Wendy Boonstra arrived in Ireland in December 2002 to start work at Castle Leslie, one of the great estates of Ireland. Originally from Den Helder in North Holland, Wendy discovered her love of decorating and design when her mother opened a fabric shop in the town.
She quickly diversified into running food fairs and workshops, and just two years later, opened her first shop. However, it wasn’t long before she felt the time was right to start selling out of her own home. ‘I decided to move deeper into the countryside,’ says Wendy. ‘I really wanted a quiet place; an old house or cottage with a garden and a bit of land where I could keep a horse, but could still run open-house sales.’
A traditional late-18th-century Irish cottage, with small windows and thick stone walls, it was attached to a cow barn that had previously been converted into a bedroom and a tiny sleeping loft. The house was located right on the side of the road and came with a garden and orchard filled with damson and crab-apple trees.
A kitchen had been built on as an extension at some stage, but it contained only a Belfast sink. ‘As it had been empty for so long, it was cold, damp and unloved,’ says Wendy.
The house had been empty for some years and the kitchen was completely bare, so Wendy installed some basic cupboards and redecorated
Get the look
Capture Wendy’s warm and welcoming decorating style with these seasonal finds
- Stove: Belgravia 8kW, H70.5xW64xD39.5cm, from £1,770, Chesney’s
- Decoration: Decadent Decs giant bronze bauble, H49cm, £30, Talking Tables
- Throws: Patterned throw, W140xL300cm, £135, Do South
- Teddy: Jonathan bear, H43cm, £250, Steiff
- Sofa: Tosca sofa Smuggler model, H91xW132xD96cm, covered in a range of fabrics, shown in Cello Raspberry and DuBarry Twilight velvet, £2,482, John Sankey
- Wreath: Interwoven mistletoe and ivy design, Dia.40cm, £28.95, Rigby & Mac
- Table: Morris round dining table in Cuban, H76xDia.152cm, £10,946, Baker Furniture
Author & Photographer: Barbara Egan/Reportage