Artist’s elegant Victorian home at the foot of Bray head for €945,000

Well-preserved period four-bed with stunning sea views

Address: 4 Fontenoy Terrace, Bray, Co Wicklow
Price: €945,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald
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When an artist bought her Victorian home across the road from the sea in Bray 22 years ago, it didn’t need much renovation. Her main focus in any changes she made was to respect the protected structure’s original features — and to bring in the light.

And bring in the light she did, principally by using huge mirrors in many rooms, all painted neutral magnolia. She made her period home a warm, bright place, decorated and furnished in an original mix that includes turquoise silk curtains in the interconnecting reception rooms, pretty white dressers filled with coloured glassware in the diningroom and a deep red carpet on the stairs.

Number 4 Fontenoy Terrace, a 140sq m (1,506sq ft) four-bed, is one of six houses on a terrace in a cul-de-sac at the foot of Bray head, built around 1860 for British soldiers in need of rest and recuperation. On heritage website Buildings of Ireland, it’s appraised as “a well-preserved example of a mid-Victorian house within a palace-fronted terrace whose proportions add grandeur to the streetscape”.

It’s now for sale through Sherry FitzGerald for €945,000. The owner replaced PVC windows with double-glazed wooden sash windows and re-roofed the house but as a protected structure, it doesn’t need a Ber rating. There’s room in a bedroom upstairs for a sauna, a welcome spot after a morning swim, says the owner.


A glossy red front door opens into a hall floored, like the drawingroom and diningroom off it, with polished original timber floorboards. The drawingroom looks across the front garden directly on to the sea just across the road, the diningroom on to the back garden. Both have working stripped timber shutters.

A huge gilt mirror, 9ft by 7ft, an original period piece bought on Francis Street, dominates one wall, facing a smaller circular gilt mirror over the fireplace; a slightly smaller reproduction gilt mirror hangs in the diningroom.

Double doors in a wide arch connect the rooms, which have open fireplaces with pale marble mantelpieces. There’s a panel of bells beside one of the fireplaces, once used to summon servants in this quite modest-sized Victorian.

A few steps at the end lead into a country-style kitchen/breakfastroom, with a pale marble-tiled floor, cream Aga, cream units and a large pine dresser. Glazed French doors at the back open on to a steeply-tiered back garden bordered by the rail line at the top. The back patio has a Mediterranean flavour, with whitewashed walls, colourful hanging baskets and blue pots on a two-tier patio. A garden set painted bright red fits into a sunny corner; 50 steep steps lead to a deck — with room for table and chairs — beside the rail line high above the house; it looks across the rooftop to the sea.

Upstairs, there are three bedrooms, two doubles and a single, and a family bathroom. The bed in the main bedroom at the front of the house looks straight out to sea: it’s a peaceful room, with a cream carpet and white built-in wardrobes. The single room next door is just as tranquil: it’s where the owner goes to do yoga in front of the tall window facing the sea.

The sauna is in the corner of a good-sized double bedroom at the back of the house. The family bathroom is prettily decorated and fully tiled with white tiles with a strip of blue tiling.

Number 4 is in the centre of Fontenoy Terrace, with a long front garden; it’s separated by a low wall from the road beside the sea that leads directly to Bray Head. It’s about a 20-minute walk from the Bray Dart station at the end of Bray’s seafront.

Frances O'Rourke

Frances O'Rourke

Frances O'Rourke, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about homes and property