the present owners did for three decades).
The owners have also looked into having it modernised by skimming the exterior with render, replacing the dated glazing and taking out a front wall to replace it with glass. Some of the strip ceilings would also have to go along with dated fireplace surrounds. It's likely that new incumbents would leave those floors of rich Brazilian teak untouched and perhaps even the elaborate cherrywood ceiling detail to be found in the main reception rooms.
A smart buyer will realise that the structure of this house and its shape and layout will allow it to be "contemporised" without too much additional outlay. But most of all they will have their eye on the views right across Dublin bay as well as the size of the elevated site (one acre).
One of the siblings who grew up here says: "The views provided endless interest for us. We grew up enjoying the tall ships races, we saw the big American ships visiting, including the USS Ronald Reagan, the yachts going in and out from Dun Laoghaire and then there was the air shows out of Baldonnell."
Accommodation includes the entrance hall with a marble tiled floor. The extra large living room/dining room located upstairs has clear views across the bay with floor to ceiling windows, a teak floor and a feature cherrywood panelled ceiling. This measures almost 700 sq ft - to put it into context, the equivalent of the entire floor space of a typical two-up-two down terrace home. The sitting room has cherry wood flooring, a grooved timber ceiling and coal effect gas fire with brick surround.
There's also a games room and a family room on the lower floor. There are six bedrooms, five of which are double sized, and all are en-suite with a utility room and guest wc completing. The kitchen is marble tiled with polished black granite work tops, a stainless steel sink unit, a Teka double oven, four-ring hob and extractor fan, 'country'-style timber units, an integrated fridge freezer, and a large stove with brick surround.
The gardens are set behind secure electric gates and face due south to the rear with a 180-degree sea view across Dublin Bay back to Bray head and the Sugar Loaf. The landscaped gardens are set out in sun terraces and lawns and the property has its own tennis court.
The house is located five minutes' walk to the shops and the Summit Pub. The Baily Lighthouse is 10 minutes distant and the house is also within easy reach of the cliff walks and Jameson's Beach. Howth itself is known for its shops and seafood eateries along the Pier. The DART also serves the village. The price of a chance to broaden Horizons is €1.8m.
The Baily, Howth, Co Dublin
Asking price: €1.8m
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 8336555