Wednesday 20 February 2019

If this Dublin 5 home was located in Clontarf or Sutton, the price would be considerably higher

Pristine 1930s house could offer scope to build new homes in garden, writes Katy McGuinness

Silveracre dates from the 1930s
Silveracre dates from the 1930s
Aerial view of the house, fifth from the left
Dining room
Entrance hall
The drawing room is large enough to accommodate a piano
Kitchen with Aga
Games room

WHEN it comes to new property developments, the talk is all about future-proofing. Mostly used in relation to first-time buyers, it's the idea that a home should be able to 'grow' with them and meet their changing needs in the years ahead.

For that cohort, the idea of being able to magic up more space without having to move, by simply converting an attic or adding an extension is an attractive proposition.

So too is the notion that at some point it will be possible to have separate living spaces for adults and teenagers, although this can be hard to envisage when the children are still at the Lego lurking in the carpet' stage.

But this is not the only form that future-proofing can take, particularly if you're pushing on in years. Just as a young family starting out will in all likelihood need more space as the years pass, so empty-nesters will need less.

Most parents, if they are in a position to, would like to help their offspring get a foot on the property ladder. In rural Ireland, that might mean a farmer giving a site to a son or daughter so they can build their own house close by, while in urban areas it's more likely to mean helping out with the deposit.

The new owners of Silveracre might be in a position to do something even better, though, and that would be to develop the rear part of their garden as additional housing for family members at some point in the future. Or they could develop a smaller house for themselves on the site and sell off Silveracre itself.

To the back of Silveracre lies the Lonsdale development, a crescent of sixteen modern homes, designed by Adrian Hill Architects and developed by MKN in part on a site similar in depth to that of Silveracre.

In addition to its main driveway, entered from the Howth Road, Blackbanks, Silveracre benefits from a "right of way for development" leading to its rear easterly boundary through the adjoining entrance of Lonsdale.

No planning permission has to date been sought for development at Silveracre, but Adrian Hill's feasibility study clearly identifies its potential, confirms that zoning is appropriate and that services are in place, and suggests that either three small houses or one larger one might be possible, all without interfering with the front of the property. All of which sounds like comprehensive future-proofing.

Whatever about its development potential, which new owners may choose never to exploit, Silveracre is a fine big family house just the way it is.

With 4,360 sq ft of living space, this home is in very good condition and ready for new owners to move into straight away. If Silveracre were located in Howth, Sutton, Malahide, Clontarf or Drumcondra - seen as the 'premium' (for which read 'expensive') northside suburbs - the price would be considerably higher.

It is located in the townland of Blackbanks, which effectively runs the length of the Howth Road from Raheny to the Shieling Hotel, and takes in the land between there and the coast road.

The house dates from the 1930s. Land was not at the same premium then as it is now, so sites were bigger and architects had a preference for wide houses with as many double aspects as possible, to increase the amount of natural light in the rooms.

It is a design strategy that has stood the test of time, and Silveracre benefits from the high ceilings, good proportions, open fireplaces and general sense of warmth and comfort typical of large houses from this time.

That said, extensive modernisation over recent years means that the house is now configured in such a way as to be geared towards the rough and tumble of busy family life.

On the ground floor there are four reception rooms including a games room and drawing room with grand piano, and a large kitchen with four-oven Aga. There's a nice flow from one room to another, and it's easy to see how the house might be a great venue for parties.

On the first floor are no fewer than six bedrooms, with the main bedroom and two others en suite, and in the attic are the other three bedrooms, including an en suite. There is no shortage of space for overnight guests, which is either a plus or a minus depending on how one views such matters.

Outside, the gardens - extending to almost half an acre - are lush, well-stocked and wholly private, and the walk to the coast and the seafront promenade down Foxes Lane takes only a couple of minutes.

This proximity is a boon for dog-walkers, runners and cyclists, and also simply for those who like to get out and gulp down lungfuls of fresh, salty sea air whenever possible.

St. Anne's Park and Dollymount Strand are wonderful local amenities and, if you ever want a diversion from the outdoor life, there is good shopping in Raheny, Clontarf and Sutton, and the location is within easy commuting distance of the city centre and the airport.


724 Howth Road, Blackbanks, Dublin 5

Asking price: €1.85m

Agent: Gallagher Quigley, (01) 8183000

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