You know an area is trendy when you see beanie-clad residents walking their greyhounds at lunchtime. Add tourists on their way to Kilmainham Gaol and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, both across the road, and you will conjure up the atmosphere of Kilmainham Lane on a sunny March day, where 1 Tower Villas sits at the end of a row of four seemingly identical redbrick terraces.
The owner of number one didn’t cut any corners when he undertook a full renovation of this property after buying it for €140,000 in 2015, according to the Property Price Register. The Victorian property looks charming but deceptively modest from the outside with a bespoke hardwood front door that opens to reveal a hallway where there are two staircases: one going down to the basement level and one going up to the attic room which is used as the main bedroom; although it was originally a bedroom, modern property regulations don’t allow it to be classed as such.
Off to the right of the hallway on the ground floor is an open-plan living/diningroom. The rooms had originally been separated but the owner opened it up during the renovation in which the entire home was gutted. He salvaged some of the original ceiling cornicing in order to have the same design imitated to remain faithful to the heritage of the home. The large black cast-iron fireplace was salvaged and restored, creating a gorgeous feature. The room also benefits from warm solid maple wood floors and high decorative skirting boards. The sash window, looking on to the street was, like the front door, custom-made with hardwood and has decorative and functional plantation shutters.
Beyond that, going toward the back of the property, is the dining area, which can comfortably fit a six-seater table. The bright, contemporary kitchen is in the top storey of the rear extension with views of the space beyond: currently consisting of trees with back gardens in the distance, creating a sense of space. There is also a rectangular roof light forming most of the ceiling, flooding the room with light. The kitchen has bespoke white wooden handleless units with a six-ring gas hob and integrated Neff ovens.
Off the kitchen is a real design highlight of this house; a Victorian cast-iron balcony and spiral staircase which leads to the garden at basement level. The staircase was salvaged from a home in Leeds in the UK, dismantled and brought to Ireland. The owner had his heart set on such a feature, he says, as he had seen them on Victorian homes in London. From the balcony you can see the imposing Kilmainham Mills building on your left which is currently being restored and is intended to add to the tourist attractions of the area.
Downstairs, at basement level, the main bathroom is situated to the front of the house. This room was excavated from the earth during the renovation, another trick mirrored from London homes. Next to that is a small windowless room in which the owner has a big comfy sofa, movie posters and a big TV, making it a great den. Next to that is a double bedroom, with a smaller single bedroom at the end of the hall. There is also access to the back garden from here, which is paved with stone tiles with a teal fence around it for privacy. Storage has been built into the entire understairs area, including an integrated washing machine and a dryer hidden behind cupboard doors.
The attic room, set up as the main bedroom, is flooded with light from two Velux windows in the sloped roof. There is plenty of space on the right side of the room with large built-in wardrobes, undereaves storage and an en suite shower room.
The extensive works on this home included replumbing, rewiring, replastering and the fitting of insulation and double-glazed windows throughout. The property’s Ber is now an impressive B2.
The owner has enjoyed living in Kilmainham and saw it flourish over the past few years, with the addition of cafes and restaurants. There is also an impressive line-up of gigs at nearby Royal Hospital Kilmainham – he cites Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, who are scheduled to play the venue in the summer. The owner is no doubt a fan as he has an abstract artwork depicting the frontman’s unmistakable mod haircut in the hallway. Looking to take on a new project with a Victorian property elsewhere in the city, the owner is selling this unique offering through Owen Reilly, seeking €570,000.
Article updated on March 29th, 2023