Case Study: House on the Hill Project

Case Study: House on the Hill Project

Welcome to our second case study on Eilish's Edit.

In this series, we explore some beautiful homes designed by Eilish Rickard Interiors and give you some tips on how to reimagine and elevate your space.

Introducing House on the Hill, a new build that Eilish was involved in from the very inception of the project.

A sweeping entrance greets you at the ground level, immediately connecting to the family spaces upstairs. 
Flooring & custom stair treads: Matt Britton. Handrail: Southwest Staircase. Metal spindles: Metweld. Joinery: Newcastle Design. Paint: Strong White, Farrow & Ball.

House on the Hill started out as a site on a hill. 

Our clients purchased the site set in the picturesque green backdrop of Newcastle, Wicklow with an aim to build their dream home for their family of four children and a dog.

They were drawn to the site because of the stunning views the hilltop offered them and they worked with an architect to develop a house that took advantage of the views with the daily living spaces upstairs.

View from the formal living room to the sea.
Sofas: Neptune. Curtains, lighting & coffee table: Eilish Rickard Interiors. Accessories: Dwell by Eilish Rickard and others. Paint: Shaded White, Farrow & Ball. Windows: Vindrvs.

Eilish joined the project in late 2018 after initial plans had already been drawn up, but before works had begun.

She worked closely with the clients and the whole family, learning about how they lived and wanted the house to function.

In this process, Eilish had the time to reconfigure where the kitchen and family room would go, flipping it so they faced the beautiful coastal scenery rather than being in the back of the house, where she opted to put a cosy cinema room and a bar instead.


The bright open plan kitchen area spans the width of the house, with the cinema in the rear return instead.
Joinery: Newcastle Design. Stone: Miller Brothers. Bar stools: Diamond Furniture. Lighting & accessories: Eilish Rickard Interiors.

The bar beyond the cinema room in the return is intimate and moody, facing inwards towards the back of the house, nestled in the hill.
Joinery: Newcastle Design. Stone: Miller Brothers. Paint: Downpipe, Farrow & Ball.

This stage was essential - getting to know the clients and how they really lived - and we would strongly urge anyone facing a new build or large-scale project to bring their interior designer/architect in as early as possible with the architecture team to develop the scheme concurrently.

In our House on the Hill project, everything from finalising the right layout to selecting the windows and designing custom stairs was part of the scope. 

Since it was a new build, we had the opportunity to customise every inch of the house to suit our clients’ needs, which is a designer’s dream.

The project broke ground in the summer of 2019 and then came to various halts throughout the pandemic, finally concluding in 2020.

From the beginning, the brief was very clear - a contemporary home connected to its surroundings with classic, timeless, comfortable interiors that were hard-wearing and suitable for a busy family home. 

With this in mind, we started with the crisp, bright kitchen, dining and family room as the heart of the home, on the first floor with expansive views to the front as well as the back terrace.

On one side of the kitchen we have the functional rooms, hidden from view with an extra WC, boot room and utility room with doors to the side and back garden for the kids and dog to come in and out of.

On the other side, a hallway that looks over the impressive double height entrance space transitions you to the earth-toned formal living room and moody midnight blue back cinema room, bar and another WC.

The elegant and cheerful utility room tucked behind one of the glazed doors off the kitchen.
Joinery: Newcastle Design. Tile: TilesStyle. Paint: Cornforth White, Farrow & Ball.

Downstairs, elegant panelling and arched joinery provides storage and a calming welcome to the home, with hallways leading off to the primary suite and the four children’s bedrooms.

Every room in the house connects to the nature around it and has its own character. Each room had custom joinery designed, from panelling, headboards, desks for homework and storage for hobbies and personal artefacts.

From a pale pink upholstered headboard in the primary en-suite to dark teal criss-crossed wallpaper with orange throw pillows, each bedroom contains playful nods to its inhabitants. 


Elegant arched built-in wardrobes offer storage and an architectural feature in the entrance hall.
Joinery: Newcastle Design. Flooring: Matt Britton. Paint: Strong White, Farrow & Ball.


The entrance hall draws you into this cosy corridor with its beautiful lanterns and arched passage ways, that brings you to the bedrooms.
Lighting: Eilish Rickard Interiors. Flooring: Matt Britton. Paint: Strong White, Farrow & Ball.

The furniture and details like panelling and hardware were chosen for the family with classic designs that withstand the passing of trends, whereas more modern elements like the elegant metalwork and pale oak of the stairs and flooring, the large swathes of glazing and muted, elegant colours bring the house firmly into the twenty-first century.

Some favourite spaces include the formal living room facing the front of the house with its deep sofa, weathered timber coffee table, elevated panelling, art by Lola O’Donoghue, elegant sage linen French pleated curtains framing the view and most importantly - no toys or television.

Every room is connected either to the back garden, side access, a front balcony or floor-to-ceiling incredible views - it’s nestled into the hillside as if it had always been there.

A welcoming room with black, blue and orange hues and subtle brass accents is a timeless design for one of the family's sons to grow into.
Paint: Panelling - Plimsoull, Paint & Paper Library 

Custom joinery and fitted desks painted in crisp colours make rooms feel more spacious and give each child a comfortable space to work and read in.
Paint: School House White, Farrow & Ball.

The family love that the space was designed with them in mind as their children grow up and put their stamp on it, it makes the house unique and familiar at the same time.

When looking at a project like this, Eilish advises that the journey designing a new build is a long one, but certainly worth it.

Assemble your dream team from the beginning - architect, interior designer, QS and contractor - with recommendations, trust and solid communication in place to make the project successful and exciting, as it should be.


When it comes to spatial planning and creating a cohesive colour and material palette, Eilish has a few tips for you inspired by the House on the Hill project.

  1. Consider the time of day you'll use different rooms when planning where they will go. House on the Hill taught us that just because bedrooms are typically upstairs doesn't mean this is always the way it should be!

  2. With this information in mind, also consider the views from each room when deciding on colour palette and materials that complement what's outside and the kind of light the room will get when it's in use - warm or cool, direct or indirect. Based on this, you can look for complementing undertones in colours you're drawn to. 

  3. Inject informality into a classic interior with lighter toned timber, fabrics that rumple more easily, low profile furniture and materials with patina and character. For more formality, consider panelling, wallpaper, ornate details on fitted joinery and patterned upholstery. 

  4. Don’t underestimate the power of window treatments. Yes, curtains are an investment, but they truly transform a box into a home and have worked for centuries to insulate spaces. Eilish loves to use roman blinds or French pleated curtains in every room with a window.

  5. Just because a home is "modern" doesn't mean you can't inject period character into it if that's your style. In House on the Hill, more traditional fitted furniture, aged brass and elegant arches give the home a transitional style and cosiness the family were looking for.

    Follow along on Instagram @eilishrickardinteriors and shop contemporary-classic home decor items at Dwell by Eilish Rickard Interiors.

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