Tudor revival architecture, or mock Tudor as it’s commonly called, began in the UK in the mid to late 19th century. It was influenced by the rustic styles used in the Tudor period from 1485 until the early 1600s. These houses stood out because of their steep roofs, leaded windows, half-timbered frontages and tall chimney breasts. Here in Ireland, it was the Edwardian period and the following years, from about 1902 to 1920, that saw most of these period revival homes constructed.
Today estate agents will consistently tell you that the Tudor revival style homes of the Edwardian era are among the most sought after home types by higher end home hunters. However, the supply of original period versions is obviously limited. Which brings us to the Tudor revival revival.
All over the UK and in Ireland since the 1990s, perhaps the most replicated style in one-off new homes, and indeed in many new estates, has been the Edwardian Tudor revival style.
Across the water, places like Manchester, Chelsea and Fulham are awash with mock Tudor mansions that became particularly popular with footballers. Wayne and Colleen Rooney knocked down a 1930s stately home in Cheshire and replaced it with a Tudor-style, six-pillared, pink-swimming pooled pad in 2005. Roy Keane also had a fondness for something new, and bulldozed a period property in Hale to make way for his mock Tudor, with gym, tennis court and pool.
Living in the UK at the time was Irish builder Tony Smyth. He worked on many houses around Chelsea and Fulham and was clearly taken by the style. So when he came back to Ireland full of ideas, he began building a few houses on Saval Park Road in Dalkey. One was Willow Brook, which sold earlier in the year for €1.95m. At the time of selling, the owner professed it to be “the most Tudor-looking house in Ireland that isn’t actually Tudor” (in truth there are almost no true Tudors in Ireland).
Next door to this is Thornbury, which Smyth built as his family home back in 2008. While Willow Brook has all the hallmark Tudor traits like leaded windows and decorative beam work, Thornbury is a bit more subtle. In both homes, however, Smyth has stayed true to the Tudor revival building tradition of using natural materials and celebrating craftsmanship and individuality.
While this design may look out of place in some suburbs, it fits in perfectly in Dalkey. The village has an Edwardian feel with shops with mock-Tudor facades, an old-school book store and small tea-room-like cafes. You can even take part in a Tudor experience in Dalkey Castle, complete with barber shop, food-tasting and archery demonstration.
Thornbury, which is a 10-minute walk into the village, has just come on the market through Vincent Finnegan (01 284 4312) with a guide price of €2.5m. At 4,736 sq ft, new owners would want to be the kind of people who like entertaining because it’s a house that is built for it. The exterior is a mix of different levels and curves, with feature windows and a balcony, while inside the design is kept simple, with large rooms and high ceilings.
The entrance hall with a stone floor has a helical staircase that sweeps up to the next level in a graceful flow. To the left is the lounge with an oak floor, a limestone fireplace and French doors out to the patio. There’s a pool room beside this.
On the other side of the hall is the kitchen, dining room and utility. The kitchen is fitted with cream country-style units and an island, and comes with an integrated fridge, Rangemaster oven with five-ring hob and Belfast sink.
On a clear day, the best spot in the house must surely be the sunroom, as it’s from here that one cannot only enjoy sea views, but could also umpire a tennis match from the comfort of their armchair. It overlooks a full-size, well-kept tennis court that is sure to attract neighbours and friends over for a tournament or two.
On the second floor there are five large bedrooms. Four of them have en suite bathrooms and the master also has a walk-in wardrobe. Up on the next floor is an open-plan attic conversion with home cinema, gym and bathroom. The skylight Velux windows have super views out over the rooftops of Dalkey and on to the sea.
The revival vibe is strong in these parts, 20 minutes away in Enniskerry is a development called Eagle Valley. This was built in the mid-90s beside the Slazenger family’s Powerscourt Estate in Wicklow. The large detached houses in this American-style estate are all slightly different. Some have mock-Tudor facades, others more neo-Georgian and the rest with a Victorian influence.
No 44 is on the market through Colliers International (01 633 3700) with a guide price of €1.15m. It has the typical facade of a mock-Tudor property with white rendered panels between black timber beams. The agents believe it will likely be bought by a local family trading up. The estate is well established now and cars drive slowly to cater for the numerous kids out playing in the communal gardens. There is even a private bus for pupils who are enrolled in Blackrock College, Mount Anville and St Andrew’s.
The house has a floor area of 4,488 sq ft that is spread out over three floors. It underwent a renovation and extension in 2005 which opened it up and let it breathe a bit more. There is room galore inside with a drawing room on one side of the hall and a more casual sitting room on the other. The kitchen and dining room and another living area are all at the back of the house. In the centre is a standalone double-sided stove that holds the three areas together. The kitchen is fully fitted and has an L-shaped island and breakfast bar with granite worktop. The dining area at the back is surrounded by windows and has French doors out to the deck.
At one side of the house is a self-contained wing that older teens who are looking for a bit of independence would die for. It’s currently being used for an office and games room, but would easily house an elderly parent or au pair, if the kids don’t get there first.
Upstairs are six bedrooms. Four have en suite bathrooms. The master bedroom has a Jacuzzi bath in the en suite and there’s also a walk-in wardrobe, small balcony and stairs up to a mezzanine study.
Although it’s a housing estate, it doesn’t feel like one. Each home is detached with plenty of space around it, with great views out over the lush Wicklow hills. The garden at No 44 is laid out over different levels with two patio areas, an orchard, raised beds and steps up to a wooden garden room.
It’s not just southsiders who have a fondness for all things Tudor either. Northsiders got in on the act too, with 7 The Old Golf Links in Malahide being a fine example of this. There were about 70 houses built on the old golf course in the 1990s. Some house fronts are plainer than others, but No 7 got the full monty.
The ivy-clad Tudor-like facade is redbrick on the bottom and white with decorative beams and dormer windows on the top. While the interiors could do with a bit of modernisation, it has all the makings of a fine family home that is right beside the coast.
With an overall floor area of 3,193 sq ft, the property is on the market with a guide price of €1.95m through Sherry FitzGerald (01 845 4500).
On the ground floor there is a living room, formal dining room, sitting room, study, kitchen and sunroom. There is also a utility off the kitchen that is plumbed for a washing machine and dryer, and a guest bathroom.
Upstairs, over the spacious hall, is a library with maple floors and an arched ceiling. There are five bedrooms, two with en suites, and a large family bathroom.
There is parking at the front for about six cars on the cobblelock driveway and the back garden has a patio area, sun deck and well-kept lawn that is surrounded by mature shrubbery.
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