Colouring in the showhouse: Flagship home in a boutique seaside scheme returns to the market with more attitude


1 Cluain Aedin, Carrickbrack Road, Sutton, Dublin 13

Asking price: €1.65m Agent: Gallagher Quigley (01) 818 3000

Show houses have always carried a big premium, often for decades after a scheme has been completed.

That’s especially true when the development is well located and designed. Like No1 Cluain Aiden off the Carrickbrack Road in Sutton, Dublin 13 which comes on the market this week with a tag of €1.65m. It’s located in a boutique scheme of just five luxury homes by the sea near Howth.

In times past, show homes were so prized that the builders often kept them for themselves. The jewel in the crown of any scheme, the apex show house (these days there can be more than one) is designed to sell the scheme and ‘show’ what the unfinished homes could be at their best.

They are fitted out by top interior designers, installing high-end furniture and the best of bathroom fittings, kitchens and soft furnishings.

Once the scheme is sold, the show house goes for sale at a premium price that usually includes its bespokecontents. Mostly there are no shortage of takers.

That show house prestige lasts for decades was underlined by that of the 1935-built Greenfield scheme in Dublin’s Mount Merrion, which was also designated the “All-Electric House” for its unusual modernity.

That show house status followed it right up to 2021 when it was bought by a professional designer attracted by its reputation. He recently spent €900,000 restoring it.

The Cluain Aedin showhouse also has design longevity built in. The internationally inspired modern style made something of a comeback with the scheme’s launch in 2017.

Its design is by well-known architect Orla FitzGerald, previously a founding member of O’Mahony Pike and since, long in charge of her own practice. But she made the Cluain Aedin sketches almost a decade earlier.

That nine year gap between design and completion came about because the crash kicked in and mothballed the project.

The site owners sold the land on complete with the designs. The scheme’s eventual developers waited until the recovery to get stuck in and it is testament to FitzGerald’s design skills that they opted to stick with her original drawings.

FitzGerald is well known for her residential work, honing her skills through years working in London, the USA and the Middle East. Back when the show house first came to market, FitzGerald said: “Carrickbrack Road is a high-spec residential development of five bespoke houses that cascade down a hillside site, all using the same palette of materials. The houses are sensitively integrated into the existing context and the landscaping will give each house its own identity.”

Indeed, each house has a site of almost half an acre, which is a very big deal in this seaside location where land is in scarce supply and hugely expensive (Sutton is a strip with the sea on two sides).

The other houses went on the market in November 2017 and No1, the show house at the scheme came on the following year. Furnished from top to toe by Ventura it was put up for sale with all furniture, soft fittings and lighting included.

Ventura’s design brief was to create a relaxed and contemporary environment to compliment the architecture and to create a “flow” through the house using high-end furnishings, textiles, lighting and paint tones.

They worked in rich herringbones, silk rugs, customised dining tables, bespoke sofas and contemporary lighting.

But the buyers, who are involved in the film industry, didn’t have show house decorating restrictions to contend with. Show houses when launched require neutral decor to attract wider interest.

Instead, they brought to it their own full-on rainbow of tones and hues. And with a floor space more than twice the size of an average house (2,522 sq ft) they had plenty of room to go wild.

While all of it is eye-catching, of particular interest here are the home’s bathrooms, every one of which have been totally recreated in very different ‘boutique’ styles of their own. One even has a purple-lit steam room.

There’s lots to look at outside too given that No1 has elevated sea views across the bay from Killiney in the south over to Bull Island. A big plus is the A2 BER achieved using Passive house standards, Alu Clad doors and windows, super-high insulation levels and a heat recovery ventilation system which uses the outgoing hot air to heat that coming in.

A ReCentral Heating System delivers high-efficiency precision control to ground and first floor zones to save wasting energy by unbalanced heat delivery.

In addition to the two heating zones, all radiators are fitted with thermostatic valves.

Enter into a hall with the largest room to your left — this 18ft wide and 36ft long open-plan space includes the kitchen, the dining space and a big living and family room area. The kitchen is by Leicht with integrated appliances, stone oak worktops and a silestone Noka mohair finish.

Off this is the utility room and a control room for the home’s comms and electronic systems. There’s a big airy lounge and there are two bedrooms on this floor. The master chamber comes with a contemporary ensuite as well as its own dressing room.

Bedroom two has an ensuite. On the next floor are two more bedrooms, both of which are ensuite, and a giant-sized fifth bedroom (which could also double as another reception) as well as a family bathroom.

Located on the southern side of the Howth Peninsula opposite Howth Golf club, it is within a short distance of Sutton Cross.

The gardens are designed for low maintenance with lawns and borders and folding glazed doors totally open the main living/dining space to the garden in summer. With the owners now selling up, Gallagher Quigley is asking €1.65m.