The great house revival

The great house revival

Way back in November 2017 we got a call from Animo TV who were making a series for RTE about property restoration with architect Hugh Wallace as presenter. They were filming an episode about a woman who was bringing a near derelict property in Donegal back to life, but with a fairly sensible budget of about 100,000 euro.  The reason for us being included was for two reasons. Firstly because we did our cottage up on a tiny budget, and secondly because of our use of materials. 

A strawbale barn

A strawbale barn

One of the hardest things about producing your own food isn’t growing it, it is storing it afterwards. It really wants to break down as fast as possible, and all manner of creatures want to eat it first. Until now we’ve stored food all over the place – hanging up in the living room; in cupboards. In short, not ideal. Another issue that we had was that our 4000 litre rainwater tanks and pump were not terribly pretty and very exposed to cold temperatures. The pump especially has been badly damaged by freezing twice now. The problem, as they say in permaculture, is the solution, and in this case takes the form of a strawbale barn, which incorporates the water tanks as its back wall.

Barn building on a budget

Barn building on a budget

One of the last existing buildings that we took down here was the old wooden garage outside the cottage, and the time has come to replace it with another useful structure that will be used to store garden produce and tools. We want to build it on a tiny budget using reclaimed or local materials to create a natural looking structure that has minimal visual impact.

Painting with clay

Painting with clay

  As you can see, the new room is coming on now, and we are on the final layers of clay paint, having gone through progressively finer mixes until we are now using just clay, fine sand, wheat paste, and occasionally some colouring – in this case tumeric. The...