When hunting for new clothes or footwear, most can be tried on for size before buying; but the biggest purchase most people will make in their lifetime is a house, and more often than not these get only a cursory once-over before signing on the dotted line.
An invitation then to stay overnight in a showhouse seems like a great idea, and a great way for a serious buyer to test the waters of a substantial property investment. What better way to get a feel for how well – or otherwise – the layout will suit you and your family?
In fact, as a buyer in the market for a second-hand property, it makes perfect sense particularly if there are concerns about noise from nearby pubs or restaurants or even a perceived antisocial element. However, requests thus far to stay overnight in a second-hand home in the capital have been met with nothing short of abject horror.
SeaGreen Gate, a development at Blacklion, on the outskirts of Greystones, Co Wicklow, has been built by Wood Group Homes, who have completed a number of other developments in Delgany and Greystones.
It is a two-minute walk from Blacklion Retail Centre where there is a Lidl and an Educate Together national school and Temple Carrig secondary school.
The village itself needs no introduction. Everyone, including Elvis, it seems, wants to live here. Sporting his Vegas-era jumpsuit and lamb chop sideburns, he sits on a bench outside the Dart station sunning himself and watching the world go by.
The walk from the train to the houses is currently 25 minutes but with a pedestrian shortcut planned, travel time to the Dart will be reduced to about 15 minutes.
On arrival, the house is pristine and having grumped all the way here, my 11-year-old travelling companion finally brightens up. He disappears up the stairs, bags the best room in the house – the double at the top with its cabrio window that turns from rooflight to mini balcony – and disappears for the next hour. Music to the ears of any parent.
That Velux design frames a phenomenal sea view, and when it gets dark we try to look up at the stars and the half moon rising, but site lights below counter our best efforts. However, it’s a nice selling point.
Next morning, the bed was declared the most comfortable ever – an Alba bed with a Silent Night mattress – but the mauve carpet was less of a hit.
While any buyer will choose their own carpet finishes anyway, it’s worth knowing too that the luxurious carpet feel underfoot is because of an extra thick underlay. Here it’s a 10mm high density underlay – a trick that decorators use to make a standard carpet feel luxurious. It is one worth copying in your own home.
Eily Roe Interiors designed the showhouse and chose a white-limed oak-look herringbone laminate for the hall and kitchen. It too feels soft underfoot, and that’s thanks to the addition of a 3mm ultra-strong underlay. Greystones-based Brereton Carpets supplied the flooring and Gredor Wood did the oak-lined wardrobes in three of the four bedrooms.
The vanilla white handleless units by Nolan Kitchens feel sleek without being sterile, and the matching quartz countertops help reflect light around the already bright kitchen thanks to its glass patio door, a rooflight and judiciously positioned windows.
The biggest revelation to overnighting in an A-rated new build is just how quiet it is. There are no “old house” creaks and groans. Any outside noise is utterly distanced thanks to the Nordan triple-glazed window. The only sound in the middle of the night is a low hum from the ventilation.
The commute to Dublin 4 the next morning took less than 40 minutes, with everyone in this coastal village rising early to make their train. Leaving the house at 7am, we made the 7.30am train, packed with school kids and office workers.
SeaGreen Gate, part of the larger SeaGreen development, comprises 193 homes and straddles both sides of the road. So far 22 of its 42 homes are sold. Phase two sees 14 mid- and end-of-terrace properties coming to market.
Prices for the mid-terrace properties (130sqm/1,400sq ft) start from €480,000 through agent SherryFitzGerald. There are two end-of-terrace styles for sale. Prices for the smaller (130sq m/1,400sq ft) start from €495,000 while prices for the larger units (132sq m /1,425sq ft) start from €525,000.
On a bright Monday morning the journey may just be one of the most scenic commutes in the country. Would the 11-year-old entertain such early morning starts were we to move to the seaside? Yes, for a bedroom like that and a space apart from adults.