A Donegal woman who dedicates her life to caring for her mum and doing charity work got a beautiful home makeover on the ‘Desperate Houses’ TV series.

Margaret Reilly from Kilcar was visited by an expert design team in the renovation show which aired on RTE tonight. The heartwarming episode was not without its drama though!

Margaret is a mum of two adult children and a full-time carer for her mum Bernadette (93) who has severe arthritis in her spine. Any hours of respite she gets are spent volunteering in the charity shop, which is where her hoarding habit all began.

Bernadette Doogan and Margaret Reilly in their new living room

Margaret’s many charity shop finds were stored throughout her home, leaving little room for herself and Bernadette to entertain friends. She was the proud owner of 70 handbags, and there were clothes coming out of the pores in the walls!

The clutter was so extreme that architect and designer Róisín Murphy travelled to Donegal to help her break the buying cycle and rescue two rooms.

Before photos of Margaret’s Living Room

The revamp was not all smooth-sailing however, as Bernadette took ill on the very first day of the project. Margaret’s mum had been staying at the Community Care Centre in Killybegs for the redesign, but the events took a worrying turn when the call came that Bernadette was taken to Letterkenny Hospital by ambulance.

The programme has been filmed shortly after Kilcar won the Donegal Senior Football Championship, proving the locals are made of strong stuff, and Margaret was one such determined person.

The project continued on, and Margaret successfully sorted through her clutter with the help of 5 close friends.

“Becase she does so much for everybody else she deserves something done for her,” said her friend, also called Margaret.

The new living room

Precious items were preserved, including a Donegal badge from 1992 and a tie belonging to Margaret’s late father. New storage furniture ensured items were put on display and the team added a quirky design to suit the eclectic contents of the home.

After just three days, Margaret was presented with two beautiful, spacious and modern rooms. Her bedroom had a cool floating bed at an angle concealing her storage. The living room had a new sofa with good light for her to sit and enjoy reading.

The redesign moved Margaret to tears, she was so full of thanks to Roisin and had plenty of hugs for her.

“I’m stunned. It’s beyond my wildest dreams,” Margaret said.

Before photos of the bedroom

After photos of Margaret’s bedroom

The heart-warming episode brought the series to an uplifting end. Thankfully mum Bernadette returned home three weeks later to enjoy the cosy new rooms with her daughter, and their dog Biscuit.

If you are interested in the furniture from the revamp, here’s a handy supplier list : cocotelevision.ie/episode-6-donegal-desperate-houses

Watch the episode on the RTE Player here: https://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/desperate-houses-1033/10818324/

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