Creative haven inside the canal for €1.7m

Boasting such artistic luminaries as Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir among its former residents, Dublin’s Harcourt Terrace has been a magnet for creative types for more than a hundred years. Now number 9 is for auction by its auctioneer owner

Thu, Mar 13, 2014, 00:00

What is it that makes some streets special and others, maybe just a block away, less so? Is it that the houses are particularly fine and set on a quiet cul-de-sac leading up to the canal? Or is it something else, something in the air or water? Whatever it is, Harcourt Terrace has it in spades.

The street has been a magnet for creative types for more than a hundred years: artist Sarah Purser lived at number 11 in the 1880s; theatre’s Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir were at number 4; while George Russell (also known as AE) held the first performance of his Deirdre in the back garden of number 5.

The trend continues: the Irish Arts Review has its offices in what was once a Garda station; the Broadstone Artists Studios are on the block; and art auctioneer John deVere White and his wife, Miriam, live in number 9, which they are selling at auction on April 3rd (through deVere White & Smyth), with a guide price of €1.7 million.

So what is it that has attracted so many fascinating and talented people to the place? For one, the West Terrace, built in 1830, of which number 9 is part, is absolutely lovely.

With graceful proportions, the houses are welcoming and comfortable, rather than in-your-face grand.

The terrace is just off Adelaide Road but has the kind of peaceful atmosphere you’d usually find further out, in Dublin 6 and 8, and beyond.

Inside, it’s hard to take your eyes off the art, as the deVere Whites have succumbed to the occupational hazard of the auctioneer, and have amassed a fascinating selection of intriguing pieces.

Wrenching my gaze away because, no, these items don’t come with the sale, there are plenty of good things that do: such as carefully restored original features – fireplaces, cornices, ceiling roses, stripped antique pine doors – and huge sash windows including an arched one on the staircase return.


Modern touch
The same good taste that amassed the art that is so distracting is also responsible for the kitchen, which has pale blue Siematic units, and a matching range, with black granite counter tops and splashback. It’s a clever element of modernism, preventing the house from feeling like a time piece.

The deVere Whites have introduced other thoughtful touches too, like a Juliet balcony from the kitchen that looks on to the southwest-facing sunken patio. It’s the right height, I’m told, to pass coffee cups – and wine glasses – to diners below. The house is laid out over four floors and there are six bedrooms, as well as a drawingroom, sittingroom and diningroom.

The basement could be semi-separated as a work space, guest or teenagers’ flat (although this level also houses the wine cellar, so you might want to think twice about that).


Scope or change
There are three bathrooms, all quite small, but there’s plenty of scope for change as the bedrooms are good sized and the hallways and landings large. Overall the house is 314sq m (3,373sq ft).

Last year number 3 sold for €1.23 million, with a lot of work required as it had been laid out in offices. There was also a right of way to parking at the rear of that house.

Depending on how you like your bathrooms configured, number 9 is ready to walk into, which makes the guide price realistic. You don’t have to be artistic to live here, but you never know, it just might creep up on you, it’s certainly got the form.

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