14 Argyle Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4
Argyle Road has long been one of Dublin’s favourite roads – located at the heart of Donnybrook, just two minutes from Herbert Park in one direction, which the home’s rear garden abuts, and from Donnybrook Fair in the other. The façade of 14 Argyle Road may blend smoothly with its original Edwardian neighbours, but the palatial detached house is a recent addition to the street – with construction beginning in 2003.
In 2001, 12 Argyle Road – then one of the largest houses on the street – was purchased at auction by a well-known stockbroker for over €3.8m. The attractive 3,300sqft 1920s house was in need of refurbishment, but had great potential given its double-width site. While others may have kept 12 as-is and built whatever they could fit on the other side of the site, the stockbroker owner took a different approach. He demolished a large portion of the original house and cordoned off the garden, leaving just a small terrace to the rear. The hard tennis court, which once spanned the width of the site, was also dug up. In doing so, he maximised the space available for a new house and an exquisite garden by city centre standards.
The result is one of Dublin City’s finest homes, extending to 8,460sqft over four floors and enjoying a sizeable 0.45 acre site. In the basement there is a wine cellar, gym, utility room and a large circular-shaped entertainment room. Above on the ground floor there is an endless supply of living and reception rooms. To the front of the house one finds elegant interconnecting drawing and dining rooms – as would be found in the original Edwardian houses. The dining room has its own dedicated en-suite servery room – perfect for entertaining on a grand scale. To the rear is the must-have larger-than-life open plan kitchen/living/dining room, which is likely similar in size to an average three-bed semi-detached house. In some houses – even the largest and grandest – owners often neglect bedroom space when compared to the attention and expense lavished upon living areas. 14 Argyle Road’s bedrooms, on the other hand, are an equal match to the exquisite living areas below. Spread over two floors, there are five bedrooms in total and five bathrooms. The master bedroom suite features his-and-hers dressing rooms along with an exceptionally large en-suite bathroom, offering dual sinks, a bath and a huge shower. There is a second bedroom suite beside it with a dressing room and bathroom en-suite. The remaining three bedrooms are also large and all feature en-suite bathrooms. All four floors of the house are serviced by an elevator – naturally.
The gardens are a key feature of the property also. The house occupies the second largest site on the street, outdone only by 18 Argyle Road, and both the front and rear gardens are meticulously maintained. This isn’t a rambling country house – it is very much a sophisticated city-centre property and the landscaping reflects that, with neatly kept hedging and shrubbery – however the rear garden is bordered on each side by mature trees and hedging, which helps to ensure it will never be overly stark in appearance.
It is quite evident that no expense was spared in the construction of the house. While its appearance is certainly similar to that of the neighbouring Cramptons-built houses, there are some differences. The façade marries both redbrick and sandstone, which is attractive but subtle. Sandstone can be found on the grandest of homes from the Edwardian era in the area, such as on a number of stately redbricks on nearby Shrewsbury Road. Granite is used extensively, with granite-capped walls, borders, steps and slabs visible throughout the gardens. Other pleasant exterior finishes include the copper-clad dormers and dome. While much of the rear elevation was originally intended to be copper-clad, the owners opted to clad it in cedar in the end.