The Multi-unit project in Rathmines by Michael Ó Mara Interior Design & Property solutions sets the new standard for adapted, studio style accommodation.
It took several months to procure the perfect property for our client, having drawn up a list of potential property’s and carried out various inspections. We sought a property that could be renovated and upgraded to a proper standard and to purchase at a manageable price based on return potential. By our recommendation, the perfect property could be utilised for both short term and long term letting – a consideration here was that with longer term lets, the specification is greater such as requiring an independent fridge and freezer unit so an under counter space saver was not viable. There was also the matter of there being a 4 ring hob as opposed to a two ring for long term lets. Such obligations tend to be restrictive due to space constraints however we worked around the obstacle and developed design solutions to overcome. Another important inclusion was of a separate bath/ shower area for each unit. Designing such parameters into a a 12 metre space is a key challenge as each square metre has to be utilised effectively and at the same time have an aesthetic, considered finish.
Eventually a property on Grove Park, Rathmines was procured. This area is synonymous with ‘bed-sits’ and adapted houses. In many cases the property’s were investment property’s with a poor standard of fit out and accommodation which was reflected in the overall condition and rental yields. In a lot of cases the cheapest materials were used and considered design and optimisation was not achieved to realise the full potential of these property’s. In such cases, the living experience is not the greatest nor is it a space that is homely, welcoming, contemporary and a pleasure to reside.
When the Grove Park property was first procured, the above issues were prevalent. The property had seen better times. It required considerable TLC and design consideration. The accommodations generally only provided a sleeping area for one, the bathing areas were dank and poorly constructed, the living spaces dark and unwelcoming, the decoration non existent and the kitchens, whilst compact, were not functional or up to letting standard. The common areas too were dark and unwelcoming. Poor illumination throughout, reminiscent of a Dickensian era with one over head bulb at the entrance with the first landing bulb of the common area defunct.
The laundry space under the stair had but one washer/ dryer unit for 7 Residents, insufficient for daily living. This space was extended into what was a common WC. The building overall was damp with a smell, drafty and cold. The heating was a mixture of electric convector and gas fire places, greatly insufficient for today’s expected standards.
The property was split over 3 levels with 7 bed-sits, an untended rear garden and front of house small garden.
Our approach for this project was to reconsider the layout and realise the full potential of each unit, turning the low grade ‘bed -sit’ into a medium quality rental suite with proper facilities and functional space.
In turn this would create opportunity for a good return for short term lets based on their location and appeal and also offer the flexibility to adapt to long term lets too if necessary and based on market and legislative conditions.
The following list should be useful to any potential investors/ developers when considering a renovation or refurbishment of an existing property – these are some of the items that we addressed:
• A complete upgrade and installation of gas fired central heating & hot water to new fixed appliances throughout with individual thermostatic controls in all units
• New external gas boiler shed installed to accommodate the above
• A complete electrical rewire of the entire building with all fuse boards, sockets & fittings replaced
• A mains wired fire alarm system with heat detectors in each unit & common area
• New emergency lighting fitted in the common areas connected to fire detection system.
• The installation of new double glazed windows in all units
• The fitting of dual sun & blackout blinds
• The installation of all new sanitary facilities in each unit -shower, sink, hot & cold water, WC & tiling
• The property was re-plumbed with improved plumbing & waste disposal
• Attic insulation has been installed for better heat retention and energy rating
• New fitted kitchen units with new improved appliances – 4 ring hob, fridge/ freezer, extractor fan with charcoal filter, combi microwave/ oven, sink with hot & cold water supply, new quartz countertops with drain & splashbacks
• Ventilation was improved throughout with new extractor fan units & vents
• The communal laundry has been upgraded with 2 x washing machines & 2 x condenser dryer’s.
• New flooring laid with sound absorbing membrane
• New carpeted stairwell with underlay was fitted
• Sound proofing drywall fitted to party walls
• Electrical lighting had been improved in each unit with new LED track spot lighting in all areas along with accent feature lighting
• The property was completely re-wired with new electrical points throughout
THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT
The results speak for themselves both visually, functionally and financially. The average return per unit was approx. €500 per month compared with now of approximately €2250.00 gross per month . A considerable ROI.
Michael Ó Mara advises that: ” In all the units we sought to improve the amenity – firstly to design the accommodation to be able to accommodate at least two people sleeping from the original one person accommodation. Then there were the considerations of having not only stylish but also functional kitchens and bathrooms within budget. In a number of cases we designed new layouts, re-orientating the spaces to provide greater bathing space and facility along with functional, aesthetic kitchen units. All the bathrooms now have gas fired hot water on tap compared to the individual electric heater units which the previous showers had. In two of the Suites we made use of the extra ceiling height and designed a loft bed system which freed up the floor space for living and which improved the offer of descent sized shower rooms. In other units as space was at a premium we conceived the use of folding beds to free up floor space when not in use. As a finishing touch, all the units come with Bluetooth connectivity to a sound system along with direct Netflix access & wifi on the smart Tv’s fitted.”
Many of these units are now short term let city stays with a significant monthly turn over.
On seeing the original condition of the property this renovation project offers significant returns on investment and also creates the opportunity to sell a fully refitted and refurbished multi unit home with a significant Annual revenue turnover.
If you are considering investing in a property for rental, looking to refurbish, seeking design solutions for Multi unit developments or require a second opinion on your potential investment property then we are here and happy to help.