Kate’s home looks like a traditional farmhouse from the outside, but inside it’s full of modern and creative details
Kate Byrne’s Wicklow farmhouse is full of charm, sophistication and a contemporary design aesthetic. Here she explains how she made it happen.
“We’re Kate and Shane Byrne and we live in a 150-year-old farmhouse in Wicklow. Shane grew up here and we moved in with own family in December 2018 before moving back out and knocking half of it down.
“Our little boy Max is actually the fourth generation of the family to live in this house. Interiors has always been a love of mine – my mum’s too – and I grew up watching her decorate our family home. It was only when we started the renovation on our home that my interiors passion really kicked up a notch!
“As it’s an old house, structurally we were met with a few issues. The walls of the house are extremely thick and made of granite and when we decided to cut the walls in the back of the house to create the open-plan living space, it had to be done very carefully so as not to bring the rest of the house down with it! We also had to replumb and rewire all over the house.
“The current issue we’re facing (and ignoring) is that the original plaster needs to be replaced upstairs. It’s so old that if we try to hang a picture or drill a hole in the wall it ends up crumbling away! We have a plan for upstairs for some time down the line so we’ll worry about that then.
“My grandmother’s drinks cabinet is my favourite piece in the home. It is a family heirloom that my grandparents bought in an auction when first married. After we got engaged my uncle gifted it to us as a wedding gift from my nana. When it was in her dining room the most it held was an old bottle of sherry – there’s slightly more bottles in it now however!
“Our kitchen/living area is the heart of our home and we spend all our time there. I think I put more thought into how it looks than all the rest of the house put together! It has a great wow factor when you come in from the front of the house.
“From the outside, the front of our home looks like a traditional farmhouse and you don’t expect the kitchen with its high ceilings to the back of the house. I’ve already repainted several rooms as I’m notoriously indecisive when it comes to choosing paint colours and, much to Shane’s dismay, once I choose them I don’t always stick with them.
“I also really regret not including a playroom in our renovation for Max’s bits and pieces. I had visions of my children playing with beautiful wooden, aesthetically pleasing toys. It turns out plastic tractors with flashing lights are his favourite and sometimes I wish I had a playroom to store them in that isn’t the kitchen!
“The most challenging part of the renovation process was marrying all the rooms together. Pinterest and Instagram are great for providing lots of ideas and inspiration but sometimes there’s a little bit too much inspiration out there. I think it’s only now, a year later, that I’m finally feeling like our house is beginning to have a cohesive look and I’ve settled into what the style of our home is.”