A Victorian Redbrick Gets an Impressive Makeover - The Gloss Magazine
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A Victorian Redbrick Gets an Impressive Makeover

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Attaining a sense of unaltered elegance after a complete refurbishment is no mean feat, but the team behind this Victorian redbrick restoration pulled it off …

In 2012, when the owners of this impressive late Victorian detached house were looking to extend and refurbish, it wasn’t a single grand architectural move that sealed the deal for architect John Kelly, but rather his deservedly excellent reputation for light-touch architectural restoration and redesign. The proposal by his firm Lyons Kelly Architecture and Design (co-founded with interior designer Eoin Lyons) was to carefully extend the house reflecting the original materials and proportions, while preserving its character. Almost a decade later, the project complete, the impression is of unaltered elegance, the intersection of new with old imperceptible.

While the house is not a protected structure, Kelly approached the project with the view that any changes that would be made could be reversed without destroying the fabric of the house. “Apart from a refurbishment carried out in the 1940s, the house was untouched since the 1890s. I felt we should do as little as possible, but just enough to make a huge difference to the comfort and liveability,” he explains.

In undertaking a reversal of the traditional floor plan downstairs and a complete rethink upstairs, Kelly created an opportunity to move the kitchen, with its northern aspect, to the south-west, extending it to incorporate a seating area and bay window. He designed a top-lit vaulted ceiling and classic cabinetry “to add character”, with a kitchen table and Aga – rather than an island – the central focus.

John Kelly and Eoin Lyons

The spectacular entrance hall with its original mosaic-tiled floor, simple panelling (“an addition in the 1940s”), and stained glass window opens to a series of elegant reception rooms. The drawing room and sunny morning room open to the garden and are decorated in a light and pretty style, reminiscent of the way they might have been in the past when the lady of the house would have attended to her paperwork or withdrawn after dinner with her female companions. Vestiges of the original pink and grey palette in the drawing room were discernible on their first visit, so Kelly and Lyons decided to recreate it, engaging the wallpaper archivist and expert David Skinner to faithfully reproduce the period wallpaper design. A close match for the original curtains was achieved with a pink silk from Elitis. Having spotted a pair of huge oil artworks at auction, the owner felt they could be wonderful in the dining room. She was right. Hung either side of the elegant dining table, they are the perfect scale, fitting with just millimetres to spare between the cornice and chair rail. LyonsKelly used these as inspiration for the colour scheme in this room, choosing a soft brown felt for the walls – for its warmth and its acoustic effect – and vibrant green silk curtains.

Upstairs, one of the two principal rooms was designated the master, with additional space borrowed from the other to form a generous en suite. Rather than install built-in wardrobes, Kelly built out the wall by three feet to make his and hers walk-in closets.

Conservation architect Kelly is also a perfectionist. He is still fretting about a number of new bricks that he feels could be treated to better match the old ones. His thinking around updating where needed and preserving where possible demonstrates that it’s often the small details that have a big impact. With the remodelling and adjustments and the meticulous upgrading and restoration, every aspect of this house has been taken up an impressive notch.

The classical scheme for the drawing room, using the original grey and pink palette, has contemporary elements. As it is a sunny room, opening to the garden, touches of metallic were incorporated to catch the light. The bespoke wallpaper is by David Skinner, and the curtains by Mary Wrynne using a silk by Elitis. The floor lamps are from Birgit Israel, the armchair between the windows by Ecart Paris and the small chair in the window is by Marta Sala Editions. The open-back armchair is by Brabbu and the rug by Jan Kath from Rug Art.

The dining room, mainly used in the evening, has a palette inspired by the two large artworks which the owner found at auction. The walls are covered with felt by Nash’s, the curtains made by Mary Wrynne using green silk by Fabricut. The console is from Eden Home & Garden, Blackrock. The urn is by Talisman, and the rise and fall pendant is original to the house.

The kitchen walls are painted in a special mix of Long Acre by Mylands. The cabinetry was made by Seabury. The leather cushioned chairs around the bespoke kitchen table are from Bernardi’s.

The morning room with new French doors to the garden, wallpaper by Lewis & Wood and armchair covered with William Morris fabric. The console is by Tom Faulkner, the yellow ceramic table lamp by Vaughan.

A 1930s console table from Carlton Davidson in the hall. The mosaic-tiled floor and stained glass window are original. The panelling, painted in Farrow and Ball’s French Grey (which has a green tint), dates from the 1940s.

The blinds were made by Mary Wrynne using fabric by Christian Fischbacher. The Berber rug is by Luke Irwin.

The façade of the 1890s redbrick, with the new kitchen bay window and outdoor fireplace.

In the master bedroom, in place of built-in wardrobes, LyonsKelly designed his and hers walk-in closets; the wallpaper is by Cole & Sons.

A glimpse through to the master en suite with Lincrusta on the walls and a mosaic-tiled floor.

The stained glass window in the hall was restored.

The kitchen, a newly built addition designed by LyonsKelly, opens to the garden and has a seating area in the bay.

A Dutch half-door leads to the boot room.

The classical scheme for the drawing room, using the original grey and pink palette, has contemporary elements. As it is a sunny room, opening to the garden, touches of metallic were incorporated to catch the light. The bespoke wallpaper is by David Skinner, and the curtains by Mary Wrynne using a silk by Elitis. The floor lamps are from Birgit Israel, the armchair between the windows by Ecart Paris and the small chair in the window is by Marta Sala Editions. The open-back armchair is by Brabbu and the rug by Jan Kath from Rug Art.

The dining room, mainly used in the evening, has a palette inspired by the two large artworks which the owner found at auction. The walls are covered with felt by Nash’s, the curtains made by Mary Wrynne using green silk by Fabricut. The console is from Eden Home & Garden, Blackrock. The urn is by Talisman, and the rise and fall pendant is original to the house.

The kitchen walls are painted in a special mix of Long Acre by Mylands. The cabinetry was made by Seabury. The leather cushioned chairs around the bespoke kitchen table are from Bernardi’s.

The morning room with new French doors to the garden, wallpaper by Lewis & Wood and armchair covered with William Morris fabric. The console is by Tom Faulkner, the yellow ceramic table lamp by Vaughan.

A 1930s console table from Carlton Davidson in the hall. The mosaic-tiled floor and stained glass window are original. The panelling, painted in Farrow and Ball’s French Grey (which has a green tint), dates from the 1940s.

The blinds were made by Mary Wrynne using fabric by Christian Fischbacher. The Berber rug is by Luke Irwin.

In the master bedroom, in place of built-in wardrobes, LyonsKelly designed his and hers walk-in closets; the wallpaper is by Cole & Sons.

A glimpse through to the master en suite with Lincrusta on the walls and a mosaic-tiled floor.

The stained glass window in the hall was restored.

The kitchen, a newly built addition designed by LyonsKelly, opens to the garden and has a seating area in the bay.

A Dutch half-door leads to the boot room.

A Dutch half-door leads to the boot room.

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