Open House: Tour a welcoming family home in Northern Ireland

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  • For all its lovely Georgian period detailing, this large house set in the rolling Northern Irish countryside is, in fact, a brand new building. It stands on the site of a small farm cottage that the owner’s parents had bought when they married 40 years ago, and has been designed so that both generations of the family can live comfortably within reach, but not in each others’ pockets.

    “My husband wanted our children to have the same idyllic childhood that he’d had, living on the family farm, so we decided to knock down the cottage and build a house large enough for us all to live under one roof,” says the owner.

    The house is classically arranged, with the entrance hall at the heart of home. Doors on either side of the stairs lead to the formal and informal rooms surrounding this space, which also serves as a dining room when occasions demand it.

    The owners wanted a drawing room where their more formal pieces, including this carved wood Rococo settee and pair of Georgian swan-neck chairs, can be enjoyed.

    On the other side of the hall, the owners have created a large open-plan space that is as comfortable as it is practical.

    This house may be a new build but the owners’ attention to period details are a reassuring statement of intent – this is a house built to last.

    A pair of large Quad pendant lights from Original BTC and the mirror-tiled splashback help to keep the kitchen bright and airy.

    Situated directly above the hall, the landing at the top of the stairs is also the link between the main bedroom and bathroom, the children’s bedrooms and a private connecting door to the owner’s parents’ home.

    “We always meant to change the colour of the bath,” the owner continues, pointing to the rolltop standing in the bathroom, “but somehow it worked with the rest of the room so it has stayed orange.”

    With a dressing room neatly tucked behind a stud wall, the owners are able to let the romantic nature of the Doves wallpaper by Lewis & Wood.

    “I want them to enjoy being sisters while they’re young,” says the owner of her daughters’ bedroom.

    The soft grey-painted guest bedroom feels fresh and young, decorated as it is with Designers Guild bedlinen and a pair of Paul Smith Edition One lamps from Anglepoise.

    The garden is a work in progress at the moment,” says the owner, “so pots and plants tend to end up here with the melee that is our Wellington boots, coats and hats.

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