Style that stands the test of time in Rathmines for €1.8m
The pricey elements of style that were all the rage at the height of the boom are everywhere there to be seen in this period house, which was extended and modernised by Fiona Healy
When 53 Palmerston Road sold last – for €4.5 million – it was regarded as a good price, although not particularly noteworthy at the time. Houses on the road went for more than €7.5 million in the mid-noughties, and, from the outside at least, the redbrick two-storey over garden-level period houses that line the road look pretty much the same, even though the condition and interiors can differ wildly.
What was different about this house, once the home of Sean Lemass, who would surely have been bewildered by its fortunes and fate, was that it was a spectacular example of the property speculation trend rife in Dublin 4 and 6 at the time – the so called “spend a fortune, sell for a fortune” rule.
Number 53 was sold at the time by Fiona Healy, who this newspaper described as “one of the savviest speculators in town . . . who knows exactly what to do with a big redbrick house”. Healy certainly knew what to do with this one. She extended and modernised the terraced house, adding a three-storey extension at the back and putting the kitchen – top-of-the-range Poggenpohl – into a glass-walled, partially double-height space, taking out the original “down to the basement” staircase and replacing it with a dramatic looking modern, wide, curved staircase with stainless steel handrail. Glass-box extensions on period homes soon became all the rage. Also at this level is the familyroom to the front, a large utility and a guest toilet.
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Upstairs at hall level are two large interconnecting reception rooms and a tiny office; up again are five double bedrooms, one en suite and one, in the return, with a curved glass window in its side wall, a little balcony and access by a glass walkway. The family bathroom is unusual: a cleverly designed duplex with shower, toilet and basin on one level and the limestone clad bath, up a flight of stairs to the attic space.
Elements of style
Everywhere are the pricey elements of style that were all the rage: Philippe Starck bathroom fittings, American wide-plank oak floorboards, French limestone flooring, Bang & Olufsen surround- sound inside and out, handmade silk curtains and giant pewter planters on the windowsills and around the door.
Number 53 retains all these details because the people who bought in 2005 didn’t have to change or add anything. The garden landscaping has stood the test of time. Pedestrian access leads out to a lane and there is parking out front for three cars.
It’s not furnished; it’s a Nama sale and the owners have moved on taking their belongings with them. Turley Auctioneers is seeking offers of about €1.8 million for the 367sq m (3,950 sq ft) house.
Its next-door neighbour, number 52, which is also renovated and extended, sold last month – a bank sale – for €1.5 million.