Mount Merrion homes with history and handcraft from €870k
The Stables is a scheme of 10 bespoke two- and three-beds in an 18th-century courtyard
- Address: The Stables, Mount Merrion, Co Dublin
- Price: € 870,000
- Agent: Savills
A new homes scheme in Mount Merrion will provide the newest homes in a while in the south Dublin suburb. But the Stables actually dates back more than 300 years, to 1711; the original keystone is in the south wall of the community centre on the site of the Church of St Thérèse.
The lands at that time belonged to Richard, the fifth Viscount Fitzwilliam, an ambitious type who rescinded the family’s enduring Catholic faith and joined the Anglican church in order to take his seat in the House of Lords. He then set his sights on refurbishing Merrion Castle to build a residence worthy of a peer of the realm on 120 hilltop hectares. (That’s 300 acres.)
But, beyond the stately main entrance, on Stillorgan Road, and an impressive tree-lined avenue, the grand house never materialised. Instead, just two wings of the proposed manor were built, one of which is currently occupied by Mount Merrion Community Centre.
The Stables later played its own role in the early development of the area, when it served as a builders’ yard for the large suburban houses often described as “Kenny-built”, after the builder John Kenny, who began the 1930s development. But it was his foreman John Du Moulin who went on to build most of the homes in the area, and building the Church of St Thérèse behind the stable yard in1952. Latterly, buildings were converted to offices that were used in the early years of Biotrin, an Irish pharmaceutical company that sold in 2008 for €25 million.
Now the developers Mark Leonard, a Mount Merrion native, and Noel Barry of Centurion Homes have transformed the stables courtyard. This weekend sees the launch of the scheme of 10 bespoke two- and three-bed houses. Seven of the homes have been built within the original stables structure following a conservation process of more than two years – significantly longer than Leonard had envisaged.
“A listed building is like opening an envelope: once you peel it open there’s a problem, then another, then another. All of it can be addressed, but getting the skilled expertise is so difficult. The specs have soared, but the result is a showcase, not just another copy-and-paste new house,” says Leonard.
This weekend three new 132sq m (1,420sq ft) two-beds enclosing the Stables site on its east side are launching. The stable houses are only nearing completion, but prospective buyers will get a feel for what’s on offer via the showhouse located in the new wing.
And the offering is different. The interiors, including floors, stairs, kitchens, utilities and storage, have been completed by Andrew Burdock of AB Projects, a Dublin-based design studio specialising in handcrafted interiors. Burdock mainly works with commercial clients or creates commissions for one-off houses, and this is his first collaboration on a scheme of this type. Buyers within the Stables will meet with Burdock and his team to decide on the finishes for every home, from wood veneers to kitchen countertops. The quality craftsmanship is evident throughout the showhouse, tastefully finished in moody shades by the interiors stylist Niamh MacGowan.
Engineered parquet floors, flush-fit staircases, simple hardwood archways and marble countertops with side edging running to the floor create a luxurious first impression. The downstairs accommodation comprises two bedrooms (main en suite) opening on to a small courtyard light well, a roomy bathroom and carefully considered understairs storage. Upstairs opens into the bright kitchen and dining area, complete with De Dietrich appliances, and a generous pantry/utility accessed via an archway.
Floor-to-ceiling windows offer views on to the central courtyard, and there’s access to a small balcony with a wood-slatted screen for privacy. Off the kitchen-diner is the livingroom. The A3 rating means there’s no fireplace to create a focal point; instead the eye is drawn to the windowed wall on to the courtyard.
With just two or three bedrooms on offer, and priced from €870,000 through the Savills agency, the buyers here are likely to be locals looking to downsize from larger neighbouring properties. Leonard says three units have already sold.
The units in the original stable block are a somewhat different proposition. Each one is different because the layouts had to be incorporated within the original framework.
The lime-render exterior (four coats) and side-hung conservation windows are in keeping with the original style, and passed the approval of the council architect.
Here there will be five three-beds ranging in price from €875,000 for a 157sq m (1,690sq ft) unit up to €1.075m for 181sq m (1,945sq ft).
Of the two two-beds, one is the central stable unit, with three tall arched windows on to the courtyard. This extends to 126sq m (1,355sq ft), is priced at €900,000, and comes with a vast floored attic space where the selling agent David Browne says a buyer could install a Velux window and incorporate additional accommodation.
Serious viewers of the as-yet-unfinished stables will need a good design eye to visualise what they will be like on completion, but there’s a fine bone structure in place, and the AB Design promise is a good one.
A small courtyard garden is the extent of the outdoor space – rear gardens will be hardwood-fitted, and parking will be in the courtyard. The bell-tower dome of the Church of St Thérèse looms atmospherically above the rooftops, and Deer Park is just a two-minute walk.
Viewing is on Saturday from 2.30pm to 4.30pm.
Centurion Homes is also completing a 75-unit scheme of timber-frame homes in Ballintemple, in Cork. “As a smaller player the biggest challenge for us is constantly competing with the larger building firms to attract and retain contractors,” Leonard says.