Ranelagh terrace refurb is the icing on the cake for €950k

Cake designer Caroline Goulding undertook this Victorian redbrick restoration

  • Address: 19 Charleston Avenue, Ranelagh, Dublin 6
  • Price: € 950,000
  • Agent: Sherry FitzGerald

When wedding-cake designer Caroline Goulding and her husband bought number 19 Charleston Avenue, a Victorian redbrick terraced house, at the far end of a quiet cul-de-sac off Charleston Road in Ranelagh it had been sub-divided into two flats and was in need of complete modernisation.

Its design was a process of discovery, Goulding says, full of colour and texture, not dissimilar to the sugarcraft finishes she adorns her confections with. (One of Goulding’s most high profile creations in recent times was for an unnamed “world class” Irish golfer. A stone-effect design that was iced in washes of concrete grey, the result of experimenting with drying out fondant to create a cracking effect.)

The couple bought the listed house in December 2012, paying €425,000 for it, according to the Property Price Register, and spent much of early 2013 doing the hard manual labour themselves, stripping the walls of its layers of wallpaper and then replastering the entire interior afterwards. They even did the demolition work themselves, taking sledgehammers to the small lean-to kitchen to the rear after the builder had first removed the roof.

Front reception room
Front reception room
Exposed brick in kithcen
Exposed brick in kithcen

Just two of the rooms had radiators at the time so the couple pretty much lived in their front room as the back of the house underwent complete remodeling. They spent about two weeks coming in after a day’s work to labour on the house and Goulding recalls having the builder reconnect the oven so they could cook at night.

“It was hard to see past it but we got through it and we’re still together,” she says. No mean feat.

Now measuring 148sq m/1,600sq ft, the four-bedroom property is a refreshing mix of rustic and industrial with its simple coving repaired where necessary and its soaring ceiling heights of over 3.1m making it feel more expansive that it actually is. 

Glazed rear wall opening to the garden
Glazed rear wall opening to the garden
Rear garden
Rear garden

The property opens into a fine hall with arch and an encaustic-style tile underfoot. They installed a new fire surround in the living room, investing in a large, free-standing Nordpeis stove that sits on a polished black granite hearth and is surrounded by exposed redbrick. They retained the single glaze sash windows to the front and painted the walls in Farrow & Ball’s Manor House grey.

The stairs is hidden from view around the corner and what was originally a small sitting room has been subdivided into a roomy utility accessed from the hall and an open shelved pantry, accessed from the kitchen. 

Goulding loved the bare brick that they discovered during the demolition and retained it, painting the original chimneybreast area in a soft white while the surrounding walls and shelving are finished in Farrow & Ball’s Railings to picture rail level

The property’s heart is its open-plan kitchen, set to the rear of this large square living-cum-dining room that boasts the same lofty ceiling heights as the rest of the house and a pair of timber sash windows set above the Belfast sink. These help to wash the room in lovely southwesterly light.

There’s a vintage butcher’s block (that the couple sourced from Wilson’s Yard salvage specialists near Lisburn), a pantry with shallow, easy-to-access shelves that reach to the ceiling and marble-effect laminate countertops and flooring. Hague Blue units with black D-ring handles cover the walls and high shelving at picture rail level, all combine to successfully evoke the property’s Victorian origins.

The dining area overlooks the garden, which is finished in artificial grass and surrounded with a high timber fence painted a soft sage green. Metal floor grilles – salvaged from a church – front the radiator cabinets and radiate heat far more efficiently than the usual timber surrounds.  

Upstairs there are four bedrooms, three good doubles and a large single or study with a small shower room hived off the original landing. There is a small second bathroom set under the stairs where they managed to fit a free-standing bath.

The period property is Ber-exempt (though new owners are likely to seek to improve its efficiency) and seeking €950,000 through agents Sherry FitzGerald.