Style and substance in Castleknock
Edwardian elegance on exceptional gardens in Guinness heartland and an enormous Egyptian wonder with swimming pool and built to withstand earthquakes
Description: Elegant four-bed Edwardian on 0.5 acres stepped gardens Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Tower Road in Castleknock takes its name from the clock tower on the Farmleigh estate. Some 37m (120ft) high, it was erected by the engineering department of the Guinness brewery in 1880. It supplied water to the estate and, until recently, was wound each day by hand.
Sunnyslopes, a Tudor-style Edwardian property close to Farmleigh was built by a Mr Higginbotham, who worked as an engineer in Guinness. The house was constructed in 1918 – just a few years after Arthur Guinness (1876-1949), who also worked as an engineer in the family firm, built Glenmaroon, which stands opposite.
The properties share similarities – conspicuously the Tudor-style cross gable roof, but Sunnyslopes is a more modest 170sq m (1,830sq ft), than the 1,300sq m of Glenmaroon.
The current owners of Sunnyslopes, which is well deserving of its name due to the stepped gardens and aspect, added an extension to the property in 1997 which mirrors the original building.
The extension added a kitchen, utility area, master bedroom and a large attic space which was amalgamated with the original attic, and now occupies 48sq m in addition to the 170sq m of the property itself.
Two internal walls were removed to give the centre of the house a spacious L-shaped living and dining area.
A further addition of a sunroom, with both southerly and westerly aspects, was constructed in 2003.
High amenity area
Pleasant views take in the valleys of Palmerston, right across to the Dublin Mountains and St Stephens Hospital. Set high over Waterston Park, this is a high amenity area so cannot be built on, the only sounds audible are cows lowing and the rush of water from a weir on the Liffey.
The property has four bedrooms, two of which have original fireplaces, and the main bedroom is dual aspect and provides great views.
The attic is used as a further bedroom which links to a living area on the same level and is accessed via a stairwell in the extension. While new owners will want to update parts of the house – the family bathroom in the original part of the property could do with a facelift.
However, it is the gardens, which have flourished for over a century, that make this a truly special home. Set on different walled tiers – as the property slopes downwards – they extend to 0.2 hectares (0.5 acres) and include old kitchen garden cold frames, an orchard, and an impressive Cornus controversa, or wedding cake tree, visible from the livingroom.
The house is set behind electric gates, and shares a driveway with another property set below the gardens. There is ample parking for three cars.
Though just 150 metres from the Knockmaroon gates of the Phoenix Park, the property feels a million miles from the city. Description: Colossal five-bedroom family home built to withstand earthquakes 743sq m (8,000sq ft) plus basement 364sq m (3,917sq ft) Agent: Sherry FitzGerald The excellent quality of stone in the Valley of the Kings allowed tombs to be excavated close to one another, where Egyptian pharaohs were laid to rest as they awaited transfer to the afterlife.
Six eight-metre columns – in rose and yellow sandstone, speckled with fossils, from the Valley of the Kings – now stand in the valley of the Liffey at Homeleigh in Castleknock.
“I realised I had to soften the exterior as it looked a bit commercial – so I imported these from Egypt, the cladding in the hallway was sourced there also,” says owner Garrett Cooke, a consultant in private equity funds on green energy development in Africa. The columns and sandstone cladding cost more than ¤300,000.
Cooke, who purchased what was an old bungalow at number 6 Homeleigh in 2006 for ¤1.3 million, admits the constant travelling and staying in hotels had a great influence on the design of the home, which was overseen by architectural firm AJ Whittaker and Associates.
Stretching to a whopping 743sq m (8,000sq ft), with a basement measuring a further 364sq m on a site of one acre, the house is “built to a level to withstand earthquakes as it is solid concrete and exceeds San Francisco regulations”.
Cooke, who is also a developer of commercial properties in eastern Europe, used the highest grade materials on the market; windows were made in Poland and c ost more than ¤400,000, and a lift which connects the basement – where a swimming pool is located – to the bedrooms upstairs, was installed at a cost of ¤100,000.
The properties five bedrooms are all en suite and feature separate dressing areas. The main suite bathroom has a spa bath and a shower large enough to accommodate a volleyball team.
Rooms are all spacious; “the original bungalow that stood here had a room which meas- ured 20ft, and I decided all the reception rooms in the new house [three in total] should be that size,” says Cooke.
The receptions include a family living area, a games room with a full bar which came from a restaurant on Dame Street, and a formal, double-height reception room. Smaller rooms include an office, television room and gym.
The basement would happily accommodate a fleet of vintage cars and has an unfinished swimming pool – ready to go but for tiling and a filtration system.
Cooke and his family are moving further out to the countryside, but the location here for him while travelling “was superb, because it’s 15 minutes
‘‘ I had to soften the exterior as it looked a bit commercial – so I imported the columns from Egypt
to the airport in the mornings.”
Sites in the estate generally sell for more than ¤1 million.
Though well built, the house would benefit from softening – some fast growing climbers would take the slightly industrial feel from the exterior, and more soft furnishings and artwork might have a similar effect inside.
The property would be suited to a large family – its acre of gardens open onto a park and Castleknock Golf Club wraps around the estate.
As a place for entertaining it would easily accommodate 250 people with a minimum of hassle. Number 6 Homeleigh is f or sale through Sherry FitzGerald with an asking price of ¤2.49 million.