Wednesday 19 June 2019

This palatial Kildare home has a 'Breeze House' - a thing which neighbour Ronnie Wood swears by

Illan house

Straffan, Co Kildare

Asking price: €1.25m

Agent: REA Coonan (01) 628 6128

The exterior of Illan House in Straffan
The exterior of Illan House in Straffan
Staircase and hallway
Putting green and bunker
Illan house garden
Pond on the landscaped and cultivated grounds

In his hell-raising days, Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood used to drink two bottles of vodka a day - some of them, presumably, in the bar he built in the back garden of his house in Co Kildare.

Wood has been lucky enough not only to survive to the age of 71, but also to be granted a second wind. In 2012 he married Sally Humphreys, 31 years his junior, and at the age of 69 became the father of twin girls who are now two. These days he's exchanged a life of debauchery for one of domesticity, and spends less time in his garden bar than in his garden gazebo - at least if the makers of his garden gazebo are to be believed.

Wood has a 'Breeze House' - a thatched, circular affair made by an English company and based on those African huts that keep off the rain and sun. The Breeze House website features a testimonial from Wood suggesting he's a customer who got some satisfaction.

"Our Breeze House is the perfect haven at the end of a long day," he wrote. "We use it for everything, from dining to painting. It truly is our happy place."

Prices for the 'Colonial' - the original Breeze House - start at £13,635 (still over €15,000 even after sterling's freefall), and that's before you add any bells and whistles such as tables and chairs, heaters, or storm kits.

Maybe it's a Kildare thing because you'll also find a Colonial Breeze House about 15 minutes away from Wood's home, in the garden of another palatial property known as Illan House, at Castledillon, near Straffan.

That's not all the new owners of Illan House will get by way of outdoor leisure either. Although there's no bar in the garden, there is a putting green. The property is less than three kilometres from the K Club, so you'll be able to get some discreet practice in ahead of your tee time, and there's even a bunker to keep you on the straight and narrow.

Illan House was built in 2000 as a dream home for the owners and they stopped at nothing to make it perfect, giving the lie to that Rolling Stones line about how you can't always get what you want.

It's on 2.34 acres of grounds that have been landscaped and cultivated to the last. As well as the putting green, you'll find luminous lawns and an abundance of mature shrubbery, fruit trees, and banks of flowers.

There's a sizeable pond complete with lily pads and a fountain, a 'green tunnel' fashioned from wood and draped in creeper, and even a dolmen made of Donegal stone, next to the putting green.

The garden makes its way into the house too by means of an orangery measuring over 12ft by 13ft, triple-aspect with a solid wood floor and an apex rooflight, and French doors to the patio.

You can also reach the garden from the sunroom, which has a vaulted timber ceiling and a solid-fuel stove. More French doors from the garden will bring you in here, and although in both cases they lead you to bright, welcoming rooms, they're not the best way to enter the house.

That distinction is reserved for the front door, because it leads you into an almost intimidatingly grand entrance hall.

The room is oval, over 20ft around, and has a marble floor and a fireplace with a solid-fuel stove in it. Its most striking feature, though, is the staircase, made from solid wood and curving around to a gallery landing overhead.

Including the orangery and sunroom there are five living rooms in all, as well as a dual-aspect, country-style kitchen where there are black granite countertops and an oil-fired Aga in cream.

The main reception room - unless you should prefer to keep your guests standing the entrance hall feeling overwhelmed - is the sitting room, which measures 25ft by 18ft. Here there's a pair of bay windows and a solid-fuel stove in a marble fireplace.

There's another, similar fireplace and stove in the dining room, which at 25ft by 16ft is easily big enough for family Christmas reunions. For more secluded recreation there's a study measuring 16ft by 9ft approximately, with fitted shelves and desk.

The gallery landing upstairs is big enough to hold another seating area, and you'll find all five bedrooms laid out around it on this level.

The master bedroom is dual-aspect, overlooking the front and back gardens, and has a walk-in wardrobe and an ensuite shower and bath.

Two of the other bedrooms are also ensuite, and there's a family shower room as well. There are two guest toilets on the ground floor. The floor area comes to 4,300 sq ft in total.

There's even more space to be had from the 800 sq ft detached garage on the grounds. This building has four rooms, one of which is currently used as a gym.

The house is for sale on 2.34 acres but extra land is on offer - either 10 acres or 31 acres - at a fixed price of €15,000 per acre. The land has its own access and fronts the River Liffey.

The property is about three kilometres from Straffan and about half an hour's drive from Dublin via the M4 or the N7. Alternatively you can take a commuter train from Hazelhatch & Celbridge, about nine kilometres away.

Illan House will be auctioned next Tuesday at the Glenroyal Hotel in Maynooth at 3pm with a guide of €1.25m.

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