Interior designer Tanya Lee Conroy’s Galway home is breathtaking, creative and utterly unique. Influenced by the West of Ireland’s rustic sheds and stone walls, this house oozes character and eclectic style while also being a comfortable home to Tanya, husband Noel and their two daughters Florence and Henri. Tanya runs the successful interior Instagram page @florenceandhenri, inspired by her children, while also working in commercial interiors, and on occasion home interiors.
Tell us the concept behind your beautiful, unique home?
Our house is built on my dad’s homestead where I grew up so there is an enormous sense of belonging for me. We wanted to create a house that had a modern take on a West of Ireland shed that you would see dotted around the rugged landscape of the west, with their rusted roofs and dry stone walls. So our house is a modernist take on that really.
Were you long planning, drawing, and designing before you began building, and did these plans change much once on site?
We spent five years designing and planning the house before we broke ground. The plans didn’t change at all once we started, and I think this was probably because we had such a lengthy process to get to the build stage that we had it well planned and knew exactly what we wanted.
Did you hire architects, project managers, interior designers?
We had amazing architects, Taylor McCarney Architects in Mayo. Both my husband and myself project managed the build and I was the Interior Designer!
Would you recommend being your own project manager on a build?
Absolutely not, both myself and my husband have experience in the industry. My husband is a commercial developer, my dad was a builder, we both basically grew up on building sites so it was a natural move for us, but you would want to know what you are doing. It is so important when building to ask the help of experts - they are experts for a reason. It was a lovely experience for us, but it was also extremely time consuming.
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Did you have a budget and did you stick to it?
We did have a budget and we did stick to it, but as the design and planning stage was quite lengthy this budget changed according to our needs during this time.
What is your favourite space in the house?
I love the open plan area, it has amazing views on three sides and all of the different landscapes. The light is pure magic, especially in the evening.
How important is natural light to you?
Light is so important to me. You can feel that oppression when you don’t have daylight in a house. We noticed a huge mood shift in ourselves when we moved into this house as it is full of natural light. You can see the weather coming towards you. Equally, doing a sun study is important, so you know where the sun will hit your windows and at what time of the day. Basically, this house doesn’t have any direct sunlight coming into it. Direct sunlight would make the house like a furnace because of all the windows. We get the light, but not the direct heat, so while daylight is important you don’t want to get loads of solar gain. This is why architects are so important.
Looking back, is there anything you would do differently?
Not really, we didn’t rush the design and I think this shows, we created a home that will grow with us, that has timeless pieces and in my opinion won’t date.
Is there any feature or funky design element you are particularly proud of?
We have a board marked concrete wall in our entrance hall and it’s over six metres high. The wall was poured before any of the rest of the house was built, and it was created by my dad. It is such a sculptural piece in itself and even more special that my dad created it. It acts like the spine of the house, much like my dad is to our family really.
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How would you describe your interior style?
My style is eclectic, sustainable, vintage furniture, quality craftsmanship, simple clean lines, with a love of Irish art and beloved family treasures.
Is your home complete or will you always be adding to it?
I love to collect art and furniture, so there will always be a wall or a corner for new art or a perfect piece of furniture.
Where do you shop for all your home bits?
- The Gaiety in Westport, @gaietyantiques
- The Townhouse Westport, @townhouse_westport
- Outset Gallery Galway, @outset_design_galway
- Molly’s Vintage Vibes, @mollys_vintagevibes.shop
- The Vintage Hub, @the_vintage_hub
- Nordic Elements Studio Dublin, @nordicelementsstudio
- Foxford Woollen Mills @foxfordhome
Follow Tayna for more interior inspiration @florenceandhenri