Run down seaside farmhouse gets restored

By Jimmy Loughran in Real Homes on Monday, November 1, 2010 - 15:38

Off the beaten track, down a narrow country lane in Bannow, Co Wexford, sits a beautiful and charmingly-restored farmhouse, now home to Alex Blaker and her sons.

Words and styling: Penny Crawford Collins. Photography: Philip Lauterbach.

Hall:

The traditional-style stable doors are painted in Farrow & Ball Parma grey and open onto a quaint entrance with an old style hanging rail for coats and hats.

Living room:

The lime-washed walls and old fashioned fireplace give the room a charming traditional feel.  Alex has introduced contemporary elements with her choice of rug from Ceadogan, made by Dennis Kenny, a local rug maker who specialises in contemporary gun-tufted rugs. The colourful floral cushions are from Avoca.

Kitchen:

Alex loves to relax and enjoy the hard work she has put into the restoration. “It’s a very spiritual inspiring creative space, where you can really unwind and relax.”

The kitchen is compact and has been sympathetically refurbished using traditional materials. The Aga makes the room warm and cosy in winter. The little staircase with latch door was original to the house. The table was picked up in a car boot sale; the bench was from a local church; the picnic hamper is from Hampers & Co.

A butler sink, wooden worktops and exposed beams give the kitchen the appearance of the quintessential farmhouse.

Bedrooms:

The master bedroom on the second floor is accessed by a narrow wooden staircase. Alex exposed the brickwork to make a feature wall and add texture. The room has been fur-nished with bric a brac finds. The bed linen and cushions from Avoca introduce splashes of colour to the otherwise neutral palette.

The large bedroom is furnished with a French-style bed that Alex got in Christies “for a song.”  She has a real talent for seeking out inexpensive treasures from antiques fairs, charity shops and house clearance sales. The pieces in this room add individuality and character to the all-white scheme. “The rug fell off the back of a lorry - literally someone knocked on my door trying to sell it. I knew it would suit the house and I got it for a bargain.”

Bathroom:

This room was once the cowshed and has been transformed into a large light bathroom with exposed beams and flag stone flooring. The bath is the focal point of the room – both it and the basin are from Paddy Power bathrooms. The chunky cast iron radiator was found in a salvage yard.

Tell us what you think:

Everything in Alex's home has been kept very simple, which gives the house continuity and a strong sense of style. The house is furnished with a mix of new and second-hand pieces, bringing a sense of character and individuality to the house.

If you were restoring an old farmhouse, would you try to preserve its rustic personality - or would you style it modern? Drop us a comment and let us know.