Deadlines and timetables. Love them or hate them they’ll focus the thoughts.

Mags Phelan labored within the airline business for a few years so her life has revolved round them.

Mags and John Phelan. Footage: RTE

She and her husband John dwell with their teenage sons within the dwelling they renovated in East Cork.

And the Killeagh property Mags refers to as “their haven” took centre stage on our tv screens this week when it featured on RTÉ’s House of the 12 months.

The couple got here throughout their dream residence when home looking on-line whereas dwelling in Kazakhstan and went sale agreed with out seeing it in individual.

It was “a bet”, says Mags — however one which paid off. They fell in love with the property the second they touched down on the gate in real-life. The house is a farm constructing conversion, made up of a barn at one finish, cow shed on the different and a stone cottage. They purchased the home in 2015 and commenced renovating.

 “The unique farmhouse on the land was knocked,” says Mags. The property includes 2.5 acres cut up up into 12 totally different gardens. “We very a lot wished it to be a house, it’s not a museum to something — and we’re not slaves to it being a showhouse.”

We primarily sleep and dwell in animals’ bedrooms

John jokes: “We primarily sleep and dwell in animals’ bedrooms.”

When the household moved to Bishopstown native Mags’s dwelling county in 2015, they began the mission. Final 12 months, Mags took a 12 months off work to give attention to the home. “Being the kind of individual I’m, I couldn’t sit round doing nothing,” she says.

So, she donned her overalls and painted the whole property, in and out, earlier than scaling a ladder to plaster the kitchen partitions.

“After which I mentioned: I’m going to use for ‘House of the 12 months’,” she says. 

There’s nothing like a deadline. There’s no higher incentive than having RTÉ come into the home and movie the within of it to place a bomb underneath you.”

The couple prolonged the world of the property outdoors “to make sure that the stream” labored for the design.

They wished to improve the home and interiors to make sure the house was match for function however on the identical time respect and preserve the character of the property.

“We’ve constructed the whole extension round the truth that we owned a child grand piano so it dictated each the form and dimension of the entire room,” says Mags.

“My husband is a musician and most evenings we’re in right here having fun with a glass of wine and a few music and the view of the gardens past.”

The open-plan space with the newborn grand is their favorite spot, provides Mags. “It’s unbelievable to have been in a position to come dwelling and decelerate and that is the right haven to have the ability to do it in,” she says.

The judges are impressed with the home and scored it 23 — in order that it missed out by only one level to the night’s winner.

It’s one other renovated property, coincidentally occupied by a household that returned from travels, that went by way of to the ultimate in the identical episode, as a interval dwelling in County Down is the fifth to undergo to the ultimate.

However again to Cork, and architect Amanda Bone feels “there’s something magical about” the Killeagh kitchen. Architect Hugh Wallace’s eye is drawn to the dresser in the identical room. “Granny Wallace had a dresser like this,” he says.

Sara is taken by the “heat and hearty setting” created by the woodburning range.

As for John’s quip concerning the sleeping quarters the place four-legged creatures dozed in years passed by? Hugh Wallace sums it up: “We’d all love a bed room this dimension.”

The identical goes for the berth occupied by the newborn grand: “It’s a terrific spot for a piano,” observes Amanda.

The instrument’s proprietor can be a terrific man for a tune or ten. “In addition to taking part in the piano, he sings and performs the guitar and has carried out in numerous bands,” says Mags. “He was the frontman for a really profitable band once we had been in Kazakhstan!”

The misleading façade of 1 a part of the property beguiles the trio of judges. “Goodness, It seemed like we had been coming right into a stone cottage however as soon as we’re in right here it’s a state-of the-art dwelling cinema and gamer’s paradise,” says inside designer Sara Cosgrove.

Hugh concludes that Mags and John have reworked the previous farmyard buildings into “an inspirational dwelling”.

Mags and John and their sons Sam, 18, and Ben 13, say their journey to TV fame began on social media. “I’ve an Instagram account that I arrange two or three years after we purchased the home,” says Mags.

“Anyone instructed me to and I requested, Why? And I used to be instructed it was ‘a factor’ — as a result of I’m an actual interiors and home renovations fanatic I assumed I might have recognized about it!”

“I used to be contacted through my account and requested whether or not I might be concerned with making use of for ‘House of the 12 months’ — there have been no guarantees, you simply undergo the applying like everybody else,” she says.

“On the time we had been going by way of our renovation and had been nowhere close to prepared for it however I mentioned, give me a shout subsequent 12 months, as a result of I really like the present.”

However Mags had not but moved again from Kazakhstan. “And I wasn’t prepared with the home but.”

Kazakhstan is the place their journey to Killeagh in East Cork started — and what impressed the title of their Instagram account: “We purchased our dwelling over the web. With out seeing it,” says Mags.

Mags lived in Dublin for 18 years and in Kazakhstan for 9, and her job within the airline business took the household to Kazakhstan.

Now working as head of operations for Okay Instrument Rent, Mags all the time had a ardour for homes.

“Once we had been shifting to Kazakhstan, we had been dwelling in County Meath and bought up once we had been shifting. It wasn’t our ceaselessly dwelling.

“I really like property so I used to be all the time maintaining a tally of the market,” says Mags.

“Home costs had been going up and I type of hated not having an anchor; I’m not a nomadic type of individual, whereas my husband would fortunately transfer from nation to nation.

“I assumed possibly it might be good to have a little bit of a bolthole right here. That’s initially what we had been searching for.”

  • House of the 12 months airs on RTÉ One on Tuesdays at 8.30pm and is on RTÉ Participant

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