It is a house steeped in history where the designer of the Titanic Thomas Andrews grew up with his brothers – and for less than £200,000 you too could be calling it home.
Ardara House is one of Northern Ireland’s most famous Victorian manors, built in 1872 in Comber for the Andrews family. In recent years it has been converted into six luxury apartments.
Number 3, which is known as The Titanic apartment, has just gone on the market at offers of around £189,950.
A key feature of the apartment is beautiful original mahogany panelling in the living room – formerly the billiards room -which it is believed was installed by craftsmen who worked on the Titanic.
The Andrews family were prominent mill owners in Comber and their three sons all became famous figures in Northern Ireland.
Thomas, who designed the Titanic and perished with the ship on its maiden voyage, is a historic figure worldwide while his brother John Miller Andrews was a Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, and Sir James Andrews went on to serve as Lord Chief Justice.
To this day their family home still draws history lovers to its doors and it is not unusual to find visitors trying to sneak a peek through the downstairs windows.
The Titanic apartment has been renovated in the past year in a way that has retained the period beauty and grandeur of the original manor house.
The current owner has replicated the style and comfort which would have been enjoyed by the wealthy Andrews family.
“It is going to be a wrench leaving it but I have decided to move on,” the vendor said.
“It is a beautiful place to live and the living room with its mahogany panelling is entirely unique because it is said that the joiners from the Titanic installed it.
“It is highly French-polished and has a massive original fireplace and tall ceilings and a huge bay window, which I have furnished with antiques.
“The house is secluded and there is a private laneway leading up to it, but people know its history and there is a fascination about it.
“I’ve had local people who were associated with the mill in the town coming up to have a look and friends of friends all wanting to visit and see inside.”
While much of the original grounds have been sold off for redevelopment, the house is still surrounded by generous beautiful gardens laden with luxuriant rhododendrons, all immaculately maintained by a local gardener.
There are two bedrooms, a magnificent period-style bathroom, formal dining room open plan to a kitchen and the magnificent panelled drawing room with walk-in seated bay area. The current owner, who has an obvious eye for period style, has cleverly created a regal headboard in the master bedroom from an original hall panel from the house, which he salvaged from an outside shed.
He said: “During the renovations an important part of it for me was preserving the original beauty of the rooms because it is a piece of history.
“There is a real air of gracefulness in the apartment and I hope I have done the house proud with the way I have brought it back to life.”
Apartment 3, Ardara House, is on the market with Lindsay Fyfe & Company in Comber (tel: 9187 1787).
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Caption: The interior of the apartment with its magnificent woodwork