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Fun House: Residence of 'Dublin's President of Fun'

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The living area with a picture of Ayrton Senna

The living area with a picture of Ayrton Senna

The bright hallway

The bright hallway

Niall Harbinson

Niall Harbinson

The kitchen area

The kitchen area

The master bedroom

The master bedroom

The exterior of the property in Ranelagh

The exterior of the property in Ranelagh

The dining/conservatory area

The dining/conservatory area

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The living area with a picture of Ayrton Senna

SERIAL media entrepreneur and self-styled 'President of Fun', Niall Harbison, is selling his lads' pad in Ranelagh to move to an even more likely lads' pad nearer to the city centre.

Niall, or Harbo as he describes himself on the Lovinndublin.com blog, was a former chef and one of the features of the blog is that it promises 'restaurant reviews without bullshit'.

To show his fun side the blog, in a tongue-in-cheek style, says of him: "From his early days as a chef right through to his discoveries in all things tech and digital marketing, Niall's been touted as one of the driving forces behind Ireland's recovery. As in love with Dublin as he is with his dogs, Niall's other big passion is the word f*ck," which punctuates his websites like confetti at a church wedding exit.

It's this love of food which is one of the reasons why one of the first things he did when he remodelled the house in Ranelagh was to put in a new kitchen. Centre stage there is a bar-style kitchen island where he can chat away to his mates sitting on their high stools as he cooks.

Alternatively they gather there for a few drinks before going to a restaurant or out for the night.

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The exterior of the property in Ranelagh

The exterior of the property in Ranelagh

The exterior of the property in Ranelagh

 

 

Niall says: "I got it totally refitted replacing the old oak style presses. Now with the white modern kitchen units it looks bright and airy, and it's a great kitchen for cooking."

It also blends with the white conservatory where a dining table is located with views out to the patio and the garden. Niall commissioned interior designer Angelina Ball to redecorate the house, 40 Ashfield Road, Ranelagh, Dublin 6, which has a floor area of almost 127 sqm.

"I just told her what my favourite colours were and she totally nailed it," he says.

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The use of greys and blacks provides an effective backdrop and highlights pictures and other features with which Niall has decorated the house.

The most notable of these is the red statue in the hall. "I was passing Décor shop in Camden Street and I just liked it. It's some kind of Buddha which the owner brought from Berlin and it has a peaceful calming effect," Niall explains.

Berlin is also one of his favourite cities and it's the ambition of Lovindublin.com to put Ireland's capital on a par with Berlin as a fun city.

Then there's the main chill-out room, the living room. Where would a lads' pad be without something associated with cars? Centre stage in the living room is a big photo of the late Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna. His bright red jumpsuit also provides a strong dash of colour to contrast with the grey and black furniture and furnishings in the room, colours which fit in with Niall's lifestyle: being cool.

The living room is the only room at entrance level. The house is split between three levels, offering an opportunity to play a micro version of 'Upstairs Downstairs'.

 

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The kitchen area

The kitchen area

The kitchen area

 

Upstairs there are two double bedrooms, of which the master boasts a large full bathroom with Jacuzzi bath. The third bedroom, a large double, is located at ground level and it has French doors opening on to the rear garden.

Niall uses one of the bedrooms as a gym where he goes for an occasional workout.

Then downstairs at garden level is the kitchen/dining/ conservatory area, again with the white colours creating a very cooling effect.

"All my friends treat it as a place to chill out," he adds.

A single 34-year-old, who is originally from Tyrone, Niall says: "One of the reasons I bought this house was because it's only 50 yards from Ranelagh where there are many cafes and restaurants where you can hang out with friends in the evenings or at weekends. It's also only three minutes from the city centre and yet it's out of the city."

In the summer he also enjoys the rear garden with its southerly aspect. "It's a great place for hanging out with some mates and having a barbecue," he adds.

The garden also gives him some space for his two dogs.

Harbison's career as a media entrepreneur took off in 2009 with Simply Zesty, a social media agency sparked by an online conversation with a friend in 2009. Within a year the company attracted investment from The Oxford Research Agency to the tune of €500,000 and moved to new offices on St Stephen's Green as well as London.

Within three years the agency employed 22 people as it engaged in social media strategy work for Vodafone, Nokia, Sony, eBookers, Volkswagen, Enterprise Ireland and Teradata.

In 2012 they sold it to UTV plc which subsequently merged it with Dublin-based web design agency Tibus.

In the meantime Harbison started two other websites which between them now employ 21 people. Lovindublin.com employs six of these and the other, PR Slides, employs another 15. The latter is a media hub downloading images including fashion images and brands.

"They are both growing fast and we are hoping to move into overseas markets starting with a UK PR Slides," he adds.

Now estate agents DNG (01 6794088) are asking €820,000 for the Ashfield Road house.

As he works near Clanbrassil Street near Dublin's Liberties, and as Niall also enjoys travelling to cities, he has picked up on the inner city lifestyle and fancies a move to a loft apartment. "I'm looking at a few in areas such as Stoneybatter, Smithfield and Dublin 8."


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