From the outside, Russell Hart and Fitzpatrick’s house appears ordinary, just one more compact house in a typical 1960s estate. But open the front door, and you are in for a series of lovely – and tasteful – surprises.
The couple run the stop, one of the most stylish B&Bs in Galway, so it’s no surprise that their home is just as cool and inviting. However, they admit that when they first visited the house, they were distinctly unimpressed. “It looked very dingy the first time we saw it and it was in very bad condition,” Emer recalls. “It didn’t help that it was a cold and dark day, but Russ suggested we should give it another go.”
On second viewing, the house was completed transformed by the sunlight, and gradually a vision began to take shape. The couple decided to knock through walls and install a glass extension, creating an open plan design where they and their three children could eat, cook, work and play together, all in one connected space.
With light flooding through the airy rooms, the creative duo got to work on making the most of it, carefully selecting pops of colourful paint that would enhance their vast collection of art (which includes many original pieces by their artist friends), creating a warm, artsy retreat.
The couple follow the principle that form follows function – for example, the kitchen shelves are open so that when they are cooking it’s easy to find ingredients, while an impressive portion of their furniture was designed, restored or built by the couple themselves to best suit their needs.
Photography by Mark Scott