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'The dining area has space for racing and dancing': Inside Rachel's kid-friendly Cork home

Rachel Hobbs and her family moved into their renovated farmhouse in December 2019.

Image: Instagram/rachelhobbsdesign

About you

Name: Rachel Hobbs (@rachelhobbsdesigns)
Age: 35
Occupation: Interior designer

About your home

Where is your home located? Cork
What type of house is it? A renovated 200-year-old farmhouse.
How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Four bedrooms and two bathrooms.
When did you move in? We began renovations in September 2018 and moved in during December 2019.
Who lives there? Myself, my husband Rob and our three children: Rocco 5, Indie, 3 and Forrest, 1.

What made you choose this home and location over others?

We saw the potential for what this place could be for us, not just the house but the space around it. The location was remote enough feel like the countryside, while still giving us everything we needed. 

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Another step nearly ticked off the list with our external cladding going up. We're short a small bit for the window reveals, so another days work in that. There was many hours research at the design stage of this project over what to finish this section with, and we're so so pleased with how's it turned out. The block work for one wall is now finished and I think we've nearly agreed on the layout and finishes for this back area. It's an extension of the house, and a space I wanted us to consider fully. How we'll use it, what materials would be best, will they work together and will it work for us? Paint colours decided also for the outside of the house.. but one minor final sourcing project for the desired material to wrap the edge of the flat roof. We hope to give a big push for this outside area and aim to enjoy it and maybe sit down for a few minutes this summer! Hope your weekend has been wonderful? We had smores at lunch time... seemingly the best day ever! . . . #irishfarmhouse #contemporaryfarmhouse #selfbuildireland #landscaping #interiordesign

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What is your favourite place in your home?

I love our dining area. It’s a central space in our home and was designed to have a big enough dining table to host our family and guests. For the kids, there’s floor space for train tracks, a racing line between the hall and kitchen and an area for dancing. Plus, it includes one of my favourite design features : a panelled wall.

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A sunny and bright hallway, featuring both contemporary and more traditional elements. We like straight lines, clean and fresh finishes, and I really wanted this house to pay heed to its history, so we've introduced aspects throughout the different spaces. The chair here was in the kitchen in the original farmhouse, and there was lots of paneling, which I wanted to introduce back in. Thrilled with this little feature just inside our entrance, as well as a few hooks for guests coats. Often in new builds, they can be echoey and extra loud. The hard tiles and big surface area in open plan living, as well as double height space it means that any sound travels if there's no soft fabrics or textures to soak of the sounds. I have a wall rug going up above the net higher than the paneling which will help in this area. A rug by the piano would be ideal for acoustics, but not ideal for the scooter track, basketball court and teddy wedding venue that this hall has become. The panelling is painted Dressage @colourtrendpaints Turns out I'm really productive on those few preschool hours, so I'm missing them a little now. This weekend is major catch up time. Hope everyone is doing well. . . . . Photo @clareflash for Sunday Times #selfbuildireland #contemporaryfarmhouse #irishselfbuild #irisharchitecture #irishinteriors #interiordesign #openplanliving #hallwaydecor #steelstairs #panelledwall

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Is there any part of the home/the build you don’t like so much?

We spent a long time on the design process and really thought through each aspect as much as we could. As a result, I’m more than happy with it all at the moment, but it’s still a work in progress. Right now we’re working away on the outside area.

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

Our floor net [hammock-style netting between floors, which is strong enough to sit or lie on] is one of the stand out features. It’s in the landing area looking down to our hallway and we installed it instead of a bannister. We wanted the landing to be an additional room that could be used frequently, rather than a walk through space. 

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

We all wake up about 7am and down to the kitchen. At the moment I either work or exercise until 8.30am. My husband will sort breakfast, porridge all round for our brood and then start work himself in our home office. We only moved into our home in December after being in a mobile home while we renovated – the last few months would have been a very different experience if we were still in the mobile!

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Our evening abode, sweet caper on the walls in any situation makes me smile. We had a look at samples of artificial grass which we'll be using in part of the yard. A harder shorter surface for sports and a softer, longer more grass like look for relaxing and softening the area. Working through some different options and layouts, the same discussions as interiors; ensuring it will function correctly first and foremost and then following up with the aesthetics. I'm looking forward to seeing it come together, slowly but surely and whenever we're allowed! Hope the week has started off well for you! . . . . #selfbuildireland #sweetcaper #drhook #colourtrend #interiordesign #greeninteriors #cosyroom

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

We have dinner in the kitchen and dining area about 6pm, and then it’s winding down, playing in the family room and gearing up for bedtime. The two older children have a bedroom each, but they usually sleep in the same bedroom, and Forrest is in our bedroom still. We’ve a family bathroom where they can be as messy or as clean as they need and our own bathroom suite. When they’re asleep we try clean up the kitchen area, and then have some down time in the sitting room before bed.

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Cosy, cosy wonderful bed.... though by the time evening comes I could sleep on a brick! There's many many things yet to done in our house, construction wise and cosmetic. It takes time to build a home too. It's the personal touches, the pictures, artwork and furniture that all carry a story. The vase you got in the market, or the little elephants your brother brought you back from his travels. I'm looking forward to finding the right items at the right time, having shelves to put our books, wardrobes for clothes, a unit in our sitting room....this period is teaching patience for sure. We have plan (always plans) to get the handrail measurements and design finished tonight and my husband will make it next week, there's a couple of shelves finally going up in the kitchen and I've to make delicious on how we'll have the area for calendars and necessary things! Getting stuck in to a house upgrade at the moment, the requests and requirements are going to lead to a fun and happy space for this family. Hope you're all doing well and getting lots of positives from the week! . . . #irishinteriors #bedroomdesign #myhouseandhome

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

There’ll always be hindsight and things you may have done differently, but a house build like this never stops I think, and an interior can always be updated easily with fresh paint, new furniture or fabrics. We had a lot of hands on involvement in the building process. It’s an all-consuming process, and worth it completely with your house developing in front of you. 

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