GAA fans have missed the carefree ambles down Russell Avenue towards the Jones's Road entrance to Croke Park, but for the road's residents the Covid-19 pause this summer has made for blissfully quiet weekends.
Russell Avenue is one of a series of redbrick-lined streets between Drumcondra’s main drag and Croke Park. It is within minutes of the canal, multiple crosstown bus routes and a commuter train station, and the houses come to market in all kinds of condition, from original to walk-in.
Number 43 is an architect-designed home that demonstrates the benefits of investing in up-and-coming design talent.
The house was one of Andrew Clancy's first residential projects. He's a friend of the owners and one half of award-winning firm Clancy Moore Architects, which most recently won the Architectural Review's Peter Davey Prize in its Emerging Architecture awards last year.
The prize, commemorating the publication’s former editor and founder of the awards, is a great recognition from peers and it adds to the provenance of this property for the next owner.
The house has an open-plan layout, with the livingroom to the front warmed by an open fire and a Victorian-style cast iron radiator, with the diningroom located to the rear. So far, so ordinary, but it is in the kitchen that you can see the clever and more nuanced use of space.
Set in the return, a long, rectangular space, the room is bisected by a breakfast bar, which divides the cooking-cum-prep area – set in a C-shape of mainly undercounter cabinets – from a small study/lounge area.
In many homes of this style of house the kitchen space runs the length of the return, a set-up that delivers plenty of storage but rarely gives sufficient seating and dining room.
The study area is double-height, with a clerestory window bringing in southern light. This is in addition to a wall of large-format slide doors that run the length of the room and allow evening sun to warm the place. Another example of smart thinking here is evidenced in the white shelving unit that also houses a plain radiator, obscuring it somewhat from view.
Underfoot is a red brick floor that is also a feature of the yard outside and marries well with the original brick of the boundary wall. A long bench runs down the garden with useful storage inside its seat for summer cushions and barbecue utensils.
Upstairs, the bedroom on the return has been converted to a sleek bathroom. In many of the neighbouring houses the bathroom can be found to the rear of the kitchen, downstairs, not always convenient in the middle of the night. Set out in mosaic tiles with plenty of natural light, this bathroom has enough space for a free-standing tub and separate shower.
The main bedroom runs the width of the house to the front. It has a wall of wardrobes where Clancy has added another surprise, access to an attic room via a set of stairs. The decision to install the stairs here keeps the landing clutter-clear and light-filled and allows the adults in the house to claim this space as their own.
Far removed from the rest of the house and with a view of the Spire and across the rooftops to the south of the city, the attic is the perfect place to set up a home office and has been used by the owners for multiple purposes.
The house, which has a C1 Ber rating, demonstrates clever use of space throughout its 94sq m/1,101sq ft, including attic, and is seeking €450,000 through selling agent Sherry FitzGerald.