Deceptively spacious and light filled cottage in heart of the city
152 Rosary Terrace, Stella Gardens, Ringsend, Dublin 4, €445,000
If ever there was an object lesson in why you should retain the services of an architect or qualified designer when trying to maximise space in a renovation, it's this modest cottage at Rosary Terrace in Ringsend.
Rosary Terrace forms part of the Stella Gardens development which opened, according to historian Turtle Bunbury (Dublin Docklands: An Urban Voyage), in November 1916. The estate, writes Bunbury, was designed by George O'Connor and named for Stella O'Neill, daughter of 'energetic' Nationalist councillor Charles O'Neill, chairman of the Pembroke Urban District Council.
Ringsend has a rich maritime history, with many men from the area having once been employed in the docks and associated trades such as boat-building and rope-making. But Suzie Shorten, who bought No 152 with her partner in 2005, says that her neighbours have told her that, unlike many of the houses in the Ringsend area, which were lived in by dock labourers, Rosary Terrace was built as housing for army families.
"The people who lived here before us were a family of seven," says Suzie. "Two parents and five children. There were two sets of bunk beds in one room and a cot in with the parents. The house was liveable, but over the years we have renovated it throughout."
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Which brings us neatly back to the clever decision to hire Daryl Bent of DRB Design, to make the most of what appears from the outside to be a very small house, but is deceptively spacious and well-designed once you get inside.
The front door opens directly into the entrance hall, and the main bedroom occupies the room immediately to the front on the right. The hall leads on to the sitting room, where there is a feature fireplace and good storage under the stairs, the kind of space that families need for toys and the like. This room is nice and bright thanks to Daryl Bent's recommendation to raise the level of the window to the back which looks out onto the small courtyard garden.
"It was such a simple thing, but it brought in so much light."
An open staircase leads from the sitting room to the second double bedroom upstairs.
"The most important thing that Daryl did was reconfigure the attic space so that it functions properly as a bedroom - and counts as one in terms of building regulations," says Suzie.
This is a roomy double by any standards, and there is more storage under the eaves. Further down the street you can see that neighbours have extended out further at first-floor level to add a second bathroom, and it will be open to new owners to explore this possibility.
Back on the ground floor, there is a smart Ikea fitted kitchen with space for a small dining table. A door leads out to the yard, which is undeniably small but still provides enough room to grow a few herbs and tomatoes during the summer.
Immediately behind the kitchen is a stylish and compact wet room, with a third bedroom which doubles up as a home office at the very back.
Rosary Terrace is a quiet street with disc parking for residents. Suzie says there is a great sense of community in the area, so she and her family hope that they won't be moving too far away when they sell.
"Our children love the new playground by the nature walk at Sandymount and the convenience of being able to walk into Grafton Street in 20 minutes is hard to beat."
Also close by are a number of pubs and restaurants, including Juniors and the Old Spot, the handy Lotts & Co convenience store and the Aviva Stadium.
Agent: Youngs (01) 497 5581
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