31 Railway Avenue Address: Inchicore, Dublin 8 Asking Price: €325,000 Broker: Brock Delappe (01) 6334446
59 St Mary’s Road
Address: East Wall, Dublin 3
asking price: €465,000
Agent: Moovingo (01) 5169999
TTwo Dublin brick buildings on opposite sides of the city have been brought back to life by the owners in recent years. A pandemic in the midst of renovations might have caused a headache or two, but it hasn’t stalled the creative juices, as one owner took inspiration from the lockdown and added a garden bar.
Stephen Montgomery bought 31 Railway Avenue in Inchicore just before Covid 19 hit us. When he bought it, he knew it would require some work, but he hadn’t anticipated how difficult it would be to get his hands on the dealers.
“Having to bring in professionals during the lockdown and its temporary lifting proved to be a nightmare,” Montgomery recalls. “While doing the renovations, to quote Johnny Cash, ‘piece by piece’ I racked my brains every time I found a good handyman and they were able to recommend someone trustworthy for the next job ahead around the world Line.
“I ended up finding the holy trinity in a plumber (Shane), an electrician (Gary) and a plasterer (Pete). As for the interior design, I’m the one I owe all the thanks to my partner Siobhan. None of those hours spent on Instagram and TikTok were wasted.”
The kitchen and bathroom were redesigned, new gutters installed, roof tiles renewed and the chimney repointed. When Montgomery decided to open up the attic and install a Stira staircase, he stumbled upon the property’s past.
“The house was originally built on June 29, 1911 for the railroad workers at Inchicore. The reason I can date it so accurately is that the attic had never been entered before I decided to have a Stira ladder installed. After much sawing and dusting, the fitter brought me down a piece of paper nailed to a joist. It had the original plasterer’s name, John Lumsden, in elaborate handwriting, and the date, June 29, 1911. We were both amazed at a piece of paper that had been untouched since the state’s founding,” says a proud Montgomery.
“We framed our note with a local election poster for Mr Lumsden, who ran in the 1930 Irish Workers League election alongside party colleague Jim Larkin. We very much hope that the note will always remain in the House as Mr Lumsden intended.”
It’s not the only piece of history uncovered during the renovations. As Montgomery removed the cement surrounding the chimney, he discovered the distinctive yellow Dolphin Barn brick bearing the Mount Argus logo behind the plaster.
“It’s the same company whose bricks were used to make the Graduates Memorial Building at Trinity College and the National Gallery of Ireland. So I spent a wet weekend uncovering all the bricks and found they still had the holes from when she carried a chimney crane to hang pans to cook over an open fire.”
No 31 had something everyone wanted during lockdown – a garden.
“I had friends who were spending that time in apartments, so I decided to take advantage of the outdoor space, which I was fortunate to have,” says Montgomery. “The bar was delivered to me by cshfurniture.ie last summer. I used to watch the TV series cheers as a kid, and every time I have a friend over and serve them a cold beer, I hear the theme tune playing in my head.”
The renovated house with a floor area of almost 600 m² now has an open plan living/dining area which leads into the kitchen. The bathroom is also on this level. Upstairs are two double bedrooms. The kitchen opens onto a patio area and the shebe is to the rear of the garden.
Across the Liffey at 59 St Mary’s Road in East Wall, friends Darach Ó Súilleabháin and Aimee Ryan received the keys to their new home in December 2018. After months of separate apartment searches and no joy for either, they decided to pool their resources.
“We looked at both properties at the time and ended up talking and saying why don’t we pool our resources and get something we really want,” explains Ó Súilleabháin. “We had to establish a set of rules about how it was going to work because it was a big undertaking and a big investment. We had never lived together before.”
They both had the same approach to their new home and couldn’t wait to get their hands dirty.
“The day we got the keys, we started pulling things out because we were so excited,” Ryan recalls. “We had the same idea of what it would look like.”
They set out to remodel the home so that they would have both their own privacy and opportunities to socialize in different parts of the home. Little did they know the pandemic was imminent and dinner parties were about to become the stuff of dreams.
“We were almost done before Covid hit,” says Ryan. “We didn’t have a kitchen for the first few months of lockdown so we did the dishes outside in a bucket and cooked on an induction hob. But the lockdown was actually quite nice because we kept ourselves busy with housework and had nice dinners together.”
With a floor area of 1,184 m², the house is deceptively spacious. The property’s bones were good when friends moved in, but the decor looked like it hadn’t been changed in 40 years.
Ó Súilleabháin and Ryan were determined to make the most of the high ceilings and original features without fighting against the character of the house. They kind of reversed the previous owners style in the hallway, tearing down the beauty boards on the wall and picking up the green carpet and putting wood on the floors and green paint on the walls.
Ó Súilleabháin laid the oak parquet flooring that runs through the house himself. “It’s the only thing that took longer than I thought it would,” he says.
Luckily, the friends realized they had similar tastes in design and didn’t bicker over choices or purchases. Their personality differences also contributed to Ryan claiming that Ó Súilleabháin is a perfectionist while she just likes to get things done.
The house now stands to attention. Downstairs is the living room at the front which leads into the dining room. The kitchen features dark units and built-in appliances. There is also a toilet on this level. There are two double bedrooms on the first floor, with an exposed brick wall leading to the converted attic and new bathroom.
The house has been upgraded to an impressive B energy rating thanks to insulation, new windows, heating and combi boiler.
Though they feel the time has come to part ways, Ó Súilleabháin and Ryan will miss home in the city.
“I love the light in the house. It just lights up in the kitchen in the morning,” says Ó Súilleabháin. For Aimee, it’s all about location. “It goes for a walk in the evening. It’s 40 minutes from here to Grand Canal Square, across the bridges and back. It gives me a great feeling of Dublin that I’ve never really known before.”
No 59 is on the market with a target price of €465,000 via Moovingo (01) 5169999.
https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/homes/red-bricks-revival-two-dublin-terraced-homes-brought-back-to-life-during-lockdown-41483715.html Red brick revival – Two Dublin terraced houses brought back to life during lockdown