This Small House in Stoneybatter Thinks Big

Article originally from Independent.ie, 12th November 2018

Stoneybatter is sometimes referred to as Cowtown, a nod to its historical past as the location of Dublin's main cattle market, and indeed there's a restaurant on the corner of Manor Street that bears the name. But the 'Ox' in Oxmantown refers not, as one might expect, to any bovine connection.

Instead, its derivation is from the Viking word for 'East', and the Eastmen who arrived in the 9th Century and established a Viking stronghold at the southern end of Stoneybatter.

Many of the streets in Stoneybatter have Viking names: Harold Road, Ivar Street, Norseman Place, Ostman Place, Olaf Road, Sigurd Road, Sitric Road, Thor Place, Viking Road, Viking Place are all in the immediate vicinity, populated by small red-brick houses - two-up-two-downs in the main - built by the Artisans' Dwelling Company in the late 19th Century.

These were homes for people working in trades in the area, with boot-scrapers positioned to the side of each front door so that the men wouldn't bring dirt from their boots into the house when they came home from work.

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Either way, the ox blood colour of the front windows of Peat House, an interesting new small house on Oxmantown Road, seems appropriate, and it's just one of the design touches that distinguishes it not just from its neighbours but also from much contemporary house-building.

The vendors are a husband and wife team who describe themselves as small-scale developers, and this will be the fifth property that they have bought and sold in the area.

In 2016, they purchased No 64 Oxmantown Road, an end-of-terrace house which came with a garden to the side. The purchase price was €320,000. They set about refurbishing No 64 and hired architect Adrian Buckley of the Buckley Partnership in Bray to work with them to secure planning permission for a new house - Peat House - in the garden as an infill development. Permission was secured in 2017 and building work commenced early this year. The fully refurbished No 64 sold for €422,000.

The external appearance of Peat House is obviously very different to that of its neighbours. It reflects a preference on the part of the planning authorities in areas such as this, where there is an existing distinctive historic architectural vernacular, that new buildings not replicate the architecture of the past but showcase a modern design sensibility instead.

Whereas the original artisan dwellings on the street would be of a mass concrete external construction, with horse hair and lathe covered with lime render internally, the Peat House is quite different, built on a full metal structure.

The name Peat House comes from the appearance of the bricks used on the façade, which bear a resemblance to sods of turf.

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"We wanted a dark brick with a bit of movement in it," say the vendors, "and this one has a shimmer of iridescence that we like."

Internally, the Peat House has 65sqm of cleverly optimised living space. "The site was slightly irregularly-shaped," say the vendors, "so the house is too. We didn't want to lose a square centimetre of space."

From the street, the front door opens into a small vestibule with a guest lavatory. The open plan kitchen/living/dining space lies to the left, with the kitchen arranged along the front wall. The units, from Irish company HLine, are full height to maximise storage space, and have a cement-effect worktop. Integrated appliances include a fridge, dishwasher, hob and oven.

The ground-floor space has 2.7m ceilings and is floored in concrete tiles, warm and cosy thanks to underfloor heating, which the vendors installed throughout. French doors lead from the living area out to a south-facing patio garden which comes with a rain-water harvesting butt.

All the Wicona doors and windows are triple-glazed, there's external wall and roof insulation, and the house is fitted with an efficient NIBE exhaust heat pump system. These features have resulted in an A3 BER and a predicted energy bill of €323 a year for heat and hot water.

Under the solid oak staircase leading to the first floor is a storage area with a clever long storage pocket; the space is plumbed for a washing machine. Upstairs, the two double bedrooms both have fitted wardrobes and there's a smart shower-room with a good-sized shower.

Stoneybatter is one of the trendiest parts of Dublin and Oxmantown Road was the subject of its own RTE documentary earlier this year.

Read full article here.

Danielle O'Connell