Elegant Victorian showcasing high-tech design on Northumberland Road for €4.5m

Semidetached five-bedroom home underwent refurbishment costing €2 million

Address: 33 Northumberland Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Price: €4,500,000
Agent: Lisney Sotheby's International Realty

Brass kitchen cabinets. Polished concrete kitchen floor. Blue mosaic-tiled bathroom. Mirrored shutters in the main bedroom’s en suite and a glass-fronted shoe cabinet. It is the extreme attention to detail in every room that makes this renovated and extended Victorian property in Ballsbridge stand out from other modernised Victorian homes. It is a smart house in every sense, full of clever designs and high-tech features from top to bottom.

The couple who bought 33 Northumberland Road in Ballsbridge, for €1.975 million in 2016 according to the Property Price Register, spared nothing when they renovated and extended it, spending more than €2 million on the refurbishment. Now the couple are moving to Portugal with their two young children and Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty is asking €4.5 million for their 455sq m (4,897sq ft) semidetached five-bed.

The semidetached house – built in 1861 – is a protected structure and a conservation architect worked alongside Declan O’Donnell of ODKM architects to ensure that the period structure was respected as the contemporary high-tech home was created. (Almost everything from the security to the heating, lighting, sound system and blinds is remote-controlled with a Crestron control system.) In 2019 the family moved in, just a year before Covid lockdown, and they say it was a tranquil place to be stuck.

The home has a B2 Ber: as a protected structure it is Ber exempt, but they got one anyway, showing how well insulated the home is with an air-to-water heating system and underfloor heating in every room downstairs.


The most striking areas of number 33 are the garden-level, open-plan kitchen/dining/livingroom, with a 9ft-high ceiling and lots of rooflights in a modern extension at the back of the house: a glazed side-extension over the garage and a main bedroom that runs from the front to the back of the house.

Granite steps lead up to the glossy pink front door that opens into a classic Victorian front hall, with centre rose and ornate ceiling cornicing complemented by a modern mosaic-tiled floor and a modern light fixture from Shadowlight designer Patrick Kerr.

The two ground-floor reception rooms on the right have similar light fixtures, alternatives to traditional chandeliers, suspended from ornate centre roses. The drawingroom at the front and sittingroom at the back both have ornate ceiling cornicing, open fireplaces with pale marble mantelpieces and tall sash windows, double-glazed like windows in all the rooms. The walls of both rooms – connected by double doors – are panelled and have herringbone oak floors. They also have contemporary furniture: plush circular blue chairs, art deco-ish shelves by a fireplace and handsome coffee tables.

There is a large study off the opposite side of the hall with the same herringbone oak floor and a tall sash window overlooking the front. Built-in cabinets were made by Barry Archer of Wedge, who made most of the cabinetry in the house. A secret door in a dark-painted wall opens into the glazed boardroom/formal diningroom extension at the side of the house: it has a dropped ceiling, remote-control blinds and air conditioning.

The family bathroom is smart, a spa-like room with recessed lighting in a wood-panelled wall, a large oval free-standing bath and a large, glazed shower area.

A door in the charcoal grey wall opposite opens into a good-sized pantry/utility room with lots of cupboards and off it, a separate laundry room. There are two downstairs bedrooms: one en suite and a playroom, filled with the children’s toys, off a corridor with track lighting showing off artwork. At its end is a beautiful blue mosaic-tiled wetroom with gold-coloured fixtures.

An oak staircase with a smoked glass balustrade leads down to the garden-level floor, the heart of the home, both family-friendly and very smart. The Dean Cooper kitchen has a large Silestone-topped island with retractable power points and a Zip tap that provides boiling, chilled and sparkling water. The countertop beneath the polished brass cabinets is also Silestone, has sawn oak cupboards below, a black glass splashback and the wall beside it is board-marked concrete (formed by pouring concrete into moulds using timber boards). There are oak beams and rooflights above the kitchen area and rooflights over the livingroom space. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors the width of the space open to the back garden; the whole space is very bright.

A handsome stained glass window lights the landing of the first return, where there is a double bedroom with a mostly-tiled en suite. But the big surprise is the main bedroom on the first floor.

A bedroom was taken away to create this very large space. It has two sash windows overlooking the front and another at the back, attractive cornicework and centre roses from which circular LED lights from Shadowlight are suspended. The room also features a large marble mantelpiece and a coal-effect gas fireplace. Behind the large double bed is a wall of wardrobes as well as the wide glass-fronted cabinet displaying the couple’s shoes.

The main en suite/walk-in dressingroom is in what was originally another bedroom: there is a chest of drawers at its centre topped with a glass display case holding items like belts, sunglasses and ties. Smart glass in the toilet and shower goes from clear to frosted at the touch of a switch. There is one other small bedroom up a few stairs at the top of the house, effectively a child’s nursery.

The wide back garden has stone walls and a patio area and, despite being in busy Ballsbridge, it is not overlooked. One corner is the barbecue area with poured concrete built-in seating. Raised flower beds beside an artificial lawn are edged with Corten steel in a garden landscaped by Dean Lavey at LandArt. There is room to park several cars in the gravelled front garden behind electronic gates.

The house is near the corner with Haddington Road, a short walk to the Grand Canal Dock Dart station and an easy walk to Merrion Square and Dublin city centre.

Frances O'Rourke

Frances O'Rourke

Frances O'Rourke, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about homes and property