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My favourite room: Sinead Gunnigle indulges nesting instinct in Waterford

Sinead Gunnigle loved Dublin, then she moved to London and enjoyed life there. Waterford is a complete contrast to both, yet she’s happier there than ever — and it’s not just because she now has a family, a shop and a house

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Sinead Gunnigle and her husband, Guy Palmer, in the kitchen. As a stark contrast to the ultra sleek units and island, Sinead has dramatic wallpaper from the House of Hackney, giant ferns and a mirror over the Aga. The parquet-effect flooring is actually tiling. Photo: Tony Gavin

Sinead Gunnigle and her husband, Guy Palmer, in the kitchen. As a stark contrast to the ultra sleek units and island, Sinead has dramatic wallpaper from the House of Hackney, giant ferns and a mirror over the Aga. The parquet-effect flooring is actually tiling. Photo: Tony Gavin

Sinead loves the fact that the house dates from 1830 and even had the date incorporated into the flooring. The front door, complete with its enormous brass lock, is also original; the original key, also huge, is kept in the letterbox on the door.

Sinead loves the fact that the house dates from 1830 and even had the date incorporated into the flooring. The front door, complete with its enormous brass lock, is also original; the original key, also huge, is kept in the letterbox on the door.

The guest bedroom is sparsely furnished compared to the exuberance of the rest of the house but has a wallpapered feature wall. “I love wallpaper company House of Hackney so much, I want to become their representative in Ireland,” Sinead says

The guest bedroom is sparsely furnished compared to the exuberance of the rest of the house but has a wallpapered feature wall. “I love wallpaper company House of Hackney so much, I want to become their representative in Ireland,” Sinead says

The second reception room has its original floorboards; the mirror over the mantlepiece was bought in Fonsie Mealy’s Auctioneers, and the eclectic mix of furnishings and lamps were sourced by Sinead, who has similar furnishings in Nest. She’s a great fan of little pieces like footstools and plans to stock a variety of them

The second reception room has its original floorboards; the mirror over the mantlepiece was bought in Fonsie Mealy’s Auctioneers, and the eclectic mix of furnishings and lamps were sourced by Sinead, who has similar furnishings in Nest. She’s a great fan of little pieces like footstools and plans to stock a variety of them

The front of the three-storey house which was 
built in 1830 in the centre of Waterford city

The front of the three-storey house which was built in 1830 in the centre of Waterford city

Sinead in one of the two large reception rooms which are full of light as they have windows front and back. This area was once a carriage house and had concrete floors. The parquet floor was sourced in France. The walls are painted in Farrow & Ball's Setting Plaster shade. The room is furnished in an eclectic mix of antique and vintage pieces Sinead has collected over the years. The green lamp, one of a pair, is from Sinead's shop, Nest

Sinead in one of the two large reception rooms which are full of light as they have windows front and back. This area was once a carriage house and had concrete floors. The parquet floor was sourced in France. The walls are painted in Farrow & Ball's Setting Plaster shade. The room is furnished in an eclectic mix of antique and vintage pieces Sinead has collected over the years. The green lamp, one of a pair, is from Sinead's shop, Nest

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Sinead Gunnigle and her husband, Guy Palmer, in the kitchen. As a stark contrast to the ultra sleek units and island, Sinead has dramatic wallpaper from the House of Hackney, giant ferns and a mirror over the Aga. The parquet-effect flooring is actually tiling. Photo: Tony Gavin

Everyone has their Covid-19 moment - the instant when they realised that life was about to take a dramatically different turn. For Sinead Gunnigle, it was two days before she was due to launch her own interiors shop, Nest, in the Viking Triangle in Waterford city. She was in a state of high excitement as this was the fulfilment of a long-cherished dream. She had purchased all her stock, she had dressed the shop and was preparing for her grand opening.

And then it wasn't possible.

"I had had a 40th birthday for my husband, Guy, a few weeks earlier and I rang my friend and asked her could I keep the glasses she had lent me for the birthday to use at the opening party," Sinead recalls. "My friend said, 'Sinead! What planet are you on? Everything is shutting down'. Then the schools closed and I realised I was going nowhere with the shop."