One of my most favourite but most useless past times, (as in ways to pass the time as opposed to my actual real past times like fake pilates and serial zoo visiting), is spotting and identifying places in Dublin when they pop up on the telly. Talkabout / catchphrase style, the winner has to shout out the location of the place to win. Fastest fool first. It’s amazing. This game is a very close relative of one of every Dubliner’s greatest guilty pleasures: what I like to call Gravity Bar Google. We have all played it: its where everyone who goes up to the Gravity Bar in the Guinness StoreHouse becomes inexplicably obsessed with where they live and immediately launch into boring their lucky co-workers/ visiting nerds / au pair with forensic detailed directions to their homes.
That no one cares or is even listening is Roger Irrelevant as everyone is far too wrapped up in their own ordinance survey odyssey. So imagine my joyous delight when I tuned in last Sunday night to see the second episode of Love Hate and realise it was literally shot within 200 yards of the house: Ah, it was like our own Where’s Wallyesque game of “Spot the Stoneybatter” as the garage on Parkgate Street around the corner popped up, followed swiftly by the ever glamourous O’Devaney gardens and finally a sneaky shot of Infirmary Road all appeared courtesy of our apparent new neighbours Nidgey and Fran.
It was only when the sweaty adrenalin wore off afterwards (from the programme, not the game, we’re not that sad), that we realised that it was not perhaps the most exciting thing that our hip hood was prime real estate for gangland Dublin.
Of course if they happen to be looking for a squalid crack den in which to film, they could do worse than shoot (up!) in our little hovel. Things I must confess, have not moved on much, if at all, since we last spoke but with good reason. We have had much to mull over, and we were, in what felt like very grown up financial prudence, waiting for this week’s budget before we could reveal our hand and make our next move. While the heart of this project is all about our girls, like most things in life, the head is still in charge and it will all come down to money. Let’s just take a minute to say booooo and hiss to all that. Anyway, over the past while, architects have been in having a goo at our palace and most of them are all of the opinion, not to put too fine a point on it, we would be stark raving mad and total financial dufuses if we don’t put two houses on the site. Hmmmm, curiouser and curiouser.
The property as you can see was originally two houses.
What you cant see from the front, is that with the width of the house(s) and the fact that we have all this space at the back relatively not overlooked, we would have a very good shot at getting permission to rebuild the two. So for not too much extra money, we could build our own house within the old villa house and build a liccle renter outer in the two storey annex to the side. First world problems I know but as soon as he began saying it, I wanted to rugby tackle him to the ground and clamp my hand over his mouth as I knew what he was going to say and that things were about to get ever more complicated.
Now it seems, the only thing for it is to become mini property developers and start building multiple houses. Oh god, we are so in over our heads. All I wanted was an island, a day bed and a downstairs loo. Seriously what is happening? A big part of me wanted to ignore him and just stick with plan A and whack in a car parking space but the practical side of me, which annoyingly usually wins, knows that the financial upside will hopefully, far outweigh everything and we should grab this opportunity with both hands.
What has taken the sting out of the tale is that it looks certain now that the City Living Incentive has been extended to Dublin. You can read all about it if you have an interest in tax matters (really no? Hello at least my Accountant brother Neil), but the cheat sheet on this is that it looks like we will be able to claim up to nearly half of the money we spend on the house, sorry houses ahhhhhhhhhhh, back over the next decade as it was built pre 1915. It all sounds suspiciously far too good to be true, but hey Im guessing this may be the only time in this process that someone wants to give us money! So to be honest, as long as the bank believe it and add it into their secret Coca Cola / Google Algorithm stress test, thats fine by me.
So in what is no doubt likely to be the name of this game, and to quote the random Ms Paula Abdul, its been two steps forwards, three steps back.
We have to kind of start again, and figure what the sums, plans and space looks like for two houses.
So all in all, good news and bad, well bad only in the sense that its slower than we would like, but hopefully it will all be worth it and another massive property crash doesn’t come and bite us in the ass.
I do wonder if perhaps we are being greedy, after all, this kind of fell into our laps but Im assured by people who are far savvier and experienced at this than us, (more family shout outs, hello Dad), that we are just being smart and havent lost the plot, literally. However, once we get our sums, well figured out, it shouldn’t take too much longer and Im still optimistic, perhaps blindly so, that this time next year, we could be in. I have even extended a Christmas dinner 2015 invitation to my whole family, which was admittedly wine fuelled albeit heartfelt, but hey if we build it, they will come.
Soooo, onwards we march, on the double and this time next year, if you happen to frequent the storehouse, and can distract yourself from your own domicile, you may just happen upon a rather tall, lined, Fred Astaire look alike (that’s me) and the top of Daragh’s head sticking out the top of a badly needed pint, noses pressed up against the exterior glass, joyfully boring ourselves as we merrily plot the crow’s flight path to our new homes.
God, it may all be complete pie in the sky and our eyes could be twice the size of our bellies so don’t be surprised if by my next post, we are back to plan A but right now, it’s all very exciting. Pukey, pricey and panic inducing but potentially phenomenal. So here we are, torn between two feelings: love it, hate it: still more love than hate! For the moment anyway. Here’s hoping we make a killing eh….