A 1980s single-storey house with some key assets – PRIVACY, SPACE AND LIGHT – is given a make-over that ELEVATES THE INTERIOR from the basic and banal to the glamorous …
Few design projects inspire as much as a top-to-bottom makeover and, if executed by a professional team to a specific budget, it’s an even more compelling prospect.
When a couple, two busy medics, approached the architecture and design team LyonsKelly, inviting them to view a lacklustre 1980s single-storey house the couple were thinking of buying, interior designer Eoin Lyons was a bit perplexed.
“The owners had a gorgeous period house but they wanted to live in a more contemporary way that the whole family (they have three teenage children) could enjoy. This we could completely understand, but the property presented serious challenges.”
The house was detached, spacious and very private, yet the wraparound garden was narrow in places and the layout of the house meant that some rooms seemed pokey and unattractive, despite the overall square footage. But Lyons soon realised that the owners had spotted something others perhaps had not.
“This was an opportunity to have the living space exactly as the owners wanted it without the pain, expense and time involved in a new build and without having to operate within the confines of a period structure. Every alteration, addition and aspect of the decoration is there by design and is fit for purpose.”
John Kelly, the architect in the LyonsKelly duo, set about planning the layout and creating a new living room cum dining room space open to the kitchen and bisected by a freestanding chimneypiece that houses a stove.
The result is pleasing: poplar-lined vaulted ceilings throughout gives a lovely light Scandinavian feel (and is acoustically efficient) and a light oak floor unifies the space.
The kitchen is probably the most remarkable aspect to the whole project. Inspired by their visit to France, the owners wanted a kitchen that was both fresh and inviting, the island designed to look glamorous and smart, the perfect place to perch with a drink or partake of a delicious – ideally French – breakfast.
Both self-confessed non-cooks, the owners dispensed with all kitchen clutter and the space is the better for it: the kitchen cabinetry by StudioTrench is subtle, rather than utilitarian and while the look is stripped back, clever storage allows for beauty as well as functionality.
The adjoining dining and living area benefits from a wall of windows overlooking the garden. Dressed in linen voile, with a recessed curtain track tight under the vaulted ceiling, the filtered light is soft and restful, the furniture spare but carefully chosen.
There is a custom-made dining table and MDF Italia chairs and a Christian Liaigre-inspired contemporary sofa by Orior and armchairs by Cassina at Minima. The rug, by Luke Irwin, is Berber wool and was bought in London.
The study, separated from this space by a glass screen, has walls and ceiling covered in Stroheim hemp in taupe and blue. “We wanted to create a contrast between the light living space and this more enclosed workspace,” says Lyons.
Elsewhere, four bedrooms, the master ensuite with a dressing room, and a huge entertaining/games room make this remarkable house a study in single-storey living.
Photography by Mark Scott / Interior design by Eoin Lyons.
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