After a full year of work, the 18Ormond project underwent a spectacular reveal in summer 2018 with the removal of scaffolding from the front and side facades. The result is a completely transformed building, barely recognisable from its previous coating of pebbledash, signage accretions and multiple layers of paint.
In their place is an enchanting 1840s Dublin merchant building, conserved and restored to its original appearance when completed in 1843 as the home of Graham & Berry, grocer, wine, tea and spirit merchants.
It is a beacon of 'good manners' on the quays and the perfect manifestation of everything that is beautiful about Dublin's street architecture.
We hope you like our small gift to Dublin.
Read more below
Working with our conservation contractors, Nolans Group, the original yellow brick has been immaculately cleaned of all former cement and paint finishes, and repointed with the original Irish ‘wigged’ joint consisting of a dark gold mortar layered over fine ribbons of lime putty.
We put great effort into ensuring that the original brick was clearly visible - readable as distinct from the golden 'stopping' mortar. This allows the weathered finish of the original brick faces to influence the tone and texture of the facade, ensuring that the integrity of the building is maintained.
The handsome granite quoins to the upper floor corners have been stripped of paint, cleaned and repointed with a silver lime mortar. Note how the inside edges of the quoins have also been pointed in this matching mortar rather than white ribbons. This allows the brickwork to visually 'crash' into the quoins, creating a much more pleasing effect that 'drawing' white lines around the quoins.
The window reveals have been crisply rendered in fine fillets of lime mortar in a process known as ‘feathering’ - a traditional Dublin technique that gradually grades the mortar from a thick fillet at the window junction right down to a knife edge at the brick corner. It's an exquisite, and startlingly modern, effect.
The ground floor shopfront is the star of the show, stripped of years of paint to reveal a remarkable quality shopfront composed entirely of architecturally cut granite. The essential carcass of the shopfront dates to c.1789, with a remodelling undertaken in 1843 that included the insertion of decorative cast-iron brackets and the dismantling and re-erection of the original arches.
The entrance door has been returned to its original position in the central arch featuring elongated, single moulded panels typical of their period.
Multi-pane, fixed windows have been installed in the other arches. These are based on shop window patterns used in the early 19th century prior to the widespread adoption of plate glass after the abolition of glass duty in 1845 (our building dates to 1843).
The glazing bars are a 'lambstongue' profile, precisely dimensioned from surviving glazing bars in the upper floor windows. All of our joinery works were undertaken by window and joinery specalists Lambstongue (Ltd.).
We have recreated cast-iron ventilation grilles made to an authentic, mid-19th century Dublin pattern. The mould was taken by Bushy Park Ironworks, metal-working contractors, from a similar-dated building on Eustace Street that we took our cue from, designed by commercial architect Willam Caldbeck.
We decided to play up the cast-iron quality of the brackets by painting them in a bronzy high gloss, again typical of the 1840s.
Following careful research into 1840s decorative schemes, we elected for a ‘grained’ oak effect on the exterior joinery. This is a common finish, sometimes known as ‘scumbling’, used on both interior and exterior woodwork in the first half of the 19th century - especially in the 1830s and 1840s. This was achieved by our experienced Dublin painter, Peter Byrne, who went to great lengths to arrive at the effect we wanted.
The windows to the upper facades have been given an 1840s ‘rosewood’ appearance using a dark wine paint similar to the purple-brown base layer we discovered during analysis. We are delighted with the smart and cheerful look.
Over the shopfront arches, we discovered evidence of the original wrought-iron rods that were likely used to suspend oil lamps over the windows. We have commissioned artisan blacksmith Paul Devlin to recreate authentic, hand-blown oil lamps fitted into forged, wrought-iron hoops and topped with hand-spun copper hats. These will be fitted during September 2018.
The chimneys have been rebuilt back to their original height before they were truncated down to the roof pitch in the early 1980s. Why do they have no pots, we’re often asked?
Simply, terracotta pots were commonly added to Dublin buildings only from the mid-19th century onwards. In the case of 18 Ormond Quay, they were not added until after the 1870s (as captured by a Lawrence Collection photograph), and we therefore took the opportunity to reinstate them to their original ‘pot-less’ arrangement. We’re delighted with their austere silhouette and the rare sight of period chimneys returned to their original state.
We have some finishing touches and tweaks in paint schemes to carry out on the outside.
Inside, 18 Ormond Quay is still very much a work in progress.
Check back soon for updates!