Dublin Apartments

Dublin Apartments

Postby Service charge » Fri May 13, 2011 10:13 pm

I have been looking for an apartment in Dublin for a while know. I am so shocked by the standard of apartments in this city.

I have yet to see an apartment, either in the flesh or online, that is anywhere near the standard of our continental cousins.

For instance my girlfriend's apartment back in Copenhagen is a one bedroom apartment with 120sq metres of space. It has a large kitchen, a sitting room, a dinning room/study and huge amounts of storage space in the hall way. It also has storage for skis, golf clubs, prams, what have you in the basement. As does every apartment.

The vast majority of Dublin apartments do not have any storage space either in the apartment or in the commons areas. They are tiny and most have the kitchen in the living room!

Who ever thought people would want to cook in the same room as they read, watch tv, sit by the fire etc?

Most of the apartments I have viewed do not even have enough wardrobe space for me, less alone my girlfriend. And god forbid I might have a surf board or even a tennis racket.

So my final question is: Is there a single apartment block in this city that offers a realistic standard of living?
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Re: Dublin Apartments

Postby missarchi » Sat May 14, 2011 12:50 am

you are unlikely to find such apartments in the developed world.
The Nordic block have different rules...
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Re: Dublin Apartments

Postby PVC King » Sat May 14, 2011 9:01 am

There is a 3 bed penthouse in the Millenium Tower at Grand Canal above what was may still be known as Ocean Bar of 110 sq m which looks decent. If you had a good budget buying two adjoining flats for a lateral conversion may be a very interesting option.... I don't however feel that 110 sq m for a 1 bed flat should be typical; City Centres need to be compact; 50 sq m for a 1 bed or 75 sq m for a 2 bed is more than adequate if the configuration is logical.

After 10 years of 600 sq m McMansions for families of 4 - 5 people the term getting a grip on appropriate scale comes to mind.
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Re: Dublin Apartments

Postby Service charge » Sat May 14, 2011 11:32 am

Ok, expecting everyone to have over 100sqm is impossible. But 45sqm metres is tiny.

But my main point relates to practical considerations. Such as storage space. Where can you put a childs buggy in an average Irish apartment? Most apartment blocks I have been in I have seen them outside peoples apartments in the hallways and stair wells.

I've lived in France, Switzerland and Germany. In every apartment I lived in I had a storage locker either in the attic or the basement. In all of the apartments I have viewed here the extent of storage was a wardrobe and hotpress. No place for coats, shoes etc in the entrance hall and no more space in the bedrooms for further storage.

I do not see how it is possible for a couple to live in a one bedroom apartment in Dublin.
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Re: Dublin Apartments

Postby PVC King » Sat May 14, 2011 11:44 am

Totally agree on the basement storage cages; steel cage block walls not rendered boiler room spec lights and conduits - cheap as chips but functional for storage if seasonal kit.

Spend the last 18 months acquiring a flat; eventually settled on a 47 sq m 2 bed which just about works as 1 double bed and 1 single bed/study. That is really tight but the strategy is prior to disposal to knock the wall between the two bedrooms and invert uses with both bedroooms becoming the living space and current 4.2* 3.8 m living space become a huge bedroom with the galley kitchen converting to an en suite; at 47 sq m it is extremely large for a city centre one bed. I think the point you make on storage is extremely valid but with a sofa bed you can have freinds stay over. Why I rejected most of the c1,000 units I viewed brochures of online was poor configuration or just unrealistic vendor expectations. Corridors.........
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Re: Dublin Apartments

Postby onq » Sun May 15, 2011 2:22 pm

I don't know how old this apartment is, but in general for new builds as opposed to conversions the minimum size for 1 beds in the early nineties was 36 sq.m. going up to 42 sq.m. a few years later.

Modern two beds were never less than 50 or 55 sq.m. - cannot call it to mind just now.

I'd check what the apartments was meant to be

1 Bed plus study was popular.

It stkirted the regs.

But its small.

:)

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Re: Dublin Apartments

Postby PVC King » Sun May 15, 2011 5:55 pm

Differentiation between new build and redivision of period properties is a good point; the classification pre 63 houses as exempt from planning even though they were in many cases sub-standard flats was to my mind a major mistake on the part of policy makers over the years.

I would hazard a guess that the banks are sitting on a lot of non-performing loans in this niche area. What I bought was an upper floor of a regency stucco terraced house; its tenanted and rents in the area are rising double digits annually so I'm happy to leave it as is collecting the income; question is can the Irish banks afford to do the same with large numbers of pre-conversion properties in D6 / D8 / D7 which if the governemnt got tough on the level of housing benefit would see room rates plummit.


Putting these floors into single units versus 3 seperate bedsits per floor would in all probability see a higher value sold into the market than the 10% - 12% yields these properties are now selling for. When I want the flat to sell I will want a buyer to actually want to live in it so it will become a 1 bed but in a functional rental market it is different until such time as you want to think of it as a capital versus income exercise. When there is no investment market you need to rely on people buying to occupy.

