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'We spend breakfast time gazing out at the cows': Inside this converted cottage in Co Cork

A peek inside Nicole’s cosy and warm home in Belgooly, Co Cork.

About your home

Where? Belgooly, Co Cork 

What type of house? A converted cottage

How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Two bedrooms and one bathroom

When did you move in? October 2018

About you

Name: Nicole Reid

Age: 32

Occupation: Interior designer and shop owner

Who else lives there? My husband and six-year-old daughter Eva

What made you choose this home over others?

The location and potential. We had been viewing houses in the area for around eight years. While I was on a business trip one weekend, my husband viewed the house on Saturday and the sale was agreed on Monday.

In hindsight, it was a risky decision. Not every partner gets away with buying a house sight unseen, but I saw the potential once I came and saw the location! The house was in a dreadful condition, but we both love a project and it was very reasonable for the location and the size of the garden. The house is also about 100 metres from the nearest school – the school in which my husband worked during his subbing days and holds in very high regard.

What is your favourite place in your home?

Definitely the bathroom. It feels like a hotel bathroom. A large bath and spacious shower, what more could you want? Due to the air to water heat pump we always have hot water. The days of running out of hot water are gone, thankfully. 

Is there any part of the home you don’t like?

I would love another living space and bedroom. It’s not a priority now but it will be as our family grows. As it is, the house is perfect. It is difficult deciding between wants and needs – we don’t need another living space, but I certainly want it. We are lucky as the garden has plenty of space for extensions which was another part of the appeal. 

Is there any part of your home that makes it unique?

It’s unique to us in more ways than I can imagine. Our builder and my husband toiled over six months to get the house finished so we could be in before Christmas. He helped in every aspect of the build and plumbed the house himself – something I’m sure he never wants to do again!

It was a huge friends and family effort because countless hours of help made this house happen. We designed every aspect of the house ourselves, it’s truly a lovely place to live in. It’s both functional and attractive. During the build, we decided we wanted high ceilings everywhere to create the illusion of space. Most people’s attics are voids of space. We have a very small attic above the bathroom filled with Christmas decorations and that’s it.

Take us through an average day in your house, room by room

7.30am: We all get up and get moving. Showers, school lunches and coffee all happen during this hour. It’s a lovely place to be as the house is never cold and the shower is always hot. Breakfast usually involves us gazing out the large window at the gable end staring at the farmer’s cows, or being chased around the kitchen by our new kitten. 

8am: My husband leaves for work while we continue to get ready for the day ahead.

9am: We walk down the lane to school and then I leave for work. 

4pm: My husband is usually home at this time, depending on the day. The kitchen is small but perfectly formed. It was the one area we had to get 100% right. In our old apartment, we were greeted with a puddle under the washing machine every morning, so we certainly don’t miss that. Homework is done at the round kitchen table. My daughter loves her school, so it’s never any trouble (yet). 

5.50pm: I come home from work and we all sit for dinner. We chat about our days and relax for the evening in front of the TV, watching movies.

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

Our parquet floor was reclaimed from an old school and while it’s my favourite aspect of the house, it also broke our hearts. It was hugely time consuming getting it back to where it needed to be. I look at the floor fondly now, but if was doing it all over again I’d buy new in a heartbeat.

More How We Live: ‘It’s all white – except for the pink front door’: Inside a farmhouse-style self-build

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