Hidden depths: an estate house with its own indoor swimming pool

An indoor swimming pool is a luxury you might expect to find only in a multimillion luxury pad on its own grounds – not exactly something you’d think would turn up at an estate house in a Dublin suburb.

But what about a swimming/living room?

The owners of this four bed home at Drumnigh Wood, a 2006 built residential estate in Portmarnock, in North County Dublin had long fantasised about enjoying their own indoor pool. But they too thought they’d need to win the Lotto before they’d be in for a swim at home.

However, a trip to the Ideal Homes Show in 2008 brought to their attention a display by the Dublin company Acquasun, back then providing a relatively new concept to Ireland with its “endless pool” products, providing fitness pools for both indoor and outdoor use.

Using the same principle of a running machine or treadmill at the gym, but utilising water flow, the fitness pool fires jets of water from one end, thus allowing the swimmer to deploy the usual strokes, but remain stationary. Smaller versions could be had for a fraction of the cost of a regular heated swimming pool.

So the family got to thinking. The parents wanted to swim at home for keep fit purposes, but felt that a smaller fitness pool would not be plausible as they also wanted a pool that their children could enjoy with their friends in the standard fashion.

A check back with Acquasun showed that they did have a fitness pool big enough to provide for both.

The Olympic Swimmer is a 20 foot long version with power jets at one end. This type of product is still available today at a cost of between €30,000 to €40,000. The family company, based in Dublin and Belfast boasts that it has been “helping people swim at home for 40 years.”

So the Drumnigh family got thinking and their fledgling pool plan became even more ambitious – to make the pool the focal point of their home.

Most indoor swimming pool areas in are located in outer extremities of the house, in closed off wings or in basement areas with a very distinct segmentation from the main living areas. The pool room is usually for fitness and leisure purposes and kept out of sight when not in use.

So when in 2008 they took a committed plunge, not only did they opt to order a 20 foot long fitness pool and to have a new extension built especially to house it, but they determined to take a whole new approach: to provide a swimming pool living room.

The idea was to make the pool room not just an exercise and play function, but also a busy family social hub at the very centre of the home.

In the decade since then it’s been used constantly and their swimming pool living room has proven to be a huge success. The owners adds: “I’ve maintained my fitness without having to leave the house and I’ve used it regularly all through the years.

“But the big surprise was how often the children were in there. You couldn’t get them out of the pool. And it really did work fantastically as a reception room in the evening. With the lights low and the pool lit, it’s so atmospheric. It’s the perfect place to relax with a book in the evenings with a glass of wine, ideal for when you have a few friends around and also perfect for a party. We also designed the extension so that you could see it from the main rooms of the house, so even when you’re not in by the pool, it’s always in the background adding colour and atmosphere.”

There are three settings for the water jets and while there are no official massage jet functions on it, the owners confirm that the jet power produces a really relaxing massage. There are electric blinds on the pool room windows to render the room totally private at night time. Meantime the water temperature can be turned up to 38 degrees.

For those who think maintaining a pool like this is expensive, the owners estimate the heating cost at €20 per week. It’s kept clean by a pool cleaning robot. You drop it in and leave it to do the job. It switches off when its done.”

Their best room, like most of the house, has been tiled with cream coloured Italian marble crème marfil tiles.

Drumnigh Wood estate is a gated scheme built at the height of the Tiger years by Ballymore Homes. Its residents famously include,d Brian McFadden and his then wife Kerry Katona who had a six bedroom home here until 2005. Larger homes in Drumnigh Wood were offered for up to €2.5m before the crash and the estate has been described as Pormarnock’s Abington.

The extended four bed detached house spans 2,400 sq ft and has just been placed on the market with a price of €775,000 attached.

There is polished crema marfil flooring throughout, a feature marble staircase with glass balustrade, and three reception rooms in addition to the pool room. The entrance hall has a polished crema marfil marble floor with understairs storage and a feature marble staircase with a glass balustrade. There is recessed lighting and speakers fitted for surround sound.

The living room also comes with the marble tiles, as well as a feature marble wall with a raised and recessed gas fire. There’s a bay window and like most rooms in the house it benefits from surround sound speakers. Double doors lead into the other big room of the house which is the kitchen and dining room. This comes with a polished tile floor, gloss units, a quartz work top and Bosch appliances. Double doors lead from here to the sun room which allows enjoyment of the outdoors all year round.

The family room adds another reception for when privacy is required. This has double doors leading out in the garden which comes with a sunken area, patio and decking as well as surround sound speakers and recessed lighting. There’s a guest wc off the pool room.

Upstairs the master bedroom has a built in crema marfit base for a double bed, fitted wardrobes, recessed lighting and an ensuite with a rain head double shower, heated towel rail, recessed lighting and speakers for the central sound unit which is by Opus.

The three other bedrooms all come with fitted wardrobes while the family bathcomes with a jacuzzi bath and a tiled tv set in the wall.

Outside there is parking for two vehicles and this private gated estate also benefits from 24-hour on site security services.

Drumnigh Wood is located off Drumnigh Road, within reach of Portmarnock DART station, the renowned Portmarnock Velbet Strand beach which is particularly popular with wind and kite surfers and there is a range of popular golf clubs in the area.

It’s also within handy reach of Dublin Airport, the M50 and the M1 for transport purposes. Portmarnock Village with shops, boutiques and coffee shops is close at hand.

Also close is the scenic village of Malahide which is also something of a foodie haven with acclaimed restaurants including Nautilus, Deja Vu and Kajjal. Malahide’s golf clubs are also among the city’s most highly rated. Portmarnock lies on the coast between Malahide and Baldoyle, along the northern commuter railway line out of Dublin. The house at Drumnigh Wood with its specially designed swimming and living room is available through Sherry FitzGerald’s Malahide branch

(01) 8454500 asking €775,000.

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