The place of your birth can have a powerful draw. So, even though his career in finance has taken him to Dublin, London and New York, the owner of Corlummin knew the only place to build his family's holiday retreat was in Co Mayo. The results are a coolly contemporary three-bedroom detached house, with views across Lough Cullin; and while the house is definitely blessed in its setting, it has also benefited from the family's US connections.
In fact, the house, which was built six years ago, has been quite an international project. The architect, Galway-based Juan Sotoparra, hails from Venezuela. "He's been based in Ireland for the past number of years," says the owner, "And he has some very interesting contemporary designs, which fully integrate with the landscape, making the best use of light and the views. That's why we chose him. It's a very sensitive landscape, and we wanted to build a nice home which we could relax in."
Another key input came from interior designer Karen Mackay. Originally based in Connecticut, Mackay now runs Wild at Design in Dublin. "We met her in the US," the owner says. "And she was absolutely instrumental in the design."
Working with Mackay, the family decided to put the key living space – a huge open-plan kitchen/dining room – upstairs, to maximise the lake and mountain views. It’s the owner’s favourite room, “the space is just so comfortable, peaceful, quiet and calming. We do a lot of hosting dinners,” he says, describing the great use the family have got from their Rhatigan & Hick kitchen.
New England interior
Mackay is also responsible for the New England interiors vibe, from the three lower ground floor bedrooms, which flow into the surrounding .52 hectare (1.3 acre) garden; to the very classy bathrooms, to the living room, with its huge log fire. The fireplace is picturesquely stacked with logs, as the BER of B3 means the house is always completely cosy, even without setting a fire.
Clearly a family with attention to detail, the owners went to great lengths to source the fixtures and fittings. “Because I was working in the States, I used to bring a lot back home with me – in a big ice hockey bag,” the owner recalls. “The doors are by Rocky Mountain Hardware, and I carried them home – believe me, it was torture. The wallpaper too. That’s by Seagrass from Lillian August. They’d be looking at me at the airport like: ‘Where’s this fella going with all these doorknobs and knockers.’”
Irish suppliers got a look-in too, with Fired Earth fittings in the bathrooms, and lighting by Neptune and Avoca Interiors. The results are a light-filled, cool and cosy 230sq m (2,476sq ft) home, just 3km from Foxford. Work commitments mean the owners, and their young family, simply don't get use the house as much as it deserves, and so it's for sale with Tuohy O'Toole for €595,000. "It's breaking my heart," the owner says. "The whole experience of going down there at the weekends and closing the door – it has been a complete sanctuary."