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'It's retro and very cosy': A glimpse at family life in a renovated chalet bungalow in Armagh

Séana walks us through a day in the life behind her front door.

About your home

Where? Lurgan, Co Armagh
What type of house? Detached 1950s chalet bungalow 
How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Four bedrooms, two bathrooms 
When did you move in? Late 2017

About you

Name: Séana McConville
Age: 33 
Occupation: Housing officer
Who else lives there? My husband, Brian, and two boys, Eóghan, aged 11, and Bárra, aged 6. Plus our dog, Ringo.

What made you choose this home over others? 

We had completed a number of renovations in the past but never one to this extent. We wanted a forever home and when we found this house, with the land we wanted for the boys, we could see the potential in it. Its spacious rooms and big, bright windows clinched it for us. 

What is your favourite place in your home?

My favourite spot is my living room: it’s retro, dark and very cosy, even though it’s quite a big room. With its dark green walls, mid-century furniture and wooden floor, it’s a soothing place to relax and read, listen to vinyl records or watch movies with the boys in front of the wood burner. Everyone else’s favourite room is the kitchen / dining room, probably because of the easy access to our Smeg fridge!

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

The upstairs family bathroom is tiny. We removed the bath and put a free-standing, claw-footed roll top bath in our room instead. We installed a shower in the bathroom instead to fit the tight dimensions better, and white subway tiles help to open up the space. Oh, and we still have to do our utility room – at the moment it’s still an old, 1950s-style kitchen. 

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

We have a large balcony. I’m looking forward to styling that up this year and making it a usable space, especially as the summer months roll in. It’ll be a lovely place to relax with a cool drink on a warm evening, watching the boys play in the garden below.

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Aww I have not been on the gram for donkeys again, other to have a nose at everyone else. I’m just patiently waiting for an acceptable time to start posting Xmas crap tbh.😆 . . I haven’t shown baz’s prints on the wall. I haven’t done them any justice I’m afraid. With this angle or the crosses. I’m still in two minds whether to do a whole wall like the spots I had before or leave them sporadically throughout 🤷🏻‍♀️ someone tell me.. I’m also going to put a desk in here and remove the box. Perfect wee homework /computer (and makeup application spot for me 🙋🏻‍♀️😂😂😂) #multipurpose . . . . . #kidroomdecor #boysroomdecor #myhomestyle #ournihomes #myhomevibe #myhouseandhome #interiorboom #myinteriorsquares #ikeaatmine #walltowallstyle #myinteriorvibe #irishinteriors #retrohauls #styleithappy #kidsinteriors #howistylemyhome #realhomes #myhshome #sorealhomes #interior_and_living #childrensroom #bunkbeds #smallestroom #gaylemansfielddesigns #oliverbonas #lights4fun #myrenostory #myrenovatedreality

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

Monday through Friday tends to be a blur of school and work, so I’ve described our average Saturday here, as there’s much more time to enjoy our home on the weekends. 

7am: First on my list is making coffee in our kitchen. It’s a peaceful room, with blue units, gold fixtures and fittings, and an exposed brick wall that looks beautiful in the morning light. We take turns bringing our dog, Ringo, for a walk around this time.   

8.30am: Next is getting the kids up for breakfast, which they normally have sitting on their leather stools at the island in the kitchen. We eventually get them dressed and head to Lisburn for Eóghan’s football.  

12.00pm: By midday, the games are over and we pop into both grannies’ houses, to let them know the score and get warmed up with a bowl of something delicious.  

3pm: When we get home, the boys and the dog will play in the garden: we’re lucky to have good space for them to run around, with lots of mature planting and, in the summer, a colourful flower bed to brighten things up. Brian will usually tinker in the garage – he did a lot of the renovations himself – and I blitz the entire house, changing the beds, dusting, etc, all while blasting my favourite music from our record player.

5pm: We have dinner together in the kitchen – our dining room table is bathed in light and faces the garden – and then we head into the living room to settle in front of the wood-burning fire to watch TV or a good film. I love the retro look in this room. We have a vintage suitcase repurposed as a coffee table, a cinema-style freestanding lamp and a vibrant yellow telephone as a nod to our home’s 1950s roots.

8pm: We start the bedtime routine for Bárra while Eóghan gets some time on his Xbox in his bedroom. Their rooms are decorated in vibrant colours, with warming textiles and lots of space for books and prints. The closet doors are finished in blackboard paint – this really lets them get creative, and hopefully keeps them from ‘decorating’ the other walls!

9pm: This is the time to sit down to a glass of wine with the other half and watch Love Island. He’ll kill me for letting that out of the bag!

10-10.30pm: We try to get an early night on Saturdays, if possible, as Sundays are normally spent out of the house with the kids or carrying out DIY in the house. Our bedroom is decorated in soothing pastels, with white painted furniture and lots of comfy throws and blankets to curl up in. 

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It’s a dark and foggy one this morn and this 🐶 has had me up from before 6😭.. @myhousethismonth day 12 this something new ! Well I have this blast of colour-little retro orange phone. I havent finished the front hall part. Hence the lack of skirting etc..I need to find some monochrome tiles. I haven’t come across ones I’m completely fixed on yet. I need help on that front instafam.. Anyways I kept looking at the space under the picture and thinking it just needs something. So I moved the tables and bits I had from other rooms and bought the phone to make a little telephone table area. The hubby hates it 🤪.. he’s never normally that vocal lol. The phone might end up in Barras room as a toy 😅... . . . . . #wecantpleaseeveryone #myhousethismonth #myhouseandhome #retrohauls #telephonetable #ournihomes #irishinteriors #cornerofmyhome #myinteriorsquares #mycreativeinterior #myhousebeautiful #midcentury #ikeaatmine #walltowallstyle #mystylishspace #spotlightonmyhome #spotthenewtrend #industville #industvillelights #smegfridge #bluekitchen #industrialkitchen #midcenturymodernhome

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

I was so quick to just get my bedroom complete that I spent quite a lot of money without properly thinking about the overall design or what I really wanted to the finished room to look like. I was like someone from Supermarket Sweep, throwing all sorts of accessories into the trolley.

I hate the room, to be honest, and I can’t wait to redecorate, although it’ll have to wait until I finish the other rooms first. But everyone makes mistakes along the way I’m sure – it’s just part of the process. 

More: ‘The glass doors make us feel like part of the view’: Inside this self-build bungalow in Wicklow

About the author:

Rachael Kealy

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