Saturday 21 October 2017

Former Coach House in Ballsbridge can be yours for €950k

Coach House has green light to more than double its size

The exterior showing space for three vehicles but also for a large extension for which planning is secured
The exterior showing space for three vehicles but also for a large extension for which planning is secured
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

Without horses, Dublin wouldn't have its eclectic assortment of mews dwellings located in central areas today. Before use of the car became widespread in the 1930s, any upmarket residence worth its salt had a horse or two and a carriage or trap for the owner to get around in. These of course had to be kept somewhere.

Usually located at the back of the main house and most commonly built in brick or cut stone, the coach house had to be large enough to house at least two horses, the coach itself, maintenance tools and relevant saddlery. This required quite a lot of space.

The open-plan living room and dining room is the home's strongest feature and comes with a robust gas stove
The open-plan living room and dining room is the home's strongest feature and comes with a robust gas stove

Access to the coach house was another key consideration. When it comes to Dublin's Georgian, Victorian houses, there were two solutions.

First off, you could build an archway at the front of the house leading to the coach house at the back. The big disadvantage here was that, in a terrace of tall homes, this took up substantial space which could otherwise have been incorporated into a house. If the property was standing over a basement or garden level, then a bridge was also required to carry you over it.

As time went on, the preferred solution was a shared arch in a terrace through which all owners took their horse-drawn traps into a lane to the coach houses. These were usually arrayed in a line facing out from the back of the properties on the street.

By the late 19th century, the preference was to do away with the frontal access arch altogether. Instead, the coach house lane was accessed via an open entrance lane, usually located off a perpendicular street.

The main entrance
The main entrance

The Edwardian era in city locations brought the widespread use of the bicycle and home builders were already predicting that use of the motor car would spread. The need for coach houses diminished, although the lanes were still provided for many years to come to facilitate home deliveries, particularly messy ones like coal.

In the decades immediately following the demise of equine city transport, coach houses were left disused, treated as garden sheds or provided as low rent commercial lock-ups or car garages until the 1970s.

At this point, central locations became valuable again (thanks ironically to the car and traffic) and architects began to find ways of turning the spacious end-of-garden buildings into private residences. Many were knocked down to be replaced completely and some were renovated heavily over the original layouts and designs.

So it is unusual to find a coach house today which hasn't been significantly modified since the fading of the equine clop from our streets.

One of the double bedrooms
One of the double bedrooms

The Coach House at 1a St Mary's Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, is located off Baggot Lane. It's Victorian and built in red bricks. Its initial house-like layout probably saved it from demolition or heavy modifications back in the day.

Converted inside to a contemporary style by its current owners, the property has just been placed on the market through Colliers, seeking a price of €950,000 for what is obviously a blue chip neighbourhood. Behind a smart timber front door is the entrance hall, which has a laminated timber floor.

The kitchen has a laminated floor
The kitchen has a laminated floor

The home's strongest attribute as it stands is the open-plan living room and dining room space through which the staircase runs to the upper floor.

This comes with a robust-looking traditional gas stove as the centrepiece of the room. A door leads through from here to the custom designed kitchen, with a range of fitted floor and eye level units. There's a timber worktop and a stainless steel sink with appliances including a Bosch fridge freezer, a Nordmende slimline dishwasher, a built-in Nordmende oven and microwave, a four ring hob and a stainless steel extractor fan. The lighting is recessed.

Off this is a utility room with a selection of built-in storage cupboards and shelving, including some nifty pull-out stainless steel drawers. A door leads out from here to Baggot Lane.

The house has two bedrooms and both of these are double sized. Both also come with bespoke fitted floor-to-ceiling wardrobes. The bathroom is recently installed and comes with a larger-than-average shower tray, there's a wall mounted wc along with a concealed cistern. It also has a free-standing basin and a chrome heated towel rail.

The house is entered through electronically operated gates leading to a gravelled area, which offers off-street parking for two to three cars.

Despite surviving in almost original form for over 100 years, the time might have come for some new owners to break with that record for the better. As it currently stands, this property spans 615 sq ft, which is small for a house. But there is full planning permission from Dublin City Council to extend the property to more than double the existing size - to 1,474 sq ft. This is substantially larger than the size of an average family home.

Ballsbridge is Dublin's most exclusive address, so when it comes to extending, its new owners might not hold the horses.

The Coach House

1a St Mary's Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

Asking price: €950,000

Agent: Colliers International (01) 6333700

Indo Property

Editors Choice

Also in Life