Grand dames in Foxrock for ¤2.5m apiece
Few suburbs are leafier than Foxrock, and Kerrymount Avenue is one of its lovelier thoroughfares. These two graceful homes on substantial grounds were built in the 1890s and, while they have much in common, each has its own rare charm
Foxrock’s residential cachet is no accident. The south Dublin suburb was custom designed to attract prestige and wealth, a dream child of the brothers Bentley and Fox who began developing their “affluent garden suburb” in 1859.
Advertising “beautiful building sites for mansions and pretty villas” in The Irish Times, they promised “magnificent” scenery, “undulating land” and, of course, access to the newly opened railway station.
But the developer brothers did not live to see their dream of a wealthy suburb become fact: sales were initially slow and they became bankrupt. Foxrock didn’t really take off until the early 20th century when golf, the motor car and a fashion for country living became popular. The great, the good and the wealthy have been making their way to Foxrock since, creating homes and gardens behind its leafy lanes and hedgerows.
Some Foxrock roads are leafier and more appreciated than others. Kerrymount Avenue is one such, its homes discreetly set back from the road where the trees are high and secluding. Apart from the sale of Sanabria late last year for ¤4 million, houses rarely come for sale on this thoroughfare; the last to sell was Innisfallen in 2010 for ¤2.25 million. Before that, in 2008, Chartonsold for around ¤4 million.
This week sees the arrival of two Kerrymount Avenue houses to the market. Heather Lodge and Verona have much in common but are also uniquely different. Both are large and graceful and were built in the 1890s. Both are surrounded by well-tended gardens and both are on the market for the first time in 50 years. Heather Lodge sold for £9,250 in 1967. Verona, on a much larger site (a portion was sold off many years ago), was purchased for £15,000 in 1968. Neither house is a protected structure.
The three-storeyed Verona is on the southern side of Kerrymount Avenue and the closest of the two to Foxrock Village. Built in Orpen-style with a two-storey bay-window front, there is light, height, space and a great deal of accessibility in its 276sq m (2,965sq ft). The gardens and grounds cover 0.45 of an acre. Lisney is looking after the executor sale and quoting ¤2.5 million.
Much used for entertaining, Verona’s design and origins were appreciated by an owner who changed little and retained original features throughout. A front-facing veranda gives an immediate feel of its time, as do panelled doors, 3.2m high ceilings, fireplaces in most rooms and a wide staircase. Verona has five bedrooms (plus two small staff bedrooms over the kitchen), three reception rooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, breakfastroom and sundry small rooms to the rear.
This rear area definitely needs work; a new owner will most likely redesign and rebuild. A lofted coach house to the side could convert to a garage.
The agent is of the view that there is no development potential on the Verona site and that it will be bought as a family home. Description: Seven-bedroom, Edwardian house with original features. Agent: DNG Heather Lodge is Edwardian in style and sits on a half-acre site of well cared-for gardens. It was the long-time home of the late High Court judge Mr Justice Robert Barr, his wife Mary and their five children. The judge, who died in 2016, had a distinguished career during which he headed the Barr tribunal into the fatal shooting at Abbeylara, and dealt with a number of cases linked to the IRA.
Five generations of Barrs have enjoyed Heather Lodge and, although they admit that selling is “hard”, divergent lives mean it is no longer feasible for family members to live there.
Judge Anthony Barr followed his father into law, “though we didn’t ever act as barristers together”. He recalls that Kerrymount Avenue “was literally on the edge of the countryside” when he was a boy. “I remember horses in a field at the end of the road. The only bus, the 63, was called a phantom bus because it came so rarely. This is still a quiet, country-like road but transport has changed dramatically with the M50 and Luas nearby.”
Heather Lodge is very much a family home, good-sized at 278sq m (2,992sq ft), with accommodation and a sense of space on three levels. The seven-bedroom property is for sale through agent DNG seeking ¤2.45 million.
The Barr family made few structural changes to Heather Lodge. An arch between the interconnecting formal reception rooms was filled in, but could be easily reinstated. A new owner will doubtless remodel the rear kitchen and breakfastroom; there is more than enough scope and space. A new owner might also want to seek planning permission to build another house on the site. There is adequate room for this to the side.
Charming original features abound: doors with brass plates, servant bells in the kitchen, windows, fine fireplaces and gloriously high ceilings. The rear drawingroom has a
‘‘ Kerrymount is still a quiet, country-like road but transport links have improved greatly
large box-bay window, cornicing, a picture rail and wood-surround fireplace with marble inset.
The reception hall has original floor tiles, the front-facing diningroom has another box-bay window and fine original fireplace.
The healthily budding state of the garden’s roses is a tribute to the years of care and attention given them by the late judge.