In Pictures: New development in Celbridge gives first-time buyers flexibility
Hands-on approach gives the buyer flexibility at this new launch in Celbridge, as Liadan Hynes reports
Viewing the new Bourke Builders' development in Celbridge, Hawthorn Gate, is like paying a call to friends in the country. Siblings Brian and Emer Bourke are on hand for a chat around the kitchen table, a pot of tea is made and chocolate biscuits offered around. Visit any of their housing developments in their native Ballina, Co Mayo, and it is quickly clear they are on first name terms with all the residents. Theirs is a hands-on approach.
Hawthorn Gate, on Maynooth Road, is their first Dublin development and until now they have only worked on one-off houses and public sector projects in the capital.
"We were always house builders, and we love it,'' says Emer. "It's in us." Their father first established Bourke Builders in Mayo, carrying out both public and private sector work, and is known to arrive on site to still check things out. "He's been up here," smiles Emer. "He'd be interested in what we're doing."
During the crash, Joe, a second brother, extended the family business to London, where they now do a lot of work in high-end fashion and beauty retail premises, and have just bought their first residential site in Kent. Brian, who celebrates 30 years in the family business this year, moved to Dublin, "to keep us all swimming", says his sister.
With 26 units, "this is only a baby", says Emer, compared to other larger housing schemes they have done around the countryside.
The site was formerly a gardening centre, and the previous owners, who had lived on site, have since bought a house within the development, so taken are they with the new project. Their son has been involved in the landscaping of the scheme.
The Bourkes had been looking at a site for a while; this attracted them as it was "a mature site, a small development," says Brian. "Very close to the motorway, very close to Celbridge itself." The site is adjacent to the Castletown House estate, and a large number of the new units include the old estate walls as part of their garden.
So far, the scheme, which is a few minutes' drive from the Leixlip-west exit on the N4, has attracted everything from starter home purchasers to those down-sizing, with interested parties coming from both those already living in the area, and from Dublin.
In terms of amenities, it is well situated. Celbridge village is 10 minutes' walk away. Tesco is across the road, Lidl and Aldi nearby. There are a number of schools within the area.
The development includes two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom A-rated houses. There are two- and three-bed terraced houses, from c80 sqm-c102sqm, four-bed semi-detached, c130sqm, and five-bed detached two-storey units, c154sqm.
The homes have front and rear gardens, and the four and five beds have off-street parking. Each comes with a fitted kitchen, nine-foot ceilings on the ground floor, various energy-saving features, and an external finish of brick and render. Appliances include fridge freezers, dishwasher, electric oven, gas hob, and overhead extractor. Living rooms come with sealed wood-burning stoves, and a choice of fireplace surrounds and hearth. There are fitted wardrobes in all bedrooms.
Space, and as much natural light as possible, are the priorities when they embark on a residential project, say the Bourkes. For example, unlike many new schemes, Hawthorn Gate's houses have particularly large entrance halls. Emer is responsible for the interiors on each project and points out that a lot of thought goes into practical details such as what furniture is needed in each room, and whether it will all fit. "An extra foot might make a huge difference," she says.
If a buyer gets there in time, interior changes are "no problem", Brian says. While that kind of flexibility is more common outside of Dublin, it's rare in a scheme close to the capital.
"We're here to look after the client, regardless of the size of the house they're buying, to them it's a huge amount of money. You want them to be happy, you want it to be theirs. And if something works better for them, they need to have an input into it."
He cites the example of one of their house purchasers who has decided to expand one bedroom and reduce another to fit a computer desk and a chair. "Why not?" says Brian. "At the end of the day, if you were buying a house, wouldn't you like to have a little bit of flexibility to do that?" Buyers can choose any five colours from the Dulux range, and the house will be finished in that selection. "At the end of the day, a house is something that is very much personal taste," reflects Brian. "They have to be able to get it the way they want to."
Completion is due in May, but the first buyers are moving in over the next few weeks.
Price: Two-bed mid-terrace from €270,000; four-bed end-of-terrace from €350,000; four-bed semi-detached from €390,000; five-bedroom detached from €550,000
Viewing: Sunday, 12 February, 2-4pm; official launch, 18 and 19 February, 2-4pm
Agent: DNG (01) 491 2600 or Emer Bourke (087) 226 7889