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I rescued a lovely old house and turned it into a haven

June and Joe Staunton breathed new life into a run-down farmhouse, to turn it back into a traditional Irish home

Originally built as the herd manager’s residence on the land farmed by June Staunton’s parents, Foxhollow in Co. Meath had eventually come down far enough in the world to be used for storing hay. But June Staunton saw the wonderful potential of the house, and undaunted by a limited budget, set about finding a way to make the small farmhouse a warm and welcoming contemporary home. ‘I wanted to make a really homely, comfortable house for all seasons, where it is always cosy and inviting no matter what the weather outside,’ says June. ‘I envisaged it as a truly traditional Irish farmhouse with a big welcoming kitchen where everyone could congregate.’

The long, low stone dairy to one side of the house was built of the same local stone as the farmhouse and was large and roomy, so June decide to make it into the kitchen, with a utility and bathroom tucked in at the end. ‘The wonderful thing about the dairy is the light,’ says June. The long sides face east and west, so the sun pours in all day long.

‘In the old-fashioned farm kitchen, there were usually separate rooms off it for storage and various tasks, a pantry or scullery, so that the kitchen area was more for living and eating, and that is what I wanted to recreate,’ says June. ‘Having a separate pantry and utility cuts down on clutter and means you can close the door on the washing up!’ The kitchen is also part dining and part living too, June wanted to make the whole room comfortable for sitting and chatting after meals. She has used the long kitchen windowsill for a comfortable window seat, and one side of the dining table is a banquette, an idea common in Austrian homes, which June spotted while holidaying there. From the kitchen table is a view of June’s pretty, picturesque kitchen garden with the raised vegetable and herb beds that supply the farmhouse.

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I’m hoping that as you read this the sun is shining and you’re sitting out in the garden and getting truly into the summer spirit. But knowing how fickle our weather can be, you may be sat on the sofa watching the rain on the window pane. I hope it’s the former not the latter! Anyway, we’re looking on the bright side in this issue and have packed it with lots of feel-good summer ideas for you and your home. On page 44 we take a look at the latest barbecues and outdoor pizza ovens to make your summer get-togethers go with a swing. While on page 100 we’ve put together some zingy recipes that make the most of summer’s refreshing citrus flavours (the citrus-marinated lamb steaks are ideal for popping on your barbie!). The seaside is a big trend on the high street this summer, so on page 20 we explain how to give your décor a classic nautical feel, and on page 54 we’ve pulled together a whole host of affordable finishing touches to give your bathroom a relaxing coastal look. We’ve even got a gorgeous sparkling fish cushion project on page 64 to complete the watery theme! If you love being in the garden at this time of year, turn to page 114 to discover this year’s hero plant, the Cosmos, it’s so easy to grow and provides oodles of flowers to cut for the house. Finally, you must try making our gorgeous garden veg-inspired table decorations on page 60, they’ll make the ideal finishing touch to your summer garden parties.