Tuesday 17 September 2019

This Blackrock penthouse has more floor space than a four bedroom family home

A Blackrock penthouse will appeal to big house downsizers

A substantial living room opens out to the dining room at one end and the kitchen and breakfast area at the other, while double doors lead out onto a west-facing terrace
A substantial living room opens out to the dining room at one end and the kitchen and breakfast area at the other, while double doors lead out onto a west-facing terrace
The kitchen has marble worktops and brand-new integrated appliances
The entrance hall
The master bedroom
The exterior of House 1 and communal gardens
Views across Dublin Bay
The west-facing terrace
The dining room
Katy McGuinness

Katy McGuinness

A linden is an older name for a lime fruit and it pops up here and there in street names in parts of south Dublin.

Around Blackrock, the name Linden does in fact derive from a grove of lime trees shown on a map of the Allen estate dating from the 18th century. It's story is outlined in Between the Mountains and the Sea, by Peter Pearson.

The kitchen has marble worktops and brand-new integrated appliances
The kitchen has marble worktops and brand-new integrated appliances

Despite popular perceptions, lime trees are often grown in Ireland and because of their tall thin forms, are popular for street planting. Whether they fruit in a given year depends on weather conditions. But if they get good sun, are sheltered from wind and are well fertilised, they can crop just as they would in the Mediterranean with plenty of the citrus fruits beloved of gin lovers.

Lord Allen was descended from a family of builders and bricklayers who had come to Ireland from Holland in the mid-17th century, he was a member of the Westminster parliament and held the titles Earl of Carysfort, Baron Allen and Viscount Allen.

The entrance hall
The entrance hall

His estate stretched from Stillorgan village across to Newtownpark Avenue, down to Blackrock, and adjoined the Fitzwilliam estate at Mount Merrion Avenue, encompassing all of what is now Priory Park, Grove Avenue, Avoca Avenue, Stillorgan Grove and Carysfort Avenue.

His Lordship lived at Stillorgan Park House, built in 1695, an imposing structure set in an elaborately planted parkland. The house has long gone - we know what it looked like thanks to a well known painting by Gabriele Ricciardelli - it faced north towards Mount Merrion Avenue and stood at the head of a long grove of trees, planted three rows deep on either side.

The master bedroom
The master bedroom

In the late 18th century, a number of villas were built close to the side of the grove, and the name Grove Avenue came into use during the Victorian period when the area was further developed.

Linden was one of these Georgian villas - elegantly fronted by a pair of half-octagonal bows. In 1864, the Sisters of Charity, who ran St Vincent's Hospital, then located on St Stephen's Green, purchased the house with the intention of using it as a convalescent home. The price paid was £2,000, stumped up by benefactor Francis Coppinger of Monkstown. Mother Mary Aikenhead, founder of the order, wrote that patients enjoyed shady walks and rests "unter den Linden" in The Grove which adjoined the house, where they could spend the day "without fatigue or danger".

Views across Dublin Bay
Views across Dublin Bay

That Georgian house is also gone, and all that remains is a later listed structure, perhaps built by the nuns, which has since been converted into apartments, known as The Mullins Wing.

The rest of the grounds were developed as the Linden apartment scheme, and the penthouse at House No 1 is one of a pair occupying the entire fourth floor.

The west-facing terrace
The west-facing terrace

The vendors have owned this apartment since 2002 and used it as a family home. They are now trading up to a house with a garden in Dublin 6.

The penthouse is likely to appeal to down-sizers from larger houses in the area - or 'right-sizers' as those in the business of selling property like to refer to this cohort. Certainly the 1,567 sq ft of living space and 12-and-a-half foot high ceilings will make the transition from a large detached house less painful than it might be to a smaller apartment.

The dining room
The dining room

Access to the top floor, whether by lift or stairs, is by means of key fob only.

The layout is akin to the ground floor of a house, or a reasonably-sized bungalow. The apartment is newly decorated and has been staged for sale, which will give prospective purchasers a good sense of its proportions in relation to whatever items of furniture they may wish to bring with them. It is in walk-in condition.

The exterior of House 1 and communal gardens
The exterior of House 1 and communal gardens

From the entrance hallway, one turns left towards the living areas and right towards the bedrooms.

There's a large living room and adjoining dining room, and a kitchen with marble worktops and brand-new integrated appliances. There's a compact utility space adjacent, and room for a corner breakfast table in the kitchen.

The living room opens out onto a west-facing terrace, with plenty of room for sitting out and eating out of doors. Anyone moving to the apartment from a house with a garden will have enough space in which to arrange pots of flowers and herbs, and there are immaculately-maintained communal gardens which residents can enjoy without having to be responsible for looking after.

Two of the three double bedrooms are to the front of the apartment, facing east. There are particularly good views across Dublin Bay towards Howth from the main bedroom. There is an en suite bathroom, and plenty of built-in wardrobes.

There's underfloor heating and the penthouse has a BER of D2. The annual management fee is €2,100. There are two parking spaces in the basement car park, as well as plenty of visitor parking.

Location-wise, Linden lies between Blackrock and Stillorgan. It comprises a number of different types of houses and apartments, so there is a good residential mix in terms of families, singles, couples and retirees.

The two shopping centres in Blackrock village are in the midst of redevelopment, but when work is finished the shopping amenities will be of a very high standard. As well as three supermarkets, there's a great selection of independent shops including Jane Carroll Design, for all manner of gorgeous things for children, Raven Books and the Organic Supermarket. Blackrock Market is also home to some excellent restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Heron & Grey, Shaka Poke and the lovely unassuming Indian restaurant, 3 Leaves.

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