When architect Helena Fitzgerald got the chance to create a family home on her parents’ rural farm, what she built was no ordinary farmhouse. Inspired by the picturesque views of Carlow’s Blackstairs Mountains, she made it her mission to build a beautiful and contemporary home that respected the extraordinary landscape. “I tried conventional designs at the start,” Helena recalls ruefully. “But I ended up with this much more expressive one!”
The resulting geometric structure blends in naturally with its surroundings, featuring timber cladding, generous windows and plenty of light-filled internal space. There is something uplifting about the uncluttered yet homely interior, which has a lovely flow between each space. Textured wooden floors in rich oak are offset against the organic-toned walls, and functional open-plan shelving displays the architect’s elegant collection of objets d’art.
Scotland and Scottish design has had a profound influence on Helena’s life as she met her husband Gerry while spending a summer in Edinburgh. Elements of the classic Scottish tenement block are echoed around the house, from the well-proportioned rooms, to the distinctive, granite coloured exterior.
However, the house remains all about the stunning countryside it’s set in. “The interiors are a blank canvas and quite neutral,” Helena says. “The atmosphere changes constantly with the weather and light.”
Photography by Mark Scott