Paint your style on this blank canvas…

Interior designer Sara Cosgrove has plenty of ideas on how to bring out the beauty of this Victorian mid-terrace in Rathgar

With its high ceilings, coving and natural light, No 86 could become a luxurious home, but as a protected structure, new owners will have to consult conservation officers about structural changes

Just before Christmas last year, the deal was done on a four- bedroom, end-of-terrace house on Dublin’s Rathgar Road. The recently refurbished and extended home at No 128 had come on the market with an asking price of €1.495m, but it sold for more than €2m. Rathgar Road may not have the leafiness of some of its Dublin 4 neighbours, but it’s a street that is in demand. It forms the link between Rathmines and Rathgar villages, and many of the houses that line the road are imposing period properties of varying styles, from three-storey Georgian homes to Victorian villas. There are some mid-20th-century apartments in the mix, too.

Future owners can customise their new home by stripping back and varnishing the original floorboards, and with the clever use of paint, wallpaper, colour and mirrors, says Cosgrove

No 128 is a two-storey, Edwardian house. No 86 Rathgar Road, which is on the market through DNG at €1.175m, is a larger two-storey-over-garden-level Victorian mid-terrace. It hasn’t had the makeover that its neighbour has, and perhaps that explains its slightly more affordable price tag.

However, you get more floor space at No 86 — 256 sq m. The house is approached by a garden, which has enough space for a couple of cars. There’s also a low-maintenance garden with pedestrian access to the rear.

Interior designer Sara Cosgrove

Granite steps lead to the red, fan-lit front door, which opens into a long entrance, painted in green with original timber floors and elaborate plasterwork.

There are two large, interconnecting reception rooms at this level. The bathroom, which is quite big, can be found on the return. The accommodation at garden level is more contemporary. There is an open-plan kitchen with fitted units and an island, plus a utility room, as well as a guest lavatory, a living room and a study.

Rathgar Road may not have the leafiness of some of its Dublin 4 neighbours, but it’s a street that is in demand

The three bedrooms, as well as a shower room, can be found on the first floor, while the first-floor return has access to a roof terrace.

Pat Mullery, selling agent with DNG, says No 86 has been owned by the same person for nearly 30 years. “The house is in good shape. It has off-street parking, which is important, as some of the houses on this road don’t have driveways and the planners are reluctant to give permission to knock down the railings.”

There is an open-plan kitchen with fitted units and an island, plus a utility room

Those of us who don’t anticipate ever being able to afford a €1m house may find this next bit difficult to read but, at less than €1.2m, No 86 is keenly priced.

Mullery says, after a couple of weeks on the market, the house has already attracted viewers, some of whom are seriously considering buying. “I expect it to go quickly. Rathgar is sought after, principally because of services such as schools, the village and sports facilities,” he says.

Cosgrove says landscaping will add value to the property

At present, No 86 is a bit of a blank canvas and new owners may want to upgrade. Interior designer Sara Cosgrove says its “great bone structure provides a wonderful canvas” from which to create a contemporary, comfortable and attractive family home.

“Overall, the property has great proportions and good light and, with some clever decorating, it has the opportunity to be a really luxurious home,” says Cosgrove, who works on residential and commercial properties and has decorated her own Victorian house in south Dublin over the past couple of years.

No 86 Rathgar Road is a two-storey-over-garden-level Victorian mid-terrace

The original features are a real bonus, she adds. “It’s good to have things like original floorboards as they give future owners an opportunity to customise the space. They can be stripped and varnished light or dark — light floors will give a more contemporary look, while dark will provide a luxury vibe.”

Cosgrove says future owners will be able to add their own style and taste to No 86. “The coving in the ground-level reception rooms offers a sense of style and the ceiling roses work well with contemporary or classic light fittings. By using the right palette of paints and wallpaper, alongside clever positioning of mirrors, these large rooms and the hallway will appear even bigger.”

“It’s good to have things like original floorboards as they give future owners an opportunity to customise the space”, says Cosgrove

These changes can be done on a budget, she says, but there is the opportunity to embark on a project.

“You could enhance the existing layout by perhaps adding a large family bathroom, fourth bedroom or study to the roof terrace. The garden level hosts a range of practical rooms suitable for every family, but there is also an opportunity to open up the space. Alternatively, you could push the boat out and move the kitchen upstairs to one of the main reception rooms and add bedrooms in the basement.”

At first-floor level, Cosgrove says, “with some careful planning you could add a small en suite bathroom to the main bedroom by moving the entrance to the room”. However, she stresses that all of this would be subject to planning permission. No 86 is on the list of protected structures, so whatever you decide to do will involve consultation with Dublin city council’s conservation planner, and you will have to be careful not to mess around with the integrity of the house.

Outside, Cosgrove says landscaping will add to the property. “Clever planting in the borders to the front of the house will offer you colour and style all year round. The addition of planters and pots to the rear will soften the hard landscaping. Cleverly placed lighting to the outdoor spaces will also make the most of this area and bring it to life throughout the year.”

It’s all about enhancing what is already there.

Article by Linda Daly March 4 2018, 12:01am, The Sunday Times

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