While Cairn Homes awaits the planning decision on what will be the most high-profile residential development in Donnybrook in decades – on land it bought from RTÉ – it has been busy completing a smaller scheme on a tucked-away site on the other side of the N11.
Called Donnybrook Gardens, it is more modest in scale than the 600-plus homes planned for Montrose – having just 85 apartments – but with prices starting at €855,000 for a two bed, rising to more than €1.7 million for a three-bed penthouse, it is pitched at the upper end of the market. Perhaps it is an indication, in terms of style and ambition, of what to expect when the sod is eventually turned over the road.
In a clear sign of pent-up demand, even at this level, nearly a quarter of the apartments in Donnybrook Gardens have already been sold, including two of the €1.7 million penthouses. And that’s in advance of them publicly going on the market through agent Hooke & MacDonald.
Set in a line of five handsome blocks in already colourful landscaping – each one five storeys over basement parking – the new development gets its name from the site. At the end is Greenfield Park, a cul-de-sac, once home to University College Dublin’s School of Horticulture. It is adjacent to an entrance to the college and overlooks of one of its playing fields.
Property hunters familiar with Marianella, Cairn’s development in Rathgar, will find similarity in the offer here. There’s a concierge (in a brick hut at the entrance), a plush residents’ club fitted out like an elegant contemporary drawing room with multiple seating areas, and a small private gym. Where it is very different to Marianella and indeed to other new builds, is the architecture: the striking looking scheme was designed de Blacam and Meagher, long one of the foremost architecture practices in the country.
Built in a buff coloured brick, set into a light champagne mortar, each apartment features a sizable wrap-around brick balcony topped with a discrete glass screen and partially covered, making for a truly useful outdoor space. Balconies are accessed both from the living area and the main bedroom. The brick is set against green/black, mostly floor-to-ceiling, Scandinavian alu-clad windows, which together with a long list of energy efficient detailing, including heat recovery ventilation, brings the energy rating to A3.
Inside there are just four apartments to each floor – there are no long corridors, instead each tall American oak front door opens off a large square shaped communal hall. At penthouse level there are just two apartments in each block – the views across Dublin are terrific – and all levels are serviced by a lift that goes to the parking in the basement.
There are three different apartment types: two bedroom (103-112sq m/1,108-1,205sq ft) from € 855,000; two bedroom plus study (119-125sq m/1,280-1,345sq ft) from €990,000; and three bedroom penthouses (156-159sq m/1,678-1,710sq m) from €1.7 million. Two beds have one parking space, while the three beds have two. The best views inevitably are from the top floors.
Common details to all units include sleek bespoke kitchen cabinetry with island units and Silestone quartz worktops and splash-back. Integrated appliances are Miele. The larger units have a good-sized utility room off the kitchen, others a smaller one off the hall. Bathrooms are fully tiled with custom designed mirrored storage, some have double sinks, and all apartments have an en suite to the main bedroom. All bedrooms have built-in wardrobes, and an attractive feature in the living rooms is the high-raised coffered ceiling.
The show apartments are very smartly done, notably the oak parquet flooring which looks perfect – although it is not included as standard.
In the two beds with study version, a pocket doors closes off the study from the living room and owners might use this room as a third bedroom. In all apartments, the living/dining/kitchen is one open-plan space – so the study could also become a separate, albeit small, living room.
In Marianella, Cairn found an immediate market among Dublin 6 downsizers selling up large family homes in the area, and this spacious well-thought out development with high levels of security and comfort could have the same appeal for well-heeled Dublin 4 downsizers. An indication maybe of the target market is the mention in the brochure that the storage lockers in the basements would be good for golf clubs, although the agents also expect interest from families. What is different though, is the smaller scale and the tucked-away private location; but that means that Donnybrook Gardens is a considerable walk down the blustery N11 to the village that bears its name, with its shops and amenities.
Annual service charges are €5,000 (two beds); €5,800 (two beds plus study) and €6,800 for the penthouses.