Charton, Kerrymount Avenue, Foxrock, Dublin 18

Built in the 1960’s by Terrence de Valera, former president Eamon de Valera’s last surviving son (now deceased), Charton was a substantial 5 bedroomed detached home sitting on a site of approximately 0.75 acres on Foxrock’s premier road, Kerrymount Avenue.

The house is located on the North-facing side of the street, which is slightly less impressive than the South-facing side, which comprises some of the finest and most substantial examples of Arts & Crafts architecture in Dublin and all the houses bar one have good frontage onto the road. The North-facing side, on the other hand, is home to quite a few more modern (and somewhat mundane) suburban homes and there are five homes whose frontage onto the road is limited to the width of their driveway. Charton is one of these.

The original house extended to approximately 2,500sqft of well-maintained space, however when the home came on the market in 2008 for the first time since it was first constructed, it was evident that it needed to at least be upgraded, given that there was no central heating and not a double-glazed window in sight. While the property was guiding €4.5m for its April 2008 auction, Knight Frank was set to earn €50k commission if they achieved in excess of €5 million, and €75,000 if they achieved over €5.5 million, indicating that they were hopeful of a result well in excess of the guide price. The beneficiaries of this amount were Terrence’s two daughters, Sile de Valera and Jane de Valera. Eventually, having been withdrawn from auction, the property sold for a price in the region of €4 million, reflecting the swift downturn in the property market at the time.

The then-buyer was a director of an Irish-based aviation-leasing company, formerly residing at a small McInerney-built development of large, faux Arts & Crafts homes mere minutes away from Charton. Rather than opting to upgrade the existing residence, the buyer chose to demolish the de Valera’s former family home and replace it with what is undeniably one of the most opulent newly-built homes that Dublin has ever seen.

The 7,500sqft mansion, which marries French and Tuscan influences, is immaculately presented having been decorated by interior design expert Minnie Peters. The house itself was designed by Brazil Lohan Associates, which has since been re-incarnated as Brazil Associates, with Andrew Lohan and Paul Brazil parting ways to form individual practices. Brazil Lohan were hugely successful during the Celtic Tiger, heading up a huge amount of Dublin’s most impressive single-residence developments and Brazil Associates continues this trend, being one of the major players in luxury home architecture alongside prominent practices such as Aughey O’Flaherty, Crean Salley & de Blacam and Meagher. The home, while obviously being finished to the highest decorative standards, is also built to energy-efficiency perfection, with an estimated BER of A3. Despite being triple the size of the original house, the new house is estimated to use only one third of the total energy the previous dwelling used per year – an impressive feat by all means.

The house is truly stunning and despite going against the Arts & Crafts style that the road and surrounding areas are celebrated for, this house exists truly in its own world, surrounded by trees on all sides and not visible from Kerrymount Avenue at all. Major construction has taken place in the vicinity in recent years – surprising given the economic conditions at the time – but Kerrymount Avenue, and most of its residents (seemingly) survived the crisis and have come out the other side, with hardly any homes coming on the market since the economy crashed. Two adjoining properties to Charton, named Sanabria and Amberley, have also been totally reconstructed along with Innisfallen, directly across the street from Charton. The street’s popularity has not faltered, even as Foxrock in general has suffered a loss of popularity in favour of addresses closer to the city centre, and it is easy to see why – it is undoubtedly a road of distinction with a real sense of charm and character.