- "We had to knock down a studded window to get inside the house and there were no stairs to the upper area."
- "I would tell anyone doing their own home it is that there are bargains out there."
Donna McGrath and Mark Rusk live with their three girls in South County Dublin. When the couple bought the site in 2015 they wanted to build a home that was light filled with a strong connection between the inside and outside.
To achieve this, they used floor-to-ceiling windows, a double-height light well and lots of different types of wood.
They also designed the layout so that every room downstairs leads to the garden and that the main living area is open plan.The couple wanted the property to have a Mediterranean feel and used tiled floors and the colour white to add to that sense of the home as a retreat from the rest of the world.
Donna and Mark are very proud of what they’ve achieved and feel they’ve created something unique, family-orientated, bohemian and functional for their family.
“My Dad had spotted it by chance. When I arrived to have a look, it was hidden down a small lane way and was a completely vegetated site with an abandoned half built house.
We had to knock down a studded window to get inside the house and there were no stairs to the upper area,” explained Ms McGrath.
In 2017, work began on the house which took 22 months to complete.
The site is surrounded by 15 other houses, and sits on sand, which made construction tricky, but the results are worth it.
The family made further renovations in 2020, and it is now a four bedroom house with a large open plan living room at its centre.
“It’s surrounded by glass walls, so we have light flooding in from all directions, including a light well from upstairs. It’s a really calm room with a neutral palette.
We’ve used natural materials throughout the house, including several different types of wood, bamboo and lots of oversized plants.
All of our downstairs rooms have doors leading out to the garden which helps make it a really great and fun family house to live in,” added Donna.
In terms of perils of wisdom she may be in a position to share with anyone who may be about to embark on a similar project?
“I would tell anyone doing their own home it is that there are bargains out there. I’ve found some amazing buys in salvage yards where I bought all of my stone from. All my flooring was clearance stock – the dealer actually said they weren’t able to sell my tiles.
My furniture is hand me downs, and my favourite piece is a 1970s rocking chair I bought on Adverts. Don’t be afraid to draw your own plans and show them to the kitchen suppliers and architects,” concluded Ms McGrath.