Old houses with historic appeal also come with historic amenities … and an opportunity to rethink everything from the ground up …
Taking on the resuscitation of an old house and elevating the interior to a luxury level is not for the faint-hearted, acknowledges interior designer Róisín Lafferty of Kingston Lafferty Design (KLD). “There is an obligation to respect the original. But historic appeal also comes with historic amenities – you need to be able to integrate the old into an overall plan that delivers modern comfort and luxury.” When Brazil Associates were appointed architects and lead designers for the restoration and extension of this Victorian house, KLD were engaged to collaborate to bring a sense of luxury, fun and playfulness to the interior. The clients wanted a home that would accommodate modern family living with a balance of spaces, some, like the study, with a specific purpose in mind, others like the orangery, designed to adapt to many uses.
Back in 1878 when this house was built, Dublin was undergoing something of an architectural renaissance. The redbrick South City Markets on South Great George’s Street with its elegant arcade were under construction, and plans were being drawn up for the Point Depot on North Wall Quay. It was a time of prosperity and the rich merchants in the city sought suitable residences, such as this one, to support their civilised and social way of life.
With the original Victorian structure already supporting a later extension, architects Brazil Associates were engaged to restore the façade and structure and redesign the layout, while replacing the existing extension with a more fitting, contemporary addition. They were also tasked with designing an orangery in keeping with the original style of the building. The house was beautifully proportioned with generous ceiling heights and spacious room sizes. KLD decided to incorporate panelling as a device to visually connect the old elements of the house, altering the colour palette within the different rooms to create different experiences throughout.
On entering, the newly configured and panelled entrance hall benefits from the repositioning of the stairs, and a double-height stairwell void and new roof light transforms the previously dark and shadowed space. A Bocci cascading glass chandelier draws the eye up to the master suite corridor. The study is both opulent and masculine, with a library vibe. The marble fireplace, wall panelling, parquet floor and rich navy colour tones set a serious and sophisticated tone. “The furniture was selected and curated piece by piece to combine eras,” says Lafferty. The monolithic 1970’s burr maple and chrome desk by Leon Rosen dominates. In contrast, a contemporary Cloud light by Apparatus is a playful addition to the room. Leading from the study is the orangery which connects the living room and library to the garden. A series of framed glass panels, designed by Brazil Associates, with exposed original brickwork and exterior render on the connecting wall define this space as an outdoor room. KLD opted for monochrome, patterned, lightly glazed floor tiles and layered potted plants to connect the indoors and outdoors. The orangery links to the more intimate living room, very much designed to be the cocooning family space. Deliberately rich and moody, the interior here features rich finishes from flooring to paint, textiles and deep panelling. The CTO pendant creates a feature “canopy” echoing the circle Moooi rug below. Rich velvets in burgundy and blue add vibrancy.
The kitchen and dining area was reimagined by Brazil Associates and constructed by Wallace Associates to be contemporary, streamlined and light-filled. Playing with volumes, the dining zone is differentiated by a raised ceiling height and exposed concrete beam. The concrete and glass structure features full-height glazing and sheer curtaining and wide-plank limed oak flooring. The kitchen by Porter & Jones reads as a seamless, simple space, a dark block element within the overall. Utility and pantry are concealed behind kitchen doors. Exposed concrete wall panels and a leather-finish stone counter top by Miller Brothers delivers a rich, yet understated materiality. A linear roof light runs the length of the room and returns down to the floor, creating graphic, dramatic effect. KLD chose a flooring band of Irish limestone, its copper-detailing further framing the concrete. “The selection of furniture for these areas was deliberately elegant and fine in form,” says Lafferty. “We opted for mid-century dining and lounge chairs to add feminine touch to the more masculine space.”
The master suite was designed to be an elegant and sophisticated sanctuary for its owners. Generously proportioned, this room links to a new walk-in wardrobe and en suite and is contained away from the rest of the bedrooms in the house. “We opted for a dusty tone on the wall, incorporating the headboard into the panelling details with a soft velvet fabric,” says Lafferty. Beyond the panelled doors is the beautiful walk-in wardrobe, the stuff of dreams!
Architects Brazil Associates were appointed to restore the original Victorian house and add a two-storey contemporary extension comprising the kitchen and dining and cinema room on the ground floor. Kingston Lafferty Design (KLD) were appointed to collaborate on the interiors, their aim to bring a sense of luxury, fun and playfulness to the house.
The kitchen and dining spaces strongly contrast with the older part of the house; elements include exposed raw concrete walls and columns, extensive glazing, high ceilings and plank oak flooring by Hardwood Flooring. The kitchen design is by Porter & Jones.
Concrete wall panels and a leather-finish stone counter top by Miller Brothers is highlighted by a linear roof light. Elegant lighting from Moooi and fine furniture was selected to contrast with the robust elements of the architecture: island pendants are Caravaggio lights from Hicken Lighting. The dining table, custom made, incorporates brass elements and was made by Sweeneys Handcrafted Furniture. The dining chairs are mid-century.
The orangery, designed by Brazil Associates, features a combination of exterior render, brickwork and glazed panels. The blue chair is by Moroso for Diesel Living and the pig side table by Moooi.
The study has an opulent and masculine library air with a 1970’s burr maple and chrome desk by Leon Rosen from The Vintage Hub and mid-century teak and leather chairs.
The contemporary Cloud light is by Apparatus; the Farol wall lights from Bert Frank.
The master suite is a sophisticated sanctuary, linking to a new walk-in wardrobe and en suite. KLD opted for a dusty tone on the wall, incorporating the headboard into the panelling details with a soft velvet fabric from House of Hackney. Penelope bedside tables are from West Elm. The Revolve bedside lights are by Bert Frank. Oak parquet panels on the floor add a luxurious element.
In the sitting room, a sofa by Roche Bobois; rug by Moooi, coffee table by The Vintage Hub and bell side table by Classicon from Minima. The central light is a CTO Nimbus pendant and the Massina wall lights are by Bert Frank.
The understairs cloakroom is inspired by Parisian art deco style and combines mosaic tiles, panelling and traditional fittings.
Photographs by Barbara Corsico
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