By Niall Murray
Seven houses are in the running to be named Home of the Year 2018 in the conclusion tonight of the TV series.
They range from a converted farmhouse cottage and outbuildings in the Wicklow hills to a suburban Dublin contemporary design, and a sea-facing house overlooking the Atlantic in West Cork.
The programme, airing on RTÉ One at 8.30pm tonight, is the culmination of seven previous episodes in which the finalists were selected from an original 21 homes.
The judges have chosen them from among a wide mix of new builds, extended homes and interior overhauls around the island.
Designer Hugh Wallace, interior designer Deirdre Whelan, and architect Patrick Bradley’s decision on the overall winner will be revealed to the successful homeowner at Palmerstown House in Co Kildare.
The finalists include two Co Cork homes, including Margaret and Mark Conway’s house looking out to the Fastnet Rock lighthouse which influenced its design.
They can see fields, cliffs, headlands, and the sea from almost every room.
Also living in Co Cork is Gary Owens, whose work renovating an 18th-century West Cork mill a decade ago helped earn him and it the chance to be named Home of the Year.
Two Northern Irish homes feature — interior designer Sara Thompson’s two-house accommodation for three generations in Co Down and the Co Armagh bungalow of Jacqueline and Francis Kiernan.
Kostas Wootis, who moved from Greece to Co Clare, lives with his wife and daughter in his own-design home in the middle of the woods, which also has its own internal garden.
In the Garden County of Wicklow, Patrick and Ros Walshe’s home, filled with art and heirlooms, got the nod over competitors in their episode to reach the final.
In neighbouring Dublin, architect Niall Henry’s use of a narrow site for a modern family home also impressed the judges to make the last seven of this year’s series.
In each programme of the show, the judges scored three homes on individuality, functionality and clever design to come up with a finalist.
However, they did so without meeting the homeowners, who they will get to meet only after they pick the winner of Home of the Year 2018.