Monday 20 November 2017

Clontarf home on the corner would suit a home-based business

This corner house with two façades would suit a home-based business

The house at 86 Castle Avenue has two façades, with this one facing Castle Avenue being the more impressive of the two
The house at 86 Castle Avenue has two façades, with this one facing Castle Avenue being the more impressive of the two
86 Castle Avenue kitchen/dining area
86 Castle Avenue entrance
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

In the 1965 Richard Lester-directed Beatles movie "Help!," the fab four are seen being driven home in a Rolls Royce limousine to a street of Edwardian terrace houses.

They disembark from their Roller and each one of the band walks up a different front garden path and to a different adjoining front door.

They wave to the neighbours and each walks inside through the entrances of what appear to be four different abodes. The camera flips through to show them arriving inside what turns out to be one huge house made up of four terraces broken into one.

The Dublin-based architects Boyd Cody cite the Lester film in describing their own work for the artist Robert Ballagh who hired the firm to modernise his family home comprising adjoining redbrick terrace houses at 3, 4 and 5 Temple Cottages at Broadstone in Dublin 7. Once again his is a large open house with multiple entrances.

The house at 86 Castle Avenue in Clontarf is one front door less again - offering two separate frontages complete with different hall doors - to two different streets. The two frontages are perpendicular to one another on a corner site - one being the corner house on Castle Avenue, the other the corner house on Blackheath Gardens.

It would seem that when faced with the problem of which way to face a corner house, Timothy Wharton, the builder of these 1940-constructed homes, decided to have it both ways. This and the house he constructed opposite both have two frontages to two different streets.


The house at 86 Castle Avenue was built with particular care and loving attention as Wharton gifted it to his daughter. In those days builders made a point of presenting each daughter with a home of her own.

And while it might seem to be nothing more than an interesting anomaly in homebuilding, having a 'two-faced house' does have some distinct advantages - in particular if you are a professional working at home who has to deal with members of the public.

The property across the street has been used as both a home and a doctor's surgery since it was built until it was placed on the market last year - with one side serving as the private family entrance and the other as the patient's surgery entrance. Which makes Number 86 Castle Avenue ideal for anyone who is considering opening up a surgery, consulting rooms, a crèche or any other home-business which requires a consultant practitioner to separate home and business site for privacy purposes.

Finished just as the war broke out, this property is among the last true early 20th century city redbricks before construction styles changed.

Of the two frontages, the one facing Castle Avenue is certainly the more impressive with a recessed arch centre set entrance on a double fronted façade - there's a two storey bay window column which allows the owners a good view up and down the road from upstairs and downstairs. The Blackheath Gardens entrance is somewhat more understated and set into a regular single front although it too benefits from the two storey bay column.

Accommodation includes the main entrance hall on the Castle Avenue side, with timber board floor and stairs with carved rail and balusters.

Living room
Living room

Off this is the living room with its bow window and open fireplace. There's a sitting room which also has a bow window and includes a door accessing the rear garden.

To the rear of the house there's a dining room and home office while the heart of the property is without doubt the kitchen and breakfast room. The kitchen has fitted units in a Shaker style and a tiled floor with timber floor in the dining area, which also has double doors to the garden.

There's also a utility room and a wc on this floor. All in all the house spans 1,830 sq ft, more than one-and-a-half times the size of an average city residence.

Upstairs the house has four bedrooms, all of which are double sized. The master chamber has a bow window and an en-suite with a bath and a walk-in shower.

There's gas-fired central heating, lots of off-street parking as well as electric gates on the Castle Avenue side. The downside here is that there's not much of a rear garden to speak of - the main site area is out in front.

Clontarf in Dublin 3 is one of Dublin's most sought after suburbs given its location,which is central to the city centre, and, of course, on the coast with views over the bay area. Castle Avenue itself leads down to the area's substantial stretch of sea frontage which is popular with walkers and joggers.

The house is within reach of Howth Road National School, Scoil Ui Chonaill and Holy Faith Secondary School. Leisure amenities include the Clontarf Lawn Tennis Club, West Wood Gym, all weather pitches and Clontarf GAA Club.

Sherry FitzGerald is seeking €850,000.

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