When Orna Holland and Clifden Foyle began their search for a house to accommodate their young family, they were hoping to find somewhere that was large, light and contemporary.
‘We both really wanted a home in Dunmore East near Clifden’s family hotel,’ recalls Orna.
‘He had grown up there and had a magical childhood; the beach is right on its doorstep and everyone is so friendly, and he wanted the children to experience it for themselves.’
The owners: Orna Holland, who works for Facebook, and Clifden Foyle, who owns The Strand Inn hotel, live here with daughters Farrah, seven, and Riley, five
The right location
When the opportunity came up to buy a small bungalow only a few metres from the hotel, the couple jumped at the chance. Despite the property being dark, rather dated and not exactly what they wanted, they could see it had great potential. ‘We decided to live in the bungalow as it was for a while, both to save money and so we could plan carefully how we wanted the house to work for us as a family,’ says Orna. ‘We actually ended up living in the property for nearly four years before we decided to finally take the plunge and start the project.’
The couple’s plans for the bungalow included extending and modernising the layout as well as creating a second floor, turning it into a contemporary four-bedroom house designed to capitalise on the natural light. ‘While we were living with the old layout, we spent a huge amount of time tracking the direction of the sun through the day. We wanted to ensure that we made the most of it,’ explains Clifden.
The new open-plan kitchen, dining and living area link together effortlessly, and incorporating a playroom to one side of the space has given the children their own area to play in while still being close by. ‘We always planned for this to be a very sociable area,’ explains Clifden. ‘We both love entertaining, so there are always lots of family and friends in our home. It was important to us that the space seats people comfortably, but without making the experience too formal, which is why we eventually decided to go with the combination of the large breakfast bar and the dining table.’
Another key factor to the success of the build was being able to make the best of artificial lighting, as well as the natural light. ‘Creating a functional yet relaxing space is all about the accent lighting, so this played a fundamental role in the overall design,’ explains Clifden. ‘We were lucky to have worked with Shane Crowley from D’Light previously, so we knew he would be able to come up with the perfect lighting plan to suit the house, both practically and aesthetically.’
The couple decided to keep the decorating scheme throughout the house as simple as possible, and opted for an all-white palette with wide whitewashed wooden floorboards. ‘We felt that white would reflect the graphic style of the architecture and would also provide us with the perfect backdrop to the colourful works of art that we have collected over the years,’ explains Orna.
Thanks to all the attention to detail and careful planning, Clifden and Orna have certainly created the light-filled and sociable modern family home that they craved. Though it is a tranquil white space, it is also a functional home full of warmth and character.
‘We are both so pleased with how our home has turned out,’ says Orna. ‘We love the minimal space and it’s so easy to live in. It’s a beautiful and relaxing place to be.’