Sunday 11 December 2016

RTE's Home of the Year title awarded to split level, eco-friendly West Cork home

Published 14/05/2015 | 21:00

The winning West Cork house. Marcin Janowski // Maann Photography
The winning West Cork house. Marcin Janowski // Maann Photography
The winning West Cork house Marcin Janowski // Maann Photography
Winners Ita and Andrew
Tom and June
Tom and June's Tipperary home
Tom and June's Tipperary home
Ger Eaton and family
The Eaton home
The Eaton home
Sarah Tomkin and family
The pink house
The pink house
Eva and family
Eva's house
Eva's house
Feile and Colm and family
Their Sligo home
Their Sligo home
Carla Benedetti
Carla's house
Carla's house

RTE's Home of the Year has been awarded to an eco-friendly, split-level house in Castletownbere, West Cork.

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The past seven weeks have seen Judges Declan O'Donnell (architect), Hugh Wallace (interior designer) and Helen James (textiles designer) analysing the merits of 21 homes across the country.

But it was retired couple Ita Molloy and Andrew Harvey who designed and built the home that most impressed the difficult-to-impress trio.

"This house really stayed with me," said Declan. "You don’t often see something so beautiful which is so functional. This home is kind to the environment and sacrifices nothing in achieving that. It’s a beacon for clever and creative design."

Hugh added,  ‘It’s a tour de force. A faultless home – wonderful and worthy." while Helen said, "It’s an incredible piece of art. And there’s something so peaceful about it."

The house is cosy and warm on the interior and surrounded by incredible views of the mountains and sea of West Cork which are visible through large picture windows.  The judges were also hugely impressed by a library with a secret door.

The home was designed and built by Ita’s architect son Donn Ponnighaus.

Ita said: "There are a lot of special things when you walk around the house that make you smile. But I think saving energy has been one of the main issues for us and for my son. When you put the effort in over several years, working really hard to get it right, it’s just amazing to get the validation that we did today and to be crowned Home of the Year."

Andrew added: ‘We’re really pleased that we can share it and that people can see that it’s possible to have a beautiful house that is ecologically friendly also."

There were two runners up out of the seven contenders.

The first was a semi-detached house in Co Kildare featuring a lovingly-styled mix of 60s and 70s decor owned by musician Ger Eaton, his wife Susann, and their children, which Declan described as "a happy, fun home and a lifestyle choice done with a huge amount of skill".

The second was a cob-and-timber frame home in Co Sligo designed and built by architect Feile Butler and carpenter Colin Ritchie, a home "full of passion and design creativity; charming and magical", according to Hugh.

Home of the Year pulled an average audience of 344,000 each week which will likely spell a return next season.

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