Life Home & Garden

Wednesday 18 September 2019

This artist is selling her enviable four-bed home in leafy Dalkey

Parkville, Sorrento Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin: €1.19m

Helen Carter outside her wisteria-clad home in Dalkey
Helen Carter outside her wisteria-clad home in Dalkey

Words by Fran Power Photographs by Steve Humphreys

When illustrator and potter Helen Carter decided to move to Dalkey from Glencullen in deepest Wicklow, she viewed just one property - Parkville on Sorrento Road in Dalkey. "I thought there was something very familiar about it. I don't know why. I went away thinking, well, I can't just go and see one house. So I came back and hummed and hawed, and had a look again and said, 'I'll go for it'."

In the end, she did see one other property, but her heart was already set on the detached four-bedroom house. Believed to date back to Victorian times, the property was nonetheless in immaculate condition. The previous owners had restored and cleverly re-configured the house in 2010, adding bathrooms, and even an extra floor up top to take advantage of the panoramic views of Dublin Bay. It now serves as Helen's studio.

"They gutted it and started again," laughs Helen, "but they kept the front wall, I think."

Parkville now extends to 159sqm, but its layout makes it seem more spacious with four double bedrooms, one en suite with a walk-in wardrobe, and two further bathrooms.

View from Parkville, Sorrento Road, Dalkey
View from Parkville, Sorrento Road, Dalkey

"It's a nice sized house," says Helen, "it's not too big, not too small. It's really cleverly designed. With all credit to the previous owners, they thought it out very well. It's really got everything, and even though we're on Sorrento Road, it's really quiet."

There is a living/dining room that runs from front to back of the house with solid walnut floors, a gas fire and double-glazed sash windows. The previous owners added a modernist touch - instead of a Victorian-style plaster rose in the centre of the ceiling, they inset a wide circle which hides soft diffused lighting.

A modern kitchen was added to the rear of the house, extending the footprint out into the sunny southwest-facing patio yard. It is compact, but functional, with an island breakfast bar, Corian-topped counters and a sitting area that, Helen says, gets all the afternoon sun. The patio garden is paved in sandstone, has a built-in barbecue area with access to the street, and there is a concealed bin area.

On the first floor and return, there are three double bedrooms, including the master suite and the family bathroom. The second floor comprises another double bedroom and the studio room, with a further bathroom on the return.

The previous owners also added solar panels and insulated comprehensively so that, for an older property, Parkville holds an unusually high BER rating of B2.

"It meant I could just move in and didn't have to do anything straight away," says Helen. "The electrics and everything were state of the art." Over time since then, she has updated the interiors to reflect her love of mid-century modern furniture and has added splashes of colour and her collection of art.

Helen’s studio with her artworks
Helen’s studio with her artworks

Helen makes whimsical and very tactile figures in paper to commission. Dotted around the house are her take on artists Frida Kahlo, Picasso and Andy Warhol, who sports a quiff of white hair like a whipped ice cream. Each one sits under the sort of Victorian glass domes more often seen protecting stuffed animals. In fact, house-hunters who have viewed the new homes development of Norabrook in Clontarf might recognise her pieces commissioned for the showhouse interiors.

And it's because of her art that Helen has put the house on the market - she has fallen in love with making pottery and needs more elbow room to build a studio to house all the paraphernalia involved. Happily, she has spotted just the place nearby.

Parkville would suit a couple with older children, or a downsizer from a larger house in the area. The top floor could easily be rejigged as accommodation for a home help, or for rental to bring additional income stream.

While the lack of off-street parking may be a deterrent to some, there is free parking in the lane by the side of the house. Parkville is a few minutes' walk from Dalkey main street and the Dart Station. There is a regular aircoach to Dublin Airport.

Dalkey is close to the famous 40-foot bathing spot, and has many restaurants and pubs, including the legendary Finnegans, and Olly McCabe's Select Store where health-conscious Dalkey folk stop off en route to town for a wheatgrass booster.

Helen will miss her top-floor eyrie, and the bustle of Dalkey. "I love the atmosphere," she says, "it's got a very village-y feel even though you're so close to Dublin."

Parkville, Sorrento Road, Dalkey
Parkville, Sorrento Road, Dalkey

Agent: Lynam Auctioneers (01) 296 5374

Viewing: Strictly by appointment

The sitting room at Parkville, Sorrento Road, Dalkey
The sitting room at Parkville, Sorrento Road, Dalkey

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