Revamped D4 period home could be yours for €1.95m
Modern revamp retains property's 19th century features
'I love old buildings," says Goretti Foreau, the conservation architect who is the current owner of 1 Leahy's Terrace in Sandymount, a decent example of how a period house can be made to accommodate modern family living.
The aim of conservation architecture is to keep what is of intrinsic value in the original building, while enabling the current occupants to live in their own time.
Leahy's Terrace was built between 1860 and 1862, a handsome two-storey-over-basement terrace opposite the Star Of The Sea church in Sandymount. Its developer was William Leahy, who leased the plot from Sydney, Lord Herbert, of the Pembroke Estate, who had donated the land for the church some years earlier. Leahy's brother, Thomas, was the parish priest and lived at No 3, while another brother, Patrick - a saddler whose business was located on the site of what is now the Trinity Hotel on Pearse Street - lived at No 10. William Leahy himself lived at No 1.
There is a reference to Leahy's Terrace in Ulysses. On June 16, 1904, Stephen Daedalus leaves Paddy Dignam's house on Newbridge Avenue on foot, "stopping at the priest's house on Leahy Terrace as the bells of the Star Of The Sea were heard on the strand."
Foreau and her husband bought the house in 2003. It had been the parish priest's house for many years and what is now an elegant drawing room off the entrance hall was the parochial office. The priest's housekeeper lived downstairs, and the rooms in the basement were used for meetings of the Girl Guides, Alcoholics Anonymous and the Legion of Mary.
Apart from some dry rot in the basement, the house was in good condition and Foreau set about ventilating and heating the property, which extends to 3,400 sq ft. She installed double-glazed sash windows, and the house has a BER of D2, which is good for a house of this age.
A flight of granite steps leads up to the wide entrance hall, which is lit from the side by two arched windows. Foreau believes that the glass in these windows dates from the 1930s, as it is Arts & Crafts in style. The original window stoppers are beehive shaped. The ceiling plasterwork is in excellent condition - Foreau has been careful not to over-paint it and she keeps it clean by brushing it down.
The drawing room to the front of the house retains its original marble fireplace and connects with the family room to the back. Together the two rooms make for a great entertaining space and Foreau says they have been put to good use for family parties, christenings, communions and confirmations.
The bright, roof-lit kitchen and breakfast room occupy the return to the rear of the house, and there's a stable door to a deck that gets the morning sun. There's a lovely Arts & Crafts mahogany fireplace, and a view all the way to Sandymount Village from the kitchen window.
Upstairs there are three bedrooms and the master has a smart ensuite wetroom, Mobilia-fitted wardrobes and views across to St Matthew's Church, built by the Pembroke estate for soldiers from the nearby barracks.
The family bathroom retains the priest's bath, which Foreau had re-enamelled as it is much longer than the baths available now and she has tall sons. One of the other two bedrooms on this floor has a mezzanine sleeping area that will appeal to children. At basement level, the accommodation is configured as a double bedroom with study, a bathroom, and a large laundry room and garden kitchen with direct access to the eating area outside and a bathroom. Partitioning has created a separate one-bedroom apartment with its own kitchen and bathroom, but this could easily be reintegrated into the rest of the house, making it a 6-bedroom residence.
There is off-street parking for two cars. Leahy's Terrace is on a bus route and it's eight minutes' walk to Lansdowne Road Dart Station. Sandymount Village has a branch of Tesco and a good butcher, and Foreau says they like to go for pints in Mulligans and to eat at either Dunne & Crescenzi or The Chop House on Shelbourne Road. Juniors and The Old Spot are other convenient options. There are three primary schools in the area and local secondary choices include St Michael's on Ailesbury Road.
The Foreaus are on the hunt for another conservation project, but hope to stay in the area, which, they say, offers the best of both worlds in terms of proximity to the city and the coast.
1 Leahy's Terrace
Sandymount, Dublin 4
Asking price: €1.95m
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 2698888