A perfect and inspiring example is the Cork City home of digital marketer Sinead Murphy.
Located near the ruins of the 14th century Augustinian Red Abbey, it is an area steeped in history and a few minutes’ walk from the town center with its shops, bars and restaurants.
But renovating a dilapidated house was a huge undertaking that Sinead’s friends said she was crazy to accept.
“I used to tell them, ‘wait until I’m home for the year,'” he says.
It was a self-fulfilling prophecy that not only saw the house chosen to appear in the 2022 edition of the show, but won a spot in the final after an 18-month project that ran from purchase to completion in March 2020.
“I actually moved in the week the lockdown restrictions were announced,” says Sinead.
But it gave her time to really settle down and put the finishing touches on her new three-story home, inspired by the time she spent living in New York.
“I lived in eight different apartments and got an idea of what I liked,” he explains.
“I used to live small and actually spent my 20s living in shoe boxes. I had access to large stores but nowhere to put anything, so closet space and storage space really mattered to me. “
It now has pull-out clothes rails in the stairwell and under the sloping ceilings in the top floor bedroom it occupies and where a compact bathroom with shower has also been incorporated.
But it is the roof terrace leading from the bedroom that is an unexpected delight and this is where Sinead and his friends gather for drinks and chat, enjoying the view over the neighboring rooftops and the gently looming sandstone structure of the Nano Nagle Center. , standing as a protector from the harshest weather elements.
Suddenly, you forget it’s Cork and imagine it’s a Parisian pied-à-terre.
One floor down is Sinead’s guest bedroom with a surprisingly spacious private shower and even a small laundry room. Despite the small square footage of the property, space was found for everything.
Going down to the ground floor, the original layout now houses open-plan living, dining and kitchen areas. It’s compact yet light and airy, something Sinead’s furniture choices enhance.
“I gravitate towards low-end furniture and have loved the sofas my parents had all their life,” she says. “I saw a velvet set on eBay: a two-seater sofa, chair and ottoman.”
They are the Pogo collection by Ligne Roset, designed in the 1970s by Michel Ducaroy and finished with soft pink upholstery.
“They are my favorite things,” he says. “They are so liveable and adaptable.”
They’re also surprisingly light, so Sinead wouldn’t have a hard time taking them upstairs if he felt like tweaking the changes.
Star buy, however, is its Roundette extendable dining table with three-legged chairs that snap into the edge of the table.
Designed in 1952 by Hans Olsen and bought online from Germany by Sinead, it is the perfect size for his limited dining room and adds a touch of woody warmth to all-white walls, floors and kitchen units, as well as a round countertop and low coffee table that quotes the design of Ray and Charles Eames in his style.
Made.com’s whole-home lighting choices give a Scandinavian design vibe, but there’s also vintage lighting from Cork’s Salvagem and on eBay.
But it is the storage solutions that compete for the star purchase with the Roundette table. A bookcase built under the stairs opens like the entrance to a secret hideout revealing a dedicated shoe store. It is happiness, sir, happiness.
As thrilled as Sinead is in the end, she admits there have been challenges. One disappointment was the choice of flooring.
“I had some microcement downstairs,” he explains. “It looked great for two weeks and then it broke.”
Now replaced by white painted wood, it actually contributes to the feeling of light in the space.
So what would its guiding principles be for anyone wary of taking on an old property?
“It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done, but it’s going to take longer than you think,” he says.
“But all the challenges and frustrations will be worth it. Remember, you won’t be good at everything. It is exciting and it can be difficult because it is your home. Pay attention to expectations and timing. It will be done”.