Red-brick belle of Rathmines for €1.35m
Protected property is renovated with style
A young boy was employed to operate the switchboard when the first telephone exchange was opened in Dublin in 1880. However, there were far too few callers to keep him occupied, so he got bored and decided his time would be better spent out in the courtyard playing marbles. He got the sack and must have immediately learned a valuable lesson about the importance of looking busy.
By the late 1800s, the telephone service on these islands was being monopolised by an American-backed private enterprise called the National Telephone Company. But, whereas nowadays privatisation is the dominant commercial philosophy, in those days it was the opposite. Having invested huge sums in the network, and with demand growing, the National Telephone Company was increasingly viewed with suspicion by the State. In 1905, the post office announced it would be nationalising the company's operations in Ireland and Britain at the end of 1911.
In that same year, the manager of the National Telephone Company in Dublin, Percy Frank Currall, was living at Number 2 Windsor Road in Rathmines, Dublin 6, with his wife and two children and a domestic servant. It was a grand (though in those days relatively new) three-storey red-brick house at the end of a terrace, and no doubt had a telephone installed which Percy might have sat by, waiting to receive updates on the fate of his job.
Grand as it was then, Number 2 is even grander nowadays, having been extended in recent years to 2,573 sq ft. And planning permission was granted (though it has now lapsed) to make it even bigger, with a two-storey extension to the side consisting of four ensuites and two dressing rooms.
As it stands, the house has five bedrooms, two on the first floor and three on the second floor. None of these bedrooms has an ensuite, though there is a bathroom on each of the return levels, so a buyer may want to consider resubmitting that planning application.
The house is on Dublin City Council's list of protected structures, though, so expect some curtailment of your ideas for changing the property. Anyway, it requires almost nothing by way of renovation, having been already extended and modernised by its current owners.
Many of the period features have been preserved and restored, such as wooden windows and doors, high ceilings with coving, and marble and cast-iron fireplaces.
The ground floor is all daytime space, with two formal interconnected reception rooms that in recent years have been home to a Montessori school. As well as those two rooms, there's a study in a little single-storey extension to the side of the house.
A large open-plan kitchen, dining room and family room occupies an extension at the back of the property, which still features the red-brick external wall of the original house.
The kitchen has a slate floor and blue-painted cabinets, a breakfast bar and several roof windows, and there are French doors from the dining area to the garden. There's also a utility room off the kitchen, and there are two guest toilets off the slate-floored entrance hall. Up on the first floor there's another reception room in the form of a living room with a fireplace. There's also a bathroom on this level, and the first three of the five bedrooms. The other two bedrooms, as well as another bathroom, are on the second floor. Both of these bathrooms have baths and power showers.
There's a railed garden out the front, so you can park only on the street. Out the back is a split-level south-facing garden where there's a shutter opening to a laneway.
The back garden is what agents describe, rather euphemistically in this case, as "low-maintenance". This means it consists of a raised lawn that's been laid with fake grass. This could be handy enough if you're the type who's never got around to learning how to work a lawnmower, but it should be easy enough to replace with real growth for those with greener fingers.
Sunken below this, off the rear extension, is a paved patio. It's not quite what you'd call a courtyard, but it's easily big enough to play marbles in while you're waiting for the phone to ring.
Windsor Road runs roughly east to west between Palmerston Road and Ormond Road in Rathmines. As it's at the eastern end of the Dublin 6 suburb, it's close to the Luas line. The Cowper Luas stop is about seven minutes' walk, and Beechwood is only about 100 metres farther away, when you want to vary your morning walk. Or, if you want to take Shank's mare to the city centre, it will take about half an hour to reach St Stephen's Green on foot.
No 2 Windsor Road
Rathmines, Dublin 6
Asking price: €1.35m
Agent: DNG Terenure (01) 4909000