Fresh starts at the end of the line
Three end-of-terrace houses – two Victorian and one Regency – in south Co Dublin combine the charm of their original period features with the comforts of modern living
It is a cliché that architect’s own homes are never completely finished. There’s something about the profession that makes its practitioner want to keep going, keep adding, keep experimenting. It is that desire that has led Alyson Carney and her husband John to put their three-bedroomed home on the market, at €725,000 with Sherry FitzGerald.
Alyson, an architect with Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, first saw the Victorian terrace in 2005 when it was a complete wreck. Now, a clever extension has added drama, space and lots of light – and, work done, Alyson is looking for a fresh challenge.
The house front is charming and well kept, but doesn’t give too much away. Inside, however, the first hint of something special lies at the end of the period hallway, which still retains the original staircase.
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A mirrored panel draws you through and back to a double- height atrium and into the bright, contemporary kitchen.
What the architect has done here is clever – the back wall of the original house has been maintained and is now an internal feature of the central space. The original windows look down into it, while wrapping around is a balcony leading to the master bedroom and bathroom, which are in the new part of the house. The other two bedrooms are in the original space, to the front.
If that sounds complicated, it isn’t. It is one of those architectural solutions that is so elegantly simple, you wonder why everyone with a poky period terrace doesn’t do it.
No space is wasted; there are clever cupboards and storage in useful and unexpected spots. “I particularly love the mix of old and new,” says Alyson. “In the winter we can be cosy by the fire in the sitting room, and then you come out into this . . .” she gestures to the expanse of the kitchen and out, through large sliding glass doors, to the garden – a split-level mix of decking and lawn, enclosed by lovely old granite walls.
High-quality materials have been used throughout. The flooring in the sitting room is reclaimed oak, originally from an American cotton mill, and the dark hardwood featuring throughout is iroko (also known as African teak).
The family are staying in the area – and who can blame them, with Caviston’s and the shops and cafes of Glasthule minutes away and Dalkey on the doorstop? So where next?
“I want to get my hands on a big old house,” Alyson says. “One that’s in bedsits – with brown wallpaper . . . ” I can imagine she’ll do a brilliant job.