Dublin City had a thriving weaving, spinning and drying industry for silk and poplin (a wool, cotton and silk mix). This was built on expertise brought by Huguenot refugees who came from France in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The area known as ‘The Tenters’ in Dublin 8 is today so called because huge areas of open ground were arrayed with wooden frames (known as tenters) used for drying fabrics. The saw toothed pegs used for stretching and hanging the fabric were the tenterhooks. In the early 20th century the Corporation used these fields to build homes in order to address the State’s first housing crisis.

While the level of craftsmanship deployed and overall solidity of Dublin Corporation’s homes is widely renowned, they had one inherent weakness. Because of their layouts, extensions added since have tended to darken the interiors of the resulting homes significantly. But two modernised former Corpos for sale in the Tenters this week show that, despite cast concrete walls, you can bring down the internal divides (with professional help!) to let in the light to former Corpo properties and provide those big airy open-plan living and kitchen spaces that every modern family desires.

The house at 9 Gilbert Road was acquired by its current owners in 2014 and they called in architect Peter Crowley of PAC Studio and engineers Loscher Moran with builder Declan Salmon to help open it up for them.

Peter recalls: “The house needed quite a lot of work and the owners already had it gutted out. So we helped extend it at the back, we helped open it out to let in more light, refitted the bathrooms and it got new electrics and heating. It’s quite difficult to work with these houses because the walls are so solid but they certainly made the very best of it.”

Today it spans 1,076 sq ft and the new open-plan design downstairs comes with large floor-to-ceiling windows at the back as well as a big space for al fresco dining and entertaining outside.

The downstairs open-plan zone cleverly interlocks two big slipped squares of space into open plan with the living room running into the kitchen and dining space. On top of this the house also has a downstairs study for when privacy is required and this was provided in place of a garage which had been added to the original house. Upstairs there are three bedrooms and a bathroom.

In a job which took seven months, the floors were removed and replaced, the windows were replaced and an internal wall knocked to open out the space. The entire exterior was covered in spray-on render insulation which took the BER right up to a toasty B3 from an F. The heart of the home is the kitchen with its wood burning Stanley stove to keep it aglow. Now that the family is expanding, this couple are moving on and selling the house. Offers are being sought in excess of €610,000.

Meanwhile over at 15 Ingram Road, a similar project was completed only two years ago taking the two-bed corner house up to 936 sq ft.

The owners, a couple, actually acquired the property 12 years ago and did some initial work including the extension of the kitchen. Two years ago with the family expanding they knocked the dividing kitchen wall and opened up most of the ground floor.

The entrance hall leads to the new bright open-plan living room, dining and kitchen area with a handmade bespoke kitchen. All the electrics and plumbing were redone and the gas boiler was replaced in 2015. New Fairco windows were installed.

There’s underfloor heating, under a polished concrete floor by Baufloors, which allows cosy bare feet all year (the favourite of the current owners). There’s a wood-burning stove, also by Stanley, and a movable kitchen island. Once again there’s a downstairs wc.

Upstairs has two double bedrooms and a large tiled bathroom.

There’s a courtyard garden off the kitchen area which makes a great outdoor dining location in the summer months and a second garden is accessible from the front door of the house offering another secure outside space. The off-street parking is behind large gates and there’s also on street disc parking for residents. The owners are also selling because of an expanding family and to be closer to parents. The price is €550,000.

Both are located within a short walk of the city centre and all city shopping and transport locations. Both homes are being sold by DNG’s city centre branch.

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