RTÉ series Home of the Year has never been more important to us than in the past few weeks.
It’s given viewers the ultimate window on the world – inviting all of us currently confined to barracks right into other people’s homes in a time we are not in a position to venture out to pay physical visits.
Figures confirm that this interiors escapism is what we're craving.
Last Tuesday’s episode of Home of the Year drew an average of over 400,000 viewers, revealed RTÉ, while the show that aired on St Patrick’s Day (featuring Youghal-based Saoirse Fitzgerald’s lighthouse keeper’s cottage) attracted an average of over half a million pairs of eyes.
Tonight at 8.30pm on RTÉ One we get to tune into the exciting penultimate episode of the enormously popular series.
So what’s on the itinerary for our eagerly awaited armchair adventure tonight?
Well, the three Home of the Year judges Hugh, Deirdre and Peter stop off in a new-build in County Tyrone, a redesign in Cork and a Mayo bungalow.
Paula and Dale Feathers designed their new-build home in county Tyrone. They took inspiration from gate lodges and they used rough plaster throughout their home. Dale says they appreciate a modern home but it is not their style. They describe their home as “rustic and quirky”.
To add character to the house they hand cut the roof slates and Paula’s dad made the barge boards. “We wanted a home that showed our personalities and everything in the house tells a story,” says Paula.
They sourced all of their furniture from salvage yards and vintage shops. They also have much handmade furniture and sentimental furniture items. They say the home “is marmite and you either love it or hate it but we love it”.
Architect Loic Dehaye lives in Cork with his two daughters in a house that he re-designed. Loic said wanted “a blank canvas to work with”. “I bought his home in 2017 and it was nearly derelict so I renovated and extended it,” he says.
He kept most of the walls and partitions including the structure, and the two-storey extension was built in timber frame for a sustainable approach.
One element that remains is what he refers to as “the good room” because it is, as he notes, “nice and snug”.
The extension is bright and open plan. “It extends out to the garden connecting the outside with the inside,” adds Loic who describes the open-plan room as the hub of the family.
Original features have also been preserved including the staircase and the doors to give more character. Loic says functionality, simplicity and elegance are important to him.
It has minimalist interiors and his personality is evident throughout with artwork and personal objects from his travels.
Loic says his home “has a positive impact on the people who visit it as it creates curiosity and surprise plus it is a great place for gathering with family and friends”.
Sarah and Barry Battle live in a new build bungalow with their three children in the countryside in county Mayo. After finding the perfect site they completed the build of their home in 2018.
They describe their home as “contemporary with a traditional mix”. They have high ceilings throughout and introduced some period style features. They wanted to make use of natural light as much as possible so they have an impressive courtyard built into the centre of their house.
Sarah says the décor is very neutral and the colours compliment each other well. They wanted a house that works for their family and they have a playroom near the kitchen, and the outdoor play areas are visible from the kitchen too.
Who will progress to the final episode on April 14? Tune in to find out tonight as Home of the Year airs at 8.30pm on RTE One