The renovation of the carriage house and hay loft was a labour of love for Ethna Dorman after the death of her husband William
A 19th century converted carriage-house trotted home with the big prize on Tuesday night’s grand finale of RTÉ’s Home of the Year.
Ethna Dorman and her exquisite property in Clonsilla, Dublin 15, was the big winner on tonight’s show, which saw immaculate homes all over the country being whittled down to seven finalists.
Described as “just divine” by judge Deirdre Whelan, the renovation of the carriage house and hay loft was a labour of love for Ethna after the death of her husband William. She was inspired to create a retirement home for herself after his passing and she wanted it to tell the story of their life together and said it was her “sanctuary.”
William had made much of the furniture in the house and she said he would have been “very proud” with the accolade and she cited his craftsmanship as one of the reasons she fell for him. They had five children together.
“My husband, when we were courting, he took me on a tour of his house and he showed me his desk and told me he made it himself,” she said.
“If I had any doubts before that they vanished - he made all of the furniture in the kitchen, he was very handy with his hands.”
For the restoration project, she created a partly-open plan living room and kitchen, separated by the old stable wall screens and retained the original wainscoting on the walls. She lowered the floor upstairs in the hayloft to give enough room for the bedrooms and bathrooms.
She said that the standard overall in the sixth series of the contest was “extraordinarily high”.
“All of those homes deserve to be a winner today. I’m absolutely thrilled that I have won. I can’t believe it,” she said.
“My late husband William would be very proud; I feel very fortunate. I’m really grateful.”
Judge Hugh Wallace described it as “such a special home – amazing" while fellow judge Peter Crowley said it was “highly unique.”
They visited a total of 21 show-stopper homes for this year’s competition before whittling entrants down to seven finalists.
Finalists included a converted light-house keeper’s cottage in east Cork which is home to Saoirse Fitzgerald alongside a 200-year-old house in Dublin 4 renovated for Kerry Hiddleston and Patrick O’ Grady for their family of six.
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Home & Garden
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