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'The minute I saw it, I loved it': Inside this stylish self-build tailored for a growing family

Breda Meere takes us through a day behind her front door.

Source: dream_plan_do_interiors

About the home

Location: Westmeath
Type of house: Detached self build
How many bedrooms and bathrooms: 5 bedroom, 3 bathrooms
When did you move in? We built it over two years, working on it and project managing it ourselves, and moved in 2010.

About you

Name: Breda Meere
Age: 42
Occupation: Scheduler and planner
Who else lives there? I live with Stephen – the hubby – and our two daughters

What made you choose this house over others?

When we were deciding on a style of house we had very different taste. I wanted a modern build with lots of glass. Stephen wanted a more traditional house. He arrived home one evening with a Tobermore paving brochure telling me he had found ‘our house’ in it.

The minute I saw it, I loved it. After much research, we managed to find the location of the house. Getting into our car of a Sunday, we drove off in search of it to see if we liked it in reality. It didn’t disappoint and we are forever indebted to the owners who invited us in and gave us the drawings for it.

It was meant to be. Our wish list was simple — build big, build once! We knew we wanted an open plan kitchen, dining, living area with utility and playroom off it. We wanted the space to be kid friendly and with an inviting, homely feel to it.

Which place in your home do you love the most (and why)?

Our patio area that wraps right around the back of the house. We designed it ourselves and went with low curved walls that back up into the garden and had Kelly’s Nursery help us with selecting plants and trees. All set against sandstone paving, it’s a great space for entertaining or lounging. We consider ourselves very lucky to have it.

Which place in your home do you love the least?

Our hallway and landing I love the least. It’s narrow and has no natural light. but I’m adding interest with paneling, dramatic colors and opulent wallpaper.

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

6:45am: I work full time & leave by 8:15am. Alarm goes off around 6:45 and it’s the hum of the shower, trowel on the makeup and get dressed. Praying that the girls have suitably dressed themselves!!

7:30am: Down to the kitchen where the kids’ toast is popping and there’s the whizz of the blender for the protein shake, along with the regular instructions to the kids to get their shoes on and hop into the car. The last five minutes are usually the most fraught with cries of ‘I’ve forgotten my backpack’, or ‘I can’t find my shoe’, even though it’s right beside them.

6pm: Back home again around 6, preparing a meal and sitting around the island unit listening to the kids’ stories – and wishing I could win the lotto so that I could be at home full-time doing my dream job of interior design. But really we’ve won the lotto with this house.

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

If there was anything I could do differently, it would be to put a bifold door between the dining and living areas instead of having two sets of patio doors. It was a design change I was talked out of at the beginning due a load bearing wall, but there are always solutions.

More real homes: ‘I can’t believe I got away with pink’: Inside this totally renovated 1970s home in Dublin>

About the author:

Emily Westbrooks

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