86 Stiles Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3
Asking price: €990,000
Agent: REA Grimes Clontarf (01) 853 0630
Before Stiles Road in the affluent north Dublin suburb of Clontarf existed, it was part of lands attached to the Vernon family’s Clontarf Castle. In the 1930s, the estate was sold to developers who set about building streets of upmarket homes designed for the professional classes.
Stiles Road, named after the stiles that people formerly had to cross to get from one part of the land to another, was the first of these new roads to be built. Lined with large semi-detached houses set on generous sites with big gardens front and back, it continues to attract professionals looking for family homes in a seaside location close to town.
Melanie and Shea McNelis fell in love with No86 Stiles Road the minute they stepped through the front door in 2007. The Galway natives — childhood sweethearts from their mid-teens — were trading up from a smaller house in the area and, for Melanie, the connection was so strong, simply standing in the hallway felt like home.
It wasn’t entirely a coincidence that No86 provoked such an emotional response. Melanie’s father had grown up on Stiles Road and she’d often visited her grandmother down the road.
“There was something familiar and comforting about the house,” recalls Melanie. “It hadn’t been decorated since the 1980s, but that didn’t faze us.”
The property needed more than a lick of paint, however. The couple immediately set about renovations that would bring the 70-plus-year-old house into the 21st century. Using local tradespeople, they installed triple-glazed windows and had the property replumbed, rewired and walls and roof insulated. They knocked an old conservatory, extended out the back and had a kitchen-diner fitted with bespoke units and American-style fridge-freezer.
A roof light floods the space with natural light and double doors open out to the back garden. Off this, they added an office/music room. A new combi-boiler was installed to provide hot water on demand. An upstairs box room was turned into a walk-in wardrobe and another bedroom became a second home office. Little did they know how useful those two offices would become over a decade later.
The front cobblelock driveway provides off-street parking for several cars, while the south-east facing back garden is landscaped, mainly in lawn with mature shrubs and trees, with a small pond and a paved patio for soaking up the summer sun and dining al fresco.
There’s also a vegetable patch where the owners grow lettuce, rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes and herbs in season. “Let’s be clear — Shea is the gardener,” says Melanie. “I do not have green fingers — I just reap the rewards of his labour.”
Accessed through a front porch, the entrance hall has solid wood floors and panelled walls. Off this is a double reception room with living and dining space, bay windows and a feature fireplace with gas inset.
At the heart of the home is an open-plan kitchen-dining-living area. The integrated kitchen features a built-in wine fridge and coffee machine, an island with countertop from Miller Brothers Stone, sink and breakfast bar. Also on the ground floor is a study/office/music room and guest wc.
A half garage is currently used as a utility/storage room. Upstairs on the first floor are three double bedrooms, one with a walk-in wardrobe and ensuite bathroom. The family bathroom has a free-standing bath, walk-in shower and WC.
In 2012, the owners engaged an architect to convert the attic, which is now a fourth bedroom with ensuite bathroom and dormer windows, an ideal space for their 12-year-old son Paddy.
Four years later, in 2016, Melanie and Shea embarked on a further refurb, replacing countertops, having bespoke cabinetry fitted and plantation shutters installed on the windows. They also had the entire house wired for surround sound.
The result is a spacious, four-bedroom house in showhouse condition, with walls painted in designer shades from high-end paint suppliers Benjamin Moore and Farrow and Ball.
When they’re not studying or working from home, the family gather in the open-plan kitchen-dining-living area.
“It’s my favourite part of the house,” says Melanie. “This is where we spend most of our time, relaxing, watching TV and just hanging out together.”
No86 is three minutes’ walk from the seaside in Clontarf. “In these times, that’s a lifeline,” says Melanie, who enjoys a daily walk along the promenade.
For those interested in sports, Clontarf Rugby and Cricket grounds are a few hundred metres down the road. St Anne’s Park in Fairview is a mile away, it’s three miles to the city centre and a 12-minute drive to Dublin Airport. Belgrove primary school is a 10-minute walk from the house.
The owners hadn’t planned on leaving Stiles Road, but another property in need of restoration has caught their eye and now they’re off to start a new project. REA Grimes is seeking €990,000.