The forever home in Co Donegal

Emily Bonar took charge of building her family home twice; here she shares her project management tips and advice.  

How did the project get started? 

It’s always the dream to build your own house, and we were just blessed that we got to do this twice. I thoroughly enjoyed both projects, and I suppose it’s from my dad that I have this love for building – he used to work in the building trade.  

      Our first self-build journey started when my father-in-law gifted us a site. We lived in a mobile home for four years and saved as much as we could. We broke ground in August 2011 and at the time we had never any intention of building again. This was going to be our forever home and we worked extremely hard to complete the build in just a little over two years.  

      We had family and friends all roped in to help at different stages and we even went on a tiling course and tiled the house ourselves.  


Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild magazine. She previously held the same role in an Irish trade publication, before that she worked at the National Standards Authority of Ireland. She graduated with a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University in New York and holds an MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Bursatiles in Madrid. France of origin, she now lives in Portarlington, County Laois, where she's taken on the task of renovating a listed building! Email

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