What a difference an architect can make. Keihi House near the village of Kilcloon in Co Meath, which is surrounded by farmland, was once a plain and bland formula bungalow; but having undergone a professional reworking it's now something completely different.
The current owners, who are moving to a different part of the country, undertook a substantial extension and refurbishment a decade ago; adding on to the back of the house and reconfiguring the internal layout. The result is a home filled with natural light and unusual for the area in terms of both shape and size - it has 3,155 sq ft of living space - which accounts for the asking price of €840,000.
Smart black double doors open onto the entrance porch, which has an attractive Victorian-style tiled floor and stained glass windows. It leads to an inner hallway, which is floored in wenge.
To the right of the hall, on the ground floor, lie three of the four double bedrooms. Two of these are en-suite, and there is also a family bathroom with a pretty slipper bath. The bedrooms on this level all have solid oak floors and built-in wardrobes.
There is a considered flow to the arrangement of the reception rooms, which lie to the right and behind the entrance hall, and an abundance of places in which to sit and relax, so there is no danger of family members with different interests (or viewing preferences) getting on each other's nerves.
Immediately to the left of the hall is the formal drawing room, with a large box bay window overlooking the front garden, a marble fireplace fitted with a gas fire, centre roses and ceiling coving. Next to this is a double aspect study.
The kitchen is an attractive room with solid wood floor and wall units, oak countertops and a de rigueur central island. An Aga range takes centre stage, and there's a handy separate utility room.
The dining room has reclaimed brick walls that lend a feeling of warmth, and a solid-fuel stove. It is a bright space thanks to Velux roof lights and glazed double doors that lead out to the garden. The family room also has double doors to the rear and side, and the television room features another solid-fuel stove for cosy winter nights. There is a guest lavatory on this level.
Upstairs, the mezzanine room, fitted with a gas fire, is another quiet place to sit and read. The master bedroom suite has large walk-in wardrobes, double aspect windows and a solid-fuel fireplace. The lavish marble en-suite bathroom has a separate shower and double spa bath.
The level of finish throughout is of a high standard, with Marvin Aluminium Clad windows and external doors, and sliding sashes to the front and sides. The central heating is gas-fired with underfloor heating throughout, and a central vacuum system.
The garden extends to half an acre, so there is plenty of room for children to play and for the new owners to grow vegetables and keep chickens. A Shomera unit is used as an outside office/garden room and has a fish pond and decked area adjacent. There is also a garden shed and glass house which will appeal to the green-fingered.
For those in search of a modern family home in a rural environment, yet within comfortable commuting distance of Dublin, Keihi House may be the answer. There are two stations at Dunboyne, one with a park and ride facility, and another in Maynooth, all offering a frequent train service to the capital. The mixed primary school at Kilcloon, just a few minutes away, is well-regarded, and there is a choice of secondary schools for boys and girls in both Maynooth and Dunboyne. Both towns have good shopping facilities, with Maynooth edging it slightly when it comes to bars and restaurants.
Bistro 53 is thronged with locals on weekend nights, while The Avenue has been known to entertain the Irish rugby squad on occasion when they are released from the confines of their training camp at nearby Carton House.
Carton House, of course, was once the country seat of the first Duke of Leinster and home to the FitzGerald family until the middle of the last century. These days it is a luxurious resort with a spa and two 18-hole championship golf courses, with annual individual membership to the golf club priced at €2,500.
Maynooth is first and foremost a university town, and sometimes dubbed the Oxford to Dublin's London. Increasingly, the town is a base for technology companies, and is promoted as having a similar ambience to Berkeley in California, with a population that's young, intelligent and cultured, and it has a thriving arts scene.
Kilcloon Lawns, Kilcloon, Co Meath
Asking price: €840,000
Agent: REA Coonan, Maynooth, 01 6286128
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