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From a Huf Haus to a former warehouse, four stunning steel-framed homes

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Steel-framed houses are often unique and architecturally inspiring and can have impressive prices tags to match.

We take a look at four unique versions that come with some seven figure asking prices, in locations from Ipswich to Birmingham.

They include a five-bedroom barn conversion in Ipswich’s Bildeston, which is on the market for £1.65million – the lowest price in our list. The property features two eye-catching silos that have been converted into usable living space.

Our selection also includes a £3million Huf Haus on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales, and a seven-bedroom house in Surrey for £4.75million.

We take a look at four steel properties with seven figure asking prices, including this five-bedroom version in Birmingham for £2.75m (details below)

We take a look at four steel properties with seven figure asking prices, including this five-bedroom version in Birmingham for £2.75m (details below)

Steel-framed properties are often bespoke and allow for far greater flexibility in living arrangements.

Tom Parker, of Zoopla, said: ‘Aside from their durability, steel frame houses allow for greater versatility when it comes to designing the interior of a property

‘Homes using steel frames are also often visualising striking with the frames often used as a focal point in living areas, adding a unique character to a space.

‘Steel frames are also perfect for those looking to create modern, open plan living areas as they usually don’t require additional beams and pillars for support.’

One of the properties we have selected is a five-bedroom converted textiles factory in Birmingham’s Water Street, which has an asking price of £2.75million.

The former textile factory was shortlisted for the prestigious Stephen Lawrence Prize for architecture in 2017 and the recipient of three Riba awards in the same year.

Exposed brick and steel frames, former prison doors, a working industrial crane and light fixtures from decommissioned ships add to its unique character.

Joe Shorney, of Savills estate agents, which is handling the sale, said: ‘Former industrial buildings that have been converted were often constructed using a portal style frame, meaning no dividing walls and wide open plan spaces.

‘To compartmentalise the space crittall style windows work sympathetically with the industrial style architecture. It allows you sub-divide open spaces while still allowing natural light to flood through.

‘We have seen a resurgence of steel frames and crittall windows on both small and large scale development projects. They’ve become very fashionable.’

Our pick of four steel-framed properties… 

1. Five-bed house in Birmingham for £2.75m

This former textiles factory in Birmingham's Water Street is being sold via estate agents Savills with a guide price of £2.75million

This former textiles factory in Birmingham’s Water Street is being sold via estate agents Savills with a guide price of £2.75million

The converted property boasts a comfortable cinema - although the furniture and technology is not included in the price and is available by separate negotiation

The converted property boasts a comfortable cinema – although the furniture and technology is not included in the price and is available by separate negotiation

The five-bedroom property was shortlisted for the prestigious Stephen Lawrence award in 2017 and was the recipient of three Riba awards that year

The five-bedroom property was shortlisted for the prestigious Stephen Lawrence award in 2017 and was the recipient of three Riba awards that year

This huge and striking property in Birmingham’s Water Street was once a textiles factory.

It has been converted into a luxury five-bedroom home that is being sold via estate agents Savills with a guide price of £2.75million.

It was shortlisted for the prestigious Stephen Lawrence award in 2017 and the recipient of three riba awards that year.

It boasts an electric vehicle charging point, triple height gabled ceilings and a series of bridges, balconies and mezzanine floors.

There are several self-contained living spaces, including an artist’s studio, an office, a bar and a cinema. 

2. Four-bed house in Pembrokeshire for £3m

This modern Huf Haus in Tenby, Wales, is on the market via Fine & Country estate agents with an asking price of £3million

This modern Huf Haus in Tenby, Wales, is on the market via Fine & Country estate agents with an asking price of £3million

A contemporary feel inside and out: Huf Haus properties are known for their glass walls and overall modernist looks

A contemporary feel inside and out: Huf Haus properties are known for their glass walls and overall modernist looks

Heating up: The four-bedroom property has a main bedroom with a luxury ensuite bathroom that includes a large sauna

Heating up: The four-bedroom property has a main bedroom with a luxury ensuite bathroom that includes a large sauna

The property boasts some spectacular views over the Pembrokeshire coastline, including these seen from the light kitchen

The property boasts some spectacular views over the Pembrokeshire coastline, including these seen from the light kitchen

Perhaps one of the best known types of steel homes is a Huf Haus, which attracts attention for their glass walls and overall modernist looks.

This version in Tenby, Wales, has spectacular views over the Pembrokeshire coastline. It’s eco-friendly credentials include green energy airsource heating and cooling aided by solar panels, as well as a freshwater swimming pool.

