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Dublin: 11°C Wednesday 20 October 2021

'The front room is full of treasures': Inside this 1920s redbrick near Dublin's Botanic Gardens

Niamh O’Carroll takes us through a day behind her front door.

IMG_4069 Source: Niamh O'Carroll

About the home

Where? Glasnevin, Dublin
What type of house? 1920s semi-detached redbrick house, built by Dublin master-builder Alexander Strain
How many bedrooms and bathrooms? 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms
When did you move in? 1998

About you

Name: Niamh O’Carroll
Occupation: I run my own PR company, O’Carroll Consulting.
Who else lives there? My husband, Paul, and two children, Tara and Barry. My oldest son Cian is at college but comes home most weekends. Oh, and I can’t forget Ted the dog.

1. What made you choose this house over other ones?

This house chose us. It was always attached to our family. My grandfather bought it in 1928 and my father and his brother and sister lived here for many years. After my grandmother died in the sixties it was rented out. My aunt asked me to help sort it to sell it in the 1990s and when I saw it I just knew it could work beautifully as a home for us.

At the time we owned and lived in a lovely two up-two down in Ringsend, but thankfully, Paul agreed with me that Glasnevin could be our new home.

I knew the area well as had lived in Glasnevin during my post grad and first job. In fact “the flat”, which originally started off as the converted garage beside the house, got all us country cousins through college.  

This is a really happy home and tends to be the focus for lots of family gatherings. We will celebrate a significant birthday for my Aunt Nuala later in the year and will have a big family party here.  

IMG_4581 Source: Niamh O'Carroll

2. Which place in your home do you love the most (and why)?

My garden room has been an amazing addition to our home. An amazing guy, Niall Maxwell, did the work and had such a fantastic knowledge of planting. I work looking out at the garden, which makes me feel happy every day.

I am so lucky to be able to separate work and home, yet be there most afternoons when my teenagers come home. I have two desks in the garden room and a comfy sofa too. The room also has a projector and pull down screen, so we use it as a cinema room as well. It is a real multipurpose space, used by everyone.

niamh2 Source: Niamh O'Carroll

3. Which place in your home do you love the least (and why)?

We did some rearranging of the house after my son went to college and transformed one of the bedrooms into a study for my other two. It seemed like a good idea at the time but it hasn’t really worked and has become a bit of a dumping ground. It’s due a big sort out one of these days.

4. Take us through a day in your house, room by room. 

6:30am: We generally get up at this time on weekdays. My husband is a natural early riser – me not so much. Then it is the scramble to get everyone out. My day varies but I try to start it either the gym or a long walk for Ted and be back at the desk around 8.30.

9.00am: I love my work which is very varied. No day really is the same.

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4:00pm: Mostly I have meetings in the mornings and early afternoon so I can be home for when the gang gets home.

6:00pm: We always eat together in the kitchen around this time.

8:00pm: In the evenings if the kids have friends over they tend to use the back room (the old dining room is now a second sitting room) or head out to the garden room to get away from us. Paul and I like to sit in the front room. I love art and colours and that room is painted dark grey which really shows off the art. We have some treasures there, full of meaning for us.

The stepfather of my grandfather from my mother’s side was a cabinet maker on the Titanic and we have one of his cabinets. I have a drinks trolley and a great neon cocktail sign. 

5. Is there anything you’d do differently if you were doing it again?

We’ve often lamented the lack of a south facing space over the years, so I would have called that out as an issue in years gone by – however when we did the garden room we positioned it so we have south facing space now which has really been great. Also, I feel that some of the wood in the house is a bit too orange for me, but haven’t got around to changing that yet…

IMG_4066 Source: Niamh O'Carroll

More: ‘The kitchen is always warm’: Inside this vintage-tinged 1930s home in Kildare>

About the author:

Emily Westbrooks

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