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how we live

'I could never live somewhere modern': Sabine's Cavan cottage with 2 cats, 3 dogs and 8 ducks

(Oh, and 15 chickens.)

About you

Name: Sabine Meiner (@little_irish_cottage)
Age: 51

About your home

Where is your home located? Ballyconnell, Co Cavan
What type of house is it? A country cottage
How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Doon Cottage has one bedroom, two bathrooms, plus a dressing room, a living room, a fireplace room and a kitchen
When did you move in? Christmas Eve, 2018
Who lives there? My husband Bernie lives in the cottage with me, and our 17-year-old daughter Nina lives in a separate small house in the garden. We also have a pug, a Bernese mountain dog, 2 Persian cats, a British shorthair cat, 15 chickens and 8 ducks.

What made you choose this home over others?

It has always been our dream to live in a cottage (it’s something I’ve wanted since I was five). I’m a big fan of cottage style interiors and shabby chic. I love the little windows, the style of the old furniture and the story everything tells. I know I could never live in a flat or something modern. 

What is your favourite place in your home?

My favourite room overall is our kitchen, but in winter, you’ll find us sitting in the fireplace room, reading books and magazines with a good cup of tea. 

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

Our bathroom doesn’t feel as cosy as the rest of the cottage. It’s just a basic bathroom with no flair. Our second bathroom feels a little cosier because I was able to paint it, but this one has tiles from floor to ceiling. Before we moved into the cottage, no-one had lived here for many years, so the bathroom floor needed new tiles, and we also removed the big bath tub. My next step will be to change the look with some new curtains and other décor.

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

We get up at 8am to let out the ducks and chickens out in the garden, and take the dogs for a walk. Then the next step is a morning coffee in the kitchen.

I love cooking and baking with my big blue gas oven, so usually in the morning you’ll find me in the kitchen, while my husband is in the garden. I do homemade fresh breads, cakes, cookies and tarts for my family.

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

At around 5.30pm I start cooking dinner. Our evening ends with us watching television in our cosy living room, and we go to bed around 11.30pm.

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

Anyone who walks into our dining room says ‘Wow!’. This room was a bedroom before, so it’s small, but we can fit six around the table. We did the wallpaper in old brick style. Most of the furniture in this house comes from charity shops, flea markets and the rest I have worked on myself.

More: ‘The view changes every hour’: Saoirse’s cliff-edge home with a lighthouse in the garden>

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