Waterford couple’s ‘flat-pack’ grand design home for €1.1m

German company engineered four-bedroom house and assembled it in just a few months

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Address: Rockwood, Ballycraddock, Dunhill, Co Waterford
Price: €1,100,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Country and Sherry FitzGerald John Rohan
View this property on MyHome.ie

On Grand Designs, the Channel 4 "wow house" programme, the idea of a German-engineered "flat-pack" house that featured in an early series looked so appealing, it prompted Waterford-based couple Noel and Lorna Gaffney to find out more.

Time gets compressed in these hour-long shows but still the obvious speed and then quality of the build, as well as eco-friendly credentials and contemporary design intrigued the couple.

A year later in 2006 they were driving around Waterford look for a likely site when they happened upon a showhouse made by German company, Davinci Haus. Like the Grand Designs house, it had been designed and engineered in Germany and brought to Ireland for assembly. As soon as they walked around it they were sold on the idea and when they found a site – a four-hectare (10-acre) elevated plot with panoramic countryside views in Dunhill, a village about 20 minutes from Waterford city – they contacted Davinci and started the process.

As in the TV series, their 308sq m (3,1315sq ft) house did arrive on trucks accompanied by a team of Davinci Haus builders and it was erected in just four days.


“They say to you ‘we’ll be there on May 1st’ and that’s what happened,” says Lorna, “the lorries arrived with the house and by day four they were putting on the roof.”

By that point, the Gaffneys knew every detail of their house. The process involved several planning meetings in Germany where they first met the architect and then the interior architect and the team to agree on every aspect of the build, from the technical details of the underfloor heating and electrical plan to the kitchen and bathrooms design.

A local Waterford builder was commissioned to put in the foundations which had to be built to exacting standards and then inspected by an advance team from Davicni. After that four-day build in 2007, a series of trade teams came from Germany in stages, starting with plumbers and heating engineers and ending with a team of painters.

After four months the Gaffneys had their house – largely open-plan downstairs with four bedrooms upstairs with dressingrooms, en suites, and including a home office, utility and family room. Vast krypton-gas filled double-glazed windows give views out over the landscaped gardens – there are two acres of lawns and gardens – with forestry making up the rest of the land.

Unusual features of the house, named Rockwood, include the hot tub on the patio and, in keeping with the house’s eco-friendly credentials, an electricity-generating windmill. The house has a B1 Ber.

Building a house this way might be a quicker more efficient option resulting in a stunning contemporary home – but it’s not the cheapest. The build cost €740,000 – and that excluded the cost of the foundations and the site.

After a decade enjoying their countryside home, work commitments and a college-age child, prompts a move to Dublin for the Gaffneys.

Joint agents Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes and Sherry FitzGerald John Rohan are selling Rockwood, Ballycraddock, Dunhill, Co Waterford, asking €1.1 million.

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison is an Irish Times journalist and cohost of In the News podcast