There’s been a lot of talk about homeowners selling up and escaping Dublin for pastures greener. But find the right spot and you may not have to up sticks at all.
Apartment 6, The Orchard in Kilmainham, Dublin 8, is just such a retreat. It is one of 13 units at The Orchard, a small, red-brick-fronted scheme on the South Circular Road, which is sandwiched between a pizza place and the river Camac in Kilmainham.
Set on the second floor, owner Mark O’Neill’s two-bedroom home is a masterclass in zen living.
It’s an oasis of calm that Home of the Year fans may recall from this year’s show.
The RTÉ TV series has become a pre-sales platform for canny homeowners. But with the market strong it’s hardly surprising that those who have lovingly polished their abodes, coaxing every feature, however shy, to the fore, want to profit from that attention to detail.
Having seen his posts on Instagram the Home of the Year team contacted owner O’Neill, an art director, via the social media platform.
The apartment had a well laid out interior, large windows with deep-set sills and was orientated towards the river and its mature greenery, which includes tall trees. These shield traffic noise, and dispense with the need for curtains as you are not overlooked.
There is some ambient noise, but it is more likely to be the quack of some passing ducks, an iridescent glimpse of a kingfisher, or the awkward gait of a heron mid-flight.
It looked like a very mediocre apartment when O’Neill bought it in 2018, paying €250,000 for it, according to the property price register.
Those before shots are still online if you search for them, and the contrast is striking. O’Neill didn’t make any structural changes. As an art director he used his talent to highlight and shade the existing space using a monochrome palette and then fill it full of beautiful things.
He made a feature of the aluminium frame windows. They’re now picked out in anthracite colour using primer and a car paint, while the laminate flooring underfoot has all been stripped, sanded and painted in a hard-wearing, soft white acrylic.
“It was a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” he recalls. The floor looks high-maintenance but is pristine, thanks to his regular mopping.
The apartment opens into a hall with the main bathroom, a windowed space, to the left. The main bedroom is also on this side and off it is a windowed shower en suite. A wall of glass running its length, frames the balcony where O’Neill covered the tired decking with pebbles, to create a rather fetching Japanese rock garden look. From here all you can see is greenery, with the sound of the river below. It’s a rare thing in such a busy, central location.
The tri-aspect livingroom has a large floor to ceiling fenestration to the front, with enough wall space left to accommodate a big sofa without breaking the window lines. The choice of smart furniture, a large and low-slung sofa to create a living area, and a tulip-style dining table surrounded by cantilevered chairs helps zone the rectangular room.
The kitchen is small and set into an alcove off the dining area, with the units painted the same colour as the window frames. You could extend the kitchen out into the livingroom, but that might dial down the property’s light-filled look, which makes it feel even more generous than its 79sq m.
The second bedroom is roomy enough to allow a buyer to rent a room and not feel like you’re on top of each other.
The apartment, which has a C3 BER rating and an annual service charge of €2,500, is seeking €350,000 through agents Owen Reilly.