Delgany home that grew into a castle for €5.5m

27 April 2017

 Is it the little touches that make Castlefield House? Or is it the grand gestures? Either way, you’re spoiled for choice in this massive detached pile, set in the middle of its own private grounds just outside pretty Delgany village in Co Wicklow. “We didn’t intend it to be so big,” says owner, businessman Michael Noble. “It just,” he pauses and considers, “grew.”

Michael and his wife Astra began their building project back in 2005, working with architect Colum ó Broin and interior designer Patricia FitzPatrick, of No 8 The Living Space, to realise their ideal family home.
The kitchen at Castlefield House, Delgany, Co Wicklow, gets sun all day long from its tri-aspect design.
The kitchen at Castlefield House, Delgany, Co Wicklow, gets sun all day long from its tri-aspect design.
But when you start listing dream features, and they include a home cinema complete with bar and dance floor; tri-aspect kitchen plus separate butler’s kitchen; lift connecting the levels; bespoke 4,200 piece crystal chandelier overhanging the centre of a curving cantilevered staircase; a home gym and snooker room; a series of bathrooms of competing magnificence – two include integrated televisions at the end of the bath (“No, they don’t fog up,” says Michael) and a sauna; any house would, inevitably, grow.

Michael comes from the area, and like many Delgany denizens, had no intention of leaving, and instead put time into finding the ideal site. There was a house already on the land, and it had been their original intention to extend, but as Astra explains, they quickly realised that if they started again from scratch they could get exactly the house they wanted, positioned to make the most of the sunshine and the sea views.

The screening room at Castlefield House, Delgany, Co Wicklow. It also includes a bar and dance floor.
The screening room at Castlefield House, Delgany, Co Wicklow. It also includes a bar and dance floor.
Attention to detail
All of this took time, “it didn’t just happen,” says Michael, with considerable understatement. The couple are quick to credit FitzPatrick, with whom they had worked before. “She designed a lot of the furniture too,” says Astra. “And she has such attention to detail.”

This includes touches such as leather handles on the solid larch cupboards in the study, as well as stitched suede on the walls in that room too. Then there’s the upholstered woollen walls in the cinema room, handmade carpets from Connemara Carpets, the bespoke kitchen with marble and walnut worktops, Italian marble and stone in the bathrooms, and made-to-measure fireplaces throughout. The six bedrooms all have en suites and five have either walk-in wardrobes or dressing rooms. The en suite off the master bedroom is worthy of a Roman emperor.

Behind all this decor is a very solid construction, a geothermal heating system that gives the house a rating of A3, an integrated sound system, and CCTV. Rena O’Kelly of Knight Frank, who is looking after the sale at €5.5million, says the gradual investment by the current owners in the property means you’re getting a hell of a lot of house for your money.

“It will have strong appeal to those who value the time taken in creating this turn-key home. Successful business executives with young families who are cash-rich and time-poor will be drawn to it,” she says. O’Kelly suggests the buyer may well be drawn locally but the property could equally appeal to company executives and ex-pats locating to Dublin in the wake of Brexit.

Next step
When the Nobles’s two children were still at home, the entire house was used, with family and friends spreading out through the living room, dining room and drawing room, as well as into that screening and party room. “We used the gym a lot too,” says Astra, “now it’s mainly the kitchen and family room that we use.” They’re downsizing, and while Astra wants a renovation project, Michael wants to build again. With his track record, I suggest that the “downsize” project may grow too. “Or you could just live in the mews?” I get the sense that he’d half-consider it, they have loved this house so much.

We walk through the grounds, and he points out the many speciment plantings, showing how things have grown, while the sounds of a pair of fountains splash merrily nearby. “I’ll miss the views most,” says Astra. “And it’s so peaceful here. I know it’s a very large house, but it’s actually very easy to live in,” she adds.
Should all that not be enough to tempt you to sell up and move up, Michael also tells me there’s planning permission for a swimming pool, gym and solarium. Of course there is.