stamp beauty | 

The former post office in Dublin given an amazing vintage makeover

Irishtown has changed drastically in the last 150 years and has long since been swallowed up by the urban sprawl of Dublin.

The upstairs living room at No5 Bath Street, Irishtown, Dublin 4 has been styled in a mix of period and contemporary styles

The exterior of the house which was built circa 1850

The kitchen/dining room

The patio

One of the bedrooms

The hallway

Home stager Breeda O'Sullivan

Erin McCafferty

Pembroke House, No5 Bath Street,, Irishtown, Dublin 4 Asking price: €750,000 Agent: Knight Frank (01) 6342466

Built circa 1850 as a residential home, Pembroke House later served for a time as Irishtown’s village post office. But this elegant home is far from postage stamps and mail bags now.

The 1911 Census tells us that postman Michael King (28) lived here with his father, also Michael, and a retired DMP policeman (64).

The latter appears to have misled the state about his age, given that he lists himself as being 51 in the previous census of 1901.

The Old Age Pension was introduced in 1909 at five shillings a week. There was no civil record of births in Ireland prior to 1864 and research (Budd & Guinnane 1991) points out that many took advantage to lie about their age to get a pension before reaching the qualifying age.

Of course, Michael Snr would be able to claim his five shillings right there at the post office.

The exterior of the house which was built circa 1850

No5 which spans 1,561 sq ft. dates back to a time when Irishtown was still a village on the outskirts of Dublin.

As was common for houses of higher status, this merchant’s style property was located near to the junction, thought to have been the local market square at the time.

Irishtown has changed drastically in the last 150 years and has long since been swallowed up by the urban sprawl of Dublin.

Much like the area, the house itself has been transformed. It was completely gutted 20 years ago by previous owners and the interior redesigned. Now it has a B3 rating.

Home stager Breeda O'Sullivan

The latest owner hired home stager Breeda O’Sullivan, of Upstaged Properties, when preparing it for sale. Used to staging period properties,

Breeda attempts to marry contemporary with vintage style. She’s managed to do this in every room of Pembroke House by combining modern and antique furniture, and by making the most of the house structure.

The whole house has the same neutral colour scheme, with every room painted in ‘subtle’ by Colour Trend — a warm white colour with a hint of light grey.

This allows pops of bright colour to be used differently in each room. “It works for me in every single house and it can look different in each depending on the light,” says Breeda.

One of the bedrooms

Unusually, the bedrooms are on the ground floor, with the sitting room upstairs. All three double bedrooms downstairs are en suite. The one at the back opens onto a small courtyard, which has space for garden furniture.

The next level of the house is accessed by a timber staircase which was hand sanded and waxed by the previous owner. It leads to a landing which opens to the kitchen.

The kitchen/dining room

Here, the contrast between the wooden furniture, in the form of a rocking chair, a long wooden table, and the wooden counter tops with modern kitchen units and aluminium stove is striking.

In the upstairs sitting room, three large latticed windows to the front of the house, flood the room with light. There’s another window on the side wall. The light falls on the white walls and the polished French oak floors. A rectangular mirror hangs over the white marble mantelpiece and the open fire.

The antique-style low-backed couch, the high ceilings and the carved architraves here are reminiscent of another era, but there are contemporary pieces too, such as the glass coffee table and the minimalistic lamps. A large abstract print hangs on the back wall providing a dramatic effect.

The hallway

In fact, Breeda chose the colour scheme for this room; grey, grey-blue, white and taupe, to match the painting. “I always start with a piece of art,” she says. “It’s much easier to find the pieces of furniture and furnishings to match the art, than the other way around.”

She emphasises that staging is about the buyer not the seller. “I’m thinking about who is going to buy the house” she says. “When someone’s going to view a house, they don’t want to think about anyone else living there.”

Mistakes that people make include leaving family photographs around. “When you go to a hotel for example, you don’t see the person’s photograph on the bedside table.”

Anything loud in the décor can be distracting. “You want people to move in and put their own mark on it. ”Equally, avoid leaving ornaments and personal effects in an effort to make it look cosy.”

She often removes curtains from the windows as they can block the light, and she always uses white towels in the bathroom as they look pristine and fresh. Greenery is important too when staging a house as it soothing on the eye.

“It’s a balance between putting in too much and not putting in enough,” says Breeda. “But the balance can make a huge difference to how a house is perceived by a buyer.”

The patio

Don’t just think of the interior of the house, consider the exterior too. “Make sure that the number of the house outside is visible. Symmetry is also important. “Have two pots of flowers on either side of the front door. Have two bedside lockers in the bedrooms and two lamps on either side.”

Breeda also does de-cluttering as part of her business and when staging a home, is usually recommended by an estate agent. While her job may sound easy, it’s hard work.

“People think I fluff cushions and spend my time leisurely shopping for furnishings,” she laughs. “The reality is I often work weekends and find myself running up and down flights of stairs in period buildings. A lot of logistics and organisation go into it.”

She provides all the furniture and furnishings and has a team of house cleaners, removers, and painter decorators at her fingertips.

“The nicest part of the job she says is when it all comes together. You close the front door at the end of the project and think to yourself, I did a good job there. That’s when it’s all worthwhile.”

Pembroke House at Bath Street is on offer for €750,000 through the Knight Frank estate agency.

Today's Headlines

More Lifestyle

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos