Real Home Inspo: A Style Of Its Own

Located in the heart of the County Tyrone countryside, Elaine and Kevin Donaghy’s home build was very much a labour of love.

From design to completion the project took more than five years and the newly-wed couple were involved at every step of the way. 

Their aim was to create a unique property that transcended any one particular style genre and was truly reflective of themselves and how they live.

Elaine documented the work on her blog (Elaine’s Roves ’N Troves) as a means of tracking the progress and having an online diary to look back on.

The marketing professional took The Style Edit around her home, revealing the fruits of their labour and sharing the inspiration for the scheme.

Who lives in the house?
Myself and my husband Kevin.

What area is the house in?
In the countryside, mid-way between Omagh and Cookstown in Co.Tyrone.

How long have you lived in the house?
Three years.

What style of property is it and how old?
It is a new build and doesn’t have one distinctive style, it is a mix of traditional/modern and industrial/Scandi with our own twist on things.

What first attracted you to the house?
As it was a new build we were very involved in the overall design, look and feel and we wanted to have a home that was unique, incorporating different features and design elements. Ultimately we wanted to create something out of the norm and a home that reflects our style and personality.

Did you have much work to do before moving in?
As it was a new build we were starting from scratch and spent five years on the project before it was complete. We wanted to spend as much of our own time and money to get the majority of the work completed before moving in as we didn’t like the idea of having lots of work happening while we were living there. We managed the entire project ourselves and my father, who was a contractor in his earlier years, did a lot of work throughout the project. Managing it ourselves involved lots of hard work, stressful times, dedication, commitment, long days and late nights but we would not have had it any other way as it also give us more control over the final look and feel and the flexibility to make changes as we went.  Not to mention it was extremely rewarding when we finally got it complete. The project didn’t come without its stress, but we have no regrets.

“The project didn’t come without its stress, but we have no regrets.’

How does your home reflect its inhabitants?
We feel our entire home, design and interior choices very much reflects our own style and personalities. We have incorporated some different features like a turret room, which is our snug and it’s nestled at the back of our home, we also have a gallery which overlooks the kitchen and this is reached by a spiral staircase from the living space, which is a nice feature. We both love stonework, and the original plan was to do the entire house in stone, but then we were a bit afraid it may be too much, so we decided to incorporate stone work on all elevations of the house, on some of the unique features. 

The bathroom is one of my favourite rooms and really reflects my style. The internal features in turn added character to the exterior in that our roof is quite a complex design and shape and it has lots of bends and turns and twists which caused a lot of headaches to say the least, but it is something unique and adds real character to our house overall. 

Building and designing our home has been a dream for both myself and Kevin for such a long time and we wanted to realise it how we always imagined, we didn’t want to go down the traditional route of sticking to one décor style and so this is why were were keen to invest our time in making the design unique.  We wanted our home to be stylish, with some edge and statement, yet homely, inviting and comforting. It was important that it was a ‘home’ as opposed to just a ‘house’, so reflecting our style, personalities and character was very important.

What inspired the interior choices?
Most of my inspiration came from things I spotted on Pinterest, in magazines and while I was on travels (I travel a lot with my job, and I loved getting inspiration and ideas from other countries). I was always picking up ideas and putting my own vision boards together. Unfortunately Instagram was not as prevalent when I was making choices, as it is now – sometimes I would love to be building another house and have the inspo from the many amazing interior accounts that I follow on it. When you build for the first time, you approach it with limited knowledge and experience… maybe one day I’ll get to build a second home, it will be my holiday home. 

Did you shop anywhere in particular?
I didn’t have one shop in particular that I bought from, I picked up things from a wide range of shops and brands. Where possible, I tried to shop local as it’s always important to me to support local businesses. Some of the local business were Moy Furniture, McCrystals Fine Furnishings, Elle Interiors, Décor Centre, Mid Ulster Garden Centre, Moy Lighting and some of the high street brands I shopped a lot in were Marks & Spencer, Home Sense, TK Maxx, Next, Oliver Bonas, Anthropologie, Laura Ashely, Cult Furniture, Industville and Coachhouse

What is your favourite room in the house and why?
My kitchen/living/dining/snug/library space… It is basically an open plan space so I’m counting it as one. I love it because, although it is open, the way we designed it means the space is still quite individual. We treated the décor in a similar way, we wanted to have it complementary while having its own individual style. 

We love this space because ultimately it is the heart of our home; it’s where it all happens, where we relax, eat, chill and come together.  With this space you can be sitting in the peace and quiet in one of the spaces and feel the quietness, but at the same time have the comfort of knowing there is company and things going on not so far away and you’re still part of the action.

This space also has lots of very large gothic-style windows which let in lots of natural light, which I just love. 

“Unfortunately Instagram was not as prevalent when I was making choices, as it is now – sometimes I would love to be building another house and have the inspo from the many amazing interior accounts that I follow on it.”

Describe the garden/outside space?
We have over two acres around the house, about half an acre of this is our gardens. We worked with a landscaper to plot out the garden and plant our hedge, as neither of us had much knowledge in this area. Planting a hedge early was important as I know it takes a long time to grow, so we planted it about three years ago. We then didn’t start working on the actual lawns until this time last year and one year on they are taking good shape and bit by bit we are starting to incorporate flowerbeds to add some colour and character.

With regards to the space beyond our gardens, we are starting to sow them out and the plan is to have some donkeys or lamas graze there.

We also created a good size patio space, just off the kitchen which is finished in sandstone to tone in with the stonework on the rest of our home. This is a space we both always wanted and it has got so much use especially the last two years with our improving summers. We invested in a patio set this year and it’s been worth every penny as we have spent so much time out here chilling and entertaining.

Have you anything you’d still like to do to the house?
We still need to do more work on our gardens, but that will come with time, it’s one thing that can’t really be rushed, as nature will do its own thing.

We have one room in the house that is not complete, mainly because we keep deliberating over its use – it went from being a good living room (which we really don’t need) to being a downstairs bedroom, but we seem to be leaning on the idea of having a cinema style room, with a great big large screen and comfy seating. We love to watch films and Netflix, so it would be a space that we would both get use out off, which is important. So this is the next big project to tackle. 

No doubt in the next few years we will started to redecorate some of the spaces. It really is a lifelong project.


Photography: Peter Bruce Photography

Elaine & Kevin @elainesrovesntroves
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