Right at the apex of Mount Anville Road, just opposite the gates of Mount Anville School, sits the site of Knockrabo, on what was formerly the land of Mount Anville House.
Launching this week, this development is the third scheme that sees Maplewood Residential collaborate with Broadhaven Credit Partners, whose backers include Dermot Desmond. Previous projects were Sion Hill Park in Dublin 9, and Dodderbrook in Ballycullen, Dublin 24.
Set in that leafiest of southside Dublin suburbs, Mount Merrion, this latest development is by far their most prestigious venture. The first release of 23 houses this week includes four house styles, with prices starting at €775,000 for a four-bedroom terraced unit, 164-165sqm.
There are also end-of-terrace four-beds in the same style from €800,000, three-bed detached houses, 131-134sqm, from €785,000, four-bed semi-detached houses, 164-165sqm from €810,000, two four-bed detached houses, 152-156sqm, from €875,000, and eight five-bed semi-detached units, 207sqm, from €920,000.
The site is laid out over a gentle slope, with units staggered down the side of the hill, meaning most enjoy unimpeded beautiful views towards the north of the city. As is the tendency with new home developments set in the grounds of old houses, this plot enjoys much mature greenery.
Michael Whelan Jnr, of Maplewood Residential, reflected this week that they are expecting a mixture of buyers - young families with two professional incomes, looking for forever family homes, for whom the four-bed terraced and semi-detached homes should appeal, and downsizers, who having reared their children in the area now want a smaller, more manageable home, but something that still has a garden and several bedrooms. The three-bed detached units are expected to particularly appeal to these buyers.
The site opened on Wednesday afternoon to those on the waiting list, and prospective purchasers began arriving as early as seven that morning. The return of queues is becoming an increasingly normal feature of new homes launches. Buyers, estate agents are reporting, come to a launch well-versed on the units for sale, often to the point of having decided which exact unit they wish to purchase.
All the typical features of new homes have been rendered at Knockrabo in a particularly well-executed manner. Storage space has been generously provided, with some units including more than one ground floor cloakroom. Utility rooms are generous, with garden access. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the bedrooms and almost the same in the living areas render these homes particularly light-filled. These are homes that will easily contain a growing family. The hall and stairwell areas are roomy and spacious, and in the five-bed semi-detached units there is a second en suite; these are the touches that can keep a house full of teenagers from feeling cramped. The four-bed detached units include ground-floor studies, which would work equally well as playrooms.
Planning permission came with the option of a one-storey ground-floor rear extension, which was availed of in all the houses. This allowed the developers to avoid a common pitfall of new homes; the three-storey layout of five-bed units can often mean the ground-floor living quarters can be a shade narrow and cramped, "smaller than maybe the overall size of the house deserves," Whelan reflects. In this case, the addition of the rear extension leads to a larger than usual ground-floor footprint.
"From the very outset we took a view that we wanted to build the maximum floor area possible. That the buyer here would definitely want the maximum living space possible."
Interior designer Helen Turkington was brought on from the outset, rather than just to work on the show houses. "The buyer profile would be people with discerning taste," says Whelan. "Helen was involved in picking the cabinetry, architraves, the moulded doors, the ironmongery, and the kitchens." The kitchens in particular enjoy a high specification, with bespoke solid wood hand-painted units, a quartz worktop and splash back, and a generous appliance package all included as standard. A choice of engineered wooden flooring or tiling in the hall and open-plan kitchen, dining and family area is also standard.
"Our aim was to create timeless elegant interiors that are highly functional and dynamic in their design and layouts," says Turkington. "We wanted to ensure that the character of the original site was maintained and that this was reflected in the detailing within the houses, from moulded panel doors, limestone fireplaces to beautiful hand-painted kitchens."
The first phase will eventually include 47 houses, to be completed this year. Apartments will be started later this year and 51 will be brought to the market this time next year, a mixture of one-, two- and three-bed units, including seven or eight penthouses. Eventually, the plan is to include community space on the site, a library and reading rooms, possibly a small gym and a creche. The old Cedar Mount House, which still stands to this day, is being considered as a possible venue.
Viewing: Today, 2-4pm
Agent: DNG (01) 491 2600