Home of the Year

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Overview

From huge farmhouses to town apartments, centuries-old villas to cutting-edge modern architectural masterpieces, many countries are full of beautiful, surprising and absolutely unique homes. But do they have what it takes to be home of the year?

Three judges, all experts on a different aspect of architecture and design, scour the country, region by region, looking for the one home that along with its signature style represents something about its district and the nation as a whole. In each region one home is chosen to represent it in the final round. First the judges narrow the finalists down to just three, then it’s up to the viewers to vote on who will win, and which owners will win the cash prize!

Episode 1

Tom Hayden and June Kennedy- Clonmel Tipperary

Tom is a Professor of Zoology and June has recently completed her masters in spiritualism. The couple live in their extended cottage in Tipperary.

They first met as teenagers but reconnected nearly 40 years later when June was studying as a mature student and Tom was working as a lecturer. Tom left Dublin to move with June to Tipperary to make their beautiful home. They’ve added a lot to their cottage, extending up so they can take in the spectacular views all around them. Inside, big leather couches, meditation corners, mounted Elk antlers, crosses, candles and trinkets from their travels are all present in their house.
The couple love being here so much they even cancelled their annual trip to the South of France preferring instead to just be at home.

James and Mary Connolly- Co Kildare

James is a salesman and Mary is retired business owner and they live in their home in Co. Kildare

James and Marys home is a renovation and rebuild of their original 1980’s bungalow which was destroyed by flooding. With the help of their architect sons and daughter in law they were able to rebuild a new home that was flood proof. James and Mary decorated their home themselves and commissioned furniture including a giant dining table (which seats 12 people) in the kitchen. This is where they consider the heart of the home is. The space never feels crowded to them even when filled with grandparents down to grandchildren.

Siobhan Lam and Jamie Hughes in South County Dublin

Siobhan runs a lifestyle and homewares online shop called April and the Bear www.aprilandthebear.com and Jamie is a retail manager and they live in their home in South County Dublin.
They have a renovated terrace which Siobhan describes as urban, eclectic, industrial, and contemporary. The house was built in the 1890s, and the couple bought it 3 years ago when it was 3 bedsits. The renovation, which is ongoing, has taken 2 ½ years. They have lots of personal touches throughout their home including
a dining table which doubles as a chalk board and prints lining the walls (some of which she designed herself). This home has been a real labour of love for the couple. Though it was a lot of work they love every corner of the house.

Episode 2 – Meet the families

Mo and Vinnie McGovern, Glengarriff, Co. Cork.

Mo works in marketing and Vinnie owns and runs www.oddjobscompany.ie
The couple have been living in their Glengarriff home for 5 years after relocating from London. With family living in the area, West Cork always felt like home. They bought the bungalow and renovated it extensively. Mo feels the heart of her house is the kitchen, which is right in the middle of the property. It has great features such as the dining table, which is an old church door, large enough to fit lots of people around. The couple like to be surrounded by things that have meaning and their home is inspired by moments in time and memories.

Ita Molloy and Andrew Harvey, Castletownbere, Co. Cork.

Retired couple, Ita & Andrew had a holiday cottage on this site since 1993 but rebuilt on it and then from summer 2014 have had this beautiful home. They wanted to build something that was eco-friendly and enlisted the help of Ita’s son, Donn Ponnighaus who is an architect, to design and build a passive house. The interior is warm and cosy and they are surrounded by incredible views of the mountain’s and sea of West Cork.

Leon and Lorraine Whelton and children Robyn (5) Adam (4) Lena (1), Goleen, Co. Cork

Leon works as a planning and design consultant and Lorraine is a local primary school teacher.
The couple have lived here since 2013 with their 3 kids. As soon as they bought the property they went ahead with a major renovation project, with Leon at the helm. Leon using his experience as a planning and design consultant, designed the house; he also project managed the building works completely. His vision was to mix the old with the new, while ensuring the design was sympathetic to the original farmhouse and the surrounding landscape. The heart of the home is the kitchen and living area where the family spend all of their time together.

Episode 3

Paul is a sculptor and lives with his partner Lucia in North Dublin City with their son Paolo.

Paul has owned this terraced, red brick house since 2000. He is an American artist who has lived in Dublin since 1995. As a sculptor, he has been able to apply many of his fabrication skills to improve and enhance the house. He has a keen interest in the nature of materials and the principles of engineering.
The house has been a work in progress over the last 14 years and it has a lot of their personal touches, such as the antique brass cash register from Paul’s grandfather’s furniture shops which serves as his bureau.
The design of the house is informed by the couple’s industrial, functional, modern and rustic taste.

