Belfast Telegraph

Palatial pad full of promise

This fantastic country house in Hillsborough will leave you feeling 'to the manor born'. It is also great family accommodation. Helen Carson reports

Constructed just two years ago, this magnificent six-bedroom house in the heart of the Hillsborough countryside is one impressive home.

But for owners Stephen and Francis Kennedy it was a labour of love. The couple moved to Hillsborough from Belfast seven years ago, having bought a property on the same site at Edentrillick Road.

Francis explains: "Stephen is originally from the country and wanted to come back. We bought a house on this land with a view to building a new property."

Francis says: "Stephen had the vision to look to the future and building our own home here."

The house they lived in at that time, however, was older and required renovating. So before embarking on an ambitious building project, they had the not- so-small matter of upgrading the house.

"We had to put in a new kitchen and bathroom in the other house before we could sell it," says Francis.

After planning permission was granted the hard work began in earnest, starting with the levelling off of the very rocky ground. A family member came to the rescue and spent a year preparing the site before any of the foundations could go in.

Meanwhile, both Francis and Stephen worked closely with an architect to design their dream home. And they are both very pleased with the end result.

Now they have a six-reception room home with six bedrooms - each with an en suite, a fabulous country kitchen, a utility/boot room with wet room off the entrance, attached double garage and a stable block with four loose boxes, tack room and cloakroom, along with a flood-lit menage.

There is also extensive landscaping and impressive entrance gates - and all set in nine acres of rolling countryside.

But apart from the obvious grandeur of the palatial pad, which includes lots of period- style details, such as a Georgian entrance door with fan and side lights, traditional sliding sash windows with feature panelling around windows and deep sills, Francis says this is a practical family home.

While the Kennedys' four children love the outdoors and equestrian pursuits in particular, there is no need for the outdoors to be brought indoors on their boots.

A really well equipped, fully tiled wet room just off the entrance, complete with a power shower, allows boots and outdoor clothes to be cast aside for a quick clean-up.

The adjoining boot room also means the muddy footprints need go no further.

Francis says this is very much the 'working' end of the house. A walk-in pantry provides useful storage, as well as access to the attached double garage which has power and light as well as remote-controlled roller doors.

Francis also swears by the Beam central vacuum system, which is essential in a home of these proportions.

In stark contrast is the formal drawing room with beautiful bay window and provision for a fireplace. And it's onto a real boy's bolthole - a games room complete with bar and currently home to a rather large snooker table.

There is a solid wood floor here with cornice ceiling, low voltage lighting and the aforementioned bar which is plumbed and tiled.

There is more solid oak flooring in the dining room, which is perfect for formal occasions. It also has a cornice ceiling, centre rose and an antique fireplace with tiled inset and mahogany surround (piped for gas).

The family kitchen is a real treat, with fully fitted bespoke hand-made and hand-painted units plus a French sink unit with antique brass mixer taps, polished granite work tops, a centre island and, of course, an oil-fired four-oven Aga. With an Italian- tiled floor and built-in automatic dishwasher nothing is left to chance here.

A family room is just off the kitchen and it has a antique cast iron fireplace, while the sun room, with its vaulted ceiling and feature arched window, allows views of the garden and access through French doors.

The first floor, meanwhile, is a really successful combination of well utilised space and good looks.

Francis says: "There is no room in this house which is not used."

And she's right, a first floor laundry room, incorporating washer, dryer, airer and ironing board means no clothes ever have to go downstairs.

And expect a really spacious master bedroom up here (21'11"x18'2" ). It has an antique walnut fireplace with cast iron inset and hearth, corniced ceiling and French doors to a balcony. An archway leads to a luxurious en suite bathroom with a white suite, mosaic tiling, twin vanity units, Jacuzzi bath with marble top, fully marble-tiled shower cubicle with Drench and power shower and chrome heated towel rail.

The scale here is no accident. Francis says: "Stephen's dad told us 'make sure you look after your own space, as your children eventually grow up and leave you'. I don't have a main bathroom here, all the bedrooms are en suite."

Two of the bedrooms share an en suite bathroom and each and every one is really well appointed with quality sanitary ware and stylish fixtures and fittings. Indeed craftsmanship and attention to detail are prevalent throughout this house.

All the rooms are painted in Farrow and Ball colours, in keeping with the period style.

Despite the huge investment of time and love in this property, the family now need more land and stabling for a growing herd of ponies, creating a very rare chance to own an exceptional property in this beautiful part of the country.

Dun Varren, 20 Edentrillick Road, Hillsborough

Price: £2,750,000

Agent: Eric Cairns Partnership, tel 028 9066 8888

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