Trading down? Four downsize options to consider

Moving on when the nest is empty does not mean compromising on style and location

This article is over 5 years old
Address: Downsizer options in Ballsbridge, Monkstown, Milltown and Donnybrook
Price: €0
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald; Lisney; Turley Property Advisors; Eoin O'Neill Property Advisors

With our ageing population on the increase it is inevitable that the housing stock needs to change to address the needs of this growing cohort. Currently there is strong demand for – but a limited supply of – decent properties to downsize to. New, upmarket Dublin apartment schemes in Ballsbridge, Clontarf, Rathgar and Mount Merrion will go some way towards providing an alternative for people selling up and moving on from large family homes nearby. Meanwhile there are one-off options worth looking at too.

Here we look at four options for a downsizer in the capital to consider.

D4, €850,000

Apartment 2, 51 Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4


Description: First-floor two-bed apartment in period house with terrace and car parking  

Agent: Lisney

Splendidly sumptuous and stately just about describes this first-floor apartment at 51 Pembroke Road. Apartments in period houses (number 51 was built in 1834) rarely work as well as this one, and with original design features preserved in a living space that is comfortably modern, the mood remains resplendently of its time.

Over a decent 102sq m (1,098sq ft) it retains such original features as elaborately worked cornicing, architraves, ceiling roses, beading and wall plaques, 4m-high ceilings and 3.3m-high doors, an imposing marble fireplace, a south-facing terrace with awning and long windows with working shutters. Contemporary necessities include a compact, fully fitted kitchen, family bathroom, attic storage and designated parking.

This is an ideal downsizer for those who fancy ambience and period detail, a short stroll to the city centre, or indeed for anyone wanting something smaller but needing a sense of space.

Set well back from Pembroke Road, there are two double bedrooms, a large drawing/diningroom, kitchen, bathroom and entrance hall. The terrace, with its original wrought iron railing, tree-top views and access via double glass doors from the kitchen, adds nearly 4sq m to the living space. A huge, feature window on the half-landing of the wide entrance stairs has more than a little wow factor. Agent Lisney is seeking €850,000. Annual service charges amount to €1,500.

Co Dublin, €645,000

Apartment 7, Richmond House, Richmond Hill, Monkstown, Co Dublin

Description: First-floor two-bed apartment with covered patio terrace and private garden

Agent: Lisney

This apartment is part of a prize-winning 1973 development that had – and still has – many of the requisites for the best kind of apartment living. On the first floor, apartment 7 has been modernised over its 45 years, has a covered, patio terrace and, a coup de grace for downsizers reluctant to give up on green-finger activity, steps to its own, private walled and gated garden where Indian sandstone paving is bordered by mature plants and shrubs.

When the Richmond House development won the RIAI Triennial (1973-76) Award for the best residential scheme in the country, the architect was Tony Horan of Horan Rainsford Architects. The vendor, though all the while appreciatively aware of its special qualities, has updated and modernised where necessary, spending some €80,000 in recent years. "We left the interior design/layout essentially as it was but put in an Italian Euromobil kitchen," he says. "We added herringbone parquet in the hallway and livingroom. Everything is tiled, floor to ceiling. We added a utility space and took out the kitchen door to create a flow through to the diningroom. The original woodwork was stained a dark mahogany colour, typical of the 1970s, but we've given it a nice, light look."

Several of the windows in apartment 7 have Monkstown church spire views and the layout is convenient. The living/dining room is to one side of the long entrance hallway, the bedrooms (main en suite) are on the other side. The kitchen and family bathroom are at the end of the hallway and the balcony and garden steps are accessed from the living/dining room.

In all, the floor space covers 78.9sq m (849sq ft). Agent Lisney is seeking €645,000. The yearly service charge comes to €2,614, with an additional €1,000 annually towards the sinking fund. A designated ground floor storage room is a nice plus, and a car space a necessity in this popular south city suburb.

D6, €695,000

98 Mount St Anne’s, Milltown, Dublin 6

Description: Two-bed penthouse with city and mountain views and communal gardens

Agent: Turley Property Advisors

The Mount St Anne’s apartments and houses, built by Park Developments between 2000 and 2006, have matured nicely in their spacious, rolling-green Milltown location. Number 98 is a two-bed penthouse and is for sale through agent Turley Property Advisers for €695,000. Apartment sales in the development are lively but penthouses rarely come to the market.

The views from 98 are wide and sweeping. From the rear living room and balcony they stretch to the Dublin mountains; from the dining area on the other side they take in the city, rooftops and spring’s slow-budding arrival. A good sized 95sq m (1,030sq ft), with all the built-in necessities for comfortable living, communal green spaces, (almost) maintenance-free walnut flooring throughout and bright, cheerful light a constant, 98 Mount St Anne’s is in many ways an ideal downsizer.

The dining area, kitchen and livingroom are all of a piece, running from the front to the back of the apartment with the kitchen galley-style in the centre. A gas-fitted fireplace in the living space has a pleasant, cream-coloured marble surround. Glass floor-to-ceiling windows and doors make the most of the mountain views and the 12sq m balcony adds considerably to the sense of space.

The main bedroom is en suite, with a bank of wood-finish wardrobes. The second, considerably smaller, bedroom overlooks the city with floor to ceiling glass out to a balcony. Number 98 comes with a couple of underground parking spaces. Service charges amount to €2,500 per year.

D4, €495,000

24 Home Villas, Donnybrook, Dublin 4

Description: Artisan two-bed terrace with rear courtyard

Agent: Eoin O’Neill Property Advisors 

For those who don't fancy a move to an apartment, and would prefer a small house with their own front door, 24 Home Villas is a real proposition. It certainly ticks all the location boxes: Herbert Park is beside it and Donnybrook village with good transport links to the city centre is just metres away in the other direction. Number 24 was built in 1913 and has the solid structure you'd expect in a 60sq m (645sq ft) two-storey redbrick of the period.

In need of a complete refurb it’s a blank canvas for someone who wants to create a home to suit a downsized life. Unusually the vendor’s family have lived at number 24 since it was built in 1913. “Just one careful owner for 104 years,” he jokes. “We used call Herbert Park our back garden and spent more time there than in the house. My grandfather chose our house because it wasn’t overlooked at the front. It was, and is, a very bright house, and was always a very happy house too.”

Apart from a rear extension bathroom little has been done to number 24 over the years. There are two first-floor bedrooms and, on the ground floor, a living/dining room, kitchen and bathroom. The rear, decent-sized courtyard could be extended into, as has been done in neighbouring houses, most of which have been modernised and internally redesigned.

The €495,000 price quoted by agent Eoin O’Neill Property Advisors, for what is an executor’s sale, reflects the work needed. Number 60 sold in February for €560,000, number 42 sold in September last year for €505,000 and a completely refurbished number 55 sold for €681,055 last summer.