That really is what it looked like, the first time we saw it; an old farmhouse with what was once a country bar next door, and a long, roofless stone barn which wasn’t even just four the walls, more like three and a half!
I’m Michaela Tinniswood, and although I was born in Worcester in England, our family had always visited Ireland, especially Co. Monaghan, where my mother is from. We moved to Ireland when I was 13 years old, but I went back to England when I went to college in Newcastle on Tyne, which is where I met husband Richard. We settled in Nottingham, but I really missed my family, who all still lived in Ireland. We were visiting home for my sister’s birthday in 2003, when my Dad said he had found the perfect house for us.
It was an old farmhouse surrounded by rolling countryside, completely unmodernised, with no real plumbing or up-to-date wiring in place. It was a wreck. We were smitten. We went back to Nottingham and put our house on the market, it sold in a single day. We rented a house and moved over, lock, stock and barrel.
Luckily, my Dad is a builder and my brother Ashley is a building contractor and specialist stonemason, still, the build took all of 18 months. We moved in with bare walls and floors, and camped out with a mattress on the floor. Then we worked all hours to finish the project. Richard, who had worked in sales in the UK, taught himself DIY skills from books and You Tube tutorials. He did the tiling and laid all the wooden floors and fitted doors, architraves and skirting. He got really good at it, and now he can build anything. I love interior design (I have a Diploma in it) and really enjoyed the process of creating a comforting, welcoming country home. I hope you like it as much as we do!