When Bronagh Fleming and her husband Ivan Daly moved to Fox Hollow in Newmarket-On-Fergus, Co Clare, six years ago, they started with a “blank canvas”.
“It’s the 80s bungalow you see in every county in Ireland. It must have been the one plan that everybody had,” laughs Bronagh, an award-winning interiors blogger and content creator who has built a loyal following from her use of colour and creativity.
Bronagh originally studied at art college, which is where she met Ivan, a painter. Having invested all their savings in the house, they had to use all their talents – and acquire a few new skills – to put their own stamp on their “forever home”.
“The only thing we don’t do is the electrics and the plumbing,” she says.
Bronagh describes her style as “eclectic”, but more importantly, fun.
“I think people are becoming less and less afraid of using colour or being individual, which is fantastic,” she says. “If there is one thing you can take from being at home [during lockdown] it’s how do things work for me and how could they work better?
“It’s less about trends and more about what you like and what works for you.”
So, let’s take a look around…
This was a white PVC door, but I decided to prime it using Colourtrend Prime 2 Epoxy and paint it in “Bumblebee” by Fleetwood. It’s so sunshiny and such a happy colour. Once you prepare stuff, you can paint anything. It’s an easy and cheap fix. The tiles came from Best Tile in Waterford.
This Victorian pier cabinet was one of my antique finds. There’s an auction a few times a year in Sixmilebridge and the estimate was set at €100 and something. I said, ‘Look it will probably go for more, but I’ll set my own limit at €100,’ and I got it for €95!
On the inside was a brown corduroy, so I took that off and re-covered it using pink felt that I bought from Vibes and Scribes in Cork for about €20. I polished it with beeswax to give it a little bit of a lift and bought the tassel for the key in Harry Corry for €1 or €2. A lot of the pieces in the cabinet are from my mum and my granny.
My mother always had a plate wall in her old house, and a good few of the plates pictured here are from her. The rest of them are nearly all charity shop finds.
It is really effective in the kitchen. I like the flow of it more than anything. The light green colour on the wall is “Bone” by Farrow and Ball and the stripe is “Bonsai” by Tikkurila.
I hand dyed the pampas grass using Dylon hand dye that I bought from the chemist for €4 a sachet – you can find a step-by-step project guide on my blog.
We got this 1970s sideboard on a local “free to a good home” page on Facebook. We were driving a Golf at the time and we had to take the legs off to get it in – it actually looked like a coffin! It’s in the hallway and it makes the space, though in the middle of lockdown, I still haven’t cleaned it out! Some of the prints above it, like the “Tayto Sandwich Please”, are by Liam Madden, who was in college with us. The Pols Potten Oily Folds vase (right) was part of the prize that I won for Best Use of Instagram at the Amara Interior Awards.
We turned one of our bedrooms into my office. This was a collaboration with Carlow Paint Hub and I wanted it to feel cosy, so I painted it in “Garnet” by Tikkurila, while the green stripe is “Bonsai” by Tikkurila, which just broke it up and gives you a focus point for anything you put along there, like your notice board.
The desk was an old table we bought in IKEA, which I just primed and painted up.
This painting of a Celtic Tiger construction site is by Ivan. He did a series of places where construction just stopped one day. He sold everything else, but this one is not for sale. I think there was just something about it. He caught a particular time in history that hopefully won’t be repeated. The record player is from Aldi and the album is American Pie by Don Mclean; my parents gave me their vinyls. The wall is painted in “Stone Blue” by Farrow and Ball.
I wanted a pink couch, I got a pink couch. Once it was comfortable, that’s all that Ivan cared about! It’s the Zinc 4-seater from DFS.
This is the first room you see when you walk into the house, and I think it’s just a real welcoming room. It’s north-facing so it doesn’t get amazing light, but instead of trying to make it brighter, we’ve tried to embrace it.
The gallery wall changes all the time. We started off with about nine pieces and it keeps growing and growing!
When it comes to gallery walls, they say the key is to have the same kind of space between each piece, but just mix it up, have fun and whatever you love, just put it up there!
The fridge was one of the first “unconventional” things that I painted. Again, I used the Colourtrend Prime 2, followed by “Wild Raspberry” by Colourtrend, and stuck on magnet picture frames that I already had, which just have a little bit of wallpaper in each of them.
The washing machine is behind that fabric panel. It sits back a bit, so I put two little coat hooks in and just ran up a little fabric curtain that I made out of a tablecloth that I had from H&M.
This guest room was a real junk room until we put in a double bed that we bought in IKEA. The headboard was wooden, but I covered it with foam and fabric from The Fabric Outlet in Cork to soften it up.
The lower wall is painted in “Rustic” and the top is “Carnosa”, while the stripe is “Taika Gold”, all by Tikkurila from Carlow Paint Hub. I did the “moveable mural” last September using some tester paint pots and a canvas that was in Ivan’s studio. It’s hung on two bamboos, so you can easily take it down whenever you want; this project is also on my blog.
We did the decking during lockdown using our holiday money! McMahon Builders delivered everything on a Friday and by Saturday, we had it done. The yellow chairs are from Fervor and Hue in Cork, the table was re-painted and I made the pom poms on the parasol and the little bench as well.
It’s brilliant – we never really made use of the space before, but we’re there all the time now.
For further information and inspiration, visit www.foxhollowstyle.com or follow on Instagram @foxhollowstyle