Wednesday 17 July 2019

Stone House: A revitalised stable building just outside Malahide village

Stone House was a stable before it succumbed to the conversion trend, writes Mark Keenan

The courtyard garden at the Stone House in Streamstown
The courtyard garden at the Stone House in Streamstown
The family room
The kitchen/dining room
The Siematic fitted kitchen
The TV/movie room which could be a fifth bedroom
The formal lounge
Electronic security gates at the entrance
The exterior of the Stone House
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

THE Duke of Wellington was born on May 1, 1769 at what is now The Merrion Hotel at 24 Upper Merrion Street.

Back in 1769, Merrion Street was the trendiest, most highbrow Dublin address you could live at, bar none. This occurred in turn because of the remarkable trend setting influence of the fashionable Duke of Leinster, James FitzGerald, in whose ways society conscious upper crust Dubs would dander.

FitzGerald came to the then deeply unfashionable southside in 1745 to begin building what would become Dublin's most extraordinary residence, Leinster House.

The latter dazzled wealthy Dublin society so much that almost overnight Merrion Street supplanted Gardiner Street, Parnell Square and other leafy Georgian stretches in D1 as Dublin's most sought-after address.

The family room
The family room

The Wesleys (the Duke later became Wellesley) got in early on this address trend and moved in right opposite Leinster House. That's where young Arthur was born.

So it is fully ironic that Napoleon's nemesis, who would later become a British prime minister and a designer of Irish farming's favourite footwear to boot, has been erroneously credited with disparaging his Irish birth place through the infamous quote: "Just because you are born in a stable does not make you a horse". The latter is today reckoned to have been a smear rumour spread by Daniel O'Connell.

Doubly ironic that fashionable folk in Dublin since the 1970s have been on the look out for stables to live in. The stables and coach houses to the rear of Georgian and Victorian homes have long been snapped up for conversion to mews houses. This was helped along when the then trendy young architect Sam Stephenson revealed his groundbreaking coach house conversion and Bond style pad with party pit at No31 - a modernist take on a stable conversion off Dublin's Leeson Street, which captured the imagination of Dublin's in crowd of the 1970s .

In the 1980s larger, once rural stable buildings in the suburbs also began to be targeted also for conversion value. The latter have often proved useful in the creation of larger modern homes within their old stable walls.

Part of the attraction is the superbly crafted, solid and attractive stone work, made possible in an era where skilled labour cost a relative pittance. You'd not get it today.

Stone House, on a half acre site in Streamstown, just outside of Malahide Village, is a good example of a revitalised stable building of old.

The Siematic fitted kitchen
The Siematic fitted kitchen

Originally a substantial rural stable building, the property was redesigned and reconfigured into a private home by Sean McMullan Architects.

In 2008 it was further extended to provide extra accommodation including a new kitchen and recreated with a rather unique internal layout. That olde worlde stone clad facade finished with Portmarnock brick detail adds greatly to its character.

Overall we have a vaguely Scandi look inside with light coloured floors for the most part, into which the current owners have introduced a mix of contemporary and softer furnishings.

The reception hall comes with a lime oak floor and there's a skylight overhead to let in the light while an unusual curved wall channel runs off to the reception rooms.

The formal lounge has a bay window and French oak floor and the centrepiece of the room is a handsome limestone fireplace. The dining room also has that French oak floor, feature ceiling coving, recessed spotlighting and double doors leading out to a courtyard garden.

There's a dual aspect garden room with an unusual arched ceiling and it too has double doors to the courtyard area.

The exterior of the Stone House
The exterior of the Stone House

One of the home's strongest points is the big modern Siematic fitted kitchen and diner floored in high gloss porcelain tiling with eye-catching vertical radiators and flamed marble countertops. It's got a Neff oven, microwave and hob with glass surround extractor fan. There's a utility room off it with granite countertops and splashback and plumbed for a washing machine and drier.

There's a Scandi look family room with lime oak floor and a triangular arched ceiling with three different skylight windows.

The master bedroom has an en suite Villeroy & Boch bathroom. There are four other bedrooms, one of which is en suite, and there's a TV/movie room which could be a fifth bedroom.

Malahide with its shops, eateries, pubs and marina is a short walk away. Sherry FitzGerald won't say neigh to €1.45m.

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