Trisha is an interior designer who lives in South Dublin with her dog Milly.

Trisha has owned this terraced house since 1994 and had to completely renovate it. The house had formerly been a location for a dental technicians and the downstairs was covered in the plaster used to make denture moulds.
However in 2011, the Dodder River burst its banks and the residents of the area had to evacuate. When she returned, the whole lower level of the building was ruined. She had to move out for just over a year and the lower level had to be gutted and re-done again. Trisha loves the use of colour and light in her work and has done the entire interior herself, paying special attention to good use of space.

Eva Byrne and Gerard Carty live in South Dublin City with their two children, Vita and Oscar.

Eva and Gerard are both architects, Eva also runs www.houseology.ie and specialises in maximising space, light & storage.
Eva and Gerard built this modern mews house in 2003 and added a rooftop extension in 2012. The house is cleverly designed with every millimetre of space exploited to make a functional but elegant family home. It includes lots of hidden storage and even a secret bedroom. This versatile mews is fully used and enjoyed by all the family – including Bisto, the dog – and whilst it is largely open plan, manages to appear calm and uncluttered.

Episode 4

Ger and Susann Eaton live in Co. Kildare

Ger a musician in the band The Carnival Brothers and hairstylist lives with his wife Susann and their 2 kids, Jude and Bowie, in Kildare.

The Eaton family live in a red-bricked, semi-detached house in Co. Kildare. Ger and his wife have a similar taste in fashion and music and both bring that into their home. Ger, in particular, loves to shop around Ireland, and abroad, for original pieces for their home. They love that each piece in the home has its own story, such as the 1960’s turquoise suite which came from the American Embassy in Dublin.

Jeanne McSherry lives in Co. Wicklow

Jeanne lives in a new build cottage in Co. Wicklow with her partner Mark. It initially started off as a renovation and small extension but ended up as a new build as the original was in such a poor state. Her home is built from Wicklow granite and river stone to recreate the original cottage footprint that had once been there. She has done all the interior design herself. One of her favourite rooms is the main bedroom which faces onto a terrace where you can sit and listen to the birds singing. Jeanne refers to her home as a little piece of heaven on earth.

Chris Deakin & Orla Mc Cluskey live in Galway

Chris bought the property, parts of which have been there since 1820, in 2005 and spent the next two and a half years converting it into two-bedroom family home. One of the couple’s favourite spaces in the house is their main living space which is an open plan living room/sitting room. They find it really comfortable and bright with the spectacular church windows.

Episode 5

Feile Butler and Colin Ritchie

Feile Butler and Colin Ritchie live in a cob-and-timber-frame home in Skreen Co. Sligo

After taking a mud building course in 2005 Feile and Colin set about designing and building their own cob and timber frame home. Feile is an architect and Colin a carpenter so they were able to do the vast majority of the work themselves. The house, completed in 2011, was built from soil excavated on site and over 80% of the other building materials were salvaged.

Myles Lamberth and Jane Chambers

Myles Lamberth and Jane Chambers run the Cafe Shells and live in a renovated cottage in Strandhill Co. Sligo

Myles and Jane had to basically start from scratch with the cottage). Although they wanted to be sympathetic to the original home this meant that they could design a space for how they live. They have an open plan design in their cottage. The living space spanning from the front to the back of the house is brought together by the impressive polished cement floors, a strong feature of the industrial look the couple favour in terms of style.

Karen O’Connor

Karen O’Connor lives in a thatched cottage in Furbo Co. Galway

Karen is a speech therapist and lives with her dog Mozart in Furbo Co. Galway. Karen’s home is an original thatch Irish cottage and was built over 200 years ago. She has been living there since 2003. The cottage has been a home a garage and now a home again. Within the house she has the original walls of the cottage, a homely open stove in the original fireplace.

Episode 6

John and Francesca Ryan

John and Francesca Ryan live in a 1930s terraced house with a modern renovation in South County Dublin
John and Francesca, both work as architects (www.cprarchitects.ie) and live in their home with their 2 sons, Seamus and Oliver. When they bought the house it was in very poor condition, the ground floor had been previously converted into offices and the back garden was a car park. However in 2011 they transformed it into a modern four bedroom family home with a garden out the back. The relationship between the kitchen at the rear of the house and the garden is a favourite feature of theirs.

