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

The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - Front Page -

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.

Site po­ten­tial

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.

Re­cep­tion hall

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.

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