Monday 20 November 2017

Revamped period home offers room to grow

37 Mount Merrion AveNue, Blackrock, Co Dublin €1.65m

37 Mount Merrion has a large back garden and planning permission to extend.
37 Mount Merrion has a large back garden and planning permission to extend.

Words by Katy McGuinness

Last week, the New York Times reported that 'the bespoke vegetable garden, these days almost always organic, has become a particular object of desire in the Hamptons'.

One property owner has gone so far, reported the paper, as to tear out her tennis court and replace it with a vegetable garden.

Not, perish the thought, that the property owners in the swanky Hamptons are getting their manicured hands dirty, toiling over serried rows of tomatoes, golden beets and zucchini. (Kale, apparently, is waning in popularity).

Rather, a whole industry of landscape designers, gardeners and other support staff has grown up around this trend, with fleets of helpers drafted in not just to plant, cultivate and harvest, but also to pickle, preserve and ferment. Some Manhattan-dwellers even have boxes of freshly picked produce from their Hamptons' gardens put on the Jitney and ferried down to them in the city.

The double reception rooms at 37 Mount Merrion Avenue
The double reception rooms at 37 Mount Merrion Avenue

The New York Times article quotes Steven Gaines, the author of Philistines at the Hedgerow: Passion and Property in the Hamptons, as saying that "God has given you too much money when you have someone else tend your vegetable garden".

Certainly, there is something of the Marie Antoinette about the notion of a vegetable garden as a status symbol, but it's only a matter of time before the trend makes its way across the Atlantic.

There are apple trees and a few fruit bushes already flourishing in the back garden of No 37 Mount Merrion Avenue, and plenty of room for new owners to create a fabulous potager. In fact, the garden, which stretches back 38m and has rear vehicular access, is one of the property's key attractions.

No 37 dates from the 1840s, and is an elegant double-fronted, mid-terrace Victorian house with 247sqm of living space on three floors.

The current owners upgraded the property in 2007, so most of the heavy lifting in terms of refurbishment and restoration has already been done. However, although some period features remain, some are no longer in situ and new owners may wish to address this, and also to consider whether to implement a current planning permission to extend the house to the back.

A flight of granite steps leads up to the front door, and into an elegant entrance hall. The kitchen/breakfast room lies to the right - the design is by Andrew Ryan and the kitchen features solid wood bespoke wall and floor units, with Victorian Salvage shelving units and cupboards in the breakfast room to the front.

The hallway at 37 Mount Merrion Avenue
The hallway at 37 Mount Merrion Avenue

To the left are a pair of interconnecting formal reception rooms with ceiling cornicing and centre roses. The fireplaces in these rooms are modern.

The kitchen was formerly at garden level, in a room that is now used as a family room, which has direct access to the back garden and has been panelled so that all the electrics and plumbing remain in place if the new owners wish to move the kitchen back downstairs again.

This floor also has a second reception room, and the fourth bedroom, which has an en-suite bathroom, plus a very large utility room with bags of built-in storage. There is a guest lavatory in the return between the garden and entrance levels, and a study on the return between the entrance and first floor levels.

On the first floor, there are three bedrooms and a family bathroom, with a roll top bath and separate shower cubicle. The master bedroom has double windows to the front and plenty of fitted wardrobes.

Because No 37 is currently tenanted and has not been staged for sale, prospective purchasers will have to work a little harder than they may be accustomed, to envisage what their lives would look like if they were to buy the house.

In his book, Between the Mountains and the Sea, Peter Pearson explains that Mount Merrion Avenue and nearby Cross Avenue were originally laid out as two wide, formal avenues by Richard Viscount Fitzwilliam as part of a hugely ambitious landscaping plan of the area.

The Andrew Ryan kitchen at 37 Mount Merrion Avenue
The Andrew Ryan kitchen at 37 Mount Merrion Avenue

These days, Mount Merrion Avenue is a busy road, but No 37 is set well back behind original railings and a formal front garden. Parking is on street, but there is also vehicular access to the rear and a garage.

Era: 1840s

Size: 247sqm

Agent: Hunters (01) 275 1640

Viewing: Strictly by appointment

The garden at 37 Mount Merrion Avenue
The garden at 37 Mount Merrion Avenue

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