Thursday 20 June 2019

A hip location that's going upmarket fast: First-time buyers busy in Blackpitts for starters

2 Warrenmount Place Blackpitts, Dublin 8

Asking price: €400,000

Agent: Owen Reilly (01) 6777100

Art Nouveau: The kitchen and bathroom tiles are distinctly Art Nouveauy.
Art Nouveau: The kitchen and bathroom tiles are distinctly Art Nouveauy.
The bedrooms both have original cast-iron chimney pieces
The front door opens straight into the living room
Compact but airy and bright: At 600 sq ft even after it has been extended, No2 still gives the impression of space through its original Victorian design and recent renovation

The old artisan terraces and cottages of Blackpitts in Dublin 8 have long been a source of starter homes for city-centric first-time buyers.

Indeed Christchurch and this part of Dublin 8 were where young professionals began repopulating Dublin from the mid-80s onwards, when dereliction was widespread and the ambition of working-class families in the city was a move to the suburbs.

Back then these homes, which are some of Dublin's most compact living spaces, were obtainable for €25,000 to €35,000.

That's all changed today thanks to the widespread gentrification of D8. Today only better-off first-timers have a shot at an artisan pad here. Blackpitts, however, was an historically wealthy area filled with self-employed artisans and craftsfolk who made a good enough living to own their own homes, even if they were compact.

The front door opens straight into the living room
The front door opens straight into the living room

There are two theories about where its name comes from. One says it's from the burial pits just outside the old city walls in which the victims of the Bubonic Plague outbreak of 1348 were buried. It is estimated that the mortality rate in this outbreak was 40-50pc.

Happily, though, the more likely origin is from the pits of black or brown liquids used by tanners. The area was once a hive of tanning, along with other small industries. The old baptismal and marriage records from nearby St Lukes church show big numbers of tanners but also skinners, brewers, butchers, weavers, coopers and rope-makers.

A good example of the layout of a typical Blackpitts terrace is No2 Warrenmount Place, which spans just under 600 sq ft. The house was bought by its current owner back in 2003 who found it the perfect location for a lively social life, even though the road itself is very quiet.

Completely renovated and refurbished in 2017, this cute home is ready to move into. It is also a textbook example of how to turn one of these compact two-up, two-downs, which are often subdivided into very small rooms, into a bright, airy and modern home which also absolutely optimises the available space.

What's interesting is that much of the space-saving solutions, such as the under-stairs storage and the open-plan layout, were part of the original design. The house is thought to date from the late Victorian era or the early 1900s.

The front door leads straight into the main reception, and the stairs open into it from the far wall.

Compact but airy and bright: At 600 sq ft even after it has been extended, No2 still gives the impression of space through its original Victorian design and recent renovation
Compact but airy and bright: At 600 sq ft even after it has been extended, No2 still gives the impression of space through its original Victorian design and recent renovation

The 2017 work included the addition of a new boiler, new electrical fittings and a UPVC water tank; and in the attic, all supporting beams were checked and replaced where necessary. The roof was also checked and tiles were replaced where they were faulty. The attic was fully insulated.

You walk in the front door to the timber-floored living room and the stairs and kitchen entrance are opposite. The room has an original ornate cast-iron chimney piece and there's a door to under-stairs storage.

Today the new rear extension includes a much larger modern galley kitchen than the original lean-to version, with funky Art Nouveau floor tiling, stylish grey cabinets and a polished timber work surface. There's a door to the small pebbled sun garden at the rear, which is south-facing and therefore ideal for eating or entertaining small groups of guests in the summer.

There's access from the kitchen to the enlarged bathroom, also tiled in the art nouveau style.

Upstairs there are two double bedrooms and each one has its own ornate black cast-iron chimney piece.

The cul-de-sac is inhabited by a mixture of locals who have been raised in the area, and trendier singles, couples and small families who enjoy living car-free near the city centre. For those who do drive, there's permit parking on the street.

This is a hip location within easy reach of the city centre and fast going upmarket thanks to a surge in development in its lingering tired and run down parts.

One of these is the transformation of New Market Square, a prominent and historic public space which is undergoing redevelopment into a new city quarter. A number of new hotels have opened, and more are in the pipeline along with student accommodation blocks.

Other amenities in the general location include St Patrick's Cathedral and Park, Christchurch, the Guinness Brewery and Grafton Street with all its shops and boutiques. Dublin 8 is in the process of undergoing a major regeneration which will only result in a greater appeal for the area in years to come. Excellent transport links with the LUAS close by.

Social institutions in this area include Fallons pub, otherwise known as the Capstan Bar, which has been here since before Cromwell (early 1600s) and is estimated to be one of Dublin's very best traditional pubs. Also close is one of the capital's best-known hipster coffee spots, The Fumbally, which sells healthy food and locally brewed coffee, hosts events like the recently flagged 'Shamanic Breathwork'.

Last but not least, the Camden/Wexford/Aungier/George's Street strip of restaurants, bars and cafes is a five-minute stroll away. Agent Owen Reilly seeks €400,000.

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