Saturday 25 May 2019

'Once we'd seen the views we were sold on the house' - Howth home looks out on islands, mountains and the sea

Seawood, Balkill Road, Howth, Co Dublin: €995,000

Seawood, Balkill Road, Howth, Co Dublin
Seawood, Balkill Road, Howth, Co Dublin

Words by Katy McGuinness

"Once we'd seen the views we were sold on the house," says one of the vendors of Seawood, who grew up in Howth. "We almost didn't need to see the house itself."

They had moved to Clontarf to be closer to the city centre some years earlier but once the couple had children knew they wanted to move back to Howth.

"We wanted our own kids to have the same experience that I had growing up," says the vendor. "They're in the sailing and golf clubs in Howth and the tennis club in Sutton.

"They swim and fish at Burrow Beach and Balscadden and go jumping in from places we'd rather they didn't. As grown-ups, we have all the pubs and restaurants we could ever need. Our favourites are The Brass Monkey and the Abbey Tavern. The Summit, our local, is a couple of hundred metres away. Really there's no reason ever to leave Howth."

The living room at Seawood, Howth, Co Dublin
The living room at Seawood, Howth, Co Dublin

From Seawood on a clear day you can see all the way past Howth Village, Ireland's Eye and Lambay Island as far as the Mourne Mountains, north-facing views that are both spectacular and less inclined to be obscured by haze than if they were south facing - the same principle that applies when taking a photograph with the sun behind you.

It was just as well the views are as magnificent as they are, say the owners, because they were a distraction from some of the less visually appealing interior features of the house when they bought it in 2006.

Imagine a full-blown 70s decorative showcase, featuring pink carpets and avocado and dark brown bathroom suites and you'll get the gist. Although they tackled some of the most outdated items immediately, they waited until 2013 to undertake a full refurbishment.

"We stuck to the existing footprint of the house," they explain, "but stripped everything out of the house and re-did it completely. We moved out for three months and installed new double-glazed windows, insulation, flooring, central heating, wiring and plumbing. We put in Velux windows and new bathrooms."

The current owners have three sons, now aged between nine and 15, and in reconfiguring the internal layout of the house knew they wanted there to be distinct areas of the house in which the boys would be able to socialise with their friends while also making some parts of the house more of an adult-friendly zone.

You arrive via a driveway shared with one other house and then down to a car port with room for two vehicles, a feature that means nobody ever has to get wet when coming in or out of the house.

The hall at Seawood, Howth, Co Dublin
The hall at Seawood, Howth, Co Dublin

In the basement are a games room (currently home to a full-size pool table) and den (complete with PlayStation), as well as a utility room, store room and loo. A flight of stairs leads from the basement to the main hall, from where the views are revealed.

Visitors arrive up an exterior flight of steps to the front door and immediately to the right of the entrance hall is a large living room with a picture window positioned to make the most of those magnificent views. This is open-plan with the dining room, which in turn connects with the contemporary kitchen/breakfast room.

Also on the main living floor, to the left of the entrance hall, is another sitting room - this one has an Xbox - and a bedroom wing for the boys with four bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Upstairs - and nicely separate from the boys' bedrooms - is the main bedroom suite, which has a large dressing area and en-suite bathroom.

There is access at several points from inside the house to the garden and decked areas surrounding the house, with several places to sit and relax.

Era: 1970s

Size: 263 sqm

Agent: Gallagher Quigley (01) 818 3000

Viewing: By appointment

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