House Tour: Camden Conservation

Camden Conservation Ruth Maria Murphy

By knocking two unloved Georgian buildings into one, a stylish couple have created a city centre haven that beautifully mixes old and new.

Walking through the tall steel frame door and into Colm and Peter’s immaculate Camden Street home, it’s hard to believe this minimalist dream was a dilapidated bank just two years ago.

Camden Street conservation

Homeowners  Colm Doyle of DMVF Architects and Peter O’Reilly

Colm originally found the property while researching for a commercial client and while it didn’t suit their needs, Colm saw a residential opportunity. “I saw the potential to combine the upper floors of both buildings into one large Georgian apartment and to use the flat roof as a roof garden. So I brought Pete along to see it and… he just didn’t get it.”

Camden Street conservation

 The 12-foot long hunting or wake table was a gift and is perfect for  parties. 

After house hunting unsuccessfully for a number of years the couple returned to the Camden Street property and submitted a low offer, which was accepted. Then, over the course of eight months, the renovation took place.

Camden Street conservation

A Barceloneta chair sits on herringbone parquet from The Hardwood Flooring Company

 As a registered conservationist architect, Colm was aware of the hoops they would have to jump through and the legalities ahead. “Applying for the roof garden could have been tricky, but it turned out to be fine. We had to get a fire cert, an access cert and then had to find tenants for the restaurant space on the ground floor.”

Camden Street conservation

Steel framed door from Fabco in the UK, with brass fixtures from Frank Albert

There weren’t too many horrors, as the couple did a lot of homework. “We knew there was flooding in the basement and dry rot in the upper levels, so we had specialists in to assess them before we bought. There are always overruns and unforeseen costs in historic structures, but with a good bit of homework, you can identify a lot of them upfront and plan accordingly.”

Camden Street conservation

The freestanding bath is from Davies (Photo: Derek Robinson)

Despite the sheer size of the property Colm and Peter wanted the house to be cosy for two people, yet big enough for entertaining. “We now have two rooms at the back that are quiet, one being the kitchen and one being the TV room.”

rsz_ruthmaria_imageil_camden_img_3677The private rooftop garden

For those house-hunting, Colm recommends looking at existing buildings in cities. “It’s cost-effective and it is amazing, amazing living. I would have had no hope of being able to afford the scale or quality of space that I have if it was in a slightly more suburban area. The upper floors of Dublin 2 are often unloved, uncared for and unwanted. I think there is something really beautiful about rejuvenating and reusing such a space.”

Photography: Ruth Maria Murphy, unless otherwise stated

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