Prestigious home built to last can be yours for €4m
Craftsmanship for €4m in Ballsbridge
George Crampton established the original Crampton firm of builders on Pearse Street in 1879. By 1905, the company had expanded and become successful enough to warrant a move to Pembroke Road in Ballsbridge, where George was joined by his nephew, Thomas. The business has been known as G & T Crampton ever since.
A reputation for quality work ensured that the firm soon gained some of the most prestigious building contracts in the city, among them the National Concert Hall on Earlsfort Terrace, the US Embassy in Ballsbridge, and the IFSC in Dublin Docklands. Two latter day Cramptons - GD and JP - are the current managing directors.
The phrase most often associated with the name Crampton is 'solid'. Crampton-built houses have a reputation for being solidly-built, so much so that they attract a premium over those built by other construction companies.
No 8 Herbert Park was built by G & T Crampton in 1909 and is a fine Edwardian three-storey semi-detached house located at the Donnybrook end of Herbert Park. It's a stretch that has been occupied by generations of Dublin families that are as solid as the homes that they live in - lawyers, medics and the better class of bankers (if that's not a non sequitur).
Despite the dizzy prices that some of them reached during the height of the nonsense (No 34, Milverton, was reported to have sold for €8M in 2005) Crampton houses are practical, well accomplished and comfortable rather than ostentatious. This time out the price is €4m.
This home is in a location that's unbeatable in terms of access to schools, with St Michael's, St Conleth's, Muckross and The Teresian school all within walking distance, and many other options within easy reach. It's is also handy for access to all the main Dublin universities, shops, and the city centre, with just about everything that one could want in the way of sports facilities, both for active participants and spectators. These include Donnybrook Tennis Club, Riverview, Fitzwilliam, the RDS, Donnybrook Stadium and the Aviva, within walking or cycling distance.
No 8 is a large though manageable house with 4,000 sq. ft of living space, suitable for a big family. At entrance level there are enough reception rooms to accommodate formal entertaining as well as relaxed family living, although new owners will probably wish to update the decor. The dining and drawing rooms are inter-connected and retain their original doors, and the dining room in turn adjoins the conservatory, with French doors out to the garden. There are attractive period features throughout, including parquet flooring, terracotta tiles, marble fireplaces and ceiling cornicing. The kitchen is traditional in style, with a gas-fired Aga and a south-facing bay window with seating. Also at entrance level are a family room, a study and guest lavatory.
Upstairs, the bedrooms are arranged over two floors. The master bedroom suite occupies the depth of the house, with the bedroom to the front and the enormous bathroom with free-standing bath, in what must formerly have been another bedroom, behind. There are two further bedrooms and a bathroom on this level. On the second floor, No 8 has three additional bedrooms and another bathroom.
Outside, there's off-street parking for several cars and a large walled garden, with some raised beds. There are two patio areas for eating outdoors and some mature trees, including a number of fruiting apple trees. A detached garage currently functions as a utility room but could be converted to other uses. The nearest shops are in Donnybrook village, and include Donnybrook Fair, The Butler's Pantry (D4 hostesses keep the number stored in 'Favourites' for last-minute dinner parties, and even just when it's their turn to host book club) and The Black Pig, which stocks a seductive range of Spanish meats and wines. The Terroirs wine shop is another tempting stop-off for oenophiles, particularly on Saturday afternoons when there are usually a few interesting bottles open for tasting, while local restaurants include the ever-popular O'Connells, Mulberry Garden, and Marco Pierre White.
And then of course there is the park itself, right next door, a wonderful amenity so close to the heart of the city. Its cherry trees are magnificent in spring, its ducks are always game for a quack, its tennis courts are sound and its playground a haven for D4 juniors.
8 Herbert Park
Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Asking price: €4M
Agent: Knight Frank (01) 6342466