Tucked away in charming Ballycotton, Rory O’Connell’s beautiful Georgian farmhouse is testament to his love of food and interiors…
Rory O’Connell’s effortlessly stylish early-Georgian farmhouse in tranquil and picturesque Ballycotton, Co Cork, is an amazing mixture of old and modern, with a touch of quirky. A chef, award-winning author and teacher at Ballymaloe Cookery School, O’Connell says his mustard-coloured L-shaped house is a testament to his combined love of food and interiors, both inherited from his mother, who had a great eye: “We were surrounded by lovely things when we were growing up. I absorbed that because I was interested.”
Around 20 years ago, Rory studied interior design and worked as a designer for some years before returning to the Ballymaloe kitchen, where he has been teaching ever since. He spotted the house long before it came up for sale, and renovating the dilapidated structure and the extensive gardens were truly a labour of love, albeit a slow one: “The electrics were shot and there was no plumbing to speak of. It was really a question of starting from scratch.”
Over the years, he added more features to the structure, filling it with extraordinary vintage finds from his travels, while keeping its original farmhouse feel: “I wanted to introduce more light but I didn’t want to mess around with the fabric of the house.” More recently he added a bright, spacious open-plan kitchen-and-dining area that looks out onto the pretty gardens, where his chickens like to peck and scratch – and where Rory likes to unwind after his cookery classes.
Interview by Amanda Cochrane. Photographs by Mark Scott.