CLASSIC MINIMALISM with a flourish is designer EMMA O’CONNOR‘s forte. Her ELEGANT STYLE and RESTRAINED PALETTE, punctuated with black and bronze, was used to brilliant effect in the refurbishment of her family home …
After more than a decade working in corporate finance and operations, followed by several years managing the refurbishment and interior design of private homes, Emma O’Connor pressed pause on her career to have four children in quick succession. Then, just two years ago, with four children under seven, she embarked on the refurbishment of her husband’s family home, a 300-year-old detached redbrick in south county Dublin, steeped in history and repository of many family memories over generations.
“I had very specific ideas as to how I wanted the house to look and feel,” Emma says. “It was a beautiful home but it needed to be restored and it needed to be modernised.” Knowing that her plans for it would be a two-year commitment, she decided this experience would inform her next move, the establishment of her business, EMSU Design. “I knew that for me, the design world was where my passion lay, and my corporate career meant that I could bring something different to the process.” Drawing on her training in operations was invaluable.
“Large scale projects are complex and one mistake can be costly in terms of both time and money. My training in operations, especially during my time as director of operations at Ryanair, where every detail counts, taught me the importance of meticulous oversight. I was determined that EMSU Design would work with the professional team – architect and builder – from the outset to the final outcome, to ensure the smooth running and completion, while creating efficiencies throughout.”
Practical and strategic as she is in her approach to project management, and exacting in her execution, Emma’s aesthetic is also what attracts clients. She describes her style as classic minimalism with influences from Paris, London and New York. Creating beautiful spaces that are carefully considered is her priority. “My approach to this project, and to all my projects, is to create a strong, long-lasting foundation. Flooring, stonework and panelling – these elements should be chosen to endure; furniture, fabrics and soft furnishings can more easily be changed or fine-tuned to reflect the latest trends.”
Well-versed in where to find the best in everything – from sofas, to tables, carpets, lighting and fabrics – she also knows who to turn to for flooring, tiling, joinery, panelling and other aspects of the interior design process that require skill and attention to detail.
Photographs by Luke White
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