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Image / Living / Interiors

This Dublin house from Home of the Year has a relaxed, bohemian style


By Megan Burns
03rd Apr 2024
This Dublin house from Home of the Year has a relaxed, bohemian style

When its owners first came across the site it was barely visible, hidden down a laneway, but it has been transformed into a stylish home.

Looking at this Dublin home, you might not guess that just a few years ago, it was an overgrown site with a half-built house on it.

Owner Donna McGrath explains that they first came across the site in 2016. “My Dad had spotted it by chance. When I arrived to have a look, it was hidden down a small laneway 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.”

Although some may not have seen its potential, Donna immediately did. “As soon as I saw it my heart was in it.”

Two years later, work began, which took 22 months. 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 this space that is the family’s favourite, Donna explains. “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.” 

This palette continues throughout the home, giving a restful yet warm feel. “We’ve used natural materials throughout the house,” Donna explains, “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.”

It’s complemented by carefully chosen accessories. “The house definitely has a bohemian feel with pieces I have picked up from markets in Thailand, Bali and Ibiza,” says Donna.

Although it may have been a big undertaking, Donna says the whole process was absolutely worth it, and not everything has to be expensive.

“If I was giving advice to 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.”