This home in Sandycove also has access to Ireland's best ice cream
Ballygihen Avenue, Sandycove, County Dublin. Asking price: €1.95m. Agent: Sherry FitzGerald, Dalkey (01) 2751000
CLEVER vendors know that when you buy a house, you're buying a lifestyle.
No. 5 Ballygihen Avenue may be over 160 years old - the house was built in 1848 - but it feels contemporary and far better suited to modern family life than homes constructed in more recent decades.
The generous Victorian proportions of this Sandycove house don't hurt of course.
It's much easier for a house to look relaxed, laid back and effortlessly stylish when it has 12ft ceilings and spacious, symmetrical rooms. And a period home that has been restored and refurbished without stinting feels inherently gracious.
Proximity to the coast is life-enhancing for houses as well as people, and No. 5 is located just metres away from the shoreline.
The little beach at Sandycove is thronged on fine days while also close is the famous Forty Foot where die hards swim all year round. A walk on the pier and Ireland's best 99 cones at Teddy's are within reach at nearby Dun Laoghaire.
No. 5 has cast iron double gates and off-street parking for two cars, which is a definite bonus in an area where there is a shortage of on-street spaces.
Inside, the entrance hall is bright and airy, with original floorboards, and you can see right through to the back garden from the front door.
Originally, there would have been four almost equal rooms on this floor, but the house has been extended to the rear on one side.
In the current layout, the room to the right of the front door is the formal drawing room, which has a good marble fireplace, as well as period coving, centre rose and wide plank oak floors.
Folding doors open on to a room now used as a library but which could function as a formal dining room. This room too has a marble fireplace and French doors out onto the patio area at the back.
To the left of the front door is an identically proportioned room to the one on the right. Here, there is a stove instead of an open fire and the room is used as a family television room, with plenty of bookshelves.
The family room opens on to the kitchen, with attractive blue-painted units and a granite-topped centre island.
Appliances include a Siemens oven and hob, an integrated dishwasher, and a large Fisher and Paykel fridge freezer.
There is also an old cream Aga, which the vendors inherited from the previous owners, and an overhead Sheila's maid.
Beyond the kitchen is the light-flooded dining area, located in an atrium-roofed extension, which has folding doors out to the garden beyond.
Off the dining area is a playroom with plenty of storage for toys, and floor to ceiling cupboards that house any amount of sports equipment and school paraphernalia. Doors open out onto the garden and there is access back to the entrance hall and guest lavatory.
On the half landing between the ground and first floors is a bright open study with windows on two sides.
Upstairs there are four double bedrooms. The master bedroom to the front has a bay window with a window seat that has views to Scotsman's Bay and beyond. The fitted wardrobes are part glass-fronted over pale pleated fabric, while the ensuite bathroom is tiled in Fired Earth 'Retro Metro' tiles in pale grey and has a step-in shower cubicle with Grohe fittings, and two wash hand basins.
Three further rooms have cast-iron fireplaces. The family bathroom has an over-bath Grohe shower and more Retro Metro tiles from Fired Earth, this time in a subtle blue. The laundry room is on this floor.
No. 5 is within a short walk of Sandycove and Glasthule DART station.
Nearby Glasthule is also one of the best locations in South Co Dublin in terms of the mix of shops and restaurants and a proper sense of community and of course, there is Bloomsday, celebrated with great enthusiasm in these parts of the country.