For an apartment to have its own front door is a luxury, but when that door is the original entrance to an early Victorian house in Monkstown, sheltered by a four-pillared porch and guarded by two stone lions, you know there is something special behind it.
The front door of number 2 Seafield House, one of four apartments in the property on the corner of Seafield Avenue and Seapoint Avenue, opens into a tiled inner hallway. Double doors open to the main living space; from here you can see almost the whole apartment, but all you want to do is plonk down on a chair and look straight out to sea. Beyond the familiar city landmarks you can spot the lighthouses at Poolbeg and the Baily, the line of Lambay past the hill of Howth, and the big boats of Dublin Port as well as the small ones out of Dún Laoghaire harbour and yacht clubs.
And almost immediately below you, a minute’s walk away, you can see the swimmers at Seapoint beside the Martello tower, carrying on a centuries-old tradition; some driving daily for their dip, others cycling along the safely segregated coastal path along Seapoint Avenue, some coming by Dart to Salthill or Seapoint, and some lucky ducks walking from their homes nearby.
Seafield House is the most southerly of the houses that form Boswell Terrace, which is shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1843. These houses, and some of the villas along Seafield Avenue, predate many of the well-known squares and terraces in this part of Monkstown that were built in the 1840s and 1850s after developers acquired the lands to the west, known as the “sea fields”, from the railway company. There is a modern house built at its other side.
The current owner has lived here since 2006, when he invested heavily in bringing it both up to date and back in time. He reconfigured the 93sq m (1,001sq ft) to have one big double bedroom with en suite, a galley kitchen in which you can see and reach everything easily, a cosy library, and the huge dual-aspect livingroom, with three refurbished sash windows framed by soft sea-greeny-grey velvet curtains.
The works included removing false ceilings to reveal original ceiling cornicing that was then restored to eye-popping splendour. There are pale oak parquet floors throughout, and the simple pattern in the period fireplace is echoed in the mirror above. Arches define the transition between rooms while creating the flow of a modern open-plan space, and a round internal window above the double hall doors adds beauty and interest.
The owner commissioned bespoke bog-oak furniture; storage units in the hall, bedroom and bathroom; full-height library shelves with a matching ladder; and low radiator cabinets that double as window seats (the Ber is D2). The large bedroom window opens out to a little decked balcony, and the window in the well-appointed bathroom faces Dún Laoghaire’s west pier.
Number 2 Seafield House is on the market through Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty, seeking €745,000. The continental vibe of Monkstown draws people to the area, says selling agent Ann-Marie McCoy, with a choice of restaurants and smart shops, close to Blackrock and Dún Laoghaire, and plenty of local options for school and sport. There is parking for one car in the grounds, and the annual management fee is €2,000.