In Pictures: Couple transformed this Harold's Cross three-bed into a cosy home full of character
7 Priory Road, Harold's Cross, Dublin 6W: €595,000
When Emma Grainger and her husband Mark Smith bought No 7 Priory Road in May 2009, it was in good shape decoratively.
"Downstairs was cosmetically fine," says Emma, "and we liked the kitchen that the previous owners had installed; it still looks good. Upstairs we wanted to upgrade the bathroom, but otherwise we were happy with the aesthetics of the house."
What wasn't great, though, was the energy efficiency of the property, and, after shivering through a cold winter during which they say that there were parts of the house that they couldn't set foot in without watching their breath steaming in the air, the couple embarked on the process of making their new home warm and cosy.
"Those were the days before BER," says Emma, "but if there had been a rating system back then, the house would have been off the charts."
The family threw every piece of ammunition in the insulation arsenal at the house.
They insulated the roof and the attic, and put in insulation floorboards in some of the bedrooms. They installed dry-lining warm boards on the internal perimeter walls of the house, and also put in pumped cavity wall insulation.
They got a new gas-fired boiler and replaced the radiators.
And now the house has a more than respectable BER of C3, which is impressive for a property of its vintage.
"It is lovely and cosy now," says Emma.
No 7 sits on a corner site on a quiet road with gardens to both front and rear and side access; there are raised beds in the back garden ready and waiting for the summer growing season and a lovely flowering cherry tree in the front of the house. There is off-street parking at the front.
On the ground floor, off the entrance hall, the living room connects via double doors with the dining room/ family room which in turn opens out on to garden to the rear.
Upstairs there are three bedrooms and the family bathroom. The main bedroom lies to the rear of the house.
The couple have put No 7 on the market reluctantly, and only because with a growing family they feel the need of more space.
They are hoping to move to a similar but slightly bigger house in the same area.
"We will really miss No 7," says Emma. "It is quite quirky and has a lovely character. The green in front of the house is really the centre of the community and a great gathering spot. During the snow we were all out there building snowmen and getting to know the neighbours. In fact, facing on to a green is one of the criteria on the list for our next house; we'd find it very hard not to have that."
The location of Priory Road is within walking distance of Rathgar and Terenure, where the Mayfield Cafe and Green Man Wines are two spots that the couple particularly recommend.
Green Man Wines is on a mission to educate the residents of D6 and D6W about lesser-known wines, and holds regular well-attended tastings.
Harold's Cross has acquired a number of interesting cafes and restaurants in recent years, including Phil Yeung's award-winning neighbourhood restaurant, Craft, and Five Points, which has a reputation for serving the best coffee in the area.
For supermarket shopping there's the SuperValu at Sundrive crossroads, or the newly swanky Swan Centre in Rathmines, home to a re-vamped Dunnes, Fallon & Byrne, and everyone's favourite health food shop, The Hopsack.
Emma and Mark take their two young children swimming to Swan Leisure and use the cinema in Rathmines too.
In terms of primary schools, there are two within a five-minute walk of Priory Road: Harold's Cross NS and Scoil Mológa, which is a gaelscoil. The nearest Educate Together school is in Greenhills. The area also has a good selection of secondary schools.
St Stephen's Green and the city centre are just over 3km away, within walking and cycling distance, and there is a good bus service locally.
Size: 109 sqm
Agent: Quillsen Terenure (01) 406 4500
Viewing: By appointment