In a conservation and management plan commissioned by Dublin City Council in 2013, Palmerston Park — at the top of Rathmines, in Dublin 6 — is described as “one of the finest and most intact examples of late Victorian urban design in the city”. In an ornate part of the park, currently in swathes of summer colours, lie a pond and water feature. The soothing sounds from this trickling water can be heard from the piano nobile of 8 Palmerston Park, a three-storey, double-fronted Victorian residence dating from about 1860.
Purchased by its current owners in 2012 for €1.9 million, according to the Property Price Register, it underwent a two-year restoration from 2016 to 2018. Besides rewiring, replumbing, adding a new roof and putting in as much insulation as was allowed in line with historical conservation guidelines, the owners engaged the architect Suzanne MacDonald to design an extension to the rear to accommodate a new kitchen and breakfast area.
“I had spent time in Paris and really wanted that Parisian bistro feel, and I also loved the idea of Bauhaus-style windows,” says the owner of the dramatic redbrick residence. Passing down South Great George’s Street one day, she spotted the Art Deco-style windows in a former pharmacy, now a bohemian cocktail bar called the Chelsea Drugstore. She duly had them custom built with brass surrounds to complement the brass detailing in the sleek brasserie-style kitchen.
With Calacatta marble backsplashes, two Quooker taps, a five oven-electric Aga, and an induction hob surrounded by a stepped Corian island, quite a bit of thought went into the design here too.
Interior designer Suzy McAdam was tasked to realise bold theatrical ideas for the rest of the house, which now encompasses 432sq m (4,650sq ft). A livingroom to the front, which lies opposite a formal diningroom, is painted a rich navy (Little Greene’s Hicks’ Blue) which contrasts wonderfully with the striking cornicing and ceiling rose. This colour is echoed throughout the property: in the kitchen and a smaller drawingroom upstairs — which lies off the larger powder-blue drawingroom on the piano nobile.
The blue is also featured in a room that initially appears to be a small study, as it has a gas fire flickering away in a period fireplace over lovely chevron oak parquet. But on closer inspection you realise that there is a toilet in the room, and it is in fact a very opulent bathroom that connects to an equally opulent dressingroom.
New owners will be sharing the shower in the principal bedroom suite with a rather voluptuous looking Botticelli beauty. The bold decision was made to have tiles custom-printed with an old master’s painting from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. This creates a theatrical backdrop for the McAdam-designed marble double sink unit with brass hardware. It was executed by Wexford joiner Conall Nolan, who also created bespoke units in a room that connects the livingroom on the ground floor with the kitchen.
The owners call this room the anteroom, and it has been used for large dinner parties (to seat 25) and 18th birthday discos. But most interesting is what lies discreetly hidden away behind the panelled walls. Here a full line of larders house storage and a further set of appliances for catering on a grand scale, including a fridge and dishwasher plus wine and beer coolers.
A formal diningroom has what the owner describes as “wraparound wallpaper”. Custom designed by Ananbô, the hand-printed panoramic paper is digitally made to fill the room, so there are no seams, and it echoes the views of the front garden against the backdrop of Palmerston Park.
But the standout feature in the house, besides the Paul Doyle-designed gardens and McAdam interiors, is the sheer space and opulence occupied by the main drawingroom on the piano nobile. Here, southerly light flows in through tall sash windows and a lovely oriel, while also giving verdant views of Palmerston Park.
The owners, who are trading down due to an empty nest, will miss their colourful home — especially the kitchen and the low-maintenance rear garden. They also love that the house is three storeys from the hall up, so there is no large granite flight of steps out front.
“Without a doubt, this is a very special home, inside and out,” says Andrea Whelan of Sherry FitzGerald, who is handling the sale of the Ber-exempt, exceptional five-bedroom house, now listed at €4.5 million.