Patti O’Neil

Patti O’Neil lives in a thatched stone cottage in Tipperary
Patti bought her home 4 years ago and estimates that the cottage is approximately 250 years ago. Patti is an architect (www.oneillarchitecture.com) and has been able to work to restore her home to its former glory, removing a century of plastering and extensions to reveal the original walls and floor to what it would have been like when it was first built. There are no hallways in this home in order to maximise the sense of space. Patti has tried to use as many natural materials as possible in the restoration process.

Sarah Tomkin

Sarah and her husband live with their four sons in this beach side bungalow in South County Dublin
The house was originally built in the 1930s with two extensions added on since. This extended family home has a garden that backs out onto the beach. Art school graduate, Sarah, has a real love of colour, patterns and a natural flare for design. Her design philosophy is simple, nothing should match! The dominant colour in the home is pink, even the exterior of the home is a pale shade of pink. The house has unusual features like a swing in the middle of the kitchen and a boat in the living room. One of her favourite rooms is the kitchen, as it gets lots of sunshine and is a place where the whole family gathers.

Episode 7 – Homeowners

Lee Conlon and Bridget Finnegan live in Co. Monaghan

Lee and Bridget have lived here for almost 4 years. Lee has always been environmentally aware and so when it came to building his own home he was keen to do so with something ecologically sound. Lee and his two friends built the cabin over 5 weeks in the summer of 2011 and he compares it to building a large 3D jigsaw. One of Lee and Bridget’s favourite spaces of the home are the inside mezzanine, which affords great views over the surrounding forest and lake. Their large open plan living space downstairs maintains the cosy cabin feel which is in the rest of this home.

Jill Casey lives in South County Dublin

Jill lives in this renovated mews in a laneway in South County Dublin. Jill downsized to this property in 2014. One of Jill’s daughters, Alice Casey from TAKA architects, renovated the entire home. Designed to let light into the mews, Jill’s home is filled with unusual and clever design aspects, such as the large mirror at the bottom of the garden which reflects light and gives a real sense of space. The horizontal fins at the front window are designed to slightly obscure passer bys view inside but not diminish Jill’s view of the outside.

Carla Benedetti lives in South County Dublin

Carla is a graphic and interior designer and began the process of renovating this Victorian home in 2010. There is a mix of original with new features throughout the home. Carla was passionate about respecting her period home while introducing modern architecture and design such as the double height extension at the back of the home. She favours a darker colour palette in the majority of the home, finding I adds a cosiness to larger spaces. One of her favourite areas is the downstairs living/dining area, she loves the double doors out to the garden which she designed herself.

Episode 8 – Meet the finalist homeowners:

Week 1 – The Extended Cottage

Tom is a Professor of Zoology and June has recently completed her masters in spiritualism. The couple live in their extended cottage in Tipperary.
They first met as teenagers but reconnected nearly 40 years later when June was studying as a mature student and Tom was working as a lecturer. Tom left Dublin to move with June to Tipperary to make their beautiful home. They’ve added a lot to their cottage, extending up so they can take in the spectacular views all around them. Inside, big leather couches, meditation corners, mounted Elk antlers, crosses, candles and trinkets from their travels are all present in their house.
The couple love being here so much they even cancelled their annual trip to the South of France preferring instead to just be at home.

Week 2 – The Split Level Home

Ita Molloy and Andrew Harvey, Castletownbere, Co. Cork. Retired couple, Ita & Andrew had a holiday cottage on this site since 1993 but rebuilt on it and then from summer 2014 have had this beautiful home. They wanted to build something that was eco-friendly and enlisted the help of Ita’s son, Donn Ponnighaus who is an architect, to design and build a passive house. The interior is warm and cosy and they are surrounded by incredible views of the mountain’s and sea of West Cork.

Week 3 – The City Mews

Eva Byrne and Gerard Carty live in South Dublin City with their two children, Vita and Oscar. Eva and Gerard are both architects, Eva also runs www.houseology.ie and specialises in maximising space, light & storage.
Eva and Gerard built this modern mews house in 2003 and added a rooftop extension in 2012. The house is cleverly designed with every millimetre of space exploited to make a functional but elegant family home. It includes lots of hidden storage and even a secret bedroom. This versatile mews is fully used and enjoyed by all the family – including Bisto, the dog – and whilst it is largely open plan, manages to appear calm and uncluttered.