Peek inside Norah Casey’s house – winner of RTE’s Celebrity Home of the Year
The plush south Dublin abode of publisher Norah Casey was named the Celebrity Home of the Year, in a Christmas special of the popular RTE series.
The Victorian house which the businesswoman shares with her teenage son Darragh (17) impressed judges Declan O’Donnell, Deirdre Whelan and Hugh Wallace who rated its design higher than the homes of other competitors. Rugby pundit Brent Pope, stylist Darren Kennedy, Helen Cody and Rory Murphy and PR specialist Terry Prone also featured on the programme, but it was Norah’s recently refurbished extended terrace that captured the coveted title.
Speaking on the programme, Norah opened up the difficult times she and her son had in the home after her husband Richard Hannaford’s death in 2011 and how they’ve worked to create a new space and happier memories throughout the last two years.
“I suppose many houses have lots of happy memories. Because Richard got very sick very soon after we came back, this house had nothing but bad memories. He was diagnosed with a tumour in his kidney but within a week they found it in his spine and his liver. This house became a refuge because he didn’t want to be in the hospital. It wasn’t a safe haven after he passed away. I know it’s only bricks and mortar and it’s walls but even walking into the kitchen was hard surrounded by his pictures. I had gotten so used to having even a coffee with him in the morning when he was alive that I just couldn’t get out of the habit of doing it after he had gone.
“It’s taken me the guts of two years [to refurbish the house] but I think the feel of the house is very different. It helps enormously when I walk in. It’s very much me and I definitely feel like it’s home.”
The judges admired Norah’s conjoined kitchen and living spaces, which are connected by a courtyard, creating a flood of natural light. A porcelain cow in Norah’s back garden also captured the affection of the judges, as well as a luxurious bathroom with a television mounted above the bath.
“I don’t think that anybody would ever expect me to live in a house like this. I love the kitchen and Dara and I would have all of our big conversations here in the mornings. The only indulgence I have in the house is that I have a television next to the bath. It’s really ridiculous but it’s kind of a thing for me. Elephants are a big thing in my life, you see them everywhere, even in the spoons.
“The cow, Clover, I bid for her at a Jack and Jill Foundation auction. Every time I look out at her I feel like I’m looking out at my mother’s countryside in Leitrim. She makes me laugh,” said Norah.
The mum-of-one admitted her late husband would approve of the renovations, which she said have finally allowed her to create a space that feels safe.
“I really like the house again and Darragh and I have created happy memories. If Richard was alive and he had his dearest wish it would be perhaps be doing what I’m doing now, to be in a home that I love that’s our home.