55A Patrick Street, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin Asking Price: €695,000 Agent: Sherry Fitzgerald (01) 284442
sTranger Karen Perry’s latest best-selling thriller.
It is a disturbing story of what happens when an unsuspecting ‘normal’ couple with children invites a toxic stranger to live with them in their family home. That nominal stranger is the creepy Corinne; French summer vacation exchange student from hell.
“It’s a cuckoo-in-the-family-nest story,” says Karen Sweeney (better known under her name de plume Karen Perry), a former law student at Rathfarnham, best known by writers such as Stephen The story reflects the organic method of writing. King.
Instead of plotting everything from start to finish, Sweeney/Perry wonders “what if?” Aadhaar (in this case, what if a family took in a rogue exchange student?)
She then envisions a group of central characters to throw at that base, and stands back and lets them go at it. “There’s no end in my mind until I’m at least half way through,” she says. “And then I will panic until it comes to me.”
The 2009 EU Literary Prize (for Ireland) winning writer’s 17-year career has given him a somewhat different literary personality.
his first novel seven nights in saragoza (2005) Karen Gilles was written under the pseudonym and three more thrillers followed as Gilles. Then, from 2014, he collaborated with author Paul Perry for four novels (among them 2016’s). girl unknown,
These were published under Karen Perry Sobriquet. The pair ended their writing partnership in 2018 and Sweeney has since continued to write singles as Karen Perry. But at home she is Karen Sweeney. vague?
So perhaps it’s fitting that her home at 55a Patrick Street in Dun Laoghaire, shared with husband, UCD lecturer Conor Sweeney, and their two daughters, Rowan (13) and Freya (10), also has a distinctly split personality.
“The original house at number 55 was probably built in the mid-19th century,” she says. “The family that owned it at some point in the 1920s cut off a portion of it from our side to build a small self-contained home for an unmarried female relative.” And Sweeney’s has pretty much ramped up No55A’s character development since receiving it in 2015.
The couple were looking for their home to rent with Karen in charge of browsing the portal. “I was working at UCD and I wanted to cycle to work,” says Conor, a lecturer and computation modeller specializing in weather at the college’s School of Mathematics and Statistics.
“So we made a circle around the UCD within cycling distance. Karen was doing most of the searching online and I was catching up over the weekend. Then I saw this one house in Doon Laoghaire, which he had not flagged. I said ‘What about this?
But the Caron was completely discontinued from the front which had a white Upcv door and ugly Upvc windows at the time. She didn’t even want to go and see.
“But it was in Dun Laoghaire and my hobbies are rock climbing, cycling and sailing.” Connor eventually convinces Karen not to judge this particular book by its cover and go inside.
“I walked into this great living room space and I thought, ‘This is cute,’ and then I went to the kitchen and I was completely sold,” says Karen. And so Sweeney bought the 55a and got to work.
“Ironically, the one thing we liked the most was the frontage, which had to be replaced,” says Connor.
Karen adds: “A landscaping friend of mine said we’d need to do the garden first, as it would take time to get started, so we broke down the concrete and gravel and got to work putting it up. It’s a real sun trap Is.
“We wanted the girls to be happy with their bedrooms, so these were carried over.” The stand-out Continental rustic-style kitchen was a joint effort. He employed a carpenter to make the colored yellow-framed butcher’s block as well as the oak top units.
Karen chose Farrow & Ball’s off-wine ‘Eggplant’ for the cabinet doors. The period kitchen table was sourced from an upcycler at Donedeal.ie, who furnished it with sanded pallet wood. The chairs came from Buckley’s Antiques Auctions.
“The kitchen ceiling had wallpaper, so we covered it with painted tongue-and-groove wood for a more ‘cottage’ look,” says Connor.
Finally, they had sash windows made by Münster Joinery for the offending façade. His replacement front door came to him through the family.
“My brother-in-law was installing a new door at his period house in Sandymount and asked me if I wanted the original. It was perfect,” Connor says.
On the ground floor, the split-level entrance hall leads to the living room with a carved wooden period fireplace sconce and solid wood floors.
Staircases from the hall lead down to an enlarged kitchen/living/dining area, at the end of which a large picture window overlooks the garden. Karen’s writing desk is here, and so is a larder from the kitchen.
Upstairs on the retreat is a family bathroom with a standalone claw foot tub, and a bedroom with an original fireplace piece.
In front is the master bedroom spanning the full width of the house and a study is currently in use as the third bedroom.
Now the couple is planning another renovation adventure. Says Karen Sweeney/Perry, “We have a look at a big span house, so we’re selling the 55A.”
The cover price of their seaside pad from Sherry Fitzgerald is €695,000.