4 weeks ago

A Question of Taste

10 MIN READ SAVE

HELLE MOYNA’S VISION FOR HER NEW HOUSE WAS CLEAR FROM THE START: THE APPROACH HAS A PARTICULAR MODERN SENSIBILITY, UNDERPINNED BY A SCANDINAVIAN ETHOS AND ROOTED IN SIMPLICITY AND QUALITY

After two years renting in Dublin after their move from London, Danish-born Helle Moyna and her Irish husband began to house-hunt, looking for a special property suited to family living where they could bring up their two young boys. Having just lost out on a house, the estate agent mentioned another, a private sale – would they like to view it? Moyna’s reaction was instant and instinctive. She loved its intact 18th-century heart, the hint of its 16th-century origins and its wide garden. After six months of paperwork, the house was theirs and, together with Extend architects and a conservation expert, she drew up plans for a full renovation including installation of central heating, rewiring, new bathrooms. As a relative newcomer to Dublin, Moyna’s research was impressive: by commencement of work in October 2014, she had a good team of builders and specialist tradesmen lined up to work with the architects. “Having a good team ensured the project was well-planned and executed, and it was done on time.”

Moyna is no stranger to design projects. Founder of Nordic Elements, a studio and online design, product sourcing and retail business, based on Scandinavian design and her love of mid-century furniture and decoration, Moyna relished the opportunity to furnish her new home with the kind of pieces she sources for clients from auction and from designers whose work she admires. She styled the house inside and out, sourcing everything from light fittings and door handles, to radiators, paint colours and carpets, even the gravel at the front of the house.

“I created moodboards for each room, down to the tiniest details. This made everything so much easier as the various people involved were able to understand my ideas.” Lighting was a challenge; “I am not a big fan of ceiling lights but, with such high ceilings, they had to make an impact.” Moyna’s access to great designers meant she could bring in most of the ceiling lights from Sweden and Denmark, with her own design for the chandelier over the stairs – “it was daunting but it worked out brilliantly” – produced by one of her Swedish suppliers.

A key decision was to work with architect Morwenna Gerrard on the kitchen design. “It was a tricky space, quite small, and with two large windows and two wide doors plus a chimney breast. Morwenna totally understood my style and came up with the perfect design, brilliantly executed by Patrick McKenna of Wabi-Sabi.” The other significant alteration to the house was to incorporate an en suite bathroom into the master bedroom. “I did not want a box in the room, so came up with a plan where the walls were part solid, part glass screen, allowing light to flow in,” says Moyna.

In the drawing room, mid-century rosewood rattan chairs are covered in bright turquoise. On the rosewood table, designed by architect Grete Jalk, Louise Roe’s City Lights and marble tray are from Nordic Elements. The Knots Rug is from Lost Weekend and the ceiling light was found at auction. The gold-painted glass lamp with silk shade is by Design By Us.

The mid-century rosewood sideboard was acquired at auction in Denmark. 

Helle Moyna, founder of design company Nordic Elements, in her studio.

The gilt mirror above the fireplace was left to Moyna by the previous owners who had, in turn, been given it by the family who lived in the house 50 years’ ago.

In the corner of the drawing room, a curved wall hints at the earlier 16th-century origins of the house, its imperfections carefully preserved by Moyna. 

“I created moodboards for each room, down to the tiniest details.”

In the hall, the original door and window are still in situ. The mirror was a find at auction and Moyna bought the table from a charity shop.

The Bentwood coatstand was a gift to Moyna when she moved into her first flat. The wire basket is from Nordic Elements.

The Ego Mirror in the cloakroom is by Design By Us, supplied by Nordic Elements.

Moyna relished the opportunity to furnish her new home with the kind of pieces she sources for clients from auction and from designers whose work she admires.

The kitchen, designed with the help of architect Morwenna Gerrard, is centred around a welded brass-framed island, topped with Carrera marble.

The magnetic noticeboards, framed in oak, are available from Nordic Elements.

The sleek cupboards were made by Patrick McKenna of Wabi-Sabi. The lights are by Swedish designers Rubn, from Nordic Elements.

Hella Moyna designed the impressive chandelier for over the stairs and had it made in Sweden.

The family living and dining space overlooks the garden. The table, a wedding gift, is solid oak and was made by a craftsman in Sussex. The sofas are a Danish design from Swoon Editions as are the pouffes. The table and rug are from HAY and the standard lamp was bought in Denmark.

The pretty desk, an auction buy, was once Moyna’s dressing table. Now, with new handles and a spruce-up, it has become a useful desk. The chair was acquired at auction. The brass light is by Rubn, and the painting by Danish artist, Paul Pave.

The master bedroom with en suite, the latter separated by partially glazed walls which allow the light pour in. The brass bedside light is by Rubn.

The bathroom opens to a separate shower room. The hooks and accessories are from Nordic Element.

Smart black mirrors from Debenhams hang over twin basins by Duravit from Waterloo Bathrooms.

The Nordic Elements webshop collection is just a small edit of the designers and manufacturers Moyna works with. Her talent lies in the way she mixes old classics with new classics for clients. “We can advise on everything from a hall light to a full room make-over as well as source and deliver furniture, lighting and accessories.” Moyna’s is a versatile style embracing both the antique and the contemporary, delivered to coherent and pleasing effect. Contact Helle Moyna by email on [email protected] or by telephone, 083 441 4582. Visit www.nordicelements.ie to view the current collection.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DOREEN KILFEATHER

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