Stand at Caroline Hassett’s front door and you’ll see three key things: ahead is the cottage her mother grew up in, to your right is the much-loved stand of trees her granduncle planted decades ago – and at your fingertips is a porch built from stone reclaimed from a barn her father once built with his own hands.
Such a large space yearns for colour and Caroline’s stunning solid ash kitchen in bold blue was made by Richard Burke Design (Richardburkedesign.ie) in Nenagh. “We couldn’t recommend him highly enough: He was a pleasure to work with and an absolute perfectionist.” The worktops are quartz by Silestone (Silestone.com)
Caroline sourced the barstools from Flanagans Furniture (Flanagans.ie) in Donegal. Look to Neptune (Neptune.com) for units in a similar style. “I spend the majority of my day in the kitchen. I love the space we have, and the views are incredible,” she says
A picture window gives Caroline views across the hills
Family ties brought Caroline and husband Brian back to this beautiful part of Tipperary to build and raise their young family. Now, with Charlie, Esmeé and Milo on board, they have created a stunning home among her beloved trees.
“My mother Mary was born and reared in the cottage on our site. My granduncle Jack lived there until about 10 years ago and as a child I loved visiting because he kept a big bag of sweets on the old dresser. I used to play in the trees and imagine I’d move back here, so my kids would get to do the same,” Caroline reminisces.
At the other end of the kitchen is the light-filled dining area, which leads into a sitting room. The table is from Harvey Norman and the chairs and bench were bought locally from Ger Gavin Interiors (Gergavin.com) in Nenagh. All of the light fittings in the kitchen were bought on Amazon (Amazon.co.uk). Industry and Co (industryandco.com) offer similar styles. The ash and rattan Sadie chair is a recent acquisition from Meadows & Byrne. “They always have beautiful pieces which are that little bit different and excellent quality,” Caroline enthuses
In one of life’s twists of fate, Brian is woven into the history of the place too. “He used to spend his summer holidays with his cousins who live down the road, and they’d visit Jack.”
Clever design and material usage ensures that the couple’s new-build home looks like it’s always been here. They sourced reclaimed tiles for the roof, put a lime render on exterior walls and used a local architect who understood the Tipperary planning process. The couple elected to manage the project themselves, a mammoth task.
Caroline sits in the living area off the kitchen/diner. The calm hues used here are a tonal backdrop to that stunning view. The couch is from Harvey Norman (Harveynorman.ie) and Caroline sourced the coffee and side table, globe table lamp and tasselled cushions from Meadows & Byrne (Meadowsandbyrne.com). “We bought the alpaca throw at a flea market on our honeymoon in Peru, the large knitted cushions and brass lamp are from TK Maxx. For accessories you can’t beat TK Maxx or Homesense, they’re my go-to places,” she says
Photographs abound throughout the house - many of them personal shots and mementos of people and times past
“Direct labour definitely has its challenges,” Caroline says (read more on the story of their build here). “There’s a lot of decision making, planning and organising and, due to work commitments, Brian was only able to be on site in the evenings and weekends. I was responsible for ordering the majority of building materials, from roof slates and insulation down to nails, and meeting tradesmen. I was pregnant with Esmée, Charlie was only little – he was practically reared in our local hardware store!”
A room everyone would love, the boot room is a place to hide away mucky wellies and sodden coats. For a similar paint shade, try Dulux’s Almost Pistachio. For a similar pendant, try Brightlight.ie’s Plate Clear Glass Single Hanging Pendant
The units in the laundry room are Boden from Ikea, the light is from Ebay (Ebay.ie) and Caroline made the curtain from a piece of French ticking fabric. Murphy Sheehy (Murphysheehy.com) has an excellent range of materials
Brian put in the hard graft in his off-time. “He spent almost every evening and weekend working here for the duration of the build. He spent days punching holes into each individual roof slate. He also insulated all our vaulted ceilings, did a lot of our painting, laid some of the flooring and completed our entire boot room by himself. It’s amazing what you can achieve once you try,” she says.
