Artist’s D4 home for €1.25m

Bernadette Madden’s home comes with a separate, easily converted artist’s studio

If there was a ever a house to provide you with the space to be creative, it must be Bernadette Madden’s home on Grand Canal Street Upper.

From the front, the three-bedroom Victorian terraced house appears similar to its elegant neighbours. However, there are clues in the sculpture in the long front garden, which is also profusely planted: none of that professionally raked, yet soulless gravel here.

Inside, the house rambles via a return over two storeys, with large bookshelf-lined rooms. And everywhere you turn your eyes, there is art. Some of this is Madden's own. She's a renowned batik artist and printmaker, and in her studio showroom, more of which later, there are photographs of her work being presented to Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict (see

Light-filled room


Of course, if you buy the house, you do not acquire Madden’s own collection. However, you will benefit from the ethos behind it because while some of it is Madden’s work and some has been purchased over the years, more has been traded with artist friends in those systems of exchange common to all creative people. Here, that system extends to the house itself.

The kitchen is a long light-filled room with slate flooring, a white wooden ceiling and sage green units, topped with marble.

“That was a friend. He was starting out as a surgeon at Vincent’s, but he’d always wondered if he wanted to be a carpenter.

“So he’d call in on his way to do his surgical rounds and built the kitchen,” says Madden. “He’s long left the country now,” she adds, in case anyone with an operation coming up is also in need of some woodwork done.

And the counter-tops?

“Yes, I swapped the marble for a batik with a guy who had a stone carver’s yard,” she says.


Madden bought the house in 1981, and as one of the first of her group of friends to take the plunge, she benefited from their enthusiasm. Interior designer Peter Johnson would pass on things being discarded from houses he was working on, including a stair carpet, since replaced. Tom Reilly laid the flooring. "He was really brilliant," says Madden.

Many are still friends, and her annual Christmas party is not only legendary, but now a cause for concern among some.

“You will still be having it after you move?” they ask. The answer is yes, though she’s not sure where yet. The main house is 173sq m (1,864sq ft), with an additional 85sq m (908sq ft) studio and gallery extension by architect Gráinne Hassett at the back. So Madden is downsizing, though will be seeking somewhere with a studio for her work. Separate entrance

The studio is a light-filled space, with a separate entrance off Haddington Road. This could be easily converted to a self-contained apartment, and as the house is just down the road from "Silicon Docks", home of Google, Facebook, Airbnb et al, it may not remain an artist's studio for long.

Madden agrees that if she were staying on, she would do more work, such as adding a sun room on to the front-to- back living/diningroom, which could give a bathroom to the two upstairs bedrooms (one currently in use as a library). The master, down a level, is en suite.

But that’s a puzzle for the new owners. For now, it’s a perfect and perfectly charming space, reflecting the energy and fascinations of its owner and her circle of artist friends.

It is for sale at €1.25 million through Felicity Fox.