Enjoy lofty ambition in Drumcondra for €750,000

Grainstore loft in former Distillery Building transformed by its architect owner to a hip 2,000sq ft apartment

  • Address: Loft 2, The Grainstore, Distillery Building, Dublin 3
  • Price: € 750,000
  • Agent: DNG
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With some estate agents prone to calling any open-plan apartment with even the most vaguely industrial feel a “loft”, it’s usual to proceed with a certain degree of scepticism when presented with one. But Loft 2 at The Grainstore in the Distillery Building in Drumcondra is a classic loft – a large apartment, internally configured by its owner in a former industrial building that celebrates original features.

Minutes from Croke Park, the vast 19th-century Dublin Whiskey Distillery building – a protected structure – was converted into a mixed-use development in 2006. The Grainstore – with its distinctive timber cladding – is to the rear.

Loft 2, The Grainstore, Drumcondra, Dublin 3: a former industrial building celebrating original features.

In 2015, young architect Anthony Keeler was househunting when he spotted what looked like an interesting proposition at an Allsop auction – a commercial space in the Grainstore section of the development. In basic internal condition, it had been most recently used as a ballet studio. In one of those “you make your own luck” moments, his pre-auction due diligence discovered that the space had in fact planning for residential use and, with only one other bidder against him, he bought the 1,970sq ft shell. He moved in as soon as he had upgraded the electrics and plumbing and, having put in a basic kitchen, he worked away on the space for the next two years.

Architectural salvage

He cleaned and sealed the stone and brick walls and sourced architectural salvage including cast-iron radiators which he reconditioned, for internal finishes. One find included several 3m oak-veneer-on-birch-ply panels, complete with doors and bronze hinges and handles. They came from the former Bank of Ireland headquarters on Baggot Street and their use now to create internal walls makes for an atmospheric entrance. Off the wide hallway, the doors open into two bedrooms (one with an en suite), a cloakroom, and a large bathroom with freestanding bath and double shower and with a cleverly concealed utility room.

Loft 2, The Grainstore, Drumcondra, Dublin 3: a former industrial building celebrating original features.

While the walls elsewhere in the loft are bare stone or brick, the ones in the bedrooms are plastered for additional thermal comfort.

At the end of this hall, through a brick arch, is the large living space. Triple-aspect, it features an industrial-looking kitchen on one side and a glass-walled home office on the other as well as a seating area with room for several sofas, a bar area – in homage to the building’s origins – and a home gym complete with yellow punch bag.

The minimalist kitchen shows how good design doesn’t have to cost – Keeler bought the cheery yellow doors in the island from Ikea and installed them on a custom built stainless steel shell, giving a contemporary industrial look.

Keeler’s now moving on, hoping to build something from scratch and this atmospheric two-bedroom home, Loft 2, The Grainstore, is for sale through DNG for €750,000.