The golf doctor's bunker
Abbott's Hill is built on former Malahide links, writes Mark Keenan
ONE of the big advantages in buying a "nearly new" luxury home constructed during the Celtic Tiger years is that you will inevitably tend to get the very best of fittings and finishes.
Back in the day when a good tranche of the population travelled by tinted Range Rover and hired copter, only the finest of kitchen tops, heating systems and floors would do – be they in porcelain tiles, marbles and seasoned timbers.
This is true for the Abbott's Hill Estate in Malahide, Co Dublin, launched in 2002, completed in 2003 and still regarded as being the upmarket Dublin seaside village's best estate address.
Abbott's Hill was built to appeal to wealthy professionals who wanted to live in an estate where their children could play alongside other families – rather than in splendid isolation up some long and winding driveway.
When it was constructed by GEM its 40 homes were sold at prices varying from €1.3m to €2.2m, with the higher prices for those built at the top of the hill, and thus, the best sea views.
But with the Dublin market now on the up again it would seem that Abbott's Hill buyers are among the first of the "boom buyers" to break out of the negative equity trap. Number 25 sold for €2.1m back in April this year and now number 23, one of the best located in the scheme, has just been brought to market at €2.2m.
While they're not anywhere near their peak 2007 values, they've already gone well beyond the original 2002 sales prices.
On a larger site than most in the scheme, and located at the back and top looking down on the Malahide Estuary, number 23 has just been brought to market by Coldwell Banker, a specialist in luxury modern homes in this price range.
The Abbott's Hill Estate has held up compared with other modern luxury estates for a number of reasons. Firstly the houses have been soundly built in butter coloured brick and simply designed – so they haven't dated. Secondly there's a limited supply of them – just 40.
Looming largest of all is location and views – Abbott's Hill was constructed on the grounds of the Old Malahide Golf Links (the club moved just out of the village) and is entranced right on the waterfront from the coast road while it also has a private lane access to the heart of Malahide Village, known for its quirky shops, pubs and restaurants.
Number 23 measures 3,250 sq ft over three floors – about the size of an average semi on each level.
It's not for those who like a period pile of musty character but rather for a practical family who want lots and lots of clean bright and airy space.
Spotting the high number of medical practitioners and consultants who wanted to live and operate in and around Malahide, the developers were clever in providing two-storey over garden level homes with separate entrances to the lower floors.
The move was genius because for anyone seeking to run a surgery or one-on- one consultancy, the layout and the location cheek by jowl proximity to Malahide Village, meant the big spend on a luxury home could be wholly justified because it allowed buyers to stop paying rent for a separate office/surgery. And so many of the owners here work at home.
The current owner of number 23 has used the extensive below stairs area, for just such a purpose.
Other than the scenic estuary, there's another reason people flock to Malahide and it's golf. The Malahide Club which moved three kilometres out of town towards Portmarnock – another Dublin Golf mecca – is one of Ireland's most favoured bastions of the check trouser and tassle brigade.
Number 23 has been the family home of Ronan O'Connor, who played in the Irish international boys team alongside Rory McIlroy. His custom renovation is one of the back garden's most unusual features – a sand bunker set steeply downhill from an Astroturf putting green. O'Connor has since moved Stateside to pursue his golf and a marketing career.
Among the best features of this house are its entrance hall, expansive with eight and a half foot high ceiling, an elegantly balustered timber staircase is covered in a red carpet, and the hall is floored, like the kitchen/diningroom, in a lightly rose veined and coral coloured marble with underfloor heating.
There are three reception rooms on this floor with a diningroom running into the front livingroom and separated via double doors.
These rooms have direct views to the sea. The former has double doors leading out to the garden.
There's a third front reception room with a faux period fireplace in stone and black granite.
The kitchen is finished in marble with beech units, an American style fridge freezer and a marble topped island unit. The dining area is slotted into a bay area with floor to ceiling windows and doors accessing the garden.
Upstairs, off a wide gallery, has a skylight overhead and a large character arched window designed to frame the views of the golf links at Donabate, Lambay Island and the estuary. The current occupants have a telescope installed here for good reason.
There are five bedrooms with a bathroom and walk in wardrobe/changing room off the master chamber. The other four are double sized and all have fitted wardrobes and solid oak floors.
While some owners in this estate have used the lower ground floor to install swimming pools or home cinemas, number 23's is set up to as a consultant's suite with two good sized reception rooms with ornate fireplaces and a storage room, all accessed via a separate entrance as well as via a staircase descending inside from the main house.
The back garden includes a pond and barbeque area and there's a substantial space half the width of the house alongside it which could provide a substantial extension or even a development opportunity.
The front garden is cobble locked with room for at least six cars, again allowing for a large family with a home consultancy practice.
The asking price is €2.2m. The agent is Lisa Rocca at Coldwell Banker (01-4110012).