So where to start on an interior for a house in a country you've never lived in. On the side of a mountain overlooking Lough Swilly and out to Mallen Head the most northerly point in Ireland. Next stop the Atlantic, the Hebrides and yes Iceland.
The scorching sun of the Middle East and the relative warmth of the South of France did nothing to prepare me for designing warm interiors for Irish weather.
Don't get me wrong, Donegal on a hot summers day could beat the Riviera hands down but our experience was that the other 364 days weren't quite so amenable.
So you imagine that we would have " read the Room" understood the above and taken our locale into serious consideration at the outset.
But I decided right off the bat to be every architects nightmare and set out my stall for the layout of the house. Let me introduce you to Declan from AQB Architects in Strabane. A more laid back chap I've before never reduced to tears, but when I told him my house was to be as open plan as possible, his reaction to the lack of actual walls was bordering on disbelief. My plan to do everything possible to maintain actual warmth and give the illusion of warmth, without the actual ability to hold any warmth within a room began. Oh how we laughed. But we love a challenge.
The rationale around open plan was quite simply space and what we had been used to. Houses built in Dubai tend to encourage flow of air to keep them cool so in turn they are often quite spacious. In Interior terms also they obviously tend to be light and airy. My see through diaphanous sheer curtains weren't going to be much help in Ireland to keep out that north wind on a cold November night so as well as lack of walls we needed to consider cosy farmhouse as opposed to beachy vibe, despite how the deceptively sneaky sun looked on Lisfannon Beach through the window.