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Steal Her Space: Tara Sweeney’s nautical New York home

Evoke.ie logo Evoke.ie 12/06/2021 Rebecca Dore
a bedroom with a bed in a room © Provided by Evoke.ie

For Tara Sweeney, Connemara will always be home but we think you would feel like you were vacaying 365 days a year in her New York house.

Born in New York, Tara was raised in the beautiful village of Ballyconneely in Galway but she always knew she would end up stateside again one day. She worked as a pre-school teacher in Ireland before a summer trip to NYC saw her move over permanently. Her husband Conor, a Monaghan man, has been based in New York since he was 18.

The couple initially lived just 15 minutes outside the city when they first got married but they always knew that moving to the suburbs would be on the horizon. They live with their three children, Luke, Sean and Cate, in the town of Pearl River and while they’re thousands of miles away from Irish shores there is a great community there.

‘It’s honestly like a mini Ireland up here,’ Tara jokes. ‘I think it’s Pearl River or back home to Ireland for many couples in NY who are expanding their families and want that little bit more space.’

a group of people sitting posing for the camera: Tara Sweeney with her husband Conor and their children. Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Tara Sweeney with her husband Conor and their children. Pic: Supplied

The couple bought their house in 2017 and had contemplated knocking the existing house but decided to renovate instead and have been working on it little by little since.

‘We would literally get the blue painters tape out in the evenings and layout stuff on the floor when we would get ideas. We were very lucky with Conor being in the construction industry. The majority of the work was completed by him,’ Tara reveals.

One of the most striking features of the house is the shiplap walls which have been painted white and are complemented with nautical-influenced decor.

The main focus on the home renovation was to create a kid-friendly home with a nice open layout and as many of the rooms have vaulted ceilings the result is a bright, breezy and altogether beachy home.

a living room filled with furniture and a fire place: Tara Sweeney’s home has a distinct nautical vibe. Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Tara Sweeney’s home has a distinct nautical vibe. Pic: Supplied

Now a full-time mum, Tara’s obsession with interiors started a number of years ago after a particular interiors show, Fixer Upper, aired on television. She enjoys flipping the occasional home with her husband and would love to do more of it when all the kids are in school.

‘I wanted to create a home that had a natural outdoor feel to it,’ Tara says speaking about the aesthetic of their home. ‘Lots of stone inside and different wood tones, my walls are all pretty much white in any of the common areas I love using cushions and throws to add some colour and give a coastal feel.’

Woven pieces abound throughout the house, as she explains: ‘I’m always drawn to any pieces made from rattan bamboo cane, pair them up with some nice greenery and that’s totally my style.’

Beachy blues can be spotted everywhere too which cements the serene and almost sleepy DNA.

text, calendar: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied

The biggest investment so far been the extension in the kitchen.

‘Originally it was very closed off and small in size but we gutted it to make our ground floor totally open and put in a huge island. My brother Kieran’s company specializes in millwork here in New York so we were very lucky he was able to make us the kitchen of our dreams.’

The exposed brick walls coupled with the wooden exposed beams, cabinetry and island creates a relaxed rustic feel while the bamboo pendant lights from IKEA that hang above the island bring a touch of boho flair.

a kitchen with a table in a room: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied a room filled with furniture and vase on a table: Misterhult pendant light, €60. Pic: IKEA © Provided by Evoke.ie Misterhult pendant light, €60. Pic: IKEA

As for the best investment to date it has been the handsome herringbone wood tiles. Initially, the couple used them in the main bedroom and bathroom and they were so happy with them that they now feature throughout the entire ground floor.

‘It is really low maintenance and it looks the same way as the day we put it in. I love hardwood floors but it drives me crazy how they can swell and shrink with the climate change.’

You will also see many joyful splashes of yellow too in this family home, stripes are very popular too.

‘Every time I go to the shops I feel like I come home with a new cushion,’ the homeowner admits. ‘Stripes are my absolute favourite!’

a living room filled with furniture and a window: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied

The main bedroom is another space that perfectly encapsulates the relaxed nature of this beautiful home.

The room has quite a sunny disposition thanks to the styling and the vaulted ceilings make it feel so spacious while the wood makes it feel cosy still.

