House tour: Colour and form in a historic Dublin residence

House tour: Colour and form in a historic Dublin residence
A restyling and extension project of a large Victorian family home sees rooms beautifully connected by a pictorial use of colour and perfectly chosen eclectic furnishings drawing on both the contemporary and historic. The result is a series of unique yet harmonious user-friendly spaces designed to delight and challenge, but ultimately also provide comfort and a sense of place.

Only a few kilometres from Dublin city, within wide, tree-lined streets and mature landscaping and architecture, is a 1950s house, located in a leafy and charming suburban area. The large Victorian family home has recently changed its look in quite a radical way.

The credit goes to Róisín Lafferty, the talented founder and creative director of Kingston Lafferty Design studio. “We worked closely with John Monahan of Noji Architects to merge his ambitious and bold vision for the new, light-filled, celestial extension with our own creative interior approach,” she explains.

Lafferty and her team’s main goal was “to create an unexpected and dynamic open-plan space, with zones defined by highly sculptural interior architecture punctuations. Collectively, we wanted to create an impressive and unique space that provides the owners with a thoroughly delightful family environment, where all aspects have been considered to frame their lives.”

The ambitious project involved numerous significant and important interventions made by the designers team. “In contrast to the streamlined and contemporary double height extension spanning the width of the building, we restored the decadence and grandeur of the main house,” says Lafferty. They did so in a very unconventional way, she adds, “by emphasising the dark corners, high ceilings and decorative details with more ornate, detailed and intricate design additions. Of course we needed to build a strong relationship with our clients, working with them to create personal spaces for all the family to cherish, including some playful and fun elements for the kids.’’

The home, previously a three-bedroom house, has been transformed into a generous five-bedroom home set over three floors, with ensuites, additional living, dining and functional zones framed externally with beautiful landscaping. “The clients appointed us to work on their home because they wanted to live in a space that excited and delighted them. They wanted to savour colour, be pushed and challenged creatively and to ultimately have a personal and unique home that was special for them.”

On the ground floor, Lafferty was able to create an impactful visual journey upon entering. “The existing lounge, in the centre of the house, was opened up to create a symmetrical opening from the front door right through to the extension. This room became the central unexpected gem, which we designed as a fully tiled Moroccan library area. We designed recessed upholstered seating to curl away with TV and stove, creating a snug area. Mirrored and planted ceiling reflects the beauty of the tiles and links the colour palette from the hall into the main space.”

There was no shortage of smart strategies applied, such as the creation of a double-sided stove wall, which Lafferty says “visually defines these zones from the main family lounge, but keeps a visual link between them, too. This prevents the open space from feeling too large and instead gives everything a sense of place.”

On the first floor, the existing rear area was completely reconfigured and extended, knocking through two existing bedrooms and a bathroom, creating room for a lavish and generous master suite with walk-in wardrobe and ensuite, plus a new bedroom with en-suite and a large family bathroom. “Again we worked closely with John of Noji Architects to maximise natural light in these series of spaces,” says Lafferty. “John incorporated ceiling lights in the main bathroom and walk-in wardrobe as they didn’t have access to wall space for windows. The result are light-filled, bright and happy spaces.”

An important fil rouge or running thread throughout is the researched “balance between minimal masculine forms and detailed, graceful femininity”. “The ground floor and dining spaces do just that,” says Lafferty, who took much time in creating customised colour palettes to enhance the character of every part of the interior space. One goes from one room to the other, exploring a sequence of domestic settings fluidly connected, but each of them with a well-defined personality.

The pieces of furniture create a vast and glamorous family, including elements designed by great masters such as Gio Ponti, others by contemporary design brands like GUBI, CC-tapis and Roche Bobois, as well as antiques, family gifts and decorative wallpapers … not to mention the many custom-designed pieces and the ode to the precious natural materials from wood to marble.

Says Lafferty: “The design of the master suite is moody and classic, with panelling throughout disguising the full wall of wardrobes. We focused on intricate elements, with silk patterned upholstery set into the panel to form the headboard and beautiful Michael Anastassiades ball pendants hanging on either side.”

The kitchen, which Lafferty wanted to visually distinguish from the extension, is much more in keeping with the original house, with a bistro feel to it. “There was more of a focus on earthy tactility, with the kitchen doors having a deliberate grain showing through the blue colour tone. The white quartzite has a stunning warmth to it and looks almost like ink-stained stone. This cascaded the full length of the space and up the walls to create the splashback.

“Overall, the attention to detail, respect and value of the design and the incredible craftsmanship was second to none,” says Lafferty, perfectly summarising the spirit of the project.

Photography by Ruth Maria Murphy



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