Home of the Year review: In an era of uncertainty – especially for RTÉ – it’s perfect comfort viewing

Television: Leave your brain in the hall and soak up the show’s low-key unhurried elegance

If Home of the Year (RTÉ One, Tuesday, 8.30pm) was a house it would be minimalist, quietly classy and boast precisely the same colour scheme as it had a decade ago. It isn’t broken and RTÉ has no intention of fixing it – and that is fine.

This season, as with every other season since the beginning of time (possibly earlier), three expert adjudicators visit a variety of chichi dwellings and quietly pass judgment – without wishing to seem as if they are passing judgment. If the house is perfect, it receives a nine or 10; if it’s an embarrassing shambles, it gets a seven or eight. These are the only numbers on the Home of the Year scoring matrix. Buffalo Bill’s charnel pit from Silence of the Lambs might be rated a six.

The judges are a likable lot. They are architects Hugh Wallace and Amanda Bone and interior designer Sara Cosgrove. This feng shui power trio consists of the rarest of things: Irish TV personalities who do not immediately get on your nerves.

They don’t get on each other’s nerves either, which detracts from the tension yet enhances the feel-good vibes – on balance, a win. There is certainly lots of positivity as they visit John and Kasha’s “contemporary eco-build” in Clare, which has a grass roof (good) and a beige-green cupboard which fills Bone with existential horror (less good).


Then it’s off to Dublin, where Aoife and Tim have a nicely trendy house but – oh dear – a shower bang in the middle of their bedroom. How vaguely terrifying and probably not worth thinking about too much (or at all). Or, as Cosgrove says, “I’m struggling to figure this room out”. And then, to west Cork, where artist Ian and wife Sarah live in an old schoolhouse that they have transformed into a studio and showcase for his work.

It’s stylishly scruffy: Cosgrove praises the “west Cork bohemian” vibes, Hugh flinches at all the upcycled furniture – “shabby chic ... perhaps too shabby for me” and Bone has an out of body experience (in a good way) while admiring the art adorning every wall. She’s already picked her winner – and it turns out that her colleagues agree.

House number three is cheered through to the final, then. And as the presenters rock around the teach, it becomes incontrovertibly clear that Home of the Year will be returning to the schedules year after year until the end of time. To which we can only say hurrah. In an era of uncertainty – especially for RTÉ – it is the best sort of comfort viewing. You can leave your brain in the hall and soak up the low-key, unhurried elegance. It’s like watching paint dry, but when the paint is tasteful and chimes with the landscape, is that a bad thing?