There is a recessed wall that houses a particularly ship-shape nook where an electric fireplace installed, so it is no doubt a toasty spot all-year-round.

a bedroom with a bed in a room: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied a pot with food in it: Sinnerlig bamboo lamp, €50. Pic: IKEA © Provided by Evoke.ie Sinnerlig bamboo lamp, €50. Pic: IKEA

The bathroom is a breath-taker though where Tara has created quite the little sanctuary. The room is encased in exposed brick walls and a curved bathtub rests in front of a large window that takes in the views of the surrounding woods.

We wonder what would be more beautiful, sinking into the suds looking at fiery-coloured leaves in autumn or the bare snow capped trees in winter?

a chair sitting in front of a window: Tara Sweeney’s bathroom is so dreamy. Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Tara Sweeney’s bathroom is so dreamy. Pic: Supplied

In the main bathroom, things take a turn for the monochromatic.

Just like in the kitchen the white cabinetry is punctuated with sharp black handles. Cleverly, mirrors are draped from wall lights with rope handles.

diagram: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied

The main bathroom also boasts a very elegant walk-shower.

The homes’ signature shade is carried through here as sunny yellow towels hang from his-and-her towel hooks.

a room with a wooden floor: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied

The proud mum-of-three admits that she has had a lot of fun decorating her kids’ rooms and she has created themes for each which are packed with colour and fun in their own unique ways.

Their oldest son Luke, 7, is the golfer of the family who dreams of growing up to be a PGA pro just like his idol Rory McIlroy.

a man riding a skateboard up the side of a road: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied

His bedroom has a Masters theme running through it makes perfect sense that green paint was the colour of choice in there.

‘He would golf all day every day if he had the chance,’ the proud mum enthuses. ‘When we get back home he is never off the Connemara golf club.’

a bedroom with a bed and desk in a room: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied

The sweetest spot in the space is in the corner of the room which houses a very significant part of Luke’s golfing uniform.

Luke’s many golf caps hang from a shelf which is made by one of his golf clubs.

a green painted room with a sink and a mirror: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied

When it comes to shopping for furnishings Tara is a fan of international brands like H&M Home, TK Maxx (TJ Maxx for Tara) and IKEA. On the homefront though she shops in Target, Pottery Barn and Serena & Lily which while very overpriced is absolutely beautiful she contends.

The kids’ corridor has been given a playful injection thanks to the graphic print wallpaper by Serena & Lily.

a close up of a door: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied

There are undoubted Bob the Builder vibes coming from four-year-old Sean’s room who already takes after his dad as he has a real passion for construction.

‘He has pretty much lived in a construction site since day one and he absolutely loves it, he is never seen without his tools. Sometimes you can catch him damaging finished work with his toy tools!’

Sean’s room is painted in a bold shade of yellow which is complemented with very on-trend check print bed linen and a matching Roman shade.

a bedroom with a large window: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied

Cate, the little lady of the family, who is one, has a rainbow-hued room that is saturated in vibrant shades of pink, green, turquoise, orange and yellow.

‘Our rainbow baby has a rainbow room of course! It’s so fun and bright and just brings happy vibes just like the happiness she has brought into my life.’

‘I love this room because I don’t think it’s your typical nursery feel and any little girl would love it no matter what age.’

a bedroom with a bed in a room: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied

For Tara, the dream would be to one day move home and build a house near her parents.

‘It’s the most beautiful place in the world. The house would have to be all huge windows to take it all in for sure! Please God one day.’

a man standing on a rock: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied

You can see more of Tara Sweeney’s bright and beautiful home in the gallery below of pop over to her Instagram for even more interior inspiration @_mckenna_home.

If you would like to feature your home on our Steal Her Space series, please email info@evoke.ie.

a living room: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied a bedroom with a bed and a chair in a room: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied a bedroom with a bed in a room: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied a dining room table: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied a wooden table: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied a living room: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied a living room filled with furniture and a fireplace: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied a bedroom with a large window: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied a bedroom with a bed and desk in a room: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied a blue sign in front of a door: Tara Sweeney’s front door. Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Tara Sweeney’s front door. Pic: Supplied a kitchen with wooden cabinets and a fireplace: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied a room with a fireplace and a large window: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied a close up of a small room: Pic: Supplied © Provided by Evoke.ie Pic: Supplied
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