freshly built apartment blocks don't suit all affluent downsizers. In Dun Laoghaire, those who are trading down from period properties aren't just accustomed to homes with sea views, they want a space that will suit the antique furniture they've accumulated over the years.
This is the niche market that the developers of Anglesea had in mind. The scheme of 13 apartments and one penthouse is set within a restored Georgian building that overlooks Dun Laoghaire's seafront and was once a hotel popular among the gentry in the 19th century as a stopover en route to London.
Rather than offering buyers fitted-out homes, Bourkes Builders retained the building's original fireplaces, multi-paned sash windows, shutters, 11ft-high ceilings and cornicing but left the interiors as a blank canvass.
With the help of Bourkes, downsizers can customise all the finishes, from choosing wall colours, bathroom tiles and vanity units, right down to selecting their choice of stain for the solid oak floors. They can even opt for solid marble in the bathrooms, albeit at an extra cost.
The development has also attracted a handful of Irish buyers who worked for the EU in Brussels and were accustomed to living in the Belgian city's period apartments.
The Crofton Road building originated as the Anglesea Arms Hotel, which opened in 1832, back when Dun Laoghaire was known as Kingstown. According to ads placed in 1881, travellers staying at the Anglesea Arms could avail of a dining room, two ladies' coffee rooms, six sitting rooms, and a smoking room. Guests could have their servants housed nearby and their horses stabled in the yard.
At the time, the hotel was furnished with walnut and rosewood furniture, crystal chandeliers, and damask drapes to the windows.
By the early 1900s, the building was transformed into the Royal Mail Hotel, which operated until 1916, when it was occupied by the military, housing nearly 900 soldiers.
After its closure in 1917, the property served a number of uses. Now the former hotel is enjoying a new incarnation as Anglesea, its Georgian architecture having been preserved and restored.
Anglesea was launched in July and the final release of four homes there has just gone on the market. Each apartment has its own Irish maritime-themed name to reflect its individual character, such as the duplex named after polar explorer Ernest Shackleton.
Prices for the development's last tranche start at €600,000 for the Beaufort, a two-bed duplex with 958 sq ft of living space. The Shackleton, a two-bed duplex measuring a hefty 1,970 sq ft, is priced from €1.125m, while the Holland, a three-bed duplex spanning 1,798 sq ft, costs from €1.25m.
The most expensive unit for sale, at €1.795m, is the Tuskar. Measuring 2,390 sq ft, the Tuskar's size matches many a period home in the seaside town. It features a library with floor-to-ceiling windows - a contemporary addition to the period building - as well as a southwest-facing balcony.
As well as choosing their own kitchen, bathroom and bedroom fit-outs, buyers at Anglesea get at least one designated parking space and a secure storage unit.
While many of the apartments have either gas or open fireplaces, there is also a gas-fired central heating system and a constant supply of hot water.
The development is a short walk from the Forty Foot bathing spot, the People's Park, the Lexicon Library and the Dart station, with Dublin city centre 12km away.
Viewings are by appointment.