What sets old houses apart from new builds, besides character and architectural curiosity, is that every period property has a past. While a house may not have a historic plaque outside, sometimes uncovering its provenance can provide interesting snippets which add a persona to its bricks and mortar.
Number 36 Belmont Avenue, was home to an architect who changed the career course of stained glass artist and illustrator Harry Clarke. Thomas Francis McNamara, the renowned ecclesiastical architect, who designed a myriad of churches and institutions, including the turreted Saint Eunan's in Letterkenny, resided at number 36 Belmont Avenue at the turn of the last century.
Clarke, a pupil of McNamara was persuaded by his mentor to cast aside all aspirations towards studying architecture and focus on art. Clarke duly obeyed and is immortalised in his illustration works for Hans Christian Anderson, Edgar Allan Poe and Goethe.
In addition to his illustrative compositions and in parallel with his tutor’s religious designs, Clarke became one of the world’s leading stained glass artists.
The redbrick semi-detached house has been home to chartered surveyor John Harrington and his family for the past 15 years.
“When we purchased the property, the colour on the walls were thanks to years of nicotine, but thankfully all the original details were intact,” says Harrington.
The couple restored the entire property, which now combines period details with modern conveniences.
An extension in the form of a living room was added to the rear. The addition of wraparound windows and overhead Velux allows much light into the maple shaker style kitchen and breakfast room.
One of the issues with period homes is the lack of storage, as presumably the Victorians did not have 30 pairs of shoes and a plethora of sports equipment apiece. The Harringtons added clever storage areas throughout the property including hidden drawers and two cloakrooms which store an abundance of tennis gear – the house backs on to St Mary’s Tennis Club.
The property has five bedrooms, and every room in the house has a working fireplace, all of which are lit in winter.
The family are off to Mount Merrion and have placed their 208sq m home, in turnkey condition, on the market through DNG with an asking price of €1.25 million.