It is on the market for offers of more than £3million and is being sold by Fine & Country estate agents. 

3. Five-bed house in Ipswich for £1.65m

Fancy owning two silos? This converted barn in Bildeston, Ipswich, is being sold via estate agents Fine & Country for £1.65million

Fancy owning two silos? This converted barn in Bildeston, Ipswich, is being sold via estate agents Fine & Country for £1.65million

The property extends across a massive 6,000 square feet, and includes this large kitchen with an attractive central island

The property extends across a massive 6,000 square feet, and includes this large kitchen with an attractive central island 

A spacious and light feel: The main living area in the property has an impressive 20 ft high vaulted ceiling

A spacious and light feel: The main living area in the property has an impressive 20 ft high vaulted ceiling

The conversion stretches across three floors and boasts five bedrooms - with this one having plenty of beams on show

The conversion stretches across three floors and boasts five bedrooms – with this one having plenty of beams on show

This unusual barn conversion features two silos that have also been converted to offer additional living space.

The property extends across a massive 6,000 square feet, with five bedrooms and a 20 ft high vaulted ceiling in the main living area.

It is in Bildeston, Ipswich, and is being sold via estate agents Fine & Country for £1.65million.

4. Seven-bed house in Surrey, for £4.75m

The most expensive in our list is this seven-bedroom barn conversion in Frensham, Farnham, which is for sale for £4.75million

The most expensive in our list is this seven-bedroom barn conversion in Frensham, Farnham, which is for sale for £4.75million

The property has an inviting entrance hallway with enough space for some seating as well as a grand piano around the stairs

The property has an inviting entrance hallway with enough space for some seating as well as a grand piano around the stairs

The modern kitchen has a large central island, surrounded by a tiled floor inspired by a traditional Victorian pattern

The modern kitchen has a large central island, surrounded by a tiled floor inspired by a traditional Victorian pattern

The home cinema delivers a Dolby Atmos cinema experience via its eight metre square screen with more than 60 acoustically enclosed speakers

The home cinema delivers a Dolby Atmos cinema experience via its eight metre square screen with more than 60 acoustically enclosed speakers

The highest asking price in our selection of steel-framed houses is £4.75million and it is being sold via ME estate agents.

The house in Frensham, Farnham, recently won the Residential Property in Surrey award at The International Property Awards. It has seven bedrooms  and is on the market via ME estate agents.

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Leinster hoping lightning won’t strike twice for Connacht at the RDS

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Leinster v Connacht,  RDS, Friday, 7.45pm – Live TG4 and Premier Sports

Lightning, goes the saying, tends not to strike twice, and Leinster tend not to lose twice in a row. Although it did happen last April/May against Munster in the Rainbow Cup and then La Rochelle, it has never happened to them at the RDS.

In making 10 changes in personnel to an all-international XV following last week’s defeat by Ulster, as well as restoring Rónan Kelleher and Andrew Porter to the bench, Leinster have made their intentions clear. A week out from their December marquee fixture against Bath at the Aviva Stadium, they are pretty much as locked and loaded as they could be.

Jamison Gibson-Park came through training this week and should be available for next week. Johnny Sexton and Jack Conan might return the following week away to Montpellier.

As James Ryan is still adhering to World Rugby guidelines, which has included seeing an independent concussion consultant, there is no clear timeframe on his return.

Beaten here by Connacht last January, Leinster won’t lack for motivation. “The guys were pretty gutted afterwards last week because it only takes the smallest percentage to be off against a team that’s highly motivated, like Ulster were, and like we know Connacht will be this week, exactly the same,” said Leo Cullen on Thursday.

“It’s been a short week for us to prepare but we just need to get going now into this block and get excited about the challenge, and playing in front of a home crowd. There’s plenty of doom and gloom out there in the world at the moment, as we know, so it’s getting back and creating that connection with our supporters, and going out and doing great things on a rugby pitch, and that’s what the team wants to do. I’m sure that’s what the fans that turn up and pay good money to watch the team play, that’s what they want to see as well.”

Three changes

Connacht arrive on the back of sparkling bonus-point wins either side of the Autumn Series hiatus over Ulster and the Ospreys. Andy Friend has made three changes, promoting centre Peter Robb, lock Oisín Dowling and Eoghan Masterson, who replaces the injured Paul Boyle, with Jarrad Butler moving to eight.

Ulster won here with a restricted if well-executed game plan, playing territory and retaining possession, before upping their line speed in forcing errors from their misfiring hosts.

