Restored glory in Dublin 8 is something to Synge about for €1.5m

Impressive four bed house, built in 1864, was bought for €400,000 in 2012 and has been meticulously renovated

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Address: Grove House 37 Synge Street Dublin 8
Price: €1,500,000
Agent: DNG
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Kevin Desmond, a director of medical devices and his partner Jose Cicero, stylist and owner of The Brazilian Dresser on Drury Street, purchased a real diamond in the rough off South Circular Road in 2012 for €400,000.

“It was in an awful state as it was laid out as pre ’63 flats, and there had been considerable damage to the roof which had destroyed much of the coving in what is now the principal bedroom,” says Desmond.

Though Desmond, who has an interest in design and restoration, had renovated many properties in the past, this was his first attempt at a listed building. He engaged conservation architects Tom McGimsey and Sunni Goodson of Mesh Architects to oversee the restoration.

“It took almost six years to completely finish the property and at one stage there were 20 tradesmen toiling away for nine months. It would have been cheaper to knock it and build a new property.”


Desmond estimates it took more than €300,000 just to repair and restore the basic structure of house, before any monies were spent on décor, bathrooms, gardens or the kitchen.

“It took four months alone to repair the coving in the master bedroom, and each sash window took two weeks – there are 18 in total, but I take pride in restoring old buildings to their former glory.”

And it is a meticulous job, testament to their labour of love trawling through salvage yards to find pieces such as the Victorian tiles in the basement courtyard.

Grove House – number 37 – started life in 1864 as a finishing school for girls run by a Miss Collins. What is now the principal bedroom, with a large open fireplace, was, in its heyday, where the young ladies learned to dance.

Of interest in this four-bedroom house which extends to a generous 240sq m (2,583sq ft) over three floors is the impressive coving and ceiling roses in the hallways and reception rooms and the stained oculus window overlooking the stairwell. The fireplace in the bedroom at garden level is also particularly beautiful.

While renovating the basement, the owners discovered that old lino was hiding huge granite flagstones, which have now been polished and cleaned echoing the granite hearth where an Aga cooker now stands.

The rear garden, which extends to 16m has jasmine, Chinese wisteria and passiflora climbing over two pergolas, set over paving. There is vehicular access from here to a laneway.

DNG is seeking €1.5million for this impressive property located about two minutes from Camden Street. It's an ambitious asking price, but looking around the corner, number 3 Grantham Street – of similar size and in need of renovation – sold for €1.01million in 2017.

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property, fine arts, antiques and collectables