Wednesday 28 September 2016

Howth home puts on a show for €1.65m

Decorated and landscaped, a show house has benefits

Katy McGuinness

Published 29/01/2016 | 02:30

Thormanby Hill: Inside and outside the show house has been finished to the highest standards.
Thormanby Hill: Inside and outside the show house has been finished to the highest standards.
Thormanby Hill: large landscaped garden and patio.
The entrance hall.
Picturesque Howth Head.
The informal living room is intended as a den or play room.
Formal drawing room.
Open plan kitchen/dining/living space.

There are big advantages to be reaped in waiting it out for a flagship show house.

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During the running phases of a new home scheme, the flagship show house's job is, as the name suggests, to sell the entire scheme to the viewing public, to give them a broad idea of what their hitherto unfinished home will look like if they are tempted to put down a deposit.

So, for obvious reasons the flagship show house has to be kitted out to the very highest standard and the quality of the finish must be absolutely pristine. The flagship is usually also the single largest property in the scheme and usually has the largest garden. This also comes landscaped to within an inch of its life. And it is most often (though not always) situated at the very entrance to the estate, making it also the most conveniently located.

Of course the best thing about buying a show house is that it comes fully furnished with sofas, kitchen units, tables, chairs, carpets, curtains, beds and the whole kaboodle. These have been painstakingly sourced and matched by professional designers.

For these reasons the new home specialists Hooke and MacDonald say it is not uncommon for particular types of buyers to put their names down early for first option to buy a flagship show house when the scheme is fully sold. It might become available next month or might not be ready to sell for 18 months. Uncertainty is the downside. The agency says an average waiting time is nine months. On top of this, those who book a flagship show house also have to be aware that prices can go up (or down) during the course of the scheme depending on the public's reaction to it.

Pictured here is the flagship show house at Thormanby Hill, an upmarket Cosgrave scheme underway in Howth, Co Dublin. The scheme saw phase one of nine homes sold last year, phase two of 10 is launching next month and a final phase is planned to go at the end of the year. So whoever puts their name down for first option is likely to be "in" by Christmas.

Picturesque Howth Head.
Picturesque Howth Head.
Thormanby Hill: Inside and outside the show house has been finished to the highest standards.
Thormanby Hill: large landscaped garden and patio.
The entrance hall.
The informal living room is intended as a den or play room.
Formal drawing room.
Open plan kitchen/dining/living space.

There's an additional advantage with this particular abode. Planning permissions are notoriously hard to achieve in Howth, with the consequence that there is little in the way of contemporary housing stock in the area. The peninsula is seen as such a desirable residential location, with an easy commute to both the city centre and the airport, plus prolific views and natural amenities.

When completed and sold there will be a total of 30 houses placed around the 17-acre sloping site. Cosgrave has a reputation for high quality construction, as evidenced by previous developments including Honey Park in Dun Laoghaire and Simmonscourt Square in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

The flagship show interiors are by Brian S. Nolan of Dun Laoghaire.

Ken MacDonald has confirmed this week that prices for the next phase of houses to be released in Thormanby Hill will range from €1.475 to €1.7m, depending on the size of the garden, which vary in size from 0.3 to 0.5 of an acre and have been individually landscaped by landscape architects Cunnane Stratton Reynolds. Each house has its own patio, designed to catch the sun, and a 2.5-acre wooded parkland is an added attraction, while the children's playground will be a gathering place for the younger residents.

Located off Thormanby Road, on the Howth Peninsula, the site was purchased by the developers over a decade ago and it's safe to assume that it would have been long completed by now had the recession not intervened. Situated close to the Summit Inn, and within reach of the network of coastal pathways that traverse the heather-covered landscape, the development will appeal to those looking for a substantial and traditional family home in a private and upmarket setting.

Thormanby Hill is within walking distance of the village, with its shops, restaurants and cafes, although the walk is probably more fun on the way down than on the way back up. The village is known for its fish restaurants, catering for everything from cod and chips to sophisticated seafood. Howth also hosts the annual Dublin Bay Prawn festival each spring, with this year's festival scheduled to tie in with the St Patrick's festival in March.

Architects McCrossan O'Rourke Manning are responsible for the design of the luxury homes at Thormanby Hill, each with 3,358 sq ft of living space. The houses are symmetrical and classic in appearance, with a granite-framed front door, and are finished to the high standard that one would expect of properties in this price bracket. Inside there are architraves and coving, and solid wooden doors.

Either side of the entrance hall is a pair of reception rooms, one intended as a formal drawing room and the other as a den or playroom. The open plan kitchen/dining/living space to the back is designed as the centre of the home and the focus for family living.

The informal living room is intended as a den or play room.
The informal living room is intended as a den or play room.
Thormanby Hill: Inside and outside the show house has been finished to the highest standards.
Thormanby Hill: large landscaped garden and patio.
The entrance hall.
Picturesque Howth Head.
Formal drawing room.
Open plan kitchen/dining/living space.

There's a large and handy separate utility room, to keep any mess hidden, and a study or sixth bedroom, with the benefit of an adjacent shower room, suitable for anyone with mobility issues. It is apparent that the accommodation is configured with a view to flexibility according to the needs of each individual family, and the ages of the children.

Multiple sets of doors open out onto the surrounding gardens and patios from the rooms on the ground floor, making for an easy flow of movement from inside to outside.

Upstairs, there are five double bedrooms arranged around a landing with void to the entrance hall below. At 430 sq. ft., the master suite is as big as a small apartment, and has its own en suite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe. Of the four remaining bedrooms, two are en suite and the other two share the family bathroom. All bedrooms have walnut finish fitted wardrobes with ivory shadow doors by Cowleys.

The architects have equipped the houses at Thormanby Hill with passive house technology to deliver a BER rating of A2 - A3. The house features controlled energy mechanisms to increase comfort and efficiency and reduce energy bills.

Howth has a choice of primary and secondary schools, and both sailors and golfers are well catered for by Howth Yacht Club and Sutton Dinghy Club, and Howth, Sutton and Deer Park golf clubs.

The agents estimate that depending on how prices pan out in the final phase at the end of the year, the flagship will go for a price certainly in excess of €1.65m. That price will reflect that the property will have the largest garden in the scheme (an additional 0.3 of an acre taking it up to 0.6 of an acre). The agents estimate that around €150,000 has been spent on furniture and fittings throughout.

Thormanby Hill

Thormanby Road, Howth, Co Dublin

Asking price: Excess €1.65m

Agent: Hooke & MacDonald (01) 6318402

Indo Property

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