Community spirit in Dublin 6
Good relations thrive in this family-friendly Harold's Cross street
If ever there's an object lesson in how to restore a period city red-brick to make it suitable for modern family living, without losing the charm and character, then it's 54 Casimir Road in Harold's Cross, Dublin.
The challenge some new owners face with Edwardian homes entails a tricky balance and is unusually difficult to get right. Too many veer in their restorations towards all-out period chintz or else too far in the contemporary direction as to make things stark and grim.
But this house is bright and modern while at the same time bringing all the original period features to the fore.
The current owners bought the property in 2004 when they had one small child. Thirteen years later, that toddler is a teenager and has three younger siblings, so it is time for the family to move on to something bigger. They will leave with no small amount of regret, they say, and it is easy to see why.
Number 54 dates from around 1910 and is set back from the road behind railings and a small front garden, pride of place in which is taken by a large cherry tree which blooms twice each year, in December and April. Parking is on-street.
The house was in good order when the current owners made their purchase, so the principal changes they made to the original part of the property have been decorative.
They did, however, undertake the job of draught-proofing all the original windows, using the Ventrolla brush system, restoring those that needed it and replacing only those that were beyond repair.
Where the depth of the sashes allowed, they installed double glazing, with the result, they say, that the house is much toastier than it used to be.
The entrance hall is elegant, and has the same dark, original floorboards that are in the sitting room to the front and the dining room to the rear. These two rooms are linked by original stripped pine connecting doors, and both have original fireplaces - marble to the front and slate to the rear - decorative ceiling coving, centre roses and picture rails.
The front window looks directly across the street and down Sion Hill Avenue, a cul-de-sac where the local children meet to play.
The dining room faces south over the small side garden, a sun trap, which is paved and ideal for eating out of doors.
To the back of the house is where the current owners undertook a major extension to accommodate a large open plan kitchen/family/dining room.
A dual-facing stove sits in the original chimney, and the Christoff kitchen is smart and modern, with units painted in a smart pale grey and a large central island topped in granite. There's a tall fridge and separate freezer, a clever larder cupboard, a Britannia range, and an integrated dishwasher and microwave.
The layout is such that an extendable dining table can be accommodated in the family room when get-togethers are held. The kitchen also has a compact utility room and there is direct access onto the patio garden, as well as a handy downstairs lavatory and under-stairs storage.
Upstairs, there are three bedrooms and an attic room that is currently used as a bedroom and has its own en suite shower room.
The master bedroom spans the width of the house which means that it looks directly into the canopy of the cherry tree to the front. It's a large room with bags of wardrobe space, but the lack of an en suite is something that new owners may wish to review in time.
The three other bedrooms share one modestly-sized family bathroom.
Casimir Road is very much a street inhabited by families - at the last count it had 24 children aged between two weeks and 16 years.
The doorbell never stops ringing, say the owners of Number 54, and they often find themselves feeding a host of children not their own - the upside being that their own children get fed in other houses too, so friendly a neighbourhood is Casimir Road.
There's a system amongst the parents on the street that if a child from another family comes into their house, they let their parents know.
With such great neighbours, there's always someone to lend a litre of milk or a tin of tomatoes, or to help assemble the ingredients for the next day's home economics class.
Harold's Cross is popular because of its proximity to Dublin city centre - the owners say they can walk to Grafton Street in 20 minutes but concede it might take others 30 - but it's also increasingly desirable in its own right.
The Scoil Mologa gaelscoil is six minutes' walk away and is 'like a country school in Dublin'.
Phil Yeung's Craft bistro is the smartest and best of the local restaurants, while local cafés 5 Points (which serves 3FE coffee) and Mayfield are always busy.
The owners of Number 54 says that they are regulars at Beckett and Bull, which is child-friendly.
"The kids love the chicken wings," they say. "They think they are just as good as those at Elephant & Castle."
54 Casimir Road
Asking price: €845,000
Agent: Sherry Fitzgerald, (01) 4969909