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des res Meet the seven finalists in this year's RTE’s Home Of The Year

Competition winner will be announced next Tuesday on RTE1

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Kate and Cian O’ Driscoll

Kate and Cian O’ Driscoll

Kate and Cian O’ Driscoll

A varied group will be hoping to be announced as winner of the prestigious competition on Tuesday night.

Hundreds of thousands of viewers have seen Hugh Wallace, Deirdre Whelan and Peter Crowley peek inside 21 fabulous homes in recent months.

And on Tuesday the overall winner will be announced in Palmerstown in Co. Kildare on a special broadcast being aired on RTE1 that evening at 8.30pm.

Four of the contenders are from Dublin, and one each from counties Cork, Galway and Limerick.

Let’s have a look at them.

David O’Brien (Co Cork)

David O’ Brien built a modern and bespoke home for himself in the Cork countryside.

It was a self-build home with help from his brother and it took two years to complete. It looks like a modern take on a traditional barn.

He worked with an architect to create a design that was unique, spacious and very much to his style.

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David O'Brien

David O'Brien

David O'Brien

David loves modern architecture and vintage antique furniture so he wanted these to compliment each other.

He has been collecting vintage and antique furniture pieces for years and feels they have created interesting interiors in his home.

One of the most unique design choices is the use of an 1800s piano as a kitchen island. David has considered every corner of his home and he loves the airy feeling, the black exterior colour and the natural light.

David designed all of the interiors himself and put a huge amount of work into the design of his home.

Jennifer Sheahan (Dublin)

Jennifer Sheahan is very proud of the design of her late 1800s cottage in Dublin. She wanted one of these cottages for a long time and was delighted when one came on the market in 2019.

It needed a lot of work as it was damp, had no central heating and the toilet was outside. Jennifer did a complete renovation, knocked all internal walls, dug up the floor and lowered it plus added on an extra floor to make it a two-storey house.

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Jen Sheahan

Jen Sheahan

Jen Sheahan

There are clever storage solutions throughout this home. Jennifer describes her style as modern, playful and colourful. She loves that it is fun, comfortable and loves to see people’s reactions when they see a feature such as her disco ball light in her brightly coloured downstairs toilet.

Saara and Mike Loughlin (Co Limerick)

Saara and Mike Loughlin have put their own stamp on their semi-detached family home in Limerick. When they bought the house in 2008, it was very beige and magnolia with cream carpets everywhere and lacked character.

They have since taken out all the carpets and installed laminate flooring as well as painted every single surface in the house. They added their own colourful and eclectic style with a touch of bohemian and scandi influences, a mix of modern and mid-century furniture.

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Saara and Mike Loughlin

Saara and Mike Loughlin

Saara and Mike Loughlin

They like to mix old and new to create a warm and more interesting finish than having everything new. They designed and also did most of the work themselves. They love that it’s their own unique style and reflects their personalities.

They describe it as their safe haven and while it looks like a standard semi-detached house from the exterior, they have given it plenty of character.

Sally-Ann and Ruairí Mitchell (Dublin)

When Sally-Ann and Ruairí Mitchell bought their cottage in Dublin, it was an original 1920’s cottage with a single storey extension.

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Sally-Ann and Ruairí Mitchell

Sally-Ann and Ruairí Mitchell

Sally-Ann and Ruairí Mitchell

They gutted, re-modelled and extended it to transform from three bedrooms to a four-bedroom home with a large open plan mezzanine extension. They wanted an open-plan, split-level extension to the kitchen, and a private second wing for additional bedrooms for the family of six, including four boys.

Sally Ann describes their style as a blend of traditional and contemporary with an Irish cottage/loft vibe.

Kevin Desmond (Dublin)

Kevin Desmond has always been passionate about period houses and when he bought his home in Dublin in 2019 it was in very bad condition.

It needed extensive work so Kevin along with his partner Joe undertook a big restoration. The property was sympathetically restored throughout paying particular attention to features of an 1830’s house.

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Kevin Desmond

Kevin Desmond

Kevin Desmond

The sash windows were replaced, roof was re-done, all fire places restored, all internal doors restored including original locks and all the timber floors repaired. Kevin has all of the damaged coving carefully made to match the original.

When Kevin bought the house, the front brick work had a render applied in the 50’s and required a substantial restoration.

They also exposed the stone to the back and all the garden walls with lime mortar. Kevin is a keen gardener and out a lot of work went into the gardens front and back. It was very important to them to protect the integrity of the property and to be sympathetic to its era.

Tanya Lee Conroy and Noel Conroy (Co Galway)

Tanya Lee Conroy and Noel Conroy live with their two daughters in a modernist home in Co. Galway. The house is built on Tanya’s parents’ land and where her Grandmother’s cottage used to be.

Tanya and Noel were involved in every design detail of the home. They both work in a commercial property development company and project managed their self-build themselves. The design process started in 2015 with their architects, they broke ground in March 2018 and completed the it in December 2019.

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Tanya Lee Conroy and Noel Conroy

Tanya Lee Conroy and Noel Conroy

Tanya Lee Conroy and Noel Conroy

The house has a timber frame and a flat roof rubber membrane. The materials they used are materials you would expect to see in the West of Ireland; dry field stone in keeping with the Connaught landscape, and a Corten steel hat which is typical of rusted roofs you see in a traditional farmyard. They both have a passion for mid-century design and good craftmanship.

They have a lot of bespoke furniture and they wanted their home to be bespoke to their family. They describe their style as a mix of mid-century and modern design.

Tanya’s dad did a lot of work in the house and built their 6.5-metre-tall board mark concrete wall that is an important feature in their home.

Tanya and Noel say that their home is one hundred percent them as they were involved in every detail.

Kate and Cian O’ Driscoll (Dublin)

Kate and Cian O’ Driscoll dedicated almost two years to restoring their modernised period home in Dublin. The house was originally built in the late 1880’s and they wanted something old, with character, and something they could put their own stamp on.

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Kate and Cian O’ Driscoll

Kate and Cian O’ Driscoll

Kate and Cian O’ Driscoll

They were very hands on in the restoration process and when they bought their house in 2018, it was divided up into five bedsits. The house hadn’t been lived in since the late 70’s or early 80’s and still had an outhouse in the garden.

Although it was a protected structure, it had been pretty much derelict with a lot of the original features either rotted or covered over with lots of paint and wallpaper. They moved into the house in October 2018 and had no kitchen, no central heating and only a bath. Over six to eight months, they restored original floors, staircases, doors and architraves themselves and installed a temporary kitchenette.

They enlisted the help of an architect to plan a kitchen extension as what was there was very dark and small with low ceilings. They built an extension, had new glazing installed, the entire house was rewired and replumbed, and all external walls insulated.

They also hired conservation specialists to restore the original fireplaces and to restore and double glaze all the original sash windows in the house. Although it is a period house, Cian who works for a tech company turned it into a smart home. They wanted to keep the character of the Victorian house while making their home suitable for modern living.

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