Royal treatment on elegant Dún Laoghaire square for €2.5m

Sold for €1.1m in 2013, Royal Terrace House is back with a new price – and a new street

Royal Terrace in Dún Laoghaire on a sunny day is one of those gleaming townhouse squares where at any moment you might expect a throng in Victorian dress to descend singing, kicking their heels and twirling around lampposts à la My Fair Lady.

It’s old-world and elegant, and now North Terrace – where for decades Royal Terrace House stood alone at the north side of the square – will soon complete this fine square when an impressive terrace of five new houses with identical Victorian façades will be unveiled in the autumn.

It marks a happy ending to a seemingly never-ending saga on a substantial site once owned by the family of property developer Robin Power. After Power paid €6 million for it in 2005, a former children's orphanage on the side of the site facing on to Tivoli Road was slated for redevelopment into townhouses, and permission was also secured for the brand new terrace development on North Terrace. But it wasn't until Rathcoole-based Elmhill Homes purchased the same site in a receiver sale for €3.15 million 10 years later that the plans were actually realised. The children's home, now known as Tivoli Place, launched five terraced houses to the market last year. And Montane Developments – boomtime builder Ray Grehan's latest building incarnation – will soon complete the row of five luxury townhouses overlooking Royal Terrace Park. They're expected to seek around 1.5million apiece.

At the end is Royal Terrace House, the only detached Victorian on the square. Dating from 1860, the 5,600sq ft property was formerly owned by Ross Power and sold for €1.1 million in 2013. At the time property had been rented for several years, and the basement suffered flood damage. Now it’s back on the market in walk-in condition seeking €2.5 million through Turley Property Advisors.


Restoration work

The owners, a young couple with an interest in property turnarounds, spent an estimated €500,000 or so on its upgrade. A lot of good restoration work had already been done on the first floor, and the bulk of the owners’ investment went into the basement which now comprises a fully fitted kitchen, diningroom, sittingroom, two ensuite bedrooms and has its own ground-level access. Critically, agent Susan Turley says the entire area has been fully tanked to hip height against further flooding.

It’s a double-fronted two-storey-over-basement property with two deep bay windows on each floor that flood light into the house and provide lovely views to the pretty park at the heart of the square. Hedging to the front has been removed and the garden carefully planted instead with a colourful array of formal flowers and foliage to the front and the side, including pear trees from Italy planted along the west-facing side garden.

Set on a 0.2-acre site, there is substantial room to the side in a 120ft long north-facing garden. The owners have opted to gravel over about half the area, providing parking for multiple cars and electronic gate access from Royal Terrace West. It’s a substantial area that could easily take a mews property subject to planning permission. But it’s worth bearing in mind that the rear garden space is negligible with access only from the basement, and new owners may want to maximise the side space for garden use.

Up two sets of granite steps flanked by wrought iron railings, the bright entrance hall features a fine Italian stone floor, elaborate cornicing and original centre rose. The plasterwork throughout the ground floor had already been restored, while the current owners replaced floorboards with oak parquet, added panelling to the hall, stairs and some bedrooms and restored the plasterwork in the piano nobile “ballroom” on the first floor, currently in use as a vast bedroom.

Practical reworking

To the left of the main hall is a lovely bright kitchen/living/dining space – a really practical reworking of these formal receptions for modern family requirements. A cherrywood Dalkey Design kitchen with extensive granite surfaces has been refreshed with a contemporary blue colour palette, while a Victorian-style cast-iron fireplace adds a homely touch.

The original living/dining receptions off the main hall have had the dividing partition removed, and are arranged as two separate formal and informal living spaces. It might make sense for a new buyer to return them to discrete rooms.

The return at hall level features a large guest bathroom, a wine room, a pantry and laundry room. Upstairs there are four bedrooms, three of which are ensuite.

The piano nobile on the first floor – once the grandest room in the house – obviously has limited use as a reception nowadays, and now serves as a very grand bedroom. It is an elegant space with a huge bay and sash windows flooding light through, while an original Adams-style working fireplace completes the splendour. Conservation (rightfully) dictates that the space can’t be repurposed to include a walk-in wardrobe or ensuite, and instead the main bedroom suite is adjoining. Contained in a smaller room, it still has a lovely dual aspect and is more than adequate, but in this interpretation it means the ballroom sits largely unused as a guest room.

A tasteful colour scheme throughout has had the neat effect of contemporising this classic period property. Four years on, timing is all for Royal Terrace House as prices have recovered substantially and the terrace itself is soon to be rejuvenated with new neighbours.