Gillian and Damien Keneghan got the keys of number 56 St Patrick’s Crescent in March 2020, on the same day Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced the country was going into lockdown due to Covid-19. The two/three bedroom 1940s-built former council house, in the heart of Monkstown Farm in Dún Laoghaire, hadn’t been lived in for years, and was in need of total refurbishment, but work didn’t begin on the house until the next September, and it was to be another year before the young couple moved into a totally transformed and modernised home.
The house was rewired, replumbed and refloored, with new double-glazed tilt-and-turn windows and underfloor heating throughout the downstairs area. A large, bright open-plan kitchen/diningroom was built to the rear, with three large roof lights to bring in the sun, bringing the total square footage up to 92sq m (990sq ft). Where the old kitchen used to be, there is now a shower room and a storage area. The couple installed an efficient air-to-water heating system and insulated the entire house; it now has A3 energy rating.
The contemporary look of the house begins as you go up the steps with metal rails to the dark-grey front door and on to the terrazzo-tiled entrance porch. To the right is the livingroom and to the left is a study/third bedroom which the Keneghans use as a home office. The reception rooms have laminate wood flooring. You step down from the livingroom into the kitchen/dining extension, which has white tiled floors and obsidian black worktops and island.
The layout means they can keep an eye on their son while they work in the kitchen and he’s playing in the livingroom. The kitchen has lots of cabinets, plus a composite sink, electric double oven, induction hob, dishwasher, washing machine and integrated fridge freezer. There’s no gas supply going into the house, so less money is going out on cooking and heating bills.
The wet room off the kitchen is fully tiled with terrazzo, and has recessed lighting and a power shower. Upstairs are two double bedrooms; the main bedroom is dual aspect with windows looking out east and West, so it catches the sun at the start and end of the day. It also has built-in wardrobes and there’s access to the floored attic from here. The bedrooms have an original feature fireplace, which have been sealed up to prevent drafts or heat loss. There’s a toilet upstairs too, with part-tiled walls and floor.
The back garden faces west, and is sunken to give privacy from the houses behind. It’s laid in gravel, with a concrete patio overlooking it, but, says Gillian, it’s also a “blank canvas” for new owners to create their own garden design.
St Patrick’s Crescent is a lovely, older neighbourhood, the owners say. “Everyone looks out for each other,” says Gillian. There’s shopping in the Tesco in nearby Honeypark, and the house is within an easy walk of Dún Laoghaire and Monkstown. Nearby schools include CBC Monkstown, Monkstown Educate Together and Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology.
The Keneghans hail from the midlands, and they’re planning to move to Westmeath, placing this property on the market through Sherry FitzGerald seeking €525,000; new hybrid working arrangements mean they will be able to continue to work from home, and will have to commute less often to their jobs. For a young professional looking for a contemporary house in turnkey condition, or a young couple who want comfort and convenience packed into a cosy space, 56 could well be the magic number.