A major opportunity for architects in this area to create value.....
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Re: Dublin Apartments

Postby onq » Sun May 15, 2011 8:40 pm

Apt and thought-provoking as always PVC King.

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Re: Dublin Apartments

Postby GrahamH » Mon May 16, 2011 12:46 am

I smiled while reading your post, Service charge. It is the exact same experience I have gone through a number of times in recent years (as well as in recent weeks, before deciding to stay firmly put).

Apartment standards have of course been a hot topic of conversation for many years in Dublin, but it’s only when you go searching that you realise just how shocking the situation on the ground actually is. Not only does it make you want to tear your hair out, trawling through the cesspit of mediocrity and 21st century tenements is also a thoroughly depressing experience – one of those times in life, not unlike the Leaving Cert, that you never want to endure again.

I often think whilst flicking through the pages of Daft or similar sites, just what a gobsmacking experience it must be for somebody coming from the continent or Scandinavia to live in Dublin, observing for the first time the standard of accommodation on offer in this city. It would be enough to persuade you never to set a foot in the country, never mind live full time in this city.

Before you even get off the ground. if the unending joys of inflexible and inefficient storage and electric heating doesn’t appeal to you, not even accounting for their associated astronomical bills, straight away three-quarters of the city’s apartment stock is wiped out. Likewise, Zoe standard dimensions, which miraculously redefined people’s understanding of a shoebox, knock out large sections of Dublin’s apartment stock, in spite of the common perception that far superior apartments in the centre replaced their primitive standards. The reality is that Zoe cleverly developed nearly all of the best locations in the city. This is perhaps the most frustrating aspect of Dublin’s residential stock – that Dublin 1 and Dublin 8 are almost singularly defined by these apartments. It is next to impossible to live in an affordable apartment in these places unless you wish Zoe standards upon yourself. It’s quite shocking the monopoly they have in these strategically important locations. It would be interesting to gauge the economic impact of these buildings - currently, not in the 1990s – on Dublin city centre in terms of their dissuading of middle and high income earners from living in the centre in favour of shared houses in suburban villages.

Then we come to the more recent stock, which are still bafflingly small in size. Even developments like the brand new ‘Rathmines Square’ features insanely small apartments, where two-beds have a galley kitchen, a living room that can barely host a sofa and a coffee table, and ‘double bedrooms’ that contain just that – a double bed. Forget anything else. As for the concept of actually having ‘rooms’ in your apartment, such as a living room separate to your kitchen, a study or a utility room – bejaysus, you’re gettin’ ahead of yourself there now with those notions! Sure dem rooms only come in a proper house! And when you do encounter a self contained living room, it’s usually a penthouse or ‘luxury’ art of living abode lol. It’s actually hilarious when you put the depression momentarily back in its box. As Paul Kearns has insightfully highlighted in his Redrawing Dublin, apartment standards did not improve in the latter boom years – only marketing and ‘luxury finishes’ were notched up. Italian countertops and German sanitaryware came our way, but if you want somewhere to dry your clothes, well that’s what service attends to in the east wing isn’t it?

One would be interested to know how many architects who designed these ‘redefining Dublin standards’ places actually ever lived in them. You can bet your bottom dollar they wouldn't live there if you paid them.

Then you come to regions of the city. If you want Dublin 1, you can settle for a Georgian tenement, a Zoe box, or an overpriced IFSC affair; Dublin 2, er, anything, anyone...?; Dublin 3, suburban houses or shocking 1980s Legoland; Dublin 4, hand over your cheque book; Dublin 5, a shared suburban house of dubious standards; Dublin 6, are you nuts?; Dublin 7, doesn't 'do' apartments; Dublin 8, finally a few dashes of quality in a sea of dross; Dublin 9, you're even more nuts than Dublin 6 with that bus service, never even mind the quality of accommodation.

Simply put, Dublin is a city where affordability encompasses magnolia boxes that have the audacity to call themselves apartments or shared inner urban and suburban houses of usually suspect quality. If you want decent standards in apartment living, assuming you can find them, you pay through the nose for a percieved 'luxury'.
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Re: Dublin Apartments

Postby gunter » Mon May 16, 2011 2:16 am

Having said that, what kind of eejit designs a 120m.sq. apartment with just one bedroom?
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Re: Dublin Apartments

Postby PVC King » Mon May 16, 2011 6:42 pm

Graham

Do you feel that if the internal floor division of schemes were redesigned from say 10 flats on 1 floor to say six with a more generous standard of space that the population would be willing to pay a reasonably equivelent price per square metre? I'm just interested in seeing a demand side analysis as the boom was based on '1 bed in area sells for x' deduct costs add profit = what we can pay for the site, now that land is essentially an afterthought and demand needs to be stimulated do you feel there is a market for quality as opposed to price for large numbers of units? Not talking about 200 sq m 3 beds; take say 50 sq m 1 bed; 85 sq m 2 bed and 110 sq m 3 bed.
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Re: Dublin Apartments

Postby Service charge » Mon May 16, 2011 11:54 pm

50sqm for a one bed! Are you nuts. Most of the new builds are that size and completely unsuitable for a professional/working couple. And especially when you think many young couple have a young child staying in their room for the first year or two.

