Thursday 23 November 2017

Orchard's nod to past glories

Durkans incorporated the old and the new in Rathmichael

The exterior showing the upstairs bedroom balcony
The exterior showing the upstairs bedroom balcony
All bathrooms are by Waterloo
The entrance hall with stone floor
The Newcastle-fitted kitchen
The Velux-lit gallery landing above the bespoke-crafted oak staircase
The bricked wine cellar
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

The city market for homes in the €1m to €2m price bracket most generally concerns period properties - usually Victorians, Edwardians, pre-war builds and some Georgians.

And the advantages of buying a larger period home have long been appreciated. There's character and workmanship - golden oldies have history and poise, and not too many builders could employ stucco workers to painstakingly craft fine ceiling detail and mouldings for most rooms today.

But there have always been worrying downsides to buying a period pile. A house that is 150 years old is far more likely to hide rot and age-related maladies which could cost half as much as the purchase price to put right.

Restoration costs you even more today because the enforcement of listing and preservation orders is far stricter. You'll need very specific (and expensive) replacement glass panes and window sets, and your options for amending outdated layouts are often heavily restricted in order to preserve that very valuable character you just paid for.

All bathrooms are by Waterloo
All bathrooms are by Waterloo

Layout is another issue because large period homes were designed for very different lifestyles in ages of coal and manual labour. Modern families tend not to have servants to do the cooking (requiring a large complex of rooms downstairs) and actively want reception space in the kitchen at daylight level. Perhaps the most recent issue with large period properties is that of energy efficiency - a reason many will be exempt from BER.

Heating a decent-sized period home which spills out heat through its single glaze windows, could set you back €20,000 plus per year.

So what's the alternative?

Those seeking a wholly new home in this price bracket will find very little available aside from some small pocket schemes in brown field and infill sites. Because they've been squeezed in, you're unlikely to get any garden space.

One of the few brand new homes with grounds (a quarter acre) to come to market recently is The Orchard, the flagship dwelling at the Brian M Durkan-built Sylvanmount scheme in Rathmichael, Co Dublin.

Adapting many aspects of the German led 'passive house' design, this house comes with an almost tip top A3 BER. On the insulation front, the house comes with argon-filled triple-glazed windows and there's a heat recovery ventilation system to save energy and keep the internal circulation fresh.

The entrance hall with stone floor
The entrance hall with stone floor

With this comes an air-to-water heat pump fed into the underfloor heating and to hot water.

With The Orchard, the builders say they have tried to convey the aspects of character beloved of period home aficionados (there's a bespoke hand-made oak staircase and many of the proportions have taken cue from surrounding Georgian-era homes) but incorporating the best of modern technologies.

Overall accommodation spans 4,123 sq ft, almost four times the size of an average family home. The entrance hall has a stone floor, wainscoting surround, and a guest WC. Off this is the drawing room which is triple aspect. It has an oak floor and a stone fireplace with a granite hearth. In this is a solid fuel-sealed stove. Double doors lead into the dining room, with a stone floor and patio doors opening to the garden.

The third reception here is the living room with oak flooring, oak floor and another solid fuel stove.

The kitchen is by Newcastle and includes a standalone island unit with granite worktops. There's a Quooker tap, chrome lighting, a built-in fridge and a free-standing Rangemaster cooker. An interesting touch here is the long window bench storage fittings reminiscent of rural Irish cottages of the 19th century.There's a utility room which houses the washing machine, dryer, freezer and pantry, and a glass door leads through to a bricked wine cellar. There's also a boot room and an additional storage room.

Upstairs off the Velux-lit gallery landing, there are five bedrooms. The master chamber has double doors to a breakfast balcony as well its own dressing room with fitted wardrobes, and a door leads through to a shower room ensuite with a double-shower waterfall unit, wc and twin wall-mounted sinks. The main bathroom has a free-standing tub and another waterfall shower.

The Newcastle-fitted kitchen
The Newcastle-fitted kitchen

Bedroom two has ceiling access to the attic and a shower room ensuite with a wc. The remaining three bedrooms all come with fitted wardrobes. All of the bathrooms have been supplied by Waterloo and a booster pump provides high pressure feeds to the showers and bath. The house was designed by Duignan Dooley Architects.

The Orchard

Sylvanmount, Ballybride Road, Rathmichael, Co Dublin

Asking price: €1.65m

Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 2894386

Indo Property

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