Spoiler Alert: Surprise winner of RTE's Home of the Year revealed in Thursday's final
A "jaw-dropping" country cottage was crowned RTE's Home of the Year during the much anticipated series finale on Thursday night.
Louise McGuane and Dominic McCarthy's renovated 18th century cottage in Co. Clare beat out six competitors to claim the coveted title during an episode which saw judges Hugh Wallace, Declan O'Donnell and Deirdre Whelan carry out their difficult deliberations.
The cottage, which once belonged to entrepreneur Louise's grandmother, was commended for its perfect combination of old and modern and the judges admitted they were won over by the build's picture window which seamlessly brings the surrounding countryside into the home's interior.
The slick architecture left the judge Deirdre Whelan "dumbstruck", while architect Declan O'Donnell described the home as a "gem".
"You've got the height, you've got the drama, but it's all about the windows. It's pulling the landscape in. It's absolutely putting this house in its setting," he said.
The home's intimate kitchen was also an admired feature of the home with its chalkboard walls and kitchen counters made from the old floors of the old parish hall.
Which home deserved to win RTE's Home of the Year?
"This home really impressed us. It was simple, bold and beautiful. It left a real lasting impression on the three of us."
Husband and wife Louise and Dominic were thrilled to be crowned the winners of the popular RTE series, which has been running throughout the past eight weeks.
Speaking on the finale, Clare native Louise said: "I think it's a great thing of pride. You know we worked so hard and the competition was really stiff. There was some amazing houses here today."
During the final, the judges revealed their top three homes, which also included a Wicklow bungalow, owned by granny Brigitte, whose downsizing story captured the hearts of the nation earlier in the series.
"I didn't expect it and I feel like it's a great honor. I'm absolutely delighted," said Brigitte.
The judges were deeply impressed with Brigitte's stylish and welcoming abode, which they said envelops despite being so small.
Judge Hugh Wallace said: "Brigitte's home was exceptional and brave. It made the extraordinary out of the ordinary."
Another home which featured in the judges top three list was a renovated train station owned by husband and wife Susan Gorman and Alan Ross, which was the favourite of Independent.ie readers, according to a poll.
"This home was romantic, charming. It really was idyllic," said judge Deirdre Whelan.
As the series drew to a close judge Hugh Wallace confirmed the difficulty of the deliberations but said he was confident that the right home won.
"These homes are all winners but unfortunately we had to find THE winner," he said.
Home of the Year is available on the RTE Player.