Our home is very much an evolution of our style!

Alannah Monks talks to Build & Renovate

Story Highlights
  • “I don't think that any home is perfect.”
  • “Play around with some ideas.”

Interior Designer Alannah Monks lives with her husband Patrick and her two daughters in a new build home in county Dublin. They built the house in 2013 and said it has evolved over the years.  They tried to make it as much a self-build as possible and each room has its own style and colour scheme.

Ms Monks  describes her style as eclectic and views her home as a playground for trying out new designs, colour schemes and ideas. She constantly has new ideas and inspirations and says she would not put something into a client’s house if she was not happy to live with it herself.

Alannah and Patrick’s describe their home as a reflection of them as a family and it’s very unique to them. Alannah and Patrick were very hands on in creating their family home and do most of the DIY themselves.

“Our home is very much an evolution of our style! We were quite young and inexperienced with very small children and living in tiny rental houses in the city, so when we started our build so a lot of decisions we made when building were for convenience and speed. As we grew into our home our style developed with us as a family, we realised quite quickly how important colourful and unique interiors were to us,” said Alannah Monks.

As to whether or not the build was a straight forward experience or did they encounter any issues along the way?

“As builds go it was relatively problem free but I think a self builds encounter issues by nature! However both Patrick and I are natural problem solvers, and we don’t agonise over decisions too much. Furthermore we were strict about budget; if the money wasn’t there for an idea then it was not done and if a problem arose that would affect the structural aspects then some aesthetic choices had to suffer. I think you have to be pragmatic about these things when building.

“We built our home in such a rush that getting in was our only priority, I didn’t have time to enjoy the experience, which I somewhat regret. My favourite moment of the entire thing was standing in the foundations at the very start of the journey, like any moments in life the beginning is always filled with prospect and excitement. You can dream a little before the reality of it all sets in,” added Ms Monks.

Has Alannah got any advice for anyone who may be either in the middle of a self build or about to embark on a self build?
“Take time to enjoy it, play around with some ideas but above all be practical! I’ve seen too many builds turn into three and four year projects simply because decisions can’t be made which can often lead to budgets getting out of hand. If you start to feel yourself slipping into a Pinterest dreamworld, call a designer to guide you,” she enthused.

As an Interior Designer, how hard was it it for her to select the style for her own home?

“It’s a constant battle! I think I change something in the house at least once a month. I look forward to experimenting with new ideas and styles. Every room has had at least one makeover since we moved in,” revealed Ms Monks.

When it comes to a favourite place in her family home?

“It’s always been the master bedroom! I’m very much a night owl so I’ve set up the room in such a way that I have a few spaces to work/read/relax. I also like to keep it very dark in there; it facilitates for an excellent lie on at the weekends.

Upon reflection is there anything that you would do differently?

“There are countless things that I would do differently if we were to start all over again! However if I did all of those things there would still be more. I don’t think that any home is perfect and they’re always evolving which is the fun of it. I don’t regret anything or worry too much about what we didn’t do. If I were to do it all again my biggest change would be to invest more in the landscaping; I underestimated how important the outdoor space would be and find it’s a very costly and time consuming thing to do after the fact,” concluded Alannah Monks.



Alannah Monks

Words: Emer Kelly Images: RTÉ Press Office

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