In the downstairs cloakroom, the panelling is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Downpipe and the floor is natural stone hand painted tiles from BTW (Btw.ie)
Her husband may have done the heavy lifting, but décor was very much Caroline’s remit. She now documents her interiors journey on @ahousebythetrees, a very definite nod to the enduring stand of evergreens she loves so much.
“I love the warmth that natural materials add, and a neutral colour palette allows for different colours, patterns and textures throughout the year,” she says.
Caroline’s upstairs landing is a masterclass in patience. “I had been after Mid-Century console for ages and I put my mother, the queen of vintage furniture finds, on the case. She rang me one day from our local SVP charity shop to tell me she had spotted one. I packed all three kids into the car and rushed in to see it. I couldn’t believe my luck, it was only €50 and in perfect condition, bar one or two small cup marks.” The wall baskets were a souvenir from Nigeria. The macramé wall hanging came from Etsy (Etsy.com)
“I use plants throughout the house, I love the feeling they bring to a space. The trees beside our house mean so much to me. Jack planted them with his father when he was a young boy. They’ve been on our site for 80 or 90 years.”
“I absolutely love our bedroom. There is nothing like going to bed at night looking the silhouettes of the trees outside through the large arched window and waking up to them in the morning. There is always something new to see, hares, a fox and just last week we watched a pine martin sneak up through the trees. I will never tire of it,” Caroline says. The bed and bedlinen are from Made.com, the brass bedside lamp is from Brightlights.ie, try Littlewoods Ireland (Littlewoodsireland.ie) for similar
“The en suite sink was bought in The Elms in Punchestown (Theelms.ie) when we were just starting the block work on our house. It was too much of a bargain to leave behind so we knew we had to make it work,” Caroline says. See Minnie Peters (Minniepeters.com) for this style. The encaustic tiles are from Best Tile (Besttile.ie) in Waterford and the mirrors were bought online from William Wood Mirrors (Williamwoodmirrors.co.uk)
Many of Caroline’s pieces are finds from her travels – “I picked up cushion covers in Egypt years ago. I didn’t even have a sofa, but I couldn’t leave them behind!” – but one is particularly special.
“We bought old Ikea bed frames on Done Deal (Donedeal.ie), a bargain at €80 for two. I sent my husband off to have them powder coated with my Farrow & Ball colour chart, looking for Babouche or India Yellow. The company usually just paints machinery, I think the guy thought I was mad, he told me he had DHL Van yellow!” Bed linen is from La Redoute (Laredoute.com). Prints are an alternative to wallpaper that can quickly date while Caroline shrewdly framed pages from a book, Animals by Ingela Arrhenius, and used practical laminate from B&Q (Diy.com) on the floor
“When we moved in, our neighbour gave us an old number plate from the horse and trap that belonged to my great-great-grandad, over 125 years ago. It’s great to have such a piece of history in the house.”
The washstand in the family bathroom was custom-made by a local cabinetmaker. “We painted it in Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue and added the sink and tap ourselves,” she says
The bath, which came from Wilsons Yard (Wilsonsyard.com) in County Down was painted in the same shade. The wood-effect tiles are from Slattery’s Tiles and Bathrooms (Slatterytiles.ie) in Nenagh, and Tile Haven (Tilehaven.ie) have a good offering in a similar vein
DON'T MISS THE DETAILS:
Clockwise from top left:The porch features stone supports made from the remains of an old barn built by Caroline’s father; on the stairs is a gallery wall of treasured family photos, some taken by Caroline and Brian and some by Cathy Murphy Photography; A view across to the house from Caroline's beloved trees; In the utility room, she has added a number plate which once belonged to her great-great-grandfather
WORDS: Tara Corristine PHOTOGRAPHY: Philip Lauterbach STYLING: Alannah Monks