Where old meets new
Bolton Park, just launched in Rathfarnham, mixes conservation with a new homes development
'I had to have it," says developer Neill Collins, recalling the day he first came across Bolton Hall House in Rathfarnham in Dublin 16. The site that includes the Georgian home, a listed building dating from 1818, launches this weekend as a new homes development, Bolton Park.
The 4.5 acre site will comprise of the original house, which is being meticulously restored, and will come to the market separately as a five-bedroom family home of approximately 371 sqm. The original mill house, will be transformed into three houses, and there are an additional 17 new homes.
When Collins and his wife Aoife, who together run Homeland Projects, first came across the site, they were in the process of completing another similar development, Silveracre in Rathfarnham, which also combined a conservation element with a new homes build.
"Our main thing is we look for problems," Neill laughs. "People shy away from conservation and listed buildings because it's problematic. With every part of that development there's some new challenge, every corner is different." When they purchased the site last December it was virtually inaccessible, covered in scrub, bushes and trees. "It was a little adventure in itself," says Neill of early trips onto the land.
As much as possible, original features have been retained within the grounds of the development, lending the project a picturesque quality not always found in new homes sites. Flagstones from the granite floor of the old mill house are now used as a walkway in the orchard garden at the centre of the site. Cast-iron feeding troughs that were used for the horses in the stables and the old chimney pots of Bolton Hall House have been reused as flower pots, and the bricks from the orchard walls are scattered throughout.
Bolton Hall House consists of a five window block flanked by two single-storey wings. It was owned by the Lyndon family during the 1900s; Charles Lyndon was a magistrate and wine merchant. The house was badly damaged by a fire in 2009 and as of 2013 it has remained vacant. Despite this, it retains a remarkable number of its original features: all the cornicing and beading, and the hugely valuable original fireplaces, a feature often the victim of theft in such properties. There are 4.6m high ceilings throughout, with those in the two ballrooms as high as 5.5m. The house will sit on private grounds of roughly one third of an acre and is estimated to have a market value of over €1.5m.
"We're keeping all the original features, bringing it back to its original glory," says Neill. "It's very much about protecting the architectural integrity of the building." Several potential buyers are already interested in the main property and three coach houses, and the Collins's are keen to have buyers on board the conservation builds as early as possible so they can contribute to the interior design choices.
"We want to work with the purchaser, bring them in at an early stage," explains Collins. "The owner, if they're involved in the building, can tell the interior designer their needs going forward. We could pick a potential interior design style and it might not fit the potential purchaser at all." Arlene McIntyre of Ventura Design has been responsible for the interiors of the two show houses, working with Aoife Collins, who, Neill says with a smile, "holds the customer's hand along the way". Any difference of opinion on a project is, he says, "fought out over the dinner table".
The new builds are as spacious as anything that has come to the Dublin market in the last year, with wide hallways and 3m high ceilings downstairs, 2.7m upstairs. Their roomy proportions give them the feel of new homes in the country, where space tends to be at less of a premium.
"It's all about complementing the original house, which is the showpiece of the development," reflects Neill. "In the new design we brought it through in the high ceilings, and we've done dual aspect, so if you stand in the kitchen or the sitting room, you can see straight out to the old orchard walls at the front and the back."
These properties benefit from a high-spec finish. Attractive features of the semi-detached and detached four-bed properties include larger than normal walk-in wardrobes and spacious back gardens.
Price: Four-bed semi-d from €750,000; four-bed detached from €775,000
Agent: Knight Frank New Homes (01) 634 2466
Viewing: Strictly by appointment