Tuesday 12 December 2017

The majestic staircase and double-height hallway in this Dalkey home induces pure property envy

Tudor-style facade cloaks surprisingly bright and contemporary interior

Willow Brook has been described by its owner as
Willow Brook has been described by its owner as "the most Tudor-looking house in Ireland that isn't actually Tudor"
Kitchen with island unit and breakfast bar
Drawing room with limestone fireplace fitted with coal-effect gas fire

Eithne Tynan

When it comes to the much-mocked Tudor architecture, you've got your authentic 15th- and 16th-century vernacular, your 19th-century Tudor Revival and, latterly, your late 20th-century Mock Tudor suburbs, which often entailed a mere nod to the style without much commitment to the substance.

Then there's that little-known fourth category - the modern, 21st-century version that sometimes seems more Tudor than the Tudors themselves.

The owner of Willow Brook, at Number 2 Saval Park, is on record as acknowledging that her home is "the most Tudor-looking house in Ireland that isn't actually Tudor".

It certainly has all the hallmarks - timbered walls, redbrick detailing, bay windows, a steeply pitched roof with red tiles and dormers, and a curious twisting redbrick chimney. Even the playhouse at the end of the garden has Tudor leanings.

Kitchen with island unit and breakfast bar
Kitchen with island unit and breakfast bar

Inside, though, some of the medieval-style effects have been pared back by the current owners, who bought the place in 2008. The reproduction leaded windows remain, but an inglenook fireplace has been removed, as have some of the ceiling beams.

You can see the difference as soon as you walk in the front door and reach an impressive double-height entrance hall, with a bifurcated, open-string stairs leading up to a gallery landing. It's all decorated in a pale palette and is unexpectedly - and uncharacteristically for Tudor-style - full of light.

Apart from being brighter, Willow Brook has severed its links with the classic Tudor form in other ways too. It comes with modern conveniences that the occupant of a genuine Tudor house wouldn't have dreamt of.

There's the plumbing, obviously, as Willow Brook has no fewer than seven toilets instead of a solitary leaky outhouse. And then there's the heating, which is gas-fired and contributes to a very 21st-century B3 energy rating.

Since it was built in the early 2000s, Willow Brook house has been extended and slightly reconfigured within.

The kitchen was moved from the front of the house to the back, and has a glass wall at one end overlooking the garden.

Drawing room with limestone fireplace fitted with coal-effect gas fire
Drawing room with limestone fireplace fitted with coal-effect gas fire

The extension has taken the floor area up to 4,600 sq ft, and that's on three levels, with six bedrooms and three reception rooms.

Two of those reception rooms can be found on either side of the entrance hall, overlooking the neat front garden. To the left is a formal drawing room with a limestone fireplace, fitted with a coal-effect gas fire.

To the right is a family room with a bay window and driftwood floors, and this room is warmed by a pot-bellied wood-burning stove in cast iron.

There isn't a dining room as such, the kitchen being easily big enough even for ceremonial meals, at 23ft by 17ft 6ins. It's fitted with cabinets in a light grey finish and with composite marble countertops, and has an island unit with a breakfast bar. The appliances are integrated and include a steam oven, wine cooler and American fridge. The dining area, with space to seat eight or ten people comfortably, is near the rear glass wall where there are folding doors to the garden.

Next to the kitchen is a playroom or study, and next to that is a larger-than-average utility room, measuring roughly 13ft square, with access to the garden for taking out the bins or hanging out washing.

Up on the first floor there are five bedrooms, all with en suites. One of the bedrooms on this level is fitted with built-in cabinets and shelving, and is used as a study, though there's an en suite shower room off it.

The top floor, then, is given over entirely to the master bedroom suite. It has dormer windows looking towards Dun Laoghaire harbour, and there's both a walk-in wardrobe and an en suite fitted with a jacuzzi bath.

There are large storage areas in the eaves, and, for extra concealment of empty suitcases and surplus toys, there's under-the-stairs storage on the ground floor, as well as a boot room.

The back garden faces southeast and is surrounded by stone walls partly clothed in creeper. The garden has an Indian sandstone patio, a lawn and flowerbeds.

Willow Brook is one of two detached houses in an enclave at Saval Park Road, with both communal parking and designated parking for at least two cars.

You can turn right at the front gate and make your way up to Dalkey Quarry and Killiney Hill for a walk, while Dalkey Dart station is about ten minutes' walk away.

If you fancy a ramble to Dun Laoghaire, you can go by The Metals - the old tramway by which granite was carried from Dalkey Quarry to build Dun Laoghaire harbour - which is now a pedestrian and cycling route.

The property was put up for sale three years ago, in 2014, and has returned to the market with a different agent. It's now for sale with Vincent Finnegan, (01) 284 4312, and has an asking price of €2.5m.

Willow Brook

2 Saval Park, Saval Park Road, Dalkey

Asking price: €2.5m

Agent: Vincent Finnegan, (01) 284 4312

Indo Property

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