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'The kids love sitting at the island': Niamh shares her spacious family-friendly kitchen

‘The space is open-plan right through to the playroom.’

EACH WEEK, WE ask someone based in Ireland with a passion for interiors to share one photo of their favourite spot in their home.

Niamh Murphy and her family moved into their Mullingar, Co Westmeath home in March 2018, and set about figuring how to make the space work for them:

We had planning permission with the site so we couldn’t alter the exterior, but we made lots of changes to the interior to suit us. Our house is definitely my cup of tea.

This week, Niamh (@mycupoftea_interiors) chatted us through her favourite spot: her open-plan kitchen.

mhiop Source: Niamh Purcell

What do you love about this part of your home?

The kitchen is the heart of our home. I love all of the counter space and the large island. There is so much storage and there’s no press that’s jam-packed with anything – everything can have its own place.

When family or friends visit, they always walk towards the kitchen. It’s lovely to sit on the island and chat, or when we have a few people over, the eight-seater table has more than enough space, too. It’s such a sociable space. The kids love sitting up on the island to do their homework or have a snack.

The space is open-plan right through to the playroom, and this was intentional as we wanted the kids near us and not banished to a room at the front or side of the house. They are literally in the middle of the house, so when we have family or friends over, if they are not sitting with us, they are playing in front of us. This space is very much a family space and we tried to design the whole house like that.

What’s your favourite object in here and why?

It’s the table, for sure. It’s very special as my dad made it. I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t have €2,000 to spend on a table. We absolutely love it – it’s exactly what I wanted. I had my eye on the chairs from Vobe Interiors before the build even started.

There are a few more finishing touches I want to add, like a rug in front of the sink and one under the dining table, and some more pictures. But I haven’t found what I’m looking for yet, so I’m holding off buying until then.

What was your inspiration when you were putting this room together?

Unfortunately, I wasn’t familiar with Instagram when we were designing or building the house or I might have done it differently. There are so many inspirational accounts out there, it would be hard not to copy them now.

My main sources of inspiration were magazines and Pinterest. I still love looking back through old issues of interiors magazines and I find something new each time I do. I also went to see a few kitchens with our designer, and got some inspiration and tips from them. We felt the kitchen had to be a family kitchen with functionality.

Be honest: how much tidying did you do before taking this photo?

Not much more than the usual. It’s the one room in the house that gets cleaned every day because it gets so much use. I’m always in it, so I am always wiping down a counter or hoovering around the table. I like to have a place for everything, but at the same time, the house is our home, so it’s lived in. There are always bits and bobs on the island and draining board – they were the only bits I moved for the photo. 

Is there anything in here you’d like to change?

There are two things. First, we put double doors from the hall into the playroom and we have never used them, so wall space would be far more practical there. I can’t tell you the number of times they were added to and removed from the drawings for the house, but we made the wrong call leaving them in. They are going to be removed this year and the wall will be studded, plastered and painted.

I would also change the colour of the units to a lighter grey. I really like the grey we have, but I think, from living with it and seeing it at all times of day and night, a lighter grey would be better. It’s hard to get everything right, and sometimes you really don’t know until you live in the house.

More: ‘There are divided opinions about the green runner’: Martina shares her pop-of-colour hallway

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