See inside Emer Fennelly’s period home with a modern twist in County Carlow

The kitchen was a colossal undertaking, but it became the heart of this elegant home

Emer Fennelly’s Co. Carlow house is the epitome of sophistication, here she tells us how she achieved it.

“Our house is a period property on the banks of the River Slaney in County Carlow.

“We moved in at the beginning of March 2019 knowing that although there was a lot of work to do, it was in very good condition and we could easily live in it and renovate it as we went along.

“As with any older property, there’s nothing quite like throwing on a coat of paint and that’s it, you’re done. Although our home has been very well maintained over the years, many aspects of this one had been added by owners and I think it had gotten to the stage where everything had to be stripped down and done right – like plumbing, electrics, heating etc. So every job ends up being bigger than foreseen.

“My husband and I would be on the same design page, and we would have a similar end vision for how we’d like the house to be finished. We wouldn’t have a single aesthetic that we’re trying to stick to. to, and each piece usually evolves from numerous inspiration photos on Instagram and Pinterest, etc.

“My current new favorite piece in the house is the vanity in our guest bathroom. Designed by Woodale [specialists in handmade kitchens and furniture], it is a reed oak unit with curved ends and has been finished with the finest pink marble from Miller Brother Stone. I’m in love with it.

“I absolutely love every room we’ve done so far, especially our kitchen – it was the biggest renovation yet. We’ve taken an unused part of the house and two rooms from an adjoining apartment and have transformed it into our new kitchen with a walk-in broom closet and pantry.

“It was a massive undertaking as there was a lot of work to do to seal the room off from dampness etc., but it became the heart of the house. Again the kitchen itself took was designed by Woodale and there are so many features that I love, which are just a little bit different.

“We opted for a neutral color and a shaker door on the units along the sink wall, which allowed us to add a more detailed island, painted in a stronger color, in the center of the kitchen. Next we have an oak pantry press with arch. Although it might seem a bit mismatched on paper, in reality it all works so well together.

“The garden is an important part of the house for us and was definitely a selling point when we saw it. It is bordered by the River Slaney, with a stone built island in the middle which is accessed by a small bridge It took our breath away when we first saw it.

“There are mature trees and shrubs all around the house, most of which are a few hundred years old, including rhododendrons which are truly stunning when in bloom.

“We did a lot of ground work in 2020 adding lights and new gravel to the driveway, and renovating a small yard at the back of the house. courtyard has now become an extension of the kitchen, with a barbecue area and a pizza oven.

“We now use this space all year round and in the summer it is the perfect sunbathing area with many nights spent there. It is high maintenance but luckily we really enjoy being there, so the job doesn’t work. I don’t feel so bad.

“So far we are still very happy with everything that has been done and we wouldn’t change anything. Maybe ask me again in a few years because it could have changed!”

For more about Emer Fennelly’s home, check out her Instagram @myriverlodge

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