A PARTEEN native took the top prize on RTÉ’s Home of the Year 2021 grand finale on Tuesday night last.
Jen Sheahan, who now lives in Dublin, won the prestigious award after bowling the judging panel over with her late 1800s artisan cottage in Dublin.
Judges Hugh Wallace, Suzie Mc Adam and Amanda Bone chose Jen’s home from among 21 homes across the country.
Jen had her eye on a cottage for some time and was delighted when one came on the market in 2019. The property needed a lot of work as it was damp, had no central heating and the toilet was outside. Jen did a complete renovation, knocked all internal walls, dug up the floor and lowered it plus added on an extra floor to make it a two-storey house. Judges were highly impressed by work which includes clever storage solutions throughout and quirky features including a disco ball light in her brightly coloured downstairs toilet.
“I don’t even know how I feel yet,” said Jen. “Complete and utter shock – I’m floating on air I’m so thrilled to pieces I can’t believe it! My home is little and it needs to have a lot of dual functions so it might be small, but a lot can be done in a small space that’s really just made for me. It’s just incredible I would never ever have thought that it would be me standing here.”
Judge Hugh Wallace said there was “something special” in Jen’s home. “You know arriving up to this cottage was a treat,” he said. “You knew something special was going on! Entering the living/kitchen/dining area was terrific because it’s such a small footprint of the house. They created so much space in that area around the dining table with all their memorabilia pictures little bits and pieces and I thought it was terrific. The home has been re-imagined and oozes with the personality and style of the homeowner – the design, layout and functionality of this home was a real surprise. It has great functionality for a small home but even better – big personality and that came from the homeowner.”
Judge Amanda Bone described the collage as “very cleverly thought out in terms of the layout”. “The home that won is all about what can be achieved with clever design in such a small space,” she said. “Definitely a unique home and a well-deserved winner.”
Judge Suzie Mc Adam noted that selecting a winner from this year’s entries was extremely hard. “The standard has been exceptional,” she said. “There are some homes that have taken my breath away – they’ve created an incredible ambiance – perfect use of colour, incredible renovations – there are quite a few I’d like the keys to! I love that Jen’s home was packed full of personality – these functional areas and yet we saw colour. She even had a disco bathroom which I thought was so much fun. This home represents everything this competition is about, it’s the right end to the story.”