“There are nine houses between me and the beach,” says the owner of number 1 Gilford Avenue, in Sandymount. “Walking towards the horizon in the morning sets me up for the day.”
She also draws great pleasure from working at the bay window in the front room of her three-bedroom home, feeling connected to the neighbours rather than isolated at a desk upstairs. There’s a good community here, she says, with “a mix of older and younger residents, at both ends of the spectrum”.
After 29 years, she is now ready to downsize locally – “no more than one Dart stop or a short cycle away from my friends” – and has put number 1, extending to 125sq m (1,346sq ft), on the market through Sherry FitzGerald, with an asking price of €925,000.
The house, a pretty redbrick at the end of a terrace of four, was built in 1906 in what the owner, an architect, describes as a simple and adaptable format.
Having moved there in the mid-1990s, in 2005 she designed a timber-clad extension that increased light and space downstairs and enlarged a bedroom in the upstairs return to make a decent double with a built-in wardrobe.
There are two more bedrooms and a bathroom off the upstairs landing; the smallest room is in the middle, and the main one is across the full width of the front, with a black cast-iron fireplace and two sash windows. The Ber is E1.
The front garden, with a low brick wall heightened by a hedge, is gravelled, and a white potato vine over the front door blooms from June to January. Inside, the front room has a lovely fireplace with green-tiled inset, and the white walls contrast with the peachy ceiling.
Downstairs, the hall leads on to a diningroom, and from here you go through to the kitchen with Shaker-style units and a white cork floor, and a long window over the countertop.
The extension includes a dining area, designed to capitalise on the south-easterly light with windows above and to the side – the latter are opaque. This is connected to a bright, cosy 25sq m family room with a square-pyramidal rooflight and two pairs of glass doors to the suntrap garden.
This green haven is the owner’s pride and joy, with a south-facing wall supporting an abundant vine and espaliered apple trees – “every year I get about 300 apples and 500 bunches of sour grapes” – with clumps of cyclamens and miniature bulbs nestling underneath. In the farthest corner is a patio of salvaged bricks, and the granite wall at this end borders the grounds of Brabazon House, a nursing home.
From the side courtyard there’s a door in to the dining area and a gate out to the small lane that runs alongside the house.
The short avenue bends around from Gilford Road to the start of the promenade, and the owner says residents benefit from its being relatively narrow and easy to miss. Traffic is minimal and children play safely outside, drawing flowers on the footpath and marking out hopscotch and even a tennis court on the road.
There are primary schools close by, secondary schools and sports clubs within easy reach, and umpteen amenities and shops around Sandymount Green.
The village is five minutes by bike, but the owner says if she feels like taking a more scenic route for a pint of milk, she walks along the seafront to the petrol station; a good way to start the day.