City living with great roof terrace views in Harold's Cross for €295k
28 Harold's Cross Cottages, Harold's Cross Dublin 6 €295,000
Houses that fit the starter-home budget and are within walking distance of the city centre are like hens' teeth in Dublin. But at 28 Harold's Cross Cottages, vendors Ruairi MacCumhaill and his wife Ailbhe Levingstone, both solicitors, and 10-month-old Elodie enjoy all that plus a roof terrace with views across the city.
The two-bedroom house is in a warren of artisan cottages and two-storey houses just off the canal and a half-hour's walk from Grafton Street. "It's like living in the country," says Ruairi, who is from the Donegal Gaeltacht. "The neighbours are great."
In fact, the couple dithered about selling for a long time because they love the area and the sense of community that comes with it.
Ailbhe bought the cottage in 2005. "It was all open-plan, a bachelor pad with a mezzanine when I bought it," she says. "The floors had been dug down by four feet. I put back in the walls and the double bedrooms and covered up the floor."
She also rewired, and a year or so later added the roof terrace. "But it could easily be returned to open-plan," she says.
Re-introducing separate rooms allowed Ailbhe to rent to her best friend for the next six years. It also means that the cottage has potential as an investment property. An agent recently estimated its rental potential at €1,700.
At 39sqm, it is undeniably compact. However, the ceilings are pitched into the roof to give an extra sense of space and a Velux window in one of the bedrooms and another in the main living room introduce extra light.
A wood-burning stove set into the original fireplace forms a focal point. Both bedrooms open off the sitting room, are doubles and have built-in wardrobes.
At the back of the house, the kitchen and shower/wet room are contained in what is thought to have been an extension added in the 1970s. The galley kitchen looks out on to a small open space, where the stairs lead on to the decked roof - a popular spot with the vendors on summer evenings.
The shower room is tiled floor and walls with large-format Italian porcelain tiles.
The cottage has been recently redecorated throughout in calm Farrow & Ball shades of Cornforth White and Downpipe. Floors through the living room and kitchen are a hard-wearing Tuscania Lamwood, with painted wooden floors in one bedroom and carpet in the other.
The property has been flexible enough to accommodate the vendors' changing needs from single to married to the arrival of baby Elodie. Now, though, the couple are aiming to move closer to family in Clonskeagh.
Most of the properties in the area, according to the vendors, are owner-occupied, many by couples or young families, making this a good option for first-time buyers.
With the bustling hub of Rathmines an eight-minute walk away, the area has plenty of options for restaurants and bars. Harold's Cross Park, with a popular playground, is five minutes away and Grafton Street is a 30-minute walk.
For those looking for schooling options, Scoil Mologa and St Clare's are within easy walking distance in Harold's Cross, while Rathgar Junior School, and St Mary's and St Louis secondaries are no more than 15 minutes' walk away.