Labour of love
Refurb projects aren't for the faint of heart but with an architect in the family it'd be shame not to
Small scale developing - that is buying houses in poor condition to refurbish them and sell them for a profit sounds like a tempting prospect to anyone with an eye for good design who likes perusing interiors magazines and watching property shows on television. The stresses and strains that home renovations involve often mean that once someone has gone through the process and come out the other side, they count their blessings and swear off doing it ever again.
This is coupled with the fact that the banks are less willing to lend for properties in need of work than they are for properties in walk-in condition. Also, nerves of steel are required to take on a project that may involve unexpected 'surprises' (in the form of damp, dry rot and the like) it's not a business for the faint-hearted.
But the vendors of 72 Grace Park Road in Drumcondra, whose third 'project' house this is, are clearly made of strong stuff. The couple, both solicitors, get such a thrill from the process that they are about to embark on yet another top-to-bottom refurbishment challenge, also in the Drumcondra area.
It helps, of course, that one of them has an architect sibling, and not just any architect, but Paul Brazil of Brazil Associates, whose name has been associated with numerous high-end residential refurbishment projects over the years. (You'll see his signboard on some of the smartest hoardings in the city.) Brazil worked with the couple to bring 72 Grace Park Road to its current very comfortable state; the finishes throughout are of high quality.
The owners bought No 72 in 2007, and completed the extension and renovation of the house the following year, bringing the total amount of living space to 2,608 sq ft. The work included re-wiring and re-plumbing.
Throughout the refurbishment, Brazil was mindful of the need to retain as many original period features - including decorative plasterwork and hardwood floors - as possible, while turning the house into somewhere suited to contemporary family living. Unlike other serial house flippers, the current owners have lived in the house with their family for almost 10 years.
In essence, No 72 is a four-bedroom, red brick, semi-detached house with an attic, located in an area that has seen significant property price increases in recent years thanks to its proximity to the city centre, well-established community and local amenities.
To the front of No 72 lies a landscaped garden with off-street parking for two cars. The porch opens onto an elegant entrance hall with high ceilings, off which are a cloakroom and guest lavatory. Two formal interconnecting reception rooms sit to the right of the entrance hall; each has a feature fireplace. The front living room has a large bay window, and the second reception room has built-in shelving and units. Double doors open from here into the open-plan kitchen/dining/living space to the back of the house in the extension.
The fully-fitted Miele kitchen with island unit comes with built-in appliances and seamless hidden storage and there are sliding doors from the living area opening out onto the patio. The south-easterly aspect ensures that room is bright for most of the day. Just off the kitchen is a utility area with hot press and a large storage room (in what was the original garage) that can also be accessed from the front garden.
Upstairs there are four bedrooms, two of which have ensuites with power showers and are fitted with built-in wardrobes. The master bedroom, occupying the bay window to the front, has been extended to include a walk-in wardrobe, and the family bathroom has both a tiled bath and standalone power shower. The converted attic has an ensuite shower room and plenty of storage space and could be used as a fifth bedroom or study.
At this price point, buyers keen to purchase in the Drumcondra area will also be looking at the new houses in the nearby Grace Park Woods and Hampton developments. The gardens there are significantly smaller than those attached to older houses in the area, such as No 72. The landscaped rear garden here has a patio area, lawn and children's play area, as well as a large shed to the rear for storage and will be a big draw for families with young children.
Grace Park Road lies just off Griffith Avenue, close to shops and restaurants, including neighbourhood favourite, Twenty2. There's a good bus service to the city centre, although many people in the area cycle to work. The location is also handy for access to the M1 and M50. Schools and colleges in the area include All Hallows College, Maryfield Secondary School, Dominican Secondary School, and Ard Scoil Rís, with Westwood Gym, Clontarf Golf Club, and St Vincent's GAA all close by.
72 Grace Park Road
Drumcondra, Dublin 9
Asking price: €895,000
Agent: Kelly Bradshaw Dalton (01) 8040500