Well-preserved, cosy artist's house has plenty of character

Thu, Oct 4, 2012, 01:00

DUBLIN 8 €485,000:NUMBER 12 St Albans Road is the kind of house that estate agents would describe as cosy, if cosy weren’t a euphemism for small, damp and overheated.

No, this is the cosy of writers’ retreats, winter nights with the fire lit and of the heat and smell of a kitchen range early in the morning, with freshly baked bread cooling atop its surface.

Built in 1870, the house – which is on view this Saturday from midday until 12.45pm – was originally one of three owned by a Jewish family by the name of Levy. Pat Muldowney, a stained-

glass artist who is moving out to find a place with room for a studio – and more room for his three rescue dogs – was the first non-Jewish owner, when he bought the house in 1985.

For sale through DNG, it is remarkably well preserved, and Muldowney resisted the temptation to increase his 1,050sq ft by extending out the back, instead knocking the wall between the kitchen and dining area to create an open-plan kitchen, with the range at one end mirrored by a set of slick, modern fitted cabinets at the other. Glass doors open out on to a secluded back garden complete with shed, fish pond and rear access, perfect for bikes or, you know, those mundane bin days.

There are two bedrooms, neither of which is exactly huge, but both of which feel a bit like hotel rooms, with their high ceilings, four posters and duck-down duvets. The master bedroom has a small en suite with shower (the main bathroom, with bath, is at the rear of the house and is accessed through the kitchen, so you could go for a soak while you wait for the dough to rise), but the most interesting feature of the room is the wall that bears two carved Jewish faces, which Muldowney discovered when he took down the wallpaper, cleaned up and left as reminders of the house’s history.

It seems, in a way, a shame to see Muldowney go – he will take with him his incredible collection of paintings, sketches and etchings, as well as the stunning four-poster bed that fills the guest bedroom and the lamps he acquired at an auction at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin.

Still, not everything can be moved; the downstairs bathroom benefits from a restored stained-glass panel in the door, and some stained glass of Muldowney’s own creation in the window.

For €485,000, you could no doubt find a larger, roomier, more modern house nearby – perhaps in Kimmage or Kilmainham – but there is something about the character of number 12 that sets it apart from its counterparts.

12 St Albans Road, Dublin 8

Description: Two-bedroom redbrick house, built in 1870

Agent: DNG