Luxury at Hillcrest
Hillcrest is an exclusive luxury housing development, consisting of five homes that are purposely bespoke in design. Contemporary and stylish, the homes are set in a desirable location, with breath-taking panoramic views across St. Helier and out to sea.
The design of the buildings has been purposely created and undertaken to cohere with the topography of the site, aligning perfectly with the stunning surroundings.
PDB Builders are the main contractor on the housing development, working onsite from January 2015 in collaboration with Designplus – responsible for the architectural aspects. The scheme is due for completion in September this year.
Premier Construction spoke to Paul Cowieson and Billy McIntosh, Co-Directors at PDB Builders, to discuss the company and its involvement with the new luxury homes. According to Paul:
“There are some similarities with the five homes, such as the fact they all have integrated sustainability measures and hi-spec, luxurious finishes that exist in all of the properties. However there are also differences with the homes, in terms of the design layout and arrangement of the interior and exterior features.
“Two traditional-looking houses are situated at the top of the site, both with a large floor area of 3,000ft², providing four bedrooms, plus a playroom.
“The homes encompass solar panelled roofs, a water harvesting tank in the gardens, and high performance insulation to maintain low heating costs. Electric underfloor heating is in place throughout the buildings, connected to E-20 low cost tariff.
“The other three houses in the development are positioned along the ridge of the escarpment, presenting beautiful panoramic views across St Helier. All of these properties include an upper floor terrace and a ground floor garden area, maximising the outdoor space that comes with each home.
“The living accommodation extends out on to open terraces connecting inside and outside seamlessly, enlivening the full experience that the site presents.”
Finishes in all of the properties are of a very high standard – all display different kitchens, sanitaryware and tiling, for example. Each house has its own identity with varied bespoke finishes, resulting in five diverse – but equally-stunning – homes.
Two of the houses along the escarpment edge are designed as inverted homes, with bedroom spaces that open out to the lower garden, whilst the open plan living room extends out through fully glazed sliding, folding doors to a large elevated terraced area surrounded by frameless structural glazed balustrading. The buildings are completed with flat roofs of high performance industry leading membranes with brise soleil edging.
House three along the cliff edge is designed with a traditional internal layout and blends a contemporary horizontal roof with a more traditional pitched slated roof to the site boundary.
House one and two at the top part of the site are more traditional in layout and composition with dual pitched slated roofs, designed purposely to blend more harmoniously to the existing built context on Westmount Road.
A single driveway unites the development, providing access to each of the properties, concluding in a central landscaped courtyard.
A unique piece of artwork as part of the Percentage for Art Scheme will unite the concept for the buildings, the site relevance with the site name, in a dynamic piece of sculpture.
The properties range in area from circa 2600sqft to 3200sqft, providing functional, stylised, quality four plus bedroom accommodation appealing to families, couples or individuals alike.
The properties are being offered for sale off plan or fully completed. The potential for off plan purchase will allow interested parties the chance to develop internal specifications to suit more personalised requirements for a truly unique and bespoke solution.
“Specialised LED lighting systems have been integrated within the properties, adding to the mod cons that the homes have on offer. Lutron lighting will also be in place at the three homes on the cliff side, presenting another hi-tech feature for the homeowners to enjoy. A Lutron lighting pad inside the house allows full control of a number of lighting commands around the building.
“Hillcrest has been designed to incorporate technology to enable the buildings to perform as modern developments are expected to perform. The buildings also incorporate measures for future technology expansion.
“Integrated modern multimedia systems are in place in the properties, with the potential for future installation expansion. Living rooms, kitchen/dining areas and bedrooms all feature television points, and telephone outlets with broadband capacity are provided to reception rooms and bedrooms.”
The ecological credentials of these properties starts at a construction specification stage integrating high performance building membranes, insulation and glazing, which all creates buildings with consumption thus reducing associated bills for the end user.
Solar panels utilised for water heating and rainwater harvesting systems for external irrigation and vehicle washing are in place at the properties, in addition to low energy lighting throughout. Double glazed windows and patio doors with thermally broken aluminium frames and an energy efficient underfloor heating system also comply with the sustainability measures.
High quality painted solid internal doors are accompanied by high quality hardwood staircases throughout the building, in addition to carpet floor finishes to bedrooms. High quality porcelain tiles and engineered flooring feature in the open plan living dining area, wet rooms, kitchen, entrance hall and utility room.
