Finding a new home with a sense of character and history is a challenge for well-heeled buyers accustomed to period features. This is the niche filled by a Mount Merrion development called The Stables, so named because it's partly set in a restored 300-year-old stable block.
In 1711, Richard FitzWilliam, 5th Viscount FitzWilliam, built Mount Merrion House and a stables on the site of a small hunting lodge on a hill overlooking Merrion and Dublin Bay. The FitzWilliams of Dundrum had been one of the largest landowners in Dublin and Richard went on to become an MP.
Over the next 200 years, members of the FitzWilliam-Herbert family lived at Mount Merrion House, though it was also intermittently rented out.
In 1935, Mount Merrion House was sold to the Catholic Church and turned into a primary school and a church. In 1976, the house was demolished, along with part of the stable block, which had been damaged in a fire. The remaining part of the stable block, at The Rise at Mount Merrion, was conserved for the new development, which is being built by Centurion Homes, the company behind the Cluain Mara estate in Kinsale and Aylesbury in the Cork suburb of Ballintemple.
Seven new homes were configured into the 18th-century stable block and three two-bed mews properties were built across the landscaped courtyard of the block.
Downsizers from Mount Merrion and its environs have dominated sales at The Stables since it was launched in September. There are still three houses for sale behind the listed façade of the stable block: these range in price from €875,000 for a two-bed to €1.075m for the largest three-bed, with sizes going from 1,539 sq ft to 1,947 sq ft.
Across the courtyard, there is one two-storey, two-bed mews house for sale; it measures about 1,410 sq ft and costs from €875,000. The entire scheme is expected to be finished by early summer.
AB Projects, a Dublin-based studio that specialises in custom furniture, will work with buyers to select the finishing materials and colours for the bespoke handmade kitchen and the bedrooms' built-in wardrobes.
The kitchen will come with De Dietrich appliances and solid quartz worktops.
The bathrooms are equipped with full-sized baths and walk-in showers with matt black Crittall-style shower screens. There is brushed brassware for the taps, bath and shower controls, and rainwater shower heads.
While the stable houses are exempt from BER ratings, they were built with a high level of insulation for all walls, floors and roofs, and high levels of air-tightness. There is underfloor heating to the ground floor, with radiators to the first and attic floors.
All the homes come with parking for two cars within the courtyard gardens and there is a separate bicycle storage area. Louvred cedar surrounds the bicycle parking, the privacy screens to the mews' terraces, and also features in the communal spaces that run from the Trees Road entrance.
When The Stables is finished, it will have a communal garden leading to a secondary entrance from the adjacent church carpark.
For family buyers, the development is within close proximity of some of South Dublin's finest schools, including Willow Park, Blackrock College, Mount Anville and Oatlands College.
The M50 and city centre are easily accessible, as is Dundrum Town Centre and the Blackrock and Frascati Shopping Centres.
Viewings are by appointment.