If you know and love certain landmark streets in Cardiff then you probably have a mental list of the top places.
And if you’re asked to name some of the capital’s most unique or exclusive addresses, this list probably includes residential roads such as those that flank Roath Park, Cathedral Road lined with huge Victorian villas and Druidstone Road, Old St Mellons – frequently listed as one of the most expensive roads to live on in Wales.
Wandering down to Cardiff Bay, you come across Windsor Esplanade, with its distinctive terrace of gorgeous period properties and contemporary apartments at the end of the street.
The outlook over Cardiff Bay means it is surely one of the city’s landmark roads to call home? In the past, residents chatted to us about how amazing it is to live on Windsor Esplanade.
But around the corner from this exclusive street is a cute little road that maybe many Cardiff residents and visitors pass by without really noticing it, but it too is steeped in local history and character.
Along with Windsor Terrace and Windsor Esplanade, Bute Esplanade is said to be one of the oldest surviving terraces in Cardiff and part of the Pierhead Conservation area. Bute Esplanade might be a much smaller version of its grand, waterside neighbour, but it seems that once you’re a resident here you don’t want to change address in a hurry.
Yes, there may only be seven houses on the street but that makes the address even more exclusive. Data from property portal Rightmove states that in the last 22 years there have only been six property sales, and two of these were the same house – number six.
The pretty pink house in the centre of the terrace, number five, has just come onto the market having last welcomed a new resident in 2013, when it sold for £249,800 according to Land Registry sold prices listed on Rightmove.
For such a cute street, Bute Esplanade has a history almost as colourful as the facades of the houses in its terrace. The only sale in the street in the last eight years has been number one, the substantial three-storey house at the end of the row of houses.
This particular house had seen many years of declining into a rundown state which saw it be the centre of trouble with the police in 2006.
The police put a temporary closure notice on the end of a terrace house, claiming it was a magnet for prostitutes and drug users and tried, unsuccessfully at that time, to get a court judge to close the property down. Find out more about that here.
The house was eventually sold in 2017 to family-run company Cartwright Construction who fully renovated the property and brought it back to life as four, two-bed apartments, resulting in the complete row of terraced homes now looking the best it has been for decades.
The history of the tiny terrace links back to the heyday of Cardiff docks. The original terrace of 12 homes, of which only these seven remain, was built around 1857 by the Bute Estate and may have been designed by Alexander Roos.
Roos was the architect who worked on numerous projects in the capital, including the layout of Cathays Park, the west lodge at Cardiff Castle, and a number of prominent houses in Mount Stuart Square.
The row of fancy homes are reported to have been home to sea captains and dock masters, with number three said to have been owned by a master mariner called James Case.
The views from the houses on Bute Esplanade are as individual as the terrace itself, overlooking the children’s park and then the Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve.
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The terrace can also claim celebrities, sports stars, and some of the wealthiest visitors to the city as neighbours when they stay at the neighbouring five star St David’s Hotel.
Just a short stroll away are all the bars, restaurants and cafes of Cardiff Bay, as well as walks along the former docks, and events at Wales Millennium Centre, in Roald Dahl Plass and the Norwegian church to enjoy.
A rummage around on Google maps reveals that back in 2008, number 5 Bute Esplanade was in need of a lick of paint, and since then it has certainly been updated into a pretty in pink partner to its six lovely neighbours.
Through the attractive iron gate and railings, past the front terrace that is the obvious place to pop out some garden chairs, relax and enjoy the views, and in through the chunky double front door.
Inside the house it becomes obvious that it is a bit of a Tardis property, revealing more internal space than maybe you would imagine from the outside.
From the hallway, the first room to discover is the front lounge, through the clever addition of an internal glass door that shares light between the two spaces.
The house then reveals that it has been opened up and also extended to create a very sociable and modern living space.
The dividing wall between the front and rear reception room has gone, and this one large space can now offer designated and connected lounge and dining room spaces, plus two period fireplaces, picture rails and cornicing to admire from all angles.
The use of the same flooring and colour palette on the walls easily visually connects the two spaces, which then flows into a generous kitchen diner at the rear of the property.
Again, use of a set of glass connecting doors between reception rooms and the kitchen diner at the rear means light flows through the whole of the ground floor spaces.
And if you stand in the centre of the floorplan, you can see both the front and the rear of the house and both the outside aspects.
Enticed into the kitchen diner by glimpses of it through the glass doors, it is a fabulous space, well-designed to include a myriad of storage and appliances.
The space has been designed to even incorporate an island unit and a large dining table and chairs. And the integrated LED ceiling lighting means you can never blame lack of light for cooking the supper.
Again, a clever design trick has been introduced to the space – a mirrored splashback behind the double range cooker that bounces light all over the room.
It also means while you are cooking with your back to the table you can still check that the kids are eating their broccoli or doing their homework and not on their phones – sneaky but a fantastic bonus feature.
The triple glass doors are obviously the main source of the influx of light into the space, as well as easy access into the rear courtyard garden.
The final space on the ground floor to find is a handy cloakroom created at the end of the hall utilising some of the under stairs space.
Up those stairs then to the first floor and two generous double bedrooms and a super stylish bathroom await to greet you.
Obviously the star of the bedrooms on this floor is the one at the front, expanding to the whole width of the house and there’s oodles of space to accommodate a huge bed and multiple items of bedroom furniture.
This lovely space can boast two, large windows, creating the double joy of views out over the wetlands reserves, across the waters of Cardiff Bay to the barrage and Penarth headland on the horizon.
The second bedroom is another good sized double found just along the landing before you reach the bathroom and this room is a bit of a stunner in space and classic design.
The bathroom interior design combines traditional fixtures and fittings with marble-style tiling and a spa bath with jets to ensure every bath time is a relaxing time.
There’s a separate walk-in shower included within the careful design of the bathroom layout, plus a hidden laundry room behind the double sink unit.
This secret space houses the combi boiler and has plumbing for a washing machine, a work surface and fitted shelving, so can justifiably be called a utility room.
Up to the top floor, and the final bedroom offers you a room that covers the whole footprint of the house, with space for a home office, fitted wardrobes and under eaves storage, as well as the best views over Cardiff Bay from this most elevated of positions.
This rarely available address is on the market for offers over £500,000 with Sterling Homes Estate Agency who are organising an open house on Saturday, April 23 by appointment only, call 07760 323 533 to find out more. And if you never want to miss the best dream homes, renovations and interiors articles, join the Amazing Welsh Homes newsletter for a twice weekly update.