Friday 18 January 2019

Stylish touch to Victorian refurb in D4

55 Bath Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin 4: €1,395,000

Vendor Lara Wasson in the kitchen/dining extension at 55 Bath Avenue
Vendor Lara Wasson in the kitchen/dining extension at 55 Bath Avenue
55 Bath Avenue
The south-facing rear garden at 55 Bath Avenue
Sitting room
Party room complete with bar
A guest bedroom

Words by Fran Power; portrait by David Conachy Photographs by

For some rugby fans, the best seats in the house for pints before yesterday's Ireland v Wales match were not in Ryans or Searsons but the party room at 55 Bath Avenue within roaring distance of the Aviva Stadium in Dublin 4. The double-fronted Victorian house has a smart party room, painted in Farrow & Ball's Down Pipe, and complete with a bar equipped with fridge freezer, sink and dishwasher, squishy sofas and a working fireplace that make it hard for guests - no matter how dedicated a fan they might be - to leave.

"On match days, everyone piles in here and has drinks," says Lara Wasson, who owns the property with her husband and two young boys. "It's really fun. I'll miss match days. The buzz. We love that."

Owner Lara has an eye for colour and structure - she trained at the Grafton Academy in fashion design and spent a happy 10 years as a fashion buyer in women's wear at Dunnes, before having her second child 13 months ago. As a result, the restored four-bed is full of interior twists and architectural surprises.

When the couple bought the property in 2004, it required a complete refurb and they enlisted the services of architect Catherine Crowe, now with Luca Architecture. The house was gutted and restored with due respect for original features such as sash windows, shutters, cornice work and fireplaces. It now carries a BER rating of B3, unusually cosy for a period property.

Catherine Crowe designed a new two-storey extension to the rear of the property, adding a large kitchen/dining/living extension on the ground floor and a large master bedroom with en suite and back-to-back built-in wardrobe space upstairs. Two double-height shafts drop lots of natural light through the two-storey extension.

A fifth bedroom upstairs was sacrificed to bring more natural light into the centre of the house and to provide an extra bathroom. The original staircase was replaced with a cleverly designed stairs that wraps around a large wood-clad storage space and runs up the centre of the house. "We have natural light in every single room in the house except our downstairs bathroom."

As well as light, the refurb added a huge amount of storage. There's a utility room that opens onto the back garden, a wall of storage in the open-plan kitchen dining/living area, a storage area under the stairs, and a walk-in wardrobe as well as a wall of closet space in the master bedroom. The total floor space is now 218sqm.

No expense was spared on the interiors. The floors are solid oak in the reception rooms and upstairs, and there are blue limestone tiles in the hall and hard-working spaces such as the downstairs guest WC, utility room and kitchen/dining space. There is underfloor heating throughout.

Lara and her husband are serious cooks, so the kitchen has plenty of shelf space for cookbooks, drawers to hide away appliances and features hand-made fitted units and a large island with five-ring gas hob, all topped with stainless steel.

At one end of the extension, there is a picture window with seat. Large sliding glass doors open onto a patio area paved with the same limestone as indoors but sandblasted to prevent moss. Steps lead up to the south-facing garden which has been designed to take maximum advantage of the sun. A row of tall bays have been trained to provide privacy from the neighbouring property while a garden shed stores away outdoor tools and toys. There is planning permission for a single-storey garden room of 25sqm, and a second garden shed to the rear.

The couple love art and enjoy finding works by young artists at graduate shows to complement their collection of established artists. One piece of art will remain in situ for the purchaser - an electric pink stencil in the kitchen by French graffiti artist Fafi, which Lara found in Paris at Colette, the famous fashion store that shut its doors forever last December.

Upstairs, there are four good-sized bedrooms, three with en suites and one family bathroom. The master bedroom and en suite are to the rear of the property and look out over the garden.

The owners invested in 4.8kWp solar PV panels four years ago, which now produce much of their electricity, reducing their bills considerably, according to Lara. And there is a charge point to the front of the property for those who wish to drive electric.

With the rise of Facebook, Google and other tech companies in the area, this part of Sandymount is bustling. For foodies, there is Paulie's Pizza, Juniors and Lotts & Co gourmet grocers a few minutes' stroll away. There are good Dart and bus links to the city centre, which is a brisk five- minute cycle away.

As for Lara and her husband they are about to embark on another restoration, this time in Dublin 6, "a monster project", says Lara with relish.

Agent: Karl Craven at Alliance Auctioneers (01) 803 0750

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