Load mobile navigation

Couple build dream bungalow at foot of Croagh Patrick with just their savings: 'It took sacrifices'

Erica and Liam Scahill embarked on a challenging three-and-a-half year journey to build the home of their dreams in the Mayo mountainside, but it was all worth it in the end

The Scahill family now live in their dream home
The Scahill family now live in their dream home

After finding and falling in love with land surrounding Croagh Patrick in Mayo, Erica Scahill, the owner of children’s luxury brand Just a Little Girl, and her husband Liam, who specialises in construction, set about building a home for themselves and their four children –Adam, 19; Amelia, four; Anelise, two; and five-month-old Adeline.

This journey would see them embark on the most challenging three years of their life, which ultimately paid off as they got the house of their dreams. Here, Erica tells us all about the process.

“Our home, Aderlia House, is located in the very popular Westport," Erica says.

Read more: Five clever interiors ideas to create the perfect play space for your children

“It is a 3,500 square foot bungalow consisting of six foot sliding sash windows throughout, four bedrooms, four bathrooms, an open-plan kitchen, living and dining room, a utility room, a TV room, an office, a playroom and two walk-in wardrobes,” Erica says.

She describes the home as a classic contemporary family home with bright interiors. “There are nods to times gone by as we both love vintage pieces and upcycling. After selling our first home, we purchased this site, after falling in love with the land and the incredible view of Croagh Patrick.

"Liam specialises in all aspects of construction and groundwork, so when he started the very large dig-out of the site, he worked meticulously to salvage all the rock native to the land which we have since used for our stone walls throughout our property.”

The family started the build in September 2018 and moved in by June 2022. “The build had so many ups and downs and took almost three times the duration we had anticipated. We began it as a family of three and moved in as a family of five, to say it was a challenging time is an understatement.”

Erica and Liam initially applied for a mortgage in 2018 after selling their first home. “After months of complications we decided to proceed with the build with our savings alone,” she admits.

“We finally drew down a mortgage three years later in March 2022, only three months before moving in. It was the hardest three years of our lives with lots of sacrifices. But we are reaping the rewards now with a very small mortgage and a beautiful home.”

Liam committed to doing as many jobs as possible himself to keep costs down. “This meant him spending every evening after work at the house until past midnight for the final six months before moving in,” Erica adds.

The most important lesson they learned was to shop around but keep it as local as possible.

“We used only local trades and businesses for the build. This stood to us with less waiting time, good communication, and better value in the long run. If there is a specific product you love, don’t be afraid to ask locally if they can source it for you.”

The couple incorporated a courtyard centre to the back of the house, along with a picture window internally at the heart of the home. “These two features create so much natural light,” Erica continues. “The picture window gives a view of the courtyard, but also a view of the playroom right from the kitchen island.”

More On