Thursday, 12 July 2018

Unique house in Bettystown is
a tribute to the Bauhaus School

The Beach Haus, a unique Bauhaus-style house in Bettystown, is on the market with an asking price of €1.25 million (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

For almost a decade, cranes stood above a half-built house on the beach at Bettystown, Co Meath. The house remained little more than a shell for years, and the unfinished structure was exposed to elements and sometimes vandalised.

But now the beachfront Beach Haus is a family home, and it has come on the market in recent weeks with an asking price of €1.25 million.

The Beach Haus began as a builder’s swansong, but the recession turned that dream into a nightmare. The shell was bought in 2006 and now the house has a very sizeable floor area of 929 sq m (10,000 sq ft) and an incredible expanse of glass. The present owner spent 18 months finishing the house to the highest specifications

The name of the Beach Haus is a reminder that this house is built in the Bauhaus style.

Staatliches Bauhaus, known simply as Bauhaus, was a German art school from 1919 to 1933 that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicised and taught.

The Bauhaus was founded by the German architect Walter Gropius in Weimar. The German term Bauhaus (‘building house’) was understood to mean ‘School of Building,’ although the school was sought to bring together all arts, including architecture.

The Bauhaus style became one of the most influential currents in modern design, Modernist architecture and art, design and architectural education. It had a profound influence on later developments in art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography.

The school constantly changed venues, moving from Weimar (1919-1925), Dessau (1925-1932) and Berlin (1932-1933), until it was closed under pressure from the Nazis, who claimed it was a centre of communist intellectualism

The Beach Haus in Bettystown was designed by the New Zealand architect Craig Bradford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

The Beach Haus in Bettystown has tell-tale elements of the Bauhaus approaches to design in the rectilinear boxy construction and the huge emphasis on expanses of glass. Like Bauhaus, this house is a great example of how functionality need not be boring. And this house is anything but boring.

The Beach Haus was designed by the New Zealand architect Craig Bradford. The property includes a three-bedroom guest house and two-bedroom apartment, both unfinished and amalgamated into the main house.

The house is built in a very unique contemporary style on three levels. At all three levels there is access to the terraces and large balconies overlooking the sea, and there are stunning vistas from all principal rooms.

The two sea-facing bedrooms have balconies, while the two to the rear have terraces overlooking an internal courtyard.

The German engineered anodised aluminium triple glazed windows are the largest domestic installation in Ireland. These floor-to-ceiling windows in all rooms complement the artisan-crafted Italian marble and mother of pearl terrazzo flooring in all rooms. The floors once lay hidden under years of detritus, but have been freshly polished, reflecting the vast swathes of light throughout the house, and they are heated underfoot.

There are floor-to-ceiling custom walnut doors with frosted glass and modern Dornbracht/Hans Grohe German hardware.

In the central foyer – which provides access to the guest house – a floating cantilevered staircase was so cumbersome that it had to be poured on site and the glass balustrade was so large it required bullet-proof glass.

The original plans included a gym, a sauna and a wine cellar in the basement, which is now used as storage. The house was also wired for an electric grand piano.

The house goes down 3 metres on the beach side, and the amount of concrete used could support a building four times its size.

Inside, the house has motorised blinds, zoned LED lighting and a Sonos audio system. The 10-ft high ceilings have acoustic panelling to ensure sound-proofing.

Cedar was used as external cladding and for the interior walls. One entire wall inside has a hidden panel for the 65-inch television screen. Cedar was also used on the four-car double garage inside the electric gates.

Views of the beach at Bettystown and Laytown and the Irish Sea from the Beach Haus (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Bettystown Beach is at the backyard, and a door with keypads at the end of the garden wall gives the residents direct access to the beach.

The perimeter walls are built of solid stone blocks that are cemented several metres below to ensure they withstand the elements. The house stands on a site of 0.20 hectare (0.5 acre), and the landscaping around the house includes year-round flowering foliage, newly-planted trees, shrubberies, sun-trap patio areas and water features.

The house is 16 km from the Dublin-Belfast M1 motorway and has panoramic views over the Irish Sea, the Mourne Mountains and as far south as Skerries in north Co Dublin. Bettystown is about 50 km north of Dublin, 35 km from Dublin Airport and 8 km south of Drogheda which is Ireland’s largest town.

The Beach Haus is on the market through Savills Country, 20 Dawson Street, Dublin 2, with an asking price of €1.25 million.

The Beach Haus remained a shell for many years before it was completed (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

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