Man's 'black house' named top home of 2021 but people divided over use of piano

A stunning homemade house in the house of the year race has divided people over how to use its grand piano.

The contemporary home has an unusual exterior that is completely black while the interior is light and airy and full of personality.

David O’Brien built the unique property in Cork, which is characterized by an elegant, modern interior and floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Irish countryside.

An abundance of plants and tapestries adorn the spacious, open living space, which is flooded with natural light.

However, one controversial feature has resulted in people speaking in the shape of a grand piano on social media.

The antique wooden piano on wheels was positioned in the kitchen area – and serves as an island.

Photos show the instrument opposite the sink with a flower vase and a cutting board.

The property appeared on RTE’s popular Home of the Year program, which saw viewers split over the unusual selection of kitchen furniture.

On social media, one viewer said, “Piano Island will divide the nation, I can feel it.”

One person joked, “Ha ha does he play the piano and wash the dolphin?”

Grand piano in the kitchen

Another added, “The guy who uses a piano as a kitchen island is DEAD TO ME.”

While others seemed to fall in love with David’s design.

One person said, “I’ve followed Dave and his ‘black house’ on Instagram from the start. The antique piano is a fabulous home and a genius as a kitchen island.”

Another added, “I’m sorry, but using a piano as an island? LOVE.”



The piano also impressed judges Hugh Wallace, Suzie McAdam and Amanda Bone on the popular Irish TV show. David’s home was the first to reach the grand finale.

David shared his experiences building his own home and the choices behind its surprising design.

He said, “About five years ago I decided to build my own house.

“I wanted to build something that was really unique to me.


“Black is my favorite color, so I decided to build a black house.

“The bones of the house are very contemporary, with corrugated steel edging around the building.

“From the outside the house looks pretty dark, the windows in the front are pretty narrow and small, but that’s for privacy.

“So I decided for the rest of the house to be as light and open as possible.


“The furniture in the house is particularly vintage and antique. Each piece has its own story.”

David admits that friends were also stunned when he first introduced his wing to the herd.

He said, “The piano is probably one of my favorite pieces. I bought it about ten years ago with the idea that it would be my kitchen island. Everyone thought I was a little crazy back then.”

“My favorite place is the Chesterfield in my living room. I have fond memories of growing up here, and from here I can see my nana’s house right through the fields.”

open living room

“I would say this house is just me. When I originally built it and said I was building a black house, everyone was like, ‘You’re crazy,’ but it’s something I could only imagine and I knew that so it would be work. I love it. “

It’s no surprise that the judges loved David’s house too, giving him an impressive 28 out of 30, and sending him to the final.

Hugh said, “The subtle creativity and attention to detail are a spark of genius. This is a special and fascinating home.”

Suzie said, “There is a strong contrast between the contemporary nature of architecture and the considered and eclectic interior design.

“This is often a difficult balance, and yet the homeowner has made this look effortless.”

Amanda added, “This house is a great mix of restraint and versatility.”


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