Friday 9 December 2016

Sixties chic in Inchicore on the market for €270k

A trendy refurb in Inchicore shows what you can do with a 'Simms'

Published 18/03/2016 | 02:30

The trendy retro-style living room.
The trendy retro-style living room.
The tiled bathroom.
A double bedroom.
The timber tops in the Kitchen.
The rear garden by Think Outside.
The Rationel windows and doors.
A double bedroom.

Back in 2012 when property prices were hitting their lowest point, the smart "bottom feeder" investors with plenty of cash were already down on Ailesbury Road and Shrewsbury Road, hoovering up homes that had previously sold for €12m for just over €2m.

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From then on, in a time when few ordinary people could get a mortgage, waves of cash toting investors descended on the market across the board to acquire stressed property. They were soon to be joined by the international "vulture" funds which began buying in bulk.

But what about the cannier younger people who had been saving to get on the first step of the property ladder and waiting for the "bell to ring" at the bottom?

One young 24-year-old Killiney-based financial services exec, who was working in the IFSC for a hedge fund, went "contra trend" and headed down to Inchicore at the end of 2012 to scoop up a two-bed former Corporation terrace home for just €107,000.

The house at number 14 Jamestown Avenue in Inchicore was in pretty good condition. It was within walking distance of the Luas to take him right into town to work in 35 minutes. The area was mature and settled.

Then having saved up some more, our buyer spent the price of a good saloon car - €40,000 in 2014 - completely refitting it from top to bottom, refitted, replumbed, rewired, insulated to B2 and finally, it was kitted out carefully in his favoured 1960s and 1970s retro style - one which sits well in the traditional Dublin City Corporation house, which built all over the city between the 1930s and 1960s.

Believed to have been built in the early 1950s, Number 14 is one of the famous "Simms" houses. The birth of the State saw Government saddled with a dire housing crisis in our cities with tens of thousands living in one room tenement flats. To tackle it, the state launched the biggest social housing drive the country has ever seen and this was spearheaded with voracity and dragged to fruition by one Herbert "Herbie" Simms.

The determined Londoner became Dublin City Architect in 1932 and proved to be ultra talented in providing more with less. Simms produced a palate of a handful of clever terrace designs which could be built cheaply in large numbers by pouring concrete into huge "sandwich" moulds. The carpentry and workmanship inside was exemplary. By today's standards (other than insulation) these are top class homes. Unfortunately, poor Simms didn't survive his trojan work rate and committed suicide in 1948.

For those previously living in one room tenaments, the Simms houses were a breath of fresh air - literally. There were two or three bedrooms, running water and a bathroom. There were fireplaces and boiler heating systems and a front and rear garden attached to every home.

This particular one is kitted out for the first time buyer, a small family or those trading down. The gardens both front and rear were designed by Think Outside, the renowned garden designers, with a feature flagstone patio, bay hedging and a profusion of spring and summer flowering bulbs.

The front door is a replacement modern retro look Rationel version along with the windows and were installed in 2014. This leads into the entrance hall with a tiled floor and then into the main reception - the living room. This the owner has kitted out in 1960s style furniture, both original (his own upcycled and repainted 1960s sideboard picked up for €60 in a Oxfam) and imitation (the retro display case from Ikea).

There's a smart wooden floor and skirts, a contemporary wall mounted vertical radiator, recessed lighting, an inset and raised electric fire and some cleverly placed under stairs storage

The kitchen is simple, smart and 1970s retro cream faced and timber topped by "In House". The floor is in porcelain tiles and a new buyer gets a Candy dishwasher and Electrolux fridge-freezer, a stainless steel sink unit, integrated Electrolux oven and microwave and a four-ring hob. And there's recessed lighting and Rationel windows and door to the garden.

The house has two bedrooms only but both are doubles. Bedroom one overlooks the front garden and is carpeted with a fitted wardrobe. Bedroom two is fitted similarly and overlooks the rear garden and this room has a Stira folding stairs to the attic. The owner is a keen photographer and had the attic floored with a view to creating a full dark room up here.

The bathroom is also retro in its look and fully tiled with neat retro wash hand basin and toilet, wall-mounted mirrored shelving unit and a Triton T90xr shower installed above the bath.

The gardens both front and rear were designed and landscaped by Think Outside, and the front gravelled driveway provides off street parking and is bordered by raised flower beds.

The rear garden features a flagstone patio, lawn, bay hedging and is heavily planted with spring and summer flowering bulbs. A Barna shed provides garden storage space.

Situated close to the heart of Inchicore Village and off Tyrconnell Road, Number 14 has shops and restaurants close by. It is handy for access to the M50 and as mentioned, the Luas is a short stroll away.

Dash-fronted homes of this type were commemorated last August at Collins Barracks by planner Paul Kearns and architect Motti Ruimy who constructed a full-scale facade of a 50s 'Corpo' in the yard as a public exhibition and tribute to the past achievements of the State in housing. It lasted until Christmas.

And Number 18 and the tens of thousands like it also raise the question: If we could house 80,000 in Dublin alone in the years of our greatest economic poverty, then why can't we do it now?

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