“Welcome to Greystones” is inscribed on the roadside stone across from the entrance to Leo House, on Mill Road. But when people call to the house, and sit out beside the garden pond, “they say it’s like being in the south of France”, says the owner. “There’s every colour of rose under the sun around that pond,” he adds, noting the previous owner’s green-fingered skill. The 0.2-acre site is lined with mature beeches and other trees, and those that encircle the pond – weeping pears, he thinks – form sculptural shapes.
According to the current owner, Leo House was built about 25 years ago by the previous owner of the adjacent 19th-century Mill House, who used the new property as a gallery or studio and later, after splitting the driveway, as a home. They sold it to the current owner in 2018 for €780,000, according to the Property Price Register, and while he “could have moved into it as it was”, he had a clear vision for it and engaged his architect friend, Gareth Maguire, to reconfigure the layout without adding floor space.
With three en suite bedrooms and other flexible accommodation across 190 sq m (2,045 sq ft), the house is utterly different from what it was – and, in fact, from most other properties. It’s a sleek mix of industrial loft-chic and country homeliness, with hard edges softened by luxurious finishes, pleasing attention to detail, and natural light filling every room.
Maguire redesigned the hall to create a bathroom on the left and a nook under the black stairs fits a bike. The polished concrete floor throughout most of the downstairs is heated underneath, while upstairs has oil-fired radiators; extra insulation beneath new ceilings gives a Ber of C2.
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A square-headed doorway leads to the huge open kitchen/diningroom, painted a deep dramatic blue above and all around. Tall windows and glass double doors relieve the blue, and frame views of the garden and patio to the west and northwest. Bespoke kitchen units were fabricated by a metalworker off-site, and there is extra storage in an open-shelved pantry that leads on to a utility. The same craftsman also made wine racks that have their own glass-fronted room; the owner says the stud partition walls can be removed if new owners prefer: “This was designed for someone old, free and single,” he says with a laugh.
The character changes beyond the dining area, where bevelled glass doors with dark wooden frames open to a little study and a triple-aspect sittingroom with a beautiful parquet floor of tumbled French oak, smooth concrete walls, and doors to the large patio.
Upstairs, only the smallest bedroom retains the previous owner’s pale paint, which is enlivened by teal woodwork. All the deep skirtings and generous architraves are painted in slightly different strengths of the dark blue that covers most walls and ceilings to create a cosy cocoon, along with the parquet. The three en suite bathrooms, like that downstairs, are tiled in Carrara mosaic, with Villeroy and Boch fittings giving a unified feel. The two bigger bedrooms have high vaulted ceilings with exposed beams, and that at the rear has a separate area for dressing, as well as a mezzanine loft.
Across the fence is an Aldi supermarket, which you can see from the stairs and from one bedroom; the gable walls are visible from its car park, but well screened by trees. “I did worry about that a bit,” the owner says, “but not once since I moved in have I been bothered [by lights or noise] as all the living areas face the other way.” New owners could, as he intended in the medium term, increase the planting along the fence.
Within the curtilage of the Aldi site lie the remains of Killincarrig Mill, which was one of four corn mills in the area: the name is preserved in neighbouring houses and estates such as Carrig Mill, Millgrove and Mill View.
It’s the best of both worlds, says the owner. “There’s this peaceful feeling and the beauty of being in the countryside, while also being able to cycle to the centre of Greystones in five minutes.” Among the town’s many appealing features are the beaches, good schools, numerous shops and the Dart station, as well as a wide range of sports clubs and facilities.
As for the name, the owner says he doesn’t know its origin – but as an artist who is relocating to Florence, he likes to consider it a tribute to Leonardo da Vinci. Leo House is for sale through Sherry FitzGerald, with an asking price of €1.05 million.