Why I’m selling my downtown chalet after 15 years
I have so many memories and adventures wrapped up in the 36 square meters (388 square feet) which is at 56 Eugene Street, Dublin 8. There was the time when we climbed bean bags on a ladder to the roof to drink sparkling wine and watch the sun go down; there are views from Christ Church to the Guinness Storehouse, up to the mountains.
There was dinner where I hadn’t worked on the oven yet, and accidentally broiled the whole meal. Or the time I had just moved in and a neighbor bought me for a paint bucket. He was clearly not crazy about the dark green walls of my predecessor either. Or when another neighbor from further down the street showed up with a brown paper bag with DVDs in it, but blushed down to his hairline when he realized he was wrong of bag. “It’s not my kind of movie,” I’m afraid, I say.
Above all, I loved the quiet nights by the fireside, knowing that the city is just around the corner. Eugene Street is an incredibly peaceful cul-de-sac in the heart of Dublin 8 and number 56 is one of the Dublin Artisan Dwelling cottages. Built at the turn of the last century, these single-story terraces were designed for healthier living when tuberculosis was rampant in city buildings. Reports show that the incidence of the disease fell by 60% as people were relocated. The 1911 census lists a family of six living in my house, and that was before they built the bedroom extension over the back yard, which was the only outdoor space they owned.
If these streets were in London or Paris, they would be celebrated as the ultimate in chic city living and face conservation ordinances. But since it is Dublin and we are used to not valuing good things until it is too late, they are in various states of repair. It’s fascinating to see what people have done with it. Some are mounted in the roof to add a second bedroom, but since I like the height and space to hang my bike (on a cool winch that’s also handy for drying clothes), that option still stays there.
The neighborhood has changed and is still changing. I remember being so excited that a Lidl came to Cork Street. When it opened right around the corner (I’ve stayed in hotels where the bar is longer within walking distance) it was like having an extra huge closet and fridge. The canal is at the door and the Luas too. There are lovely cafes down the street – including the secret spot tucked away in Plant Life or, further down, the super cool Two Pups and Liberty Kitchen on Francis Street. Then there are the pubs and restaurants (Fallon’s is a favorite) – all within walking distance.
I always wanted to live in a house rather than an apartment. A house means that you can extend up or down, if you cannot extend; and you are not a victim of the vagaries of management fees. But I also grew up at a time when it was still possible to believe that you could decide where you wanted to live and then buy a house there. That changed, of course, and when I started shopping my visions of a charming seaside location on the Dart Line were diverted into the dream world. It made me look beyond the obvious and I found this place. It turned out that I loved it. 15 years later, why am I moving?
Lately, despite the blockages, I split my time between Dublin and Kinsale. Last year, I called McCullough Mulvin’s architect Niall McCullough, for an article on how architecture might change due to Covid-19. McCullough, who passed away earlier this year, was one of the brightest, wittiest, and wisest people I have ever met. He was also fascinated by the Dublin Artisan Dwelling cottages, and we started talking about how buildings can help you live well. As we spoke I caught myself thinking: If I could get anyone to imagine a house, it would be McCullough Mulvin. So, timidly, I asked him.
Now, over a year later, ValÃ©rie Mulvin (equally brilliant and pleasant to work with) and I are submitting the plans, fashioned from her drawings, for the conversion of a stone shed next to my house. parents, for approval.
Another legacy of Covid-19 is the need I feel to be closer to the people who matter, and so it all makes sense. The house that McCullough created around a small courtyard, and as I walked through the plans with Mulvin in my parents’ garden the other week, she is full of her ideas about light and space, but most of all her deep love. for old buildings and how to let them live and breathe. That’s why I’m selling – to make room for the next chapter, where hopefully we’ll plan and someone new can experience the peace and ambiance of living in a chalet right in the middle of the city.
The number 56 Eugene Street, which has a Ber of E2, is on the market via Sherry FitzGerald for â¬ 265,000.