A Period House in Dublin Gets a Modern Update

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Making the move from Silicon Valley to Dublin, one tech couple transformed a period house into a family home in double quick time …

When an entrepreneur couple returned from the US seeking a Dublin home where they could enjoy living with their three young daughters, entertain family and friends and develop their latest business venture, they turned to interior architect Gillian Sherrard whose work they had admired in a previous issue of The Gloss Interiors.

Having been in the tech industry for years, they were used to timely decision-making and delegating rather than micro-managing and, according to Sherrard “wanted to work efficiently with a single point of contact.” Able to accommodate their need for speed and convenience and to get things done in a way they could relate to, Sherrard became involved from the start in the search for the right property. She would then oversee construction and renovations and furnish the interiors, coordinating the teams and keeping the process on target. She attributes the fact that the project came in €100,000 under budget to her clients’ rapid decision making. “So often, costs ratchet up because of unwarranted procrastination. In this case, by the time the house sale was completed, we had worked out the desired layout, and we planned everything carefully (even down to a virtual reality tour of the proposed design) so that by the time building work was finished, all the furniture had been sourced and was sitting in a warehouse ready to go.”

The house, part of a terrace built in 1852, overlooks the sea, and comprised a series of grotty bedsits when Sherrard first viewed it in late 2018. As rain was pouring in the roof, the priority was to apply for emergency planning to prevent further damage. As a resident of a seafront terrace herself, Sherrard knew that while living with the north wind would mean the windows would require a complete overhaul, they would also bathe the house in lots of natural light. “And I also loved the strong proportions and a no-nonsense layout.”

The clients wanted the kitchen to be relocated from the basement to the ground floor with the dining room, with the living room, office and a tiny bar on the first or middle floor, and a lovely master suite complete with walk-in dressing room and children’s bedrooms on the top floor. A darker palette was chosen for the middle floor – “to differentiate it as a night-time space, and to contrast with the lightness of both ground and upper floors.”

With the layout agreed, thoughts turned to decorating and furniture. The interior needed to reflect all aspects of the family’s life, with the inclusion of a spacious office for home-working, great entertaining areas, and more intimate family spaces. The clients confined their decorating parameters to just three or four strong ideas carried throughout: the original floorboards were to be stained dark Jacobean brown, with crisp patterned tiled floors chosen for hallway and bathrooms; the cornicing, shutters and radiators were to be painted in with the wall shades and, key to the overall look, the walls would be panelled. The latter is something of a signature for Sherrard: “Panelling creates an architectural rhythm, accentuating good proportions, and minimising poor surfaces. It’s all about getting the proportions right, and creating the right mouldings.” To achieve this, Sherrard headed off with her measuring tape to capture the dimensions of the original Georgian panelling that exists in buildings like the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, meticulously replicating them in situ.

In deciding on furniture, Sherrard’s clients were open to a mix of styles, their choices of pieces characterised by their exceptional quality. A trip to Paris yielded first-rate vintage lighting, grand statement chandeliers and pendants that not only illuminate but draw attention to the high ceilings and decorative plasterwork. A sprinkling of art deco references hint at time spent in the US. Dublin’s Francis Street was a source of some excellent lamps, with luxurious silk and wool rugs from CC Tapis and a magnificent velvet sofa from Roche Bobois chosen for the living room. Sherrard designed tall, glossy wood-framed mirrors with solid brass inlays for the dining room and hallway. Unlacquered brass detailing is also found elsewhere on door architecture, lighting and cabinetry. Simple, elegant kitchen and bathroom fittings are a combination of solid painted poplar wood and silestone. As you exit the kitchen through the door with its original stained glass panels, a glass bridge links the house with the garden via a wisteria-clad pergola. From here, you can catch a glimpse through the basement windows of the family’s cinema room, a story for another day.

Photographs by Simon Watson
Styling by Alannah Monks

A darker palette was chosen for the middle floor – “to differentiate it as a night-time space, and to contrast with the lightness of both ground and upper floors.”

The wall panelling in the master bedroom was stepped out to allow for the formation of pockets as bedside storage; the wall light is by Bert Frank. The bedhead is upholstered in a Designer’s Guild fabric, with bedlinen by The White Company, and cushion by Stable Ireland. The dressing table is from 1st Dibs; the Gio Ponti mirror is by Gubi.

The dining room has a stunning 1970s Murano glass chandelier by Venini, from Galerie Cavanese, Paris. The marble-topped table and conference chairs by Knoll, and rug by CC Tapis, are from Lost Weekend. The opaque glass wall lights are by Bert Frank. The glass vases are by 2 Bears Home.

The original stained glass panels in the kitchen were restored. The detailing used in the wall panelling throughout the house is referenced in the kitchen cabinetry, designed by Sherrard Design and manufactured by Abington. The black silestone island is by Leinster Stone. Glass vases are by Bo Concept.

In the hall, the art deco-style 1960s macassar and brass console table was sourced from 1st Dibs and the mother-of-pearl chandelier is from Galerie Cavanese, Paris. Mosaic tiled floor by Mosaic Assemblers. Lacquered black mirror with solid brass inlay by Sherrard Design. Vase from Howbert & Mays.

The tiny bar is accessed via a secret entrance in the living room bookcase and is designed to fit a small dishwasher and fridge. The bar counter and shelves are unlacquered brass; leather barstools are by Gubi. The marble and glass pendant lights are by Bert Frank.

In the master en suite, the bathroom cabinetry is designed by Sherrard Design. The wall behind the brass mirrored cabinets is tiled with porcelain tiles, and the floor in marble tiles; all from Tilestyle. Taps and accessories are unlacquered brass by Vola, from Tilestyle. Towels by The White Company.

A darker palette was chosen for the middle floor – “to differentiate it as a night-time space, and to contrast with the lightness of both ground and upper floors.”

The wall panelling in the master bedroom was stepped out to allow for the formation of pockets as bedside storage; the wall light is by Bert Frank. The bedhead is upholstered in a Designer’s Guild fabric, with bedlinen by The White Company, and cushion by Stable Ireland. The dressing table is from 1st Dibs; the Gio Ponti mirror is by Gubi.

The dining room has a stunning 1970s Murano glass chandelier by Venini, from Galerie Cavanese, Paris. The marble-topped table and conference chairs by Knoll, and rug by CC Tapis, are from Lost Weekend. The opaque glass wall lights are by Bert Frank. The glass vases are by 2 Bears Home.

The original stained glass panels in the kitchen were restored. The detailing used in the wall panelling throughout the house is referenced in the kitchen cabinetry, designed by Sherrard Design and manufactured by Abington. The black silestone island is by Leinster Stone. Glass vases are by Bo Concept.

In the hall, the art deco-style 1960s macassar and brass console table was sourced from 1st Dibs and the mother-of-pearl chandelier is from Galerie Cavanese, Paris. Mosaic tiled floor by Mosaic Assemblers. Lacquered black mirror with solid brass inlay by Sherrard Design. Vase from Howbert & Mays.

The tiny bar is accessed via a secret entrance in the living room bookcase and is designed to fit a small dishwasher and fridge. The bar counter and shelves are unlacquered brass; leather barstools are by Gubi. The marble and glass pendant lights are by Bert Frank.

In the master en suite, the bathroom cabinetry is designed by Sherrard Design. The wall behind the brass mirrored cabinets is tiled with porcelain tiles, and the floor in marble tiles; all from Tilestyle. Taps and accessories are unlacquered brass by Vola, from Tilestyle. Towels by The White Company.

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