Nutley Lodge, 67 Nutley Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4

“Arguably one of the finest modern homes in Dublin 4” claim Lisney, the one-time listing agents of Nutley Lodge. For once, I am inclined to agree with the agent’s description of this fantastic property.

Nutley Lodge sits on a beautiful 0.5 acre site in one of Dublin 4’s most desirable and leafiest areas – beside the intersection of Ailesbury Road and Nutley Road.

The property, which extends to c. 7,244 sq.ft, has far humbler origins than one would imagine from quickly glancing at its impressive facade. Built in the 1950’s, Nutley Lodge was originally a (comparatively) small, ivy-clad bungalow extending to c. 2,250 sqft. The bungalow comprised 4 bedrooms, a well appointed drawing room, conservatory, utility room, kitchen, large entry hall, cloakroom and more. The master bedroom was impressive for a 1950’s house, boasting two separate dressing rooms and an ensuite bathroom. One of the other bedrooms had its own ensuite bathroom, and the other two bedrooms shared a Jack-and-Jill ensuite bathroom.

The property did not draw any attention until it came up for auction on the open market in 1995 with Finnegan Menton. Bidding started at £325,000 and rose to £430,000, when estate agent Sean Davin bought it in trust for a client, who was known to be a prominent accountant. The seller at the time was prominent businessman Ken O’Reilly-Hyland and the property was offered for sale at the same time as O’Reilly-Hyland’s primary residence, the magnificent 73 Ailesbury Road which bounds Nutley Lodge to the north. I believe that the buyer was financier Derek Quinlan, who, along with his wife purchased, Derrymore on Shrewsbury Road and presumably Nutley Lodge from Mr O’Reilly-Hyland.

When Quinlan sold Nutley Lodge in 1996, it achieved £440,000. I believe that the then-buyers were Mr and Mrs Christopher Craig as it was they who applied for planning permission to demolish the original bungalow in 1998 in order to make room for the new and improved Nutley Lodge.

The result is tousands of luxurious square feet. Everything about the build was of the highest quality, and no aspect of the house can be faulted. The decision to start over again and not spare any expense was well worth it as the result speaks for itself. The big, thick skirting boards and the intricate coving give this house some of the period features that people expect of large homes in this area. Even the large Marvin conservatory oozes quality – there is no PVC frames and plastic ‘glass’ here. Features such as the cinema room, library, underfloor heating and gym render the home utterly luxurious.

The kitchen is Clive Christian (naturally), with Siemens appliances, and the owners chose well, opting for a more simple and timeless country style kitchen rather than a totally OTT, over-carved one, as is the norm in many Dublin super homes. The main family bathroom is also a Clive Christian one.

The double-height entrance hall features a portuguese limestone floor, with a chandelier dangling from the ceiling. The hallway is a real testament to the quality of the house. By concentrating on quality, rather than whatever fad was fashionable back in the late 90’s, the hall (and the rest of the house) still looks just as great today as it did then – I genuinely wouldn’t change a thing.

One of the most attractive features of the original bungalow was that it was surrounded by gardens, and the new house still has that feeling about in spite of its larger footprint.

The side and the rear gardens are very private as the owners intellegently opted for high walls to surround the property, rather than using low walls at the front of the property like most properties on Nutley Road. By doing this, it ensures that the garden remains private and that the side garden is as useful as a back garden. In 2000, the Craig family received planning permission to build an outdoor swimming pool, however their plans seemingly never materialised as the property does not feature a pool.

In 2002, the Craig family sold the property. Nutley Lodge achieved €4.5 million – the third highest price of 2002. The buyer was Tony Mullins, CEO of Barlo, who was moving from Clancool on Shrewsbury Road having sold it to a member of one of Ireland’s best-known hotel dynasties for €10+ million. Fast forward a decade later to 2012 and Lisney are selling the property with an asking price of €3 million – 33% less than was paid for it in 2002 and presumably a very long way down from what it could have achieved at the height of the Celtic Tiger madness.

I am sure that it is one of the finest new homes in Dublin 4. It has the quality of a period home, the looks and site of a Foxrock mansion, and is located in the most desirable area, only minutes from the city – it really ticks all the boxes that a trophy home can tick. The Mullins family were supposedly seeking to downsize now that they are older and have just had their first grandchild. They have moved to a 4,600sqft ultra-modern house in the Dublin 14 end of Rathgar.

Nutley Lodge was purchased by the Chinese embassy for an undisclosed sum, much to the dismay of neighbouring residents as Nutley Road had not previously had any property in commercial use.