Take the house at 38 Seapoint Avenue in Blackrock, Co Dublin which started out with an asking price of €2.1m in the spring and is now (after the sale of a small piece of adjacent land) pegged at €1.595m. That's a half million cut down. For a family on the hunt for a well-located period house, and who aren't put off by an extensive refurbishment project, this one is probably worth a look.
One of a pair of semi-detached, two-storey-over-basement houses dating from circa 1860, 38 Seapoint Avenue has almost 4,900 sq ft of space. Located on the seaside of Seapoint Avenue, just above Seapoint Dart station, this is a decent house in need of a good architect and some TLC. The other house in the pair, in similar condition to this, sold for €4.5m in 2006 and has since been refurbished.
The house at 38 Seapoint Avenue has its period features - from elaborate ceiling cornicing to working shutters and marble fireplaces - intact. The rooms are as generous as one would expect in a house of this vintage. The ground and first floors, and the garden to the rear, have extraordinary and uninterrupted views out across Dublin Bay to Howth.
The house has been in the same family for the past 40 years and, as currently configured, does not reflect the way most families wish to live now. For instance, the kitchen is positioned in a smallish room to the front of the house, looking out on to the road. Originally, the kitchen would have been in the basement - the hearth surround of what would have been the cooking range remains in situ - but new owners will probably want the most lived-in room in the house, the focus of family activity, to occupy one of its best spaces and to maximise the magnificent views.
In re-imagining the property for a new generation, either the room identified as the study or the inter-connecting drawing room and dining room, both looking out to the back, would make a terrific light-filled kitchen.
What is now the kitchen could serve as a den or study. There is the possibility of re-introducing access to the garden on ground-floor level via what is now a bathroom.
On the first floor, there are four large rooms and an architect will be able to advise as to how best to achieve the desired bedroom and bathroom configurations - changes that may require planning permission.
A family with older children will perhaps consider using the basement for bedrooms. Alternatively this could remain as a separate two-bedroom apartment.Outside, there is off-street parking to the front and side, with the possibility of enlarging the area available for parking to the side of the house by moving a wall to the outer perimeter of the property - a change that would require planning permission.
More could be made of the back garden with landscaping, but its views are unbeatable and nothing will ever be allowed to obscure them. A tunnel to one side was originally used by horses bringing goods up to the house from the station, but now leads nowhere.For families, the benefits of proximity to the Dart are immense, in terms of the independence that it gives to children as they get older. And anything that cuts down on school runs for parents is to be welcomed.
There are several bus routes nearby, including the 7 into the city centre and the 17 from Blackrock Dart station to UCD. The stretch of coastline between Killiney and Ballsbridge has the best selection of schools in Dublin, with Holy Child Killiney, Loreto Dalkey, Blackrock College, St Andrew's and St Michael's all easily accessible.
Scoil Lorcain and Carysfort National School are within walking distance. Sporting facilities in the area include tennis and sailing, and the house will have obvious appeal to anyone who keeps - or aspires to keep - a boat in Dun Laoghaire, with four yacht clubs and the marina within a stone's throw. Blackrock has two shopping centres, one with a large Marks and Spencers food store and the other with a Supervalu, and a good selection of bars and restaurants, including The Grape Escape and The Canteen, both tucked away in Blackrock Market and popular with locals. Heading south along the coast, Monkstown village has a very busy branch of Avoca, with James Whelan Butchers and Poulet Bonne Femme as well as Salt restaurant.
The village also has several boutiques and interiors shops, along with a fishmonger and at least a dozen restaurants and cafes. Well-known chef Johnny Cooke is soon to open a new delicatessen showcasing his Mediterranean food next door to Goggins, itself a match-day mecca for local rugby fans.