Wednesday 20 September 2017

Renovated church mews in Ballsbridge on the market for €1.1m

Church Mews Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 €1.1m
The pleasant exterior
The pleasant exterior

Words by Fran Power

Although Church Mews sits on Elgin Road, along a tree-lined strip that includes the imposing redbrick facades of the Belgian, Ukrainian, Republic of Kenyan and the US embassies, the passer-by would hardly notice the pretty, stone-built former coach house.

First, it is set back off the road behind a high wall and accessed by a private gated driveway flanked by high hedges. Second, it is overshadowed by sitting next door to one of the finest examples of High Gothic Revival in the country, the Church of St Bartholomew.

The modern and stylish kitchen
The modern and stylish kitchen

The church dates back to the 1860s, when five architectural firms were invited to submit drawings to a committee formed to oversee its design and construction; two Irish, three English. In the end, one of the English practices, that of Thomas Henry Wyatt, won the commission.

Wyatt was more than qualified, as he had already completed over 30 churches in England. But he was also well-connected. One of the churches had been commissioned by the Earls of Pembroke, the Herbert family, who had a large estate in Wiltshire.

The Herberts were also landlords of the Pembroke district of Dublin and are said to have donated the site for the church. The connections went further. Sidney Herbert had been at school with Archbishop Trench of Dublin (formerly Dean of Westminster Abbey) who later consecrated the church, while Wyatt had previously designed a home for Viscount de Vesci, Sidney's brother-in-law, at Abbeyleix House in Co Laois. He almost certainly won the contract because of their support.

Nonetheless, Wyatt was an experienced and supremely gifted architect and, at St Bartholomew's, he created a Gothic Revival masterpiece. According to the original plans, a steeple was to sit atop the octagonal tower. It was never built but the church bells in the tower ring out every quarter of an hour.

An unusual front entrance
An unusual front entrance

The interiors were decorated by Thomas Manly Deane, son of Sir Thomas Newenham Deane, who had also submitted drawings for the original commission of the church. He designed intricately mosaicked floors, fine stained-glass windows and highly decorated walls that were typical of the Gothic Revival.

Today, the church is well-known for its choral music - and the new owners of Church Mews will be able to enjoy hearing its Sunday morning service sung by the all-male choir and its female choristers singing Evensong every second Sunday, without having to leave the privacy of their front courtyard.

Church Mews itself was completely refurbished ten years ago and has only been used as a holiday home since. The sunny courtyard to the front is gravelled and low maintenance and mature trees to the side mean it is not overlooked.

Inside, the entrance hall has marble floors and leads into the main open plan living/dining space which is carpeted. The centrepiece of the room is a marble feature fireplace with gas fire inset. At one end, double doors lead out onto the small patio area in the courtyard to the front.

The spacious living room
The spacious living room

The galley kitchen opens off the dining area and has marble floors and countertops and high-quality Smeg appliances that are included in the sale. A compact utility cupboard opens off the kitchen and houses the washing machine and tumble dryer. Glass roof panels allow light to spill into the working area and the dining room area of the main living space. A guest WC is also located off the hallway.

On the first floor the master bedroom has fitted wardrobes and Velux windows, while French doors open onto a balcony. The large bathroom contains a power shower and Jacuzzi bath with built-in TV on the wall. Both the bedroom and bathroom are wired for surround sound.

With a second bedroom of 3.10m x 1.95m, the space might be best-suited to those with occasional guests or could be repurposed as a study.

Church Mews would suit downsizers on the hunt for a low-maintenance upmarket property or those looking for a well-placed pied-a-terre within walking distance of St Stephen's Green.

Era: 1860s

Size: 94sqm

Agent: Finnegan Menton (01) 614 7900

Viewing: Strictly by appointment

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