FashionSandymount Victorian for €3.5m is an affair to remember

Sandymount Victorian for €3.5m is an affair to remember

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Number 28 Gilford Road is an estate agent’s – not to mind a house hunter’s – dream property. It is a prime example of how to showcase a home for sale with the right amount of furniture against neutral backdrops and there isn’t a blade of grass out of place in the garden. It resembles a contemporary show house, but it is in fact a lovely Victorian home dating from 1895.

It has been home to the Cunningham family for the past 33 years. “I didn’t know this road at all, and thought I’d never want to live here. But when Brian took me here when we married, I saw number 28 and it was love at first sight,” says Liz Cunningham who worked in the fashion industry until three years ago.

The couple did the house up over the years in stages, first tackling issues such as plumbing and rewiring. When their now grown-up children flew the nest, Liz gave the property another makeover with a new roof, bathrooms and kitchen. With the help of interior designer Cormac Rowell, the house has been given a swish new look, with lush furnishings against neutral backdrops.

One of the standout features is a Hampton conservatory to the rear of this 252sq m (2,713sq ft) property. “I really wanted a room rather than a conservatory,” says Liz of the space that now houses the dining room and informal lounge overlooking the rear garden.

Parquet flooring, that looks remarkably like opepe wood due to its sienna and ochre hues, runs through the ground floor – with the exception of the kitchen – which has cream porcelain. It was originally in the former Sweepstakes building in Ballsbridge: “Brian had told me there were beautiful floors there, and one day we were driving past and saw that the contractors were inside. We knocked on the door and bought it there and then,” recalls Liz.

The flooring went into storage for years and was laid after the conservatory was constructed. “It was amazing as when we bought it was it covered in tar, so I didn’t know what colour it actually was and it came up so well. We found the son of the man who maintained the floors of the Sweepstakes building, and he cleaned it up and laid the floor for us.” Its rich colours work beautifully and it is tough as nails withstanding “hundreds of pairs of high heels dancing during parties”.

The gardens are also worth a special mention, as, like the interiors, nothing has been overlooked. Laid out with lawn and herbaceous borders that are delineated by box hedging, they were the fruits of Brian’s labour, as when he retired at the age of 50, he returned to college to study horticulture. Though currently dormant, blooms are in hues of whites and blues – echoing the formal drawing room – including agapanthus and iris, and by the start of June, the garden is in full bloom.

A remarkable art deco cocktail cabinet stands in a corner of a smaller drawing room off the conservatory, and if it could talk, it would indeed have tales to tell. It came from the boardroom of Shamrock Rovers, which was owned by Brian’s family. “At the time there were no televisions so journalists and important fans like [Hollywood actor] Maureen O’Hara would sit in the room quaffing drinks from the cabinet,” recalls Liz. O’Hara’s father was a director of Shamrock Rovers, and she was an avid fan of the team.

With an empty nest, the Cunninghams are right-sizing and hoping to travel more in the future. They have placed their beautiful four-bedroom home on the market through Sherry FitzGerald seeking €3.5 million.



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