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14th May 2015

GALLERY: Is This the Nicest Home in Ireland?

The dwelling has been named "Home of the Year".

An eco-friendly, split-level house in Castletownbere, West Cork has won RTÉ One’s Home of the Year.

Over the past seven weeks, TV viewers were welcomed across the threshold of 21 houses as expert judges Declan O’Donnell, Hugh Wallace and Helen James debated the merits of flatpack furniture, baths in bedrooms and pink sitting rooms. Seven homes were short-listed for the based finale, which aired this evening.

Of the winning house, award-winning architect Declan said: ‘This house really stayed with me. You don’t often see something so beautiful which is so functional. This home is kind to the environment and sacrifices nothing in achieving that. It’s a beacon for clever and creative design.’ Interior designer Hugh said: ‘It’s a tour de force. A faultless home – wonderful and worthy.’ ‘It’s an incredible piece of art. And there’s something so peaceful about it,’ said textiles and home-wares designer, Helen.

The interior of the house is warm and cosy, surrounded by incredible views of the mountains and sea of West Cork via large picture windows. A library with a secret door particularly delighted the judges.

Owned by retired couple Ita Molloy and Andrew Harvey, the home was designed and built by Ita’s architect son Donn Ponnighaus. Ita said: ‘There are a lot of special things when you walk around the house that make you smile. But I think saving energy has been one of the main issues for us and for my son. When you put the effort in over several years, working really hard to get it right, it’s just amazing to get the validation that we did today and to be crowned Home of the Year.’ Andrew said: ‘We’re really pleased that we can share it and that people can see that it’s possible to have a beautiful house that is ecologically friendly also.’

See a selection of images from the stunning home in the gallery above.