As for the 120sqm one bed. It had a large kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, wc, study, large reception area with tons of storage for shoes, coats, the hoover etc, and a living room. God forbid people might work from home and need a study area, or not want to have their washing machine in the sitting room/kitchen!

I suppose the main problem is most one beds built in Dublin in the last 10 years are of the same design. All you can get is a 45-50sqm with a narrow entrance hall, one wardrobe bedroom and a living room with the kitchen being one wall of the same room.

There are no large one bedroom apartments for sale in this city, not one. Developers didn't need to worry about demand and standards five years ago. Now if you want to sell an apartment it should be a different story.

I need an apartment with: a study with a proper window (not a second bedroom); a large kitchen as I, as most Irish people, like to spend alot of time in the kitchen; a living room that can fit a wall of books without pushing the couch into the fireplace; a hall way where I can hang my coats and some art; and a bathroom that I can actually sit on the toilet without hitting my head off the sink!

I will not buy an apartment until that happens.
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Re: Dublin Apartments

Postby wearnicehats » Tue May 17, 2011 10:16 am

Service charge wrote:.

I need an apartment with: a study with a proper window (not a second bedroom); a large kitchen as I, as most Irish people, like to spend alot of time in the kitchen; a living room that can fit a wall of books without pushing the couch into the fireplace; a hall way where I can hang my coats and some art; and a bathroom that I can actually sit on the toilet without hitting my head off the sink!

I will not buy an apartment until that happens.


keep hold of that rent book then so

the irony is that the powers that be decided to act on the shoebox style right about the time that everyone else stopped building them

http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/D ... 335,en.pdf

http://www.dublincity.ie/Planning/Dubli ... tement.pdf (page 239)
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Re: Dublin Apartments

Postby PVC King » Tue May 17, 2011 10:32 pm

50 sq m of net internal space if correctly configured is sufficient space for a couple; I take your point on storage but I think the continentals have the right idea on that i.e. make it ancillary and without frills; your skis get battered en piste a little dust won't damage them. Flats may be cheap now but that will not last beyond the existing inventory clearing and as long as that takes will prevent any change in the product offer available. If you don't like what is on offer I suggest you buy 2 flats or a large 2/3 bed flat and remodel it or simply change the use of rooms into an office etc. Given that product in the coming decade if built will be a function of build cost as much as anything else I would be surprised if what you are looking for comes to market anytime soon.

Although I am aware of a couple of very well located mews houses that are available off market; if you have sufficient conviction in the Dublin market send me a pm....
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Re: Dublin Apartments

Postby Service charge » Wed May 18, 2011 12:20 am

Heh, if I could afford a mews house I wouldn't be looking for a one bed apartment. But thanks for the offer.

I suppose part of the problem is that very few Irish people have any concept of house sizes. I found on the continent everyone knew how large their apartment was and could guess pretty accurately on seeing another apartment.

In Dublin however, most auctioneers barely know. Look on daft and you will probably only see specific dimensions listed on about 10% of ads. You also see the words 'large' used very frequently only to find out the place is 45sqm.
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Re: Dublin Apartments

Postby JuliusCaesar » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:23 pm

And yet you need to know the size of the place for your house insurance. I know my previous place was 50m2, current house 125m2.

But what annoyed me when looking at estate agent's ads was that - they often didn't give the size in metric; and often don't give the overall size, just measurements room by room. And rarely a floor plan! (They haven't improved since the recession either.)
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Re: Dublin Apartments

Postby jimg » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:29 pm

Graham describes almost exactly my last experience of looking for an apartment in Dublin. It was absolutely depressing; it was the first time I had searched for a place in the city as an anonymous potential tenant (via daft, etc.) and the absolute shittiness of what I viewed appalled me. Whatever about the grim 1984ish experience of viewing an early Zoe, I was even more outraged by the standard of (presumably pre '63) period subdivisions that were being offered as apartments. Many of the places had a distinctive smell. It honestly was a significant motivation for me to emigrate.

Out of Dublin and Ireland, my current apartment is not large (about 60m2) and is probably over 40 years old (with fittings inspired by 70s porn/chic beige&brown) but it has a large open plan entrance hall/living room (no wasting floorspace on a dark useless corridor), a modest but proper kitchen which can be sealed off by a sliding door and 2 rooms which you can configure as you wish (bedroom, study or dining room). And of course you get: basement storage, hot water and heating provided centrally for the building, sound proof walls, a house handy man living in one of the 10 apartments and a painless recycling system for paper, cardboard, glass, etc. But what I really appreciate is the functional nuclear bunker in the basement. All of this should be considered simple stuff.
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