Individually designed kitchens feature handle-free cabinets, contemporary doors and soft closing mechanism on doors and drawers. Polished stone worktops come in a choice of colours, with LED feature lighting to the underside of wall cabinets. All kitchens are equipped with fully integrated, high quality appliances throughout.
Fully fitted bathrooms include elegant white designer sanitaryware and furniture, free standing luxury bath, walk in shower enclosure and heated tower radiator. Tiled wall finishes and LED chrome finished down lights complete the look, presenting contemporary elegance and clean lines.
“These are individual, private luxury houses – all five homes feature solar panels and Devi underfloor heating, acting in accordance with the sustainability principles that PDB Builders like to follow. There is a very high spec with these homes and significant attention to detail has gone into the finishes.
“Everything is carried out with the homes to the point of completion – so that when the homeowners move in, they won’t need to do anything.
“The location of the site is very unique – the fact that it has panoramic views over the renowned landmark Elizabeth Castle. There is also a lot of detail in the landscaping – this was another key part of the process.”
The external finishes are a mixture of render, Tier stone, eternit board and glass balustrading, combining to form an attractive, intricate set of homes that emanate quality and presence. The outside terraces present attractive porcelain tiles and decking, perfect for families and those alike to enjoy the sunny weather in the garden.
“The biggest challenge on the project was working on a development which was situated on the cliff side! However the design itself was also challenging, due to the fact the houses were to a very high specification,” said Paul.
“Over the 25 years of building, this is the most exciting project we have carried out – it has taken building to the next level! As well as all the detail that has gone into the production of these houses, we have incorporated energy sustainability systems which we are very proud of.
“The high-quality build and luxurious finishes have made this a challenging yet very rewarding development and the workforce has made this happen.
“When I go to the site, everything we do there entails a lot of thought and careful planning – this project has definitely not been any old ‘normal’ build.”
Established in 1990, PDB Builders specialises in dedicated contract building works, heritage works, renovations and new builds. What sets the company apart from many others in its field is that when working with architects PDB Builders get involved at the infancy stage, meaning that they contribute to the design of the building, considering all members of the family within that home.
Having started as a sub-contract carpentry company, PDB Builders was founded by Co-Directors Paul Cowieson and Billy McIntosh. In its years of growing, the company has progressed to become one of the more established building contractors and property developers on the Island.
PDB consists of 15 direct employees, and approximately 25 other subcontractors that the company uses when necessary, totalling to 40 internal and external employees overall.
Paul Cowieson said:
“When building a house we are looking at committing our company to the energy saving aspects of insulations and solar panels, water harvesting, low energy lighting etc. This means the end users in turn pay out less, and we have sustainable houses for the future. Sustainability is something that we value as a company and we are proud to incorporate these systems.”
Housing developments that the company has delivered include Solbakken, a contemporary four bedroom house in 2008; Villa Beauchamp, comprising two modern semi-detached two and three bedroom homes in 2014; and Boyne Terrace, four Georgian five bedroom townhouses in 2009. PDB has built these projects through their development company, Red Heather and Purple Heather Ltd. The company has also worked on Savanna – a modern, three bedroom luxury home, completed in 2013.
Based in Jersey, RIBA Chartered architectural practice Designplus has been in operation since 2005. The company’s open plan studio unites the expertise of a dynamic and enthusiastic team of experts, including architects, technologists, surveyors and interior designers, working together to provide the clients with the best possible service, support and design solution for each individual commission.
Founded by Mark Dennis and Eddie Caldeira, Designplus offer a wide scope of planning, architectural and interior design services that can be tailored to suit the requirements of individual clients and individual projects.
Having earned a reputation for excellent service, quality and design throughout the industry, Designplus maintain positive working relationships with all construction industry professionals, individual planners and local planning authorities.
The company has amassed a significant portfolio that demonstrates a diverse range of projects, from small extensions to large developments and from architecture to interior design. Constantly growing, Designplus’ portfolio is based on a reputation fuelled by word of mouth recommendation and repeat client business.
Mark Dennis commented:
“The five houses at the Hillcrest have all been purposely designed to maximise their connection to the location they are situated in. Nestled on the edge of the escarpment, the form of the buildings absorbs the spirit of the site and represents the natural advantages of ‘living on the edge’.”