Royal Terrace and Clarinda and Crosthwaite Parks date back to the 1850s when architect John Skipton Mulvany was putting his mark on Dun Laoghaire with the design of the railway station and the Royal Irish Yacht Club. It was one of Ireland’s fastest-growing towns at the time thanks to the train line and the busy harbour. A couple of royal visits and the presence of some pleasure boats in the harbour added to the image of a town that was full of grandeur and affluence.
As soon as the train rolled into town in 1834, Dun Laoghaire, or Kingstown as it was then known, came to life as a seaside playground for the rich and famous. Bankers and politicians, as well as doctors and artists decided that they did like to be beside the seaside in their downtime and so began the development of the small town.
This is when the Victorian squares that Dun Laoghaire is famed for were built with two-storey over-garden houses being the most popular design. These terraced properties were grand and elegant with those characteristic seaside ice cream coloured pastel facades and three-sided oriel canted bay windows.
Clarinda Park is at the south end of Dun Laoghaire, between Corrig Road and Upper George’s Street with a small park and public tennis courts at its centre. Many houses on these squares were turned into flats and rented out over the years but more are now being reclaimed as family homes and restored to allow them to shine once again.
No 42 Clarinda Park East is one of the lucky ones. The current owners took on a project in January 2016 to bring the house back to life. They enlisted architect Katherine Kelliher of Kelliher Miller Architects, who viewed numerous properties with the vendors so they could get an idea of what they could achieve if they pushed to the maximum.
In a bold and rare move for an 1850s house, they added a large extension to the return at the rear of the property. The result is a large open, modern space on the basement level that contrasts with the period features of the reception rooms on the ground floor.
With a floor area of 3,143 sq ft, the house has a lot going on, but the owners insist they use every room. They say they could start the day with a coffee on the patio and end it in front of the fire in the drawing room with music and books.
As soon as you enter the hall, it’s obvious that a lot of work was put in to ensure that the property was carefully restored. The ornate ceiling cornicing, along with the arch and dado rail set the tone that continues through to the rest of the house. It may look elegant, but the house also feels very family friendly.
To the left of the hall is the high-ceilinged drawing room with bay window, marble fireplace and timber floors. This is the room that sold the house to the vendors who claim that the reason they bought it was to put a massive Christmas tree in the window, without thinking too hard about the rest of the work that would be needed after the tree came down.
The original ceiling coving and centre rose are a thing of beauty, as is the arch that leads through to the old dining room. This room has fitted bookshelves on each side of the fireplace and a window that overlooks the back garden. On the return is a bedroom with an en suite shower room that would be ideal for guests.
Where upstairs is all about restoration, downstairs on the basement level, is all about innovation. The kitchen flows into the dining room, which then flows into the family room. It’s all clean lines and hanging lights, with full-length mirrors making the space look even bigger and a roof light making sure this lower floor isn’t dark and dull.
The kitchen has Shaker-style wall and floor units with natural stone worktops. There is a Rangemaster oven and an island with stools and a sink.
New owners will be delighted with the amount of storage. There’s floor-to-ceiling units in the kitchen with pull-out drawers and another block of concealed storage in the family room on either side of the chimney breast. There is a utility room that’s plumbed for a washing machine and dryer, and double doors out to the garden.
Up on the first floor is the main bedroom that spans the full width of the house with a centre rose, picture rails, fitted wardrobes and views over Dublin Bay from the bay window. The en suite has a shower and heated towel rail.
The other bedroom is at the back of the house, beside the family bathroom, which has a cast-iron fireplace and roll-top bath. The fourth bedroom in the house is up again on the second level with an en suite shower room, making it perfect for an au pair.
The back garden has a sandstone patio with steps up on to fake grass lawn that is bordered by a cut stone wall and has rear access on to Clarinda Park West.
The owners believe that No 42 is the perfect family home, both in terms of the space in the house as well as the surrounding area. They claim that their children are never off the tennis courts at the end of the road and that an early morning run on the East pier and out to Sandycove is a ‘tonic’ for them as busy parents. The People’s Park with tea rooms, weekend market and playground is also just a few minutes away, adding to Dun Laoghaire’s long-held reputation as a place of pleasure by the sea.
No 42 Clarinda Park East is on the market with a guide price of €1.395m through Lisney.
42 Clarinda Park East Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin
Asking price: €1.395m
Agent: Lisney, (01) 280 6820
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