At Home With Meabh @cooneynest
This week I'm at home with Méabh, the very creative lady behind the beautiful instagram account @cooneynest where she shares images of her lovely home in rural Southern Ireland. Read on to learn more about Meabh, her home, lifestyle, and top tips for home styling.
Tell us about you
My name is Méabh and I live in south rural Ireland, with my husband and five kids and our dog Rolo. We live in a quiet community and are very involved in local activities especially in our local sports club. I am a teacher and my husband works in construction. Our home is a short drive to several beaches and we make plenty of use of this amenity for walks etc.
Tell us about your home
We built our home 24 years ago on John’s family land. Originally it was a modest three-bedroom dormer style home but 7 years later we added an extension which brought it to a six-bedroom house. We have an open plan living/ dining/ kitchen and a separate sitting room. We also have three bathrooms and a utility room.
How would you best describe your home?
I am a bit whimsical in my decorating style. I like a soft palette of pastels and florals. I also love vintage, antique and secondhand pieces and as I really enjoy upcycling this has also heavily influenced my décor. I suppose it’s a mix of farmhouse/cottage and vintage with a lot of cosy in between! I hope it is the type of home where people feel they can drop in and relax in.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
I love the open plan kitchen/dining/ living space, in particular the dining room which has several windows and gets great sunlight as well as giving a nice view of the garden. The living room centres around the stove and is a great gathering spot for everyone. Having this open plan area allows the entire family plenty of space to do homework, watch TV, entertain friends, cook etc while also being together. It is definitely the hub of the home and is an invaluable space for larger family occasions and gatherings. I am also lucky enough to have a little craft room under the eaves. Formally a small bedroom, I claimed it during lockdown as my crafting space and it is the perfect place to create in.
How does your home reflect any interests and passions you have?
I adore flowers which is reflected in a lot of my decor, either in patterns or floral arrangements dotted around the house. I also enjoy art and crafts and many of my pieces are on display too, from watercolours to sketches, clay pieces and embroidery. Upcycling as I mentioned is a hobby of mine and many of the pieces of furniture in our home have been reimagined with some paint and creativity. We are also a very sporty family so our home has to accommodate lots of sports paraphernalia and sports gear, storage is therefore a priority. I have begun to get more interested in the garden in recent years also and this is probably reflected in the patio mural where I have tried to marry together two of my favourite things, art and flowers to create an outside room with a difference.
What are your favourite items in the home?
A lot of my favourite pieces are simple, sentimental ones, pieces of art, homemade and upcycled items etc. One of my favourite features is “The Branch” which has been on the wall in the living room since 2019. Originally it was a foraged piece dragged home for a Christmas display but it charmed everyone and it has stayed in place and receives many glow ups during the year according to the season. On a personal note another favourite piece is a tree I painted on the utility room wall to mark the children’s heights over the years. In 2021 I began a wall mural on my patio, creating a Parisien style street scene including a florist and café! It may sound mad but it is one of my favourite places to while away an hour on a fine day. I also love my antique craft desk a rescued piece.
When you moved into your house was it the finished article or was it a project?
It was by no means finished when we moved in. We had a very modest budget and had to be extremely thrifty and sensible about what we needed as opposed to what we wanted. However, we made it a home using a little creativity. Almost quarter of a century later I feel I now have a better sense of what I like and of my own personal style and am less inclined to go along with trends. I like to think of our home as an ongoing project, there are always improvements to be made. And dreams to be fulfilled.
What renovation and decorating have you done?
I do most of my own painting and wallpapering and love a good upcycle. I have revamped several pieces of furniture and prefer to reimagine something that still performs a function rather than dispose of it. I like to try to be as sustainable in my home as possible. I also love to take inspiration from items I spot online and try to create a similar look on a budget or by using something from around the house. One of my sons has an interest in woodwork and is a great with making some of my ideas happen. Together we have turned our hands to a few panelling projects. I have recently renovated a bathroom and dining room and was lucky to be able to call on my very talented brother for the more complex woodwork side of things, while completing the decorating side myself.
Have you had any DIY or styling disasters?
Recently while renovating our bathroom, I had thought the job was complete until a faulty tap caused a leak which made a bit of a mess. Thankfully it didn’t cause too much damage. Other than that I’ve spilt many a tin of paint but luckily I take most of these things in my stride.
What is your top home styling tip?
Cosy layers! Cushions, throws etc all lend a lovely vibe to an area and I also use layering by adding items at various height levels to draw the eye, book stacks, vases of various heights etc. For me, there must also, always be flowers. And I like to create little vignettes in the home, a cup and saucer on a table by a cosy seat, an open book on a table all creating little moments in time, almost like stumbling into a scene in a play! I also love the idea of “Shopping your home”. When I want to change up a space a little, I decide on a colour scheme or theme and simply wander around gathering pieces which fit my idea. In this way glow ups can happen without spending a penny or leaving the house.
Is there anything in your home that you couldn’t live without?
Flowers, they just lift the mood and add colour, pattern and scent. Cushions and throws for cosiness and comfort. Baskets for storage, to hide all those bits that get left lying around in a busy home. Oh and the kettle! This is very much a home for visitors and the kettle definitely works a long daily shift.
And on a boring note the utility room, the busiest spot in the house.
They say that every home tells visitors a story about who lives there. What do you think your home says about you?
I hope it says “Come in. Sit down. Relax. The kettle’s on.” And I’m pretty sure it says “a family lives here” – and more accurately, a family who participate in many sporting activities. You are likely to be greeted by a pair of mucky football boots at the front door and will often have to navigate your way through several footballs, hurls and helmets as you enter or leave. I also hope (and know) our home says “We are normal. We’re not perfect. This house may be tidy or not- have a cuppa anyway!”
The Home Edit
Lived-in or showhome?
Most definitely lived in!!!
If you could only paint your walls one colour which one would it be?
What is your pet hate when it comes to your own or other’s homes?
In my own home, the amount of shoes left lying around drives me a bit mad! I seem to be constantly falling over runners and shoes and collecting them and tidying them away!
Favourite front door colour?
Anything pastel, my own is soft blue, but I love sage green too.
Carpet or floorboards
Can I say floorboards with rugs and get the best of both worlds?
Kitchen table dining or formal dining room?
We do a bit of both in our house. Our kitchen island is a busy spot for chats, food prep and copious cups of tea but when the whole family is around it’s lovely to have the option of the dining room also. I especially love the special occasions like Christmas and family gatherings when the dining room gets great use and I can play around with a nice tablescape.
High gloss or rustic?
Oh it’s most definitely rustic for me.
Wallpaper or brick walls?
I love wallpaper- I think it is a wonderfully simple and affordable way to add character and interest or a splash of colour to a space.
If you enjoyed being at home with Meabh, you might like to take a look inside other popular home styling accounts on instagram and find out more about the people behind them. You can see more of these "at home with" articles here
You can catch up with Meabh's instagram account here. It's well worth a look!