Saturday 15 December 2018

Peek inside the home of one of Ireland's top interior designers whose unusual Blackrock split-level just hit the market

Suzie McAdam added warmth to No 12a with colour and texture

Suzie McAdam with husband Barry Byrne and dog Mischko in the living room. Suzie says the Fireorb solid-fuel fire is one of her favourite things about the house. Photo: Tony Gavin
Suzie McAdam with husband Barry Byrne and dog Mischko in the living room. Suzie says the Fireorb solid-fuel fire is one of her favourite things about the house. Photo: Tony Gavin
One of the bedrooms
The en suite
The rear garden includes a koi pond
The feature Fireorb solid-fuel hanging fire in the living area
One of the three bedrooms is used as a music room
The kitchen/dining room has sliding doors to the garden
Katy McGuinness

Katy McGuinness

Back in 2010, interior designer Suzie McAdam and her husband purchased 12a Ardagh Avenue in Blackrock.

The house was a one-off infill by a small developer who had hived off the corner site from the garden of Number 10 next door and retained the services of Davy Smith Architects to maximise the footprint that could be achieved. At the time these were selling for €465,000.

"We loved the design of the house," says McAdam, "but it felt a bit cold, as new builds tend to, so the first priority was to make it feel warmer and cosier. We wanted to put our own stamp on the house."

McAdam is best known for her work on projects such as Bellinter House, the boutique hotel and wedding venue in Co Meath, and Stanley's restaurant on Andrew Street in Dublin, with its chic panelled upstairs dining room, which has since closed.

The kitchen/dining room has sliding doors to the garden
The kitchen/dining room has sliding doors to the garden

McAdam also oversaw the transformation of the smart serviced office development in the Wilde building on Dublin's Merrion Square and is currently working on a revamp of the G Hotel in Galway.

These days, she says that much of her work is made up of refurbishments of high-end Georgian and Victorian homes.

At Number 12a, McAdam set about introducing warmth through colour and texture and used one of the three bedrooms as a music room, installing a piano.

"That room has beautiful morning light," she says. "I loved playing there."

The detached house has 1,098 sq ft of living space, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living area and a kitchen/dining area with separate utility room. The space is arranged over three levels, and as such the property is more likely to appeal to investors and affluent first-time buyers than to downsizers in search of a home all on one level.

The entrance hallway has a high vaulted ceiling and leads to the kitchen/dining area which is bright thanks to a large feature skylight positioned above the eating area. This kitchen is slick and modern, with high gloss white fitted wall and floor units, and a polished stone work counter. The kitchen is fitted with integrated Gorenje appliances, while the utility room has a washer/dryer, fridge-freezer, fitted cabinets and a second sink.

The rear garden includes a koi pond
The rear garden includes a koi pond

"It's a lovely kitchen to cook in," says McAdam, "as even though it has a very minimal look, it's extremely practical."

A level up from the kitchen is the living space, which has a vaulted ceiling and twin Velux skylights and one of McAdam's favourite things about the house, a Fireorb solid-fuel custom-built hanging fire with a tall chimney.

"I used to love coming in from a cold, mucky building site and relaxing by the fire," says McAdam. "It's so cosy."

From the large windows in the sitting area there are views of the rear garden and the Stillorgan Obelisk.

Two of the three bedrooms, one of which is en suite, are on the lower level, with one on the upper level, but there is the possibility of reconfiguring this arrangement as the main bedroom would work equally well as a more formal reception room, depending on the requirements of new owners.

High quality finishes have been used throughout, with underfloor heating, recessed lighting, polished Crema Marfil tiling, and there are a number of bespoke lighting and storage features.

One of the three bedrooms is used as a music room
One of the three bedrooms is used as a music room

Planning permission was granted in 2010 for a fourth bedroom and en suite bathroom above the kitchen/dining area, but the permission was never implemented. It will be open to the buyer to seek a similar position if they wish to extend the property.

Number 12a lies behind electric gates in a mature residential area in which many of the houses have been refurbished and extended. It overlooks a large green area and the front garden is gravelled, with parking for three cars.

To the rear is a landscaped private garden reached via sliding doors from the kitchen/dining area. The garden may be small but plenty of thought has gone into its design, with marble paving and a koi pond with fountain.

Suzie McAdam says that another of her favourite things about living at Number 12a was lazing around in the double hammock on sunny afternoons, and that the ease of access from the kitchen and the garden lighting made it a great space for outdoor entertaining. There is secure side access to the rear garden with space for bike storage and a separate bin storage area to the front.

The location of the property is close to both Blackrock and Stillorgan, and handy in terms of public transport, with the N11 close by. There is an abundance of schools, both primary and secondary, in the immediate vicinity - Holly Park, Guardian Angels and Newpark being amongst these.

Having lived happily in Number 12a for five years, the couple moved to Sandycove and have embarked upon a renovation project, hence the sale of this unusual house, which has been rented out for the past few years.

McAdam says that her favourite coffee shop is Bear Market in Blackrock, and that Shaka Poké, in Blackrock Market, is another spot that she misses since moving.

The furnishings in Number 12a, including an original Eames chair and various mid-century and 60s pieces are available to purchase by the new owners, subject to separate negotiation.

Number 12a has a B3 BER, with energy bills predicted to be in the region of €1,107 per annum.

Indo Property

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