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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 27 October 2020
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'I love it when all six of us are together in the evenings': Inside Áine's inviting family bungalow

Áine and her husband recently renovated the property, which has a ‘rich family legacy’.

Image: Instagram/newhome1doordown

About you

Name: Áine Garrett (@newhome1doordown)
Age: 37
Occupation: Bank official

About your home

Location: Co Mayo.
Type of house: 1970s bungalow, recently renovated
Number of bedrooms/bathrooms: Five bedrooms, two bathrooms and a wet room in the garage conversion/granny flat
Move in date: July 2020
Who lives in the house: Myself, my husband Declan and our four children Aaron (14), Abbey (9), Damian (6), and Danny (2).

What made you choose this home over others?

This house is my husband’s childhood home, which we chose to renovate as our former home could no longer accommodate the needs of our growing family. It’s steeped in sentiment and the site has a rich family legacy and farming heritage dating back almost a century. Along with that, it has a fabulous layout, a farmyard and is in a great location.

What’s your favourite part of your home and why?

I absolutely adore our kitchen/dining room. I designed this space with a contemporary cottage theme in mind and included a natural stone feature wall and a French grey Stanley stove. This is the room where I spend most of my time throughout the day, but it’s also it’s the place we gather as a family in the mornings and at the end of each day. Dinners, dishes, films and fires… this is the hotspot!

Screenshot 2020-10-12 at 23.23.48 Source: Áine Garrett

What’s one part of your home you don’t like so much, or that causes challenges?

This would definitely be the back door. There is no utility room or boot room to break that first wave of farming footprints. I’m constantly in combat with mucky footprints, shoes, football boots, wellies and runners. I bought a beautiful basket for the kitchen to store shoes in, which has definitely helped to improve the situation!

What’s the most unique part of your home?

I would say our framed windows, which are a favourite feature of mine. We chose not to have curtains in any room and alternatively opted to dress each window by framing it with an off-white Victoriana architrave. It’s an interior trend I first saw in America many years ago. It means that daylight beams into our rooms and I don’t have to worry about the younger kids pulling at curtains!

Screenshot 2020-10-12 at 23.22.59 Source: Áine Garrett

How does an average day start in your home?

On a typical day, Dec leaves for work in Galway at 6am and I rise at 7.45am (I’m still on leave from work since having Danny, otherwise it would be a 6.30am start for me). I go straight to the dining room and kindle a little fire in the stove. After some effort and a banshee wail or two, I’ll wake our teenage son and the others will usually be awake by then too. I return to the kitchen and make a start on breakfast and lunches.

The schoolgoers normally congregate around the kitchen table at 8.15am, all dressed. In the midst of all the morning madness, these ten minutes are my favourite, a sense of calm ensues whilst they eat and chat over one another and I attempt to drink my morning coffee. Then chaos resumes as they seek out shoes, brush their teeth, gather coats and bags, and so our day begins…..

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How does an average day end in your home right now?

Evening wind-down time is getting earlier each week as winter draws. The kids have their dinner at 4pm after school and then there’s usually activities or they meet with friends or play outside. Usually by 7.30pm we try to “shut it down” and call time on housework and farming. We always attempt to gather the four kids into the living room to chat with us for a while or watch a TV show. Often without success but we continue to persevere as I love it when all six of us are together. Bedtime is usually 9.30/10pm during the week and 8.30pm for Danny.

What’s one thing you’d do differently if you were renovating your home again?

I would definitely review the budget we set ourselves and set aside time and money to complete the exterior renovation. Once you move in, complacency sets in and motivation dwindles. We invested so much in certain parts of the house and as a result the front exterior of the house has been completely neglected. The roof needs to be cleaned and spray painted, the house needs to be painted and stone masonry work completed. I’d love to have given that part of the house more time and attention.

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