Ram­bling coun­try idyll near Bray

Rath­down House is a four-bed Vic­to­rian op­po­site Kil­rud­dery es­tate with lots of prospects for im­prove­ment

The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - Property The Market - FRANCES O’ROURKE

De­scrip­tion: Re­vamped Vic­to­rian on large gar­den near Kil­rud­dery es­tate Agent: Sherry FitzGer­ald A Vic­to­rian house across the road from Kil­rud­dery es­tate in Bray, Co Wick­low, has been el­e­gantly re­fur­bished since its own­ers moved in 25 years ago – but there’s more to be done. The kitchen, to the rear of the house, was never re­vamped and new own­ers will al­most cer­tainly want to re­con­fig­ure the back of Rath­down House, which sits in the mid­dle of nearly an acre of slop­ing gar­dens. The owner be­lieves open­ing up the back could po­ten­tially dou­ble the size of the prop­erty.

The de­tached 251sq m (2,702sq ft) four-bed plus a con­verted garage with a home of­fice is for sale through Sherry FitzGer­ald for ¤1 mil­lion.

Rath­down House, built in 1856, was, the owner be­lieves, orig­i­nally the farm­house of the es­tate man­ager of Belvedere Hall, a nearby prop­erty that’s now home to SEK in­ter­na­tional school. An Amer­i­can owner be­gan the re­fur­bish­ment of Rath­down in the 1970s, build­ing a sit­ting room in what was once a cream­ery.

The cur­rent owner and her hus­band did a lot of the ba­sics in the 1990s, up­grad­ing the cen­tral heat­ing and the plumb­ing, in­su­lat­ing the out­side walls, re-sash­ing win­dows that have their orig­i­nal glass and work­ing shut­ters. They re­dec­o­rated with an eye on re­tain­ing the prop­erty’s orig­i­nal pe­riod flavour: the din­ingroom, for ex­am­ple, has pretty wall­pa­per by tra­di­tional Ir­ish wall­pa­per com­pany David Skin­ner.

The decor is mainly light and bright. The draw­ing room on the right of the front hall has a coal ef­fect gas fire in a white tim­ber man­tel­piece and cream dou­ble doors open into the small sit­ting room, dom­i­nated by a grand pi­ano. The mod­est-sized din­ing room on the left of the mar­ble-tiled hall has a large white mar­ble fire­place and nar­row French win­dows open­ing into a con­ser­va­tory to the side of the house.

The kitchen to the rear is large, with an oil-fired Aga and 1970s units, but no win­dows in the back wall. There’s a down­stairs toi­let in a back hall off it and a hatch to the din­ing room in what was once a but­ler’s pantry.

Up­stairs there are four dou­ble bed­rooms, most with fit­ted glass-fronted wardrobes. Five steps lead down from the land­ing to a large fam­ily bath­room with a bath, shower and pretty green wall­pa­per and there’s a shared Jack-and-Jill en suite be­tween two other dou­ble bed­rooms.

In one of these bed­rooms, a mir­rored door opens to re­veal steps down into an­other large bed­room cur­rently used for stor­age. It’s the top floor of the ad­ja­cent con­verted garage, with a cov­ered hatch in the cen­tre: new own­ers could con­sider re­vamp­ing the whole garage as a sep­a­rate two-storey unit. This 70sq m (750sq ft) space (in­cluded in the over­all prop­erty size) has sep­a­rate ac­cess: it’s here that owner Julie Man­ning, a com­ple­men­tary ther­a­pist, works on cre­at­ing her botan­i­cal Juli Edge skin­care range, us­ing pro­duce from her gar­den.

There’s plenty of room to ex­pand the house, which sits in the mid­dle of the well-tended gar­den set mainly in lawn amid tall trees and flow­er­ing shrubs. Kale, cab­bages, chard, pota­toes, corn and more grow in the good-sized veg­etable gar­den. Rath­down is on Windgates, a loop coun­try road off the R761 be­tween Bray and Grey­stones and a short drive to both towns.

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