But true to Friend’s mantra of fast/relentless/adaptable, Connacht are committed to their ambitious ball-in-hand brand of rugby. Jack Carty, one of five internationals in Connacht’s side, has a liking for this venue, having scored 39 points on his last two visits here. In December 2018 he contributed handsomely to a 29-12 lead with 12 minutes remaining before Porter completed Leinster’s late three-try salvo in overtime after 41 phases, while last time Carty scored 25 points in their 35-24 win.

Yet to put last January’s win in context, it is Connacht’s only victory in the last six clashes between the two; it was sandwiched by Leinster twice running up a half century against them, and it was their only win on Leinster soil since September 2002.

Accordingly, Paddy Power makes Leinster 1-10 favourites, with Connacht 6-1 to spring another surprise.

LEINSTER: H Keenan; J Larmour, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, J Lowe; H Byrne, L McGrath (capt); C Healy, D Sheehan, M Ala’alatoa; R Baird, D Toner; R Ruddock, J van der Flier, C Doris.

Replacements: R Kelleher, A Porter, V Abdaladze, J Murphy, M Deegan, N McCarthy, R Byrne, TO’Brien.

CONNACHT: O McNulty; A Wootton, S Arnold, P Robb, M Hansen; J Carty (capt), K Marmion; M Burke, D Heffernan, F Bealham; O Dowling, U Dillane; E Masterson, C Oliver, J Butler.

Replacements: S Delahunt, J Duggan, J Aungier, L Fifita, C Prendergast, C Blade, C Fitzgerald, T Farrell.

Referee: Chris Busby (IRFU)

Forecast: Leinster to win.

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‘I was so proud to be Navajo and so proud to be Irish’

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“For the first time in my lifetime my two cultures were intertwined in the most beautiful way … I was so proud to be Navajo and so proud to be Irish.”

Doreen McPaul was speaking as she received a Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad for 2021. President Higgins granted the awards to 11 people at a ceremony in Áras an Uachtaráin on December 2nd.

McPaul, of Irish and Navajo heritage, is attorney general for the Navajo Nation. Her award, under the category of charitable works, is in recognition of her fundraising for the Navajo, who experienced extreme hardship during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her efforts led to a collaboration with the Irish Cultural Centre and McClelland Library in Phoenix, Arizona, which gathered more than $30,000 worth of donated supplies to assist the Navajo Nation at the peak of the pandemic.

“The Navajo Nation was so devastated by Covid-19, as a culture and as a community. [It] was really tragic and stressful, and we worked literally non-stop. The highlight of this was talking to people from all over the world …. Specifically with Ireland, we had this huge outpouring of support, and that was really overwhelming because of my own dual heritage and growing up as a half-Navajo half-Irish girl,” she told The Irish Times.

“As soon as people learned that the Navajo Nation attorney general was part-Irish, people reached out to me and claimed me as their own and invited me to all these things and celebrated my dual heritage in a way I’ve never experienced before. Literally they put me on the highest pedestal and that’s what this award signifies to me.”

A graduate of Princeton University, Doreen McPaul has worked as a tribal attorney for 20 years and has spent two years serving as attorney general. “I didn’t know I was nominated for the award first of all. So when the Irish council called to let me know I would be receiving a notice of the award, I literally cried.”

In all, 11 people received awards on Thursday, in a variety of fields. They were: Arts, Culture and Sport: Susan Feldman (USA), Roy Foster (Britain) and Br Colm O’Connell (Kenya). Business and Education: Sr Orla Treacy (South Sudan). Charitable Works: Doreen Nanibaa McPaul (USA), Phyllis Morgan-Fann and Jim O’Hara (Britain). Irish Community Support: Adrian Flannelly and Billy Lawless (USA). Peace, Reconciliation & Development: Bridget Brownlow (Canada). Science, Technology & Innovation: Susan Hopkins (Britain).

Colm Brophy, Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora said: “As Minister of State for the Diaspora I am aware of the profound impact our global family has had around the world in a variety of fields. There were 107 nominations for these awards this year, and the level and breadth of the achievements of the people nominated are, by any measure, remarkable.

The contribution of the Irish abroad has been immense, and the diversity of their achievements in their many walks of life, can be seen in this year’s 11 awardees.”

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Ski home values rise by up to 17% despite travel restrictions says Savills

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It’s not just Britain’s property market that is red-hot. Homes in ski resorts are being snapped up by wealthy buyers despite the pandemic and on/off travel restrictions, a new reports suggests.

And just like here, the staggering growth in values stems from high demand and lack of supply. 

