From Sing Street to Donnybrook: The house of Dublin director John Carney for 1.275 million euros

John Carney says he’s exhausted. The director has just spent the last week on his feet, frantically filming the final scenes of his latest film on the streets of Dublin.

It’s called flora and son. And it has just been packed. But he just moved. And with it his beloved home office/writercave. But more on that in a moment.

What is this film about?

“All I can say is that it’s a story about a woman and her adorable son and how music brings them together. We’ve got Eve Hewson and Jack Reynor on board.” Carney hints at a big US actor in the mix, but remains shy about who. But we know who, John. Because recent media snaps clearly show a gruff Joseph Gordon-Levitt poring over your outdoor sets.

The disheveled tear-off surprised us more than once. He had international reviewers (and Steven Spielberg) raving about 2007 Once, with his former bandmate Glen Hansard and then 17-year-old Markéta Irglová in a fairy tale of two musicians, unrequited love and a broken vacuum cleaner. And Dublin has to be said. his hometown.

Spielberg gushed, “A little movie called Once gave me enough inspiration for the rest of the year.” Shot in 17 days on a budget of €150,000 and featuring non-actors using public café toilets for costume changes, it brought in an Oscar and just over $23 million.


The kitchen and the partly creative center

Carney is ebullient Sing street (2016), just completed a lengthy rotation on Netflix and inspired the stage musical currently running in Stateside. This is the story of 1980s teenager Cosmo, who was taken out of his posh Dublin school and thrown into hard-nosed Synge Street CBS.
There, in between beats, he forms a band to impress a girl (Raphina), all under the advisory tutelage of dead big brother Brendan (“No woman can really love a man who listens to Phil Collins”).

While the film also wowed critics at home and abroad, its supreme attention is paid to historical details: clothing, hair, shoes, braces (both types), interiors, and settings; made a chilling journey through time for those lucky or unlucky enough to have been Dublin city teenagers during the golden decade of Clearasil.


The garden studio where Carney wrote Sing Street

Carney is from Ranelagh but unlike Cosmo has been moved upscale, from Synge Street to De La Salle Churchtown, where he says he found his musical feet. He later played bass in the frames before hitting the cinema.


The dining area in the kitchen where movie lectures were held

Like Hansard from Cosmo and Once, he won the heroine’s heart in the end. His wife, actress Marcella Plunkett, who played the female lead in his series Bachelor’s Walk (2001), was also the Once protagonist’s ex-girlfriend, with whom he unexpectedly reconciles.

Historic Dublin houses are regular stars in Carney productions, be it the Bachelor’s Walk townhouse (actually on Ormond Quay Lower), the Irglová house (on Mountjoy Square), the dingy big red brick two-above basement, the Cosmos family home, or Raphina’s Georgian Orphanage at 40 Synge Street.


Interior of Carney’s garden studio

Having rented in the area, it was not surprising that Carney and Plunkett bought a somewhat run-down period home in and around his former home and set about renovating it. In 2010, they hunted home and found 23 Sandford Avenue off Marlborough Road in Donnybrook.

“When I was with The Frames we always had band meetings at a house down there. I’ve always been amazed at how quiet it was,” says Carney. “The house needed a bit of work and we wanted to put our own stamp on some parts of it while keeping certain elements of its character like the front living room. We were thinking about having kids at the time and liked that it was a cul-de-sac with the only traffic coming from the people who lived there.”

The timing was perfect too. At the very end of the market, when houses like this were cheaper in real terms than they were in two generations.


The living room with its wood stove

“We were just incredibly lucky. It wasn’t about being savvy or smart. If we had bought before, and we might have done that, we probably would still be in debt today.”


John Carney with his wife Marcella Plunkett

Marcella and John enlisted the services of Tell Construction, a Dublin based construction company that works alongside architect Peter Tansey. “Peter came up with this cedar clad and glass extension for the new kitchen with that pretty pitched roof. So we put in a shower room, re-routed and re-wired it, and installed this large wood-burning stove in the living room.

“We insulated the house properly and installed double-glazed sash windows.”

A few years later, Carney had his garden room structure built outside to be his home office and studio. It’s a sprawling affair of wood and brick with a quirky corner open fireplace.

“The garden is quite spacious and it’s almost like being in the country with the trees behind Muckross (school) and the birds and wildlife. It’s a great place to hide and write. I’ve always liked to write in front of an open fire. I would go there in the morning due to Covid and that’s where I wrote modern love (the hit US TV series). And I wrote Sing street also inside.

“The house was important to me because I work from home. We had the big party performance there with the whole cast when Sing street was nominated for a Golden Globe. We go to the kitchen to read. The seats around this table are where all gatherings take place. It’s a real social house and has a lot to do with my work.

And the huge kitchen/dining room, in its expansive Scandinavian country style, is outfitted with shaker units, a cherry red island unit, a cozy ceiling with painted wood paneling, and all with some raw plywood wall paneling and shelving.


One of the double rooms

The family’s master bathroom is a real Edwardian extravaganza, all period and salvaged with the help of the Victorian Salvage Company of Pearse Street. There’s a fantastically crafted toilet, a signature claw-foot tub that looks like it’s about to run away, and a sculpted sink and faucets. “The boys were great. They also did all the floors and the kitchen cabinets.” The house was also decorated with old radiators.

And in their 12 years at No23, Marcella and John have also fathered two children, a boy and a girl, owners of the colorful wooden playhouse in the garden.

But now it’s time for the Carney Plunkett clan to move on. “I needed a much bigger studio for the music. I can’t record really loud music and disturb the two kids.

“So we bought a house nearby with a basement that I converted into a home recording studio as well as an office.
“We will miss the place because it is so cozy. It’s also very convenient for the great restaurants in Ranelagh and you can hop on a bike and be in town in no time as you cycle down Leeson Street.”

At nearly 1,600 square feet, No23 features a fan-lit historic concourse with hardwood floors and coves; There is the two aspect living room with its wood burning stove and the extra large kitchen/dining/living area with a pantry and an adjoining room.

This oversized kitchen is equipped with a Rangemaster 6 burner gas hob and ovens, Belfast sink and this dining area with bespoke bench seating and shelving. There are glazed patio doors to a courtyard and rear garden.

The house has three spacious bedrooms, a lavish bathroom and a wet room with a walk-in shower area with a rainwater attachment.
There is plenty of off road parking at the front and the house is easily accessible from Sydney Parade Dart Station. Restaurants and pubs in Donnybrook, Ballsbridge, Sandymount, Ranelagh and Clonskeagh are all within easy reach. For schools you have Muckross (literally next door), Gonzaga and Sandford Park in Ranelagh. And of course Synge Street.

Sherry FitzGerald expects 1.275 million euros. From Sing Street to Donnybrook: The house of Dublin director John Carney for 1.275 million euros

Fry Electronics Team

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