Room to improve? Dermot Bannon and others on their renovation wishlist

An extra bedroom, a new kitchen and clever storage are among the most wanted

Architect Dermot Bannon  at home in Drumcondra,  Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

Architect Dermot Bannon at home in Drumcondra, Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke


Dermot Bannon, architect and TV presenter

“We need an extra bedroom and I am determined to get one by the end of the year. I don’t know how it will be done, but it has to be done, either in the house we live in or in the next house. That would be the dream. Otherwise, I have pretty low expectations when it comes to my own home. I deal with everyone else’s dreams and expectations all day long so when I get home, it’s the last thing I want to be thinking of.

“As long as I have a fireplace, a sofa, a telly and a blanket, and a table that fits all of us for dinner, then I am happy.”

Room to Improve, RTÉ Sunday, 9.30pm

Artist Orla Walsh with her daughter and the family dog at her studio in Foxrock. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Artist Orla Walsh with her daughter and the family dog at her studio in Foxrock. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Orla Walsh, artist

“We built our house eight years ago and at the time I designed my kitchen and studio space together. I am a busy mum of three girls so it was the perfect spot for me to paint and cook because a large bookcase separates my studio from the kitchen. At the time I put in some Ikea tables, a couple of shelves and attached long poles to the walls to hang my paintings. But I never utilised the space properly so this year I am having a total overhaul and I can’t wait.

“It will be custom-built with every corner of space considered. My favourite part is a huge table which will run down the centre of the studio with large shelves underneath. The table will be over a metre high so I can stand and work.”

Riccardo Cavaliere, Ristorante Rinuccini,
Riccardo Cavaliere, Ristorante Rinuccini

Riccardo Cavaliere, chef patron, Michelin-listed Ristorante Rinuccini, Kilkenny

“I am looking forward to a whole new home in 2018. Having bought a site in the Kilkenny countryside a few years ago, my wife Orla and I have just obtained planning permission and hope to start building soon. Our new home will give us more space and room for entertaining friends and family.

“We currently have a small, functional kitchen and can’t wait to build a new, larger, customised one with all the bells and whistles to fulfil our passion for cooking. We may even build a wood-fired oven outside to create a taste of Italy at home.”

Deirdre O’Sullivan, florist, Kays Flower School

“In 2018, I really want to get some under-stair storage as we never seem to have anywhere to hide away all the football boots and school bags.

“At the moment the under stairs is open and is a dumping ground for kit bags, school bags and anything else the family won’t carry any further. I plan to get this job done early in 2018 and am thinking of getting a closed-in drawer system which will hide everything and hopefully an area for coats too.”

Emma Lamb, designer
Emma Lamb, designer

Emma Lamb, designer

“My plan is to change my little boy’s bedroom (who is now nearly four) into a big boy room as he is currently in a cot bed and will soon need a larger one. I have fallen in love with the Oliver Furniture range and would like to get him their latest loft bed because the underneath part can double as a cosy corner and play area. And when he grows a bit bigger and wants sleepovers it can also change into a bunk bed so friends can sleep underneath.”

Ciaran McCoy, architect
Ciaran McCoy, architect

Ciaran McCoy, artist and architect

“I would like to combine both the front master bedroom and the rear guest room into one large master bedroom. This would house a large double bed, en suite bathroom and bespoke built-in furniture. There would also be more wardrobe space, comfortable furniture and soft furnishings while maintaining the (second) feature fireplace. This whole floor would become one large bedroom space and be a fully self-contained living quarter.

“I’ve been living in my home [a Victorian terraced house in Dublin] for five years and know that my gut instinct to make two bedrooms into one is the right move. There is obviously the argument of devaluing my property but I’ve no plans on selling in the near future or ever, so I think it makes logical sense to live in the home for today and not worry about what will or will not sell in the future.”

Ella Dunphy, estate agent
Ella Dunphy, estate agent

Ella Dunphy, estate agent, DNG and incoming president of the IPAV

“We have been living in our house for 30 years and bought it long before I was an auctioneer so if I knew then what I know now, I would have swapped around the kitchen and drawing room on day one. This is what I would like to change so I could have the kitchen facing south with all of the light as we spend a lot of time there.

“And I would also like to move the drawing room to the back as we only use it late in the evening. I would also like to put the whole house on wheels as I love the house and the area, but it would be great to be closer to the city.”

Jennifer McCreery
Jennifer McCreery

Jennifer McCreery, cleaning company owner

“Because I run my own business, my home is my sanctuary but I plan to get a really deep clean and maintenance service in 2018 because once that is done I can get on with living. And I have my eye on a beautiful Italian, made-to-order Fama Moon Recliner occasional chair from Meubles [in Kilkenny]. For me it’s everything a woman could want to relax at home but at the same time is a really luxurious and elegant piece.”

Aoife McElwain, writer and creative events planner

“I moved house in January after living in the same spot for the last six years. I took the move as a sign that it’s time to declutter. Between the props of crockery, tea towels and cutlery I use in my work as a food stylist, and the corner of my office dedicated to confetti canons, hoola hoops and lyric booklets for my Sing Along Social events, my home office was crying out for a calmer, less cluttered look going forward.”

Slow at Work: How to Work Less, Achieve More and Regain your Balance in An Always-On World by Aoife McElwain

John Masterson, MD of Purcell Masterson Public Relations, Kilkenny

“I love my garden shed and have a reputation in the locality for putting effort into my barbecues. Brendan O’Carroll sent me a video during the year of a garden shed that, at the touch of a switch, turns into a top-of-the-range barbecue with table, seats, canopy, drinks cabinet and even a dart board. It is the coolest shed I ever saw. I want. I want. I want.”

Jane Considine, architect

“We bought our house in Dún Laoghaire [Co Dublin] in 2001 and extended it in 2008 but now it’s time for redecoration and a general refurbishment as our lives and expectations have changed since we moved in. We love the house and don’t want to compromise it but now I want better insulation, more storage and practical things like double glazing.

“And another thing I’d really like in 2018 is a bed from which satisfies on both counts as it both practical and beautiful.”