The findings are in Savills latest ski report, which tracks 44 resorts globally. It found that property prices grew on average 5.1 per cent in the last year.

However, some resorts – including Flims and Grimentz in Switzerland – saw values rise 17 per cent.

This chalet in Chemin Des Cleves in Switzerland and is for sale for CHF6,000,000, the equivalent of £4.9million

This chalet in Chemin Des Cleves in Switzerland and is for sale for CHF6,000,000, the equivalent of £4.9million

Top 20 prime ski resorts, based on price per square metres (priced in euros)

Top 20 prime ski resorts, based on price per square metres (priced in euros)

The release of pent-up demand for ski properties follows almost two seasons of closures for most resorts.

Jeremy Rollason, of Savills, said: ‘Only a few resorts such as Val d’Isère, Verbier and Morzine were seeing real price growth up until 2019. 

‘That has all changed with virtually all resorts in the Alps and North America experiencing strong double digit and sometimes exponential price growth in a matter of months.’

He adds: ‘The first quarter of 2021 was particularly acute for demand. Transaction volumes doubled over the previous year and fierce competition emerged, especially for prime property in the most exclusive resorts.

‘Property that had previously been for sale for a few months – or even years – suddenly found buyers who were keen to escape the confines of towns and cities.’

The North American ski resorts of Aspen and Vail top the Savills Ski Prime Price League with Courchevel 1850 moving from the top spot to third place.

Aspen, which celebrates its 75th birthday this season, is predominantly a domestic market, with average values at around £25,000 per square metre.

Meribel has broken into the top ten price resorts with asking prices of around £13,800 per square metre. 

With its 200 lifts, and central to the world’s largest ski area – Les Trois Vallees – Meribel is popular among French and British skiers looking for a dual season resort.

Making the most of a dual season: This five-bed chalet is in St Gervais, in France's Haute-Savoie region, and is on the market for €2.5m (£2.13m)

Making the most of a dual season: This five-bed chalet is in St Gervais, in France’s Haute-Savoie region, and is on the market for €2.5m (£2.13m)

Estate agents Savills also looked at the prospects for price growth in 10 key resorts

Estate agents Savills also looked at the prospects for price growth in 10 key resorts

While resorts have always pushed the benefits of using properties throughout the winter and summer, a dual season resort is now the most important locational factor for buyers as they look to make the most of their holiday homes, according to Savills.

The estate agent said that regardless of international travel restrictions, foreign buyers are still keen to purchase ski resort properties and have been quick to return to the property market as restrictions have lifted.

This week, some resorts opened early amid heavy snowfall and are hoping to remain so throughout the season.

Mark Nathan, of Chalets 1066, the largest operator in France’s Les Gets, said: ‘We are fortunate here in that Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, the French Minister for Tourisme has said that ‘closing is not an option’ this winter.

‘The snow is amazing at the moment and the pistes will be opening this weekend. The planned date was December 12 for early opening so this shows how good the conditions are. The fresh snow was up to my knees this morning.’

This five-bed chalet is in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, and is for sale for CHF4,200,000, the equivalent of £3.4million

This five-bed chalet is in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, and is for sale for CHF4,200,000, the equivalent of £3.4million

He explained that visitors will be expected to show proof of vaccination to go into bars and restaurants, and also when buying lift passes.

‘There might even be random checks in the lift queues. We are also expecting to have to use masks in lift queues – but these are all small points and the good news is we can all ski and enjoy a mountain holiday. 

‘Our bookings are the best we have ever had by a long way, in over 13 years of business. 

‘Over the past few days there has been nervousness among the English and a few other countries with the new Omicron variant, but we now hear that the Swiss will be allowing people who are on their way to France to land at Geneva and then take a transfer directly to France. 

‘Overall, we are looking forward to an exciting ski season.’

Qualified ski instructor and ski journalist Rob Stewart added: ‘British skiers spend more money than domestic visitors and ski resorts are desperate to have us back. 

‘In some French resorts, British skiers are only second to French visitors in regards to numbers and we are such an important part of their economy.

‘This winter, snow seems to have come fairly early and in decent quantities, and it’s cold. This always helps increase visitor numbers and after such a terrible winter last year because of Covid, there is huge positively about this winter being a good one.

‘The challenges remain for British skiers, with nerves around changing travel restrictions still haunting the industry and lack of availability pushing prices higher for the moment. 

‘But for skiers that have missed out for one and half seasons now, these challenges will be overcome if possible, for the chance to get back on the slopes’.

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