Wednesday 24 January 2018

How to make one room the heart of the home...

Unique selling point: Bright and spacious kitchen

Natural light floods into the modern kitchen, dining and living area of the home at Trafalgar House.
Natural light floods into the modern kitchen, dining and living area of the home at Trafalgar House.
The smart, traditional facade of the double fronted red-brick house, belies the modern interior
The kitchen at Trafalgar House, York Road, Dun Laoghaire.
The marble and granite bathroom at Trafalgar House
The livingroom at Trafalgar House, York Road, Dun Laoghaire.
The patio area and garden at Trafalgar House in Dun Laoghaire
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

For many home buyers, there's not much more that you can do with a double fronted, red-brick, detached late Victorian or Edwardian period home like Trafalgar House at York Road in Dun Laoghaire.

Well, to make it perfect, there is - you need a very large and airy modern kitchen/breakfast room extension with a living area rump to open out into the garden. Because we can't live completely like the Victorians.

The owners of this property acquired it in 2005 and have restored the house which was once in flats. Period homes of this size tended to have good sized kitchens but they were designed for cooking and cleaning only - for a home this size, it was likely that the family who owned it hired a cook. To the original owners of this home, the idea of gathering together in a kitchen to socialise would have been laughable.

And while the bay window columns favoured by the late Victorians and Edwardians brightened up the reception rooms considerably to the front of the house, the back end, where the kitchen, scullery and pantry were lumped together, tended to be dark, with smaller windows and often cold.

Gaining permission therefore for a modern, well lit kitchen/dining and living area like the owners of Trafalgar House have done, provides the key to having the best of both worlds.

And that's the craftsmanship, opulence and space of the vast and homely reception rooms that these homes were famous for, the modern lifestyle kitchen extension - the room you'll want to talk to your guests in, while you cook - along with the room your kids will most want to play computer games in with their friends, the hobby and daytime social hub of a modern Irish home.

There's an additional bonus in managing to get a velux-lit extension approved to a period home like this, and it's the fact that the increased lighting at the back tends to carry back through the older portion of the house, lighting up inner dank hallways and areas which rarely saw good rays in the original period home.

At Trafalgar, the restoration has been done and the lifestyle kitchen extension - the "day house" for a modern family - is already there.

The extension at Trafalgar House, or the "kitchen/lounge" as the owners call it, has a pitched roof, recessed lighting and a tiled honed marble floor. There's an island unit and black granite work tops and all the appliances, including the fridge, dishwasher, microwave, hob and oven, are integrated so as not to spoil the overall aesthetic.

There's the casual dining area with solid wooden floor and recessed lighting, which allows the original dining room inside the period house to become altogether more formal.

So what could be better? A contemporary extension with floor to ceiling glass, I hear some of you holler. But while the coffee table book version might look 'svelter' but in summer it'll certainly make you swelter from the sun's rays, and you'll be blinded on the way to the fridge.

In winter, the all glaze version haemorrhages heat unless you've paid double or more for the sort of triple glazing you'd need to order from Germany and take another mortgage on. So what about the rest?

With said extension, Trafalgar House is now 2,800 sq ft, or almost three times the size of an average semi. The red-brick period home in this Stringer/Strain style with dual bay columns windows is without a doubt the most popular period genre - it being generally arrayed over a more accessible two floors rather than three or four, and the room sizes tend to be most reflective of modern living needs.

In addition to brightness, the twin bay window columns are also ideal for security - you can always see who is at the door.

Enter by a neat timber front door, in black with white timber surrounds, into the hall with limestone floor, ceiling coving and the traditional under stairs storage which became popular in homes of this age.

The drawing room, with coving, picture rails and a restored period marble fireplace at its centre, is one of the reasons people go for this home type. For the big party, doors open to link it to the aforementioned "formal" dining room. The third original reception is the study/library with its original wooden floors, another restored fireplace in marble and built-in bookshelves. Then there's the playroom with recessed lighting.

The bathroom is on the return on the way up the stairs and, on the first floor, there are four bedrooms, three of which are double sized - another reason people seek a house like this.

The attic room is currently used as the fifth and master bedroom.

Again, it's a double room with velux windows and sea views as well as a highly visually distinctive ensuite with a marble lined shower, his and her wash basins and a large bath, all set in granite.

The front garden is a gravelled parking area which can take up to three vehicles while the rear garden is 75 feet long.

Nearby, residents can find the People's Park which is one of Ireland's liveliest, subject to exotic food markets and regular cultural events like the international Ukulele Festival which takes place here each summer. There's the two piers and seafront walks and, of course, Teddy's Ice Cream.

The house is located on York Road, one of Dun Laoghaire's oldest stretches and, for many year's, associated with the "Birds Nest" childrens home.

Douglas Newman Good (01-2301619) seeks offers in the order of €1.25m.

Indo Property

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