The landscape of Ireland has provided me with so much inspiration for my art I thought I would share some background about our house in Ireland.
We had tried for many years to find a site to build but planning restrictions often stopped us. The year before we bought the cottage we had found a site overlooking the sea, our architect designed a house for us, it went to planning but was rejected. We were really disappointed by the decision as we had put a lot of time and effort into finding the site and the design of the house.
At the end of that summer my mother phoned me to say Jack and Rose's cottage was for sale! She was only joking as she didn't think we would be interested in this run down old Irish Cottage. We were though and from that point we made very effort to secure the house. I was so excited about the prospect of owning it and what we could do with it.
The house was built by my Great Grandfather. Rose and Jack lived in the house for many years. When Jack died it went out of our family to Rose's family. It was left empty for nearly 10 years, it stayed like that until we managed to purchase it 7 years ago. I used to play in the house as a child and had many happy memories of it so was delighted it was back in the family. The sea views are stunning. It is an old Irish cottage and it had a preservation order on it. There were lots of out buildings which we planned to turn into accommodation.
It is situated on the Copper Coast which is an area of natural outstanding beauty. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I captured the old house in oils before work began which now hangs in our hallway with a family tree underneath.
We had to meet with the county council to discuss exactly what could be done with this old house. Eventually we got planning and started the build in October 2013. During the winter of that year we experienced severe storms, the house is right on the coast. The builder phoned me to say they had a problem. The problem was the old cottage had collapsed completely! There was a preservation order on that cottage so it was a huge disappointment and upset but we had to carry on. It was decided that we would rebuild the entire cottage on the exact footprint of the old one.
STARTING TO LOOK A BIT MORE LIKE A PROPER HOUSE
During most of the build we were not in Ireland but had the best builder. We did visit regularly but Seamus and his team had the build under control most of the time. Finally the house was finished and ready to move into in the summer of 2014.
The next stage was to decorate inside and get the flowers planted - the entire family helped with this.We wanted to keep the interior as simple as possible with lots of blue and sandy colours to reflect the seascape views outside.