Barn conversions and Scandi design inspire Cork home


Leaving the city streets far behind to lay the foundations for la dolce vita in the countryside is undoubtedly the idea of ​​paradise for many young families these days.

It’s particularly enticing after two years of increasing remote working which seems to have opened up a world of new possibilities.

But long before the pandemic, Kiara Daly and Gregg Barry were planning their move from Dublin – achieving their goal in August 2020, when they moved to County Cork with their two young children, now nearly four and one year old respectively. , and their dog.

Node Architects designed the house.

Construction on their house on a pristine site near Belgooley, outside Kinsale, began in mid-2019 and was completed early last year.

“We love the Kinsale area. Gregg is originally from Kinsale and grew up here, ”says Kiara.

Amber Design Group created the interior design for the rustic family home.
Amber Design Group created the interior design for the rustic family home.

“Her parents, grandparents and an extended family still live here. My own grandparents also lived here for most of my childhood and some of my extended family still live in the area, so it’s a place we both were very fond of.

Kiara is a partner of a recruitment firm which has offices in Dublin and Cork, and Gregg, a dentist, has two dental clinics based in Dublin and divides his time between Dublin and Cork.

Creating the living space they envisioned was a team effort, according to everyone involved.

The couple hired Node Architects to design their home and Liz Moloney from Amber Design Group ( to create their interiors. The two companies had previously worked on the design of Barry’s dental clinics in Dublin’s Docklands.

Liz Moloney, Amber Design Group.
Liz Moloney, Amber Design Group.

Node designed the house around two traditional barn-shaped structures separating the living and sleeping areas linked to a central entrance lounge.

Once the form began to emerge clearly, interior designer Liz arrived from her base in Notting Hill, London.

As she approached the Belgooley site, Liz, from Dungarvan, observed that on the outside the design was “simple and understated but inside it exuded a great sense of openness and openness. space “.

“The project had a double mission; one to create a modern architectural farmhouse while creating a warm and welcoming family home and this element was key to our interior design brief. Creating “a modern home with a rustic feel” meant that Liz made sure the residence featured an abundance of earthy tones echoing the rural environment.

“When I first saw the architect’s plan for the building, I immediately started to think about the interior fittings and finishes,” she says.

“I drove all the way to Kinsale at the very start of construction with Gregg and we had a really good idea of ​​the overall look we wanted to achieve and also making sure to incorporate the striking landscape of the surrounding farmland. “


What inspired the interior design and the color scheme?

“I looked to other conversions and barn designs for inspiration and, of course, Scandinavian / Nordic design; lots of soft neutral color palettes with a modern rustic vibe to the interiors, ”says Liz.

And a quick glance around the finished spaces shows a modern farmhouse that is a comfortable and welcoming family home – discreetly embedded in the land that has generations of personal heirlooms.

While inside, the spaces were always going to circulate fairly freely around the central courtyard, at the beginning there was a debate as to whether, on the outside, the building should be a light volume (largely glazed, structured or even floating) in the landscape or intentionally heavy, sculpted and monolithic object, embedded in the rural earth, according to architect Node.

Several versions of the exterior have been explored, with coating solutions ranging from charred wood (Shou Sugi Ban) to Corten steel.

The architect was also keen that the dark gray walls and roof oppose the alternating greens and browns of the annual agricultural cycle, “would mean that the exterior is reminiscent of an arrangement of gray stone boulders protruding from the earth. to form a corner that is sheltered from Cork’s most hostile coastal climatic conditions ”.

The interior designer adds, “I wanted to complement the architect’s original brief for the house’s exterior function / aesthetic.


As for Liz’s favorite spot in the residence?

“I love the central living space which doubles as an entrance hallway, this space also connects the kitchen / dining room and the bedrooms,” she says.

Is there something she is aware of now that she wishes to know about her debut? Liz doesn’t hesitate to answer.

I wish I had known that we would be facing a pandemic and the sudden need for a home workspace! We were quick to redesign the loft to function as a home office for two working parents!

And does the interior designer have any advice for others who might be considering a similar project?

“The idea of ​​a new build might seem overwhelmingly daunting, but with meticulous planning, meticulous attention to detail, and the right advice and guidance, smart solutions to budget constraints, the result can be far more rewarding than doing facing a traditional house renovation, ”explains Liz.


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