The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage describes Glenbrook House, Delgany, Co Wicklow, as a “gentleman’s residence” dating from 1880. But following a transformative extension about 20 years ago, Glenbrook House is now a seven-bedroom family home extending to 531sq m (5,725sq ft), which plays witness to children excitedly racing on “wheelie runners” down its 110ft-long oak-floored hall.
The hall acts as a spine linking the old and the new parts of the house, passing from the original Georgian build past four large, multi-pane sash windows – two of which are French doors – and an 8m-long kitchen and the house’s second staircase, to an enormous 72sq m ground-floor reception room.
The owners managed to convince planners that the way to extend the original protected structure was not with a glass box edifice differentiating between the original and the new. A pitched-roof, single-story extension which contains the kitchen and the hall was added to the back of the Ber-exempt Georgian building, leading to a new, two-storey wing in the style of the original.
The result from the outside is almost two houses back to back, satisfying the puritan’s demand that old must be distinguishable from new, while opening up spaces with larger rooms.
The “big reception room”, as the owners call it, has tall sash windows looking east, west and north, while its south-facing side opens through three sets of glazed doors to a stone-flagged terrace, overlooking the gardens. The staircase leads to a landing off which are three double bedrooms, a bathroom and a shower room. This part of the house is the perfect place to put teenagers on sleepovers, separating them from those who value their night’s rest.
The principal bedroom includes a large en suite, originally a fifth bedroom
Back in the original part of the house, the classic Georgian form is evident. Once inside the hall door there are well-proportioned sitting and diningrooms with period fireplaces and high ceilings with original plaster work. Large bay windows overlook the gardens to the west and east. Each of these rooms is double aspect with 12-pane sash windows that have functioning shutters to the front.
A book-lined family room, again with a feature fireplace and sash windows, and an office lie behind the front rooms while a staircase is beautifully lit by a west-facing window on the return. Upstairs, off a galleried landing, are four double bedrooms and the main bathroom. The principal bedrooms mirror the dining and sittingrooms with bay and sash windows. The principal bedroom includes a large en suite, originally a fifth bedroom, while one of the bedrooms is lined on three sides with wardrobes and is currently used as a dressingroom. Views from the front-facing windows take in the four-pinnacled square tower of Delgany’s Christ Church, which dates from 1789.
The 3.3 acres of gardens are set out in lawns and shrubberies, with white railings and wrought-iron electric gates
The owner believes the house was originally a glebe house or a manse situated to take advantage of views of Christ Church. The trouble with this, he says, is that the house faced north, and so on a wet, Tuesday afternoon in winter there was not a lot of light about. Now, with the sympathetic extension, he says, you can watch the dawn rise from east-facing windows in “the big reception room”, and track the sun as it passes the east front to the south-facing double doors and on to bathe the room in evening light from the northwest.
The 3.3 acres of gardens are set out in lawns and shrubberies, with white railings and wrought-iron electric gates. A double garage is secreted away in the shrubberies. Much development has happened in Delgany in recent years and Glenbrook House is screened from its neighbours by a linear park, mature trees and new planting. While the owner says he did not have time to be “a gardener” in the enthusiast’s sense of the word, he admits he has spent many hard hours digging and planting “to create a little haven”.
Glenbrook House is now on the market through Sherry FitzGerald, seeking €3.25 million. It is less than a five-minute drive to Greystones with its Dart station, array of schools and sporting clubs, while access to the N11 and M11 roads is about a kilometre away.