Family-friendly Ranelagh Edwardian for €2.6m

Detached seven-bedroom family home with original features

Thu, May 2, 2013, 06:00

You know the phrase: the more things change, the more they stay the same. More than 100 years ago an Irish Times advertisement for the new homes on the Cowper Estate read: “You could settle down in one of these charming villas with the knowledge that a better choice of home in the Dublin district is impossible . . . by train or tram you can reach central Dublin in a few minutes.”

These days it’s a bit of a distance to the Dart, but the Luas glides by at the end of the road, and 18 Park Drive, also known as The Turret, still has what the original writer described as “attractive architecture with the modern fittings which constitute the desirability of a home . . . on this salubrious site”.

And The Turret is salubrious. It’s also one of those houses that has managed to pull off a nicely judged balance between the grand and the cosy. There’s a formal drawing room with a bay window, an open fire with a tiled, brass and marble surround, and a wonderfully ornate stuccoed ceiling, leading through to a large and similarly appointed dining room. By contrast there’s also a comfortable study, and a kitchen that wraps around to a seating area around a gas-fired stove.

“It’s a house for children,” says the owner. “Our boys went to school in Gonzaga, which is just over the back wall. The gang would come back over the wall after school and play pool. Or they’d disappear up to the turret [yes, there really is a turret room] and we wouldn’t see them for hours.”

The girls went to Alexandra College, down the road. “They’d take over the kitchen and solve the problems of life and the world around the table.” It’s the same table that we’re sitting at now. As the sun comes in across the back lawn and patio, the dog busies himself snuffling around. An extension opens the back of the house to the grounds, and I can easily imagine the talk of friends, boyfriends, and the drama of girl’s gossip carrying on over endless cups of tea.

In 2010, 23 Park Drive, which, like The Turret, was built for the 1907 Dublin International Exhibition, as an example of excellence in Irish craft work (but which is smaller, at four bedrooms), sold for €1,721,500.

“The children say ‘oh Mum, you shouldn’t sell. You don’t realise how wonderful this is’,” says the owner. “But it’s a house that needs children racing around it.”

They’re both right. It would be a wrench to sell a house like this, but with seven bedrooms over two upper floors, and extra accommodation including a study, den, family room, utility, plus a large garage, it’s also a house that calls out to be filled with family.

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