In the hands of the RIGHT DESIGNERS, an original Victorian redbrick retains its INTEGRITY and its MODERN EXTENSION adds a new but soft dimension …
Maria MacVeigh of MMV Design has taken on a number of greatly admired significant solo projects in Ireland over the course of her 20 years in the design business. Unusually, a recent project presented not just a unique opportunity to tackle a historical restoration alongside the addition of a superb contemporary extension, but an occasion to invite the collaboration of another designer whose experience in furniture, fabrics and interior finishes were to complement her strengths in architecture, layout, space, interiors and fine-detailing.
When MacVeigh’s clients acquired the redbrick Victorian in Dublin, their wish was to conserve its handsome, solid structure, but to reimagine the interior in a contemporary style that would link to the new extension. In developing the renovation plan, recounts MacVeigh – who evolved the interiors aspects in conjunction with Eoin Lyons of LyonsKelly – it was important to consider the way of life of her clients, and their own love for and understanding of design. “It was a true collaboration, a process that I really enjoyed and that I believe led to the success of the whole,” says MacVeigh.
As the architect of the scheme, MacVeigh’s overall aim was to design an unsparingly modern extension that would co-exist with and enhance its Victorian neighbour and to remodel the latter, restoring its original period details, to function in a contemporary context for family life. MacVeigh was anxious to ensure there was a gentle union of old and new so, before the project went on site, the vision was already complete down to the finest detail.
“Every aspect was well considered so the outcome would have a “wholeness” to it,” says MacVeigh. “Taking the time to do this in advance of building meant that nothing, down to the smallest element, was omitted.” While working on the plans for the house, a priority was to establish a closer relationship between the residence and its private wooded site. With the house set back substantially from the entrance, MacVeigh decided to enhance its privacy further, working with landscape designer Bernard Hickie to re-orient the driveway to sweep to the side of the house, and to rebuild the garden on three sides, allowing each façade of the building to overlook a separate, mature and private garden. As the gardens were planned and planting specified, MacVeigh worked on the overall vision for the house, attuned to the family’s way of life, and brokering past and present.
Within the existing house and the extension, she set out to open up connections from room to room, to create what she calls “behavioural space”. When her drawings went in for planning, and before a single sod was turned, the interiors were detailed. Once the plans for each room were approved by her clients, MacVeigh engaged Eoin Lyons to collaborate on decorative concepts for furniture, fabrics and finishes. “I knew his exquisite taste, ability to curate different textures and source beautiful pieces would be perfect for the project,” says MacVeigh.
“Knowing my clients so well, I understood that while this was a big house, the emphasis would be on the idea of family gathering, on a daily basis, and for parties, around a series of interconnecting rooms that would draw them to the kitchen, ultimately to the island where cooking and conversation would happen.”
The collaboration between designer, clients, landscape designer and interior designer, has resulted in a beautiful interior and an exterior where the original building retains its integrity and the extension adds a new but soft dimension. Though a dramatic contrast to the house at its side, the extension echoes its 1850’s masonry elements with MacVeigh choosing a pink-red brick, softer than the original of the main house, so that the extension would chime with it, yet recede somewhat. Her intention, beautifully executed, was to ensure that the extension stepped back from its period neighbour, the latter retaining its integrity and solid presence on the site.
A mix of seating in the drawing room includes burnished bronze and rose pink velvet armchairs by Promemoria from Minima and sofa and chairs by Christian Liaigre. The coffee table is also by Liaigre. The Pierre Frey linen drapes, made by Mary Wyrnne, with pin-sharp pleats on simple poles, are elegant and luxurious. The silk rug by I+I is from Minima; the lamp from Marc de Berny.
Double doors (with ironmongery from the Beardmore Collection, London) from the drawing room into the dining room open up new sightlines from the old part of the house to the new. The dining room chairs are leather by Henge, the oak dining table by Promemoria from Minima and the pendant light over the table by Henge.
In the dining room, a marble-topped walnut sideboard by Ceccotti. The walls are covered in a Phillip Jeffries linen.
The corridor of the original house was widened to connect with the extension. The photograph is by Dorothy Cross.
A view from the morning room (see opposite) towards the original part of the house.
A view from the kitchen towards the side entrance.
The atmosphere of the morning room in the extension is serene, its interior calm and restful, as though it might be part of the garden. The sofas are by B&B Italia, the reading lights by Henge and the rug by Luke Irwin. The sideboard is patinated timber on an oxidised bronze base. The paintings, a pair, are by hyperrealist British painter Charles Oakley. The throws are by Stable.
The kitchen, described by designer Maria MacVeigh as “subdued and sophisticated”, features a four-metre island and cabinetry from Bulthaup by Realm. The Sienna marble floor, inspired by London’s Hotel Café Royal, was supplied by Antica, the Stone Gallery. The patinated antique glass extractor, engineered specifically for the volume of space, was designed by MacVeigh who also detailed the dropped ceiling to create a layered effect. Lighting throughout is by Shadowlight.
The bedhead, designed by Maria MacVeigh, with integrated lighting and nightstand, is placed in front of the windows which are dressed in layers of voile by Christian Fischbacher and silk by Pierre Frey. The rug is by Luke Irwin.
The bath in the dressing room is by Agape.
The glass dressing room cabinets, wardrobes and doors are by Rimadesio from Minima.
Photographs by Barbara Corsico
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