It was love at first sight for David and Freda Scott when they found this unique ocean frontage, where the Mountains of Mourne come down to the sea, and decided it was the perfect setting for their dream glass and zinc retirement home.
The site is at the foot of the highest peak in the Mountains of Mourne, beside a canyon known as Maggie’s Leap and just into an area of outstanding natural beauty, so it took almost two years to get planning permission to knock down the existing 80-year-old cottage and re-build.
David Scott had heard of David Charleton, a renowned builder in the area, who, with his sons and a team of fantastic tradesmen, runs the family business FJ Charleton Building Contracts Ltd, set up by his grandfather. As soon as they met, David Scott had complete confidence in David Charleton’s ability to turn his dream home into a reality.
The brief for ‘Scotts on the Rocks’ was to create a house that could be used either as a single–storey dwelling for David and Freda’s use or, by opening up the second level, to create a larger home for entertaining family and friends. For everyday living, David and Freda have all they need on one level – a kitchen, dining room, sitting room, bathroom, bedroom and wonderfully peaceful, sheltered sea terrace.
David Charleton and his team certainly had their work cut out: The site was perfect to the client, but in reality it was a long, narrow stretch of land with a 60 foot drop to the sea on one side and a busy main road on the other. Overhead power lines prevented a tower crane being erected, which made bringing materials on to the site difficult. Added to this, the client wanted to divert two natural springs adjoining the property to create a freshwater swimming pool next to the sea.
Nothing was too difficult or too much trouble for David and his team, said client David Scott: “They were the hardest working men I could hope for. They were on site and working at 7.30 a.m. every day, they cleaned up every night. Relations on site were always amicable because they knew what they had to do and just got on with it. There was never any query or fuss.
“Everything David and his team did was in our interests, not in his own. Excellent customer service was at the heart of everything he did. I had complete confidence and trust in him, “ David Scott added.
“His total honesty, attention to detail, professionalism and modesty set him apart. Bounding with energy, David seemed to be able to put 23½ hours into every day, had a wonderful ability to recruit really good people and delegated so that it all progressed with the minimum of fuss. He is my hero – he certainly deserves to be Master Builder of the Year.”
As testament to his enormous energy, David Charleton also travels to Uganda and Kenya with his tradesmen a number of times each year to help construct much-needed schools and hospitals. Over the years he has helped the Northern Ireland-based charity Fields of Life provide education and healthcare for over 50,000 African children and adults.