A dream home that’s down to earth | Interiors

Tright here had been three the reason why architect Declan O’Donnell selected to construct his household home the place it’s. The primary two are prosaic. There was the dimensions: an honest 205sqm. And site: a nifty 20-minute commute away from his apply within the centre of Dublin. The third was poetic. A display screen of timber wraps across the wedge-shaped website like lofty inexperienced sentinels, including an air of rural seclusion. Right here, he thought, was an opportunity to begin once more to construct his personal rus in urbe.

O’Donnell and his spouse, Judith Byrne, a advertising director for Dulux, reached this determination after a fruitless property trawl. “Secondhand” homes in want of rejuvenation had no attraction. “I’d stroll in, dimension up the failings and realise they didn’t make financial sense,” says O’Donnell, whose first job was with Foster + Companions in London. This plot of land, although, on the finish of a companionable, postwar cul-de-sac, was a discover. “There have been positively simpler choices,” he says, “however I knew I might make it work. You want to be a bit mad to construct your individual home. Should you analysed each pitfall you’d by no means do it.”

Behind the sunken living room, the kitchen rises to double-level height.
Behind the sunken lounge, the kitchen rises to double-level peak. {Photograph}: Ruth Maria Murphy

The gamble paid off. “I’ve loads of alternatives to flex my design muscle tissue in my 9-5. However I needed this to be an un-shouty home that nestles softly within the streetscape,” displays O’Donnell on our Zoom tour. “We took our cue from native supplies, utilizing darkened tones.” Brick and slate with crisp, aluminium-framed home windows mix for an impact that feels totally different, however unobstrusive.

Modest first impressions proceed inside. “While you design a home, you begin with the structure and performance of every room and work backwards,” he says. By the entrance entrance, a utility room is tucked behind a secret door. The cosy comfortable leads off the hallway or “backbone” of the two-storey home. It’s on the again that the drama unfolds. Right here, O’Donnell deserted financial system, creating the light-saturated, double-height residing and cooking area. The eating space is cantilevered over the backyard. He factors out the sunken sitting room: a homage to the Dublin home of late architect Sam Stephenson. Its squashy sofas proved irresistible to the couple’s toddler, Maggie, who makes use of it as a “spectacular” play pen.


The Zettel chandelier by Ingo Maurer over the eating desk was one other indulgence. The DIY design permits you to clip no matter you want – photographs, jottings – on to the body. “Throughout lockdown, we’d write notes to one another each morning.”

Reverse, the kitchen is from a darkish veneer. A smoky-gold glass splashback bounces gentle into the east-facing area. The “altarpiece” structure, the place the island sits in entrance of floor-to-ceiling storage, is echoed within the excessive clerestory window. O’Donnell designed the glazed opening to draw the treetops inside, like a shimmering band of inexperienced in summer time.

There’s a corresponding eco aspect right here, too. Beneath the poured concrete surfaces, the underfloor heating is powered by an electrical warmth pump, hid in a shed. A pure air flow system – like a Center Jap wind tower – retains the home recent and temperate all through the seasons.

Smaller rooms are decorated in berry-red, deep blue and mallard-duck green.
Smaller rooms are embellished in berry-red, deep blue and mallard-duck inexperienced. {Photograph}: Ruth Maria Murphy

Left to his loftier beliefs, O’Donnell admits he might need designed a stark dice full with “one angular chair. Uncomfortable… however it will have photographed superbly.” However there was the “consumer”, specifically Mrs O’D, to take into account. “This wasn’t about me as architect using logic and cause to talk my imaginative and prescient, it was about constructing a home for us all. Judith made me get off my architectural excessive horse and deal with what we would have liked: a cushty, vibrant household home. Ambiance is a phrase I’m fascinated by. You possibly can’t design a home with out understanding environment, as a result of that’s what you’re in the end creating.”

The smaller rooms are painted in punchy tones – deep blue, berry-red, mallard-duck inexperienced. Every is a special color in order that, at evening, when the home is lit from inside, the rooms appear like Rothko work floating in a woodland.

Vistas dictated the intelligent design of the principle bed room, which overhangs the residing area like a minstrel’s gallery. The glazed inner wall overlooking the kitchen has automated blinds for privateness; a mirror above the mattress displays the backyard. Sensible and bucolic, it crystallises the spirit of this particular person home.

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