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how we live

'We can sit and weather-watch all day long': Inside this Sligo home with magical sky views

Digital marketer Aoife Porter takes us through a day behind her front door.

Aoife Porter Aoife Porter

About the home

Where? Strandhill, Co Sligo
What type of house? Detached house on the side of Knocknarea Mountain
How many bedrooms and bathrooms? 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
When did you move in? 2015

About you

Name: Aoife Porter
Age: 41
Occupation: Digital Marketer, founder of Bua Marketing
Who else lives there? Husband and three kids

What made you choose this home over others?

The view; we have sweeping views of Ballisodare Bay. We can see seal colonies in the bay all year around and the house is south-facing. We are bathed in the most glorious daylight all day. The house is only a five minute drive from Strandhill village. We originally were looking for a house in Strandhill village but when this house came up, the magic of the views won us over.

Aoife Porter Aoife Porter

Which place in your home do you love the most?

The view from the couch in the living room. We can sit and weather watch all day long. Our living area incorporates our kitchen, living and dining area. It used to be three separate rooms but when we got in there I couldn’t wait to get a view of the bay from the kitchen so we knocked it all into one with a double height ceiling.

In the corner we have a Stuv stove which is so cosy for evening hangs. The view from the couch is about as good as it gets. We can see the Ox mountains, Culleenamore beach, Ballisodare Bay – and all in total privacy.

Which place in your home do you love the least?

The bathrooms. We didn’t have the budget when we were renovating to do them up. They still have scallop-shaped sinks and toilets.

Take us through a day in your house, room by room.

7am: We wake in a variety of rooms, depending on which child has moved where during the night. Our three year old still doesn’t like to sleep on his own.
8:30am: We then have close on two hours before having to get the kids to school which starts off pretty relaxed and then turns into a frantic dash once 8.30 hits. I head for my office in the village with the older two kids.
9:10am: I have the two kids delivered to school and am at my desk by 9.10.

2pm: At weekends the mornings are a bit more chilled with pancakes and coffee and lounging on the couch weather watching. In the afternoon we tend to make a break for the village and have a little surf with the kids, beach hangs and always a Shells Cafe coffee.

fullsizeoutput_69c6 Aoife Porter Aoife Porter

5pm: Most evenings are spent in the kitchen / playroom or on the longer evenings on the back deck. We also installed an in-ground trampoline last year; best investment ever. The kids spend hours every day on it and have hands down the best view a trampoline could ever have.
8:30pm: We try to get the kids down by 8.30, but it’s often later as they never want to leave that bloody trampoline!
10pm: Bedtime for us is early. We have early risers so we do our best to catch-up ourselves with early bedtimes. Not always possible!

Is there anything you’d do differently if you were doing it again?

We would put dimmers on all the lights in the kitchen / living room and do more sound-proofing. We have a double height ceiling in the main living area – the noise once the kids start fighting is deafening. And we’d put the concrete floor in the whole house (with underfloor heating)

I would love, love, love to replace all the windows in the house; we inherited a mish mash of PVC that are fine but they don’t enhance the view the way I know amazing windows could. If any window companies out there want a collab, please holler!

We were really lucky, John Monahan of NOJI Architects in Sligo, is a very good friend. He designed the house renovation for us and took our creative vision and made it practical and better. We definitely have ambitious plans for a phase 2.0. 

More: ‘I love looking at the clouds roll past’: Inside this revamped 200-year-old cottage in Donegal>

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