Joanne Kelly’s customers said from the beginning they wanted a unique and unique home — one which strayed far in the all-beige insides, leather sofas and bamboo furniture which has been common in their leafy Irish suburb. “They talked a lot about needing a home that felt creative and inspiring. Although their home blends nicely from the outside, it couldn’t be more different as soon as you walk through the door,” says Kelly.
But before getting to the interesting part of sourcing artwork, mixing old decor with fresh and swathing the walls with bold paint and wallpaper, Kelly faced the challenge of working around and retaining the existing kitchen cabinetry, bathroom tiles and flooring. “The style of the bathroom and kitchen tiles wouldn’t have been my first choice — nor my customers’,” Kelly says, “but we needed to follow their funding and work with what we needed.”
in a Glance
Who lives here: A professional couple in their early 30s
Location: County Kildare, Ireland
Size: 1,055 square feet
Many people state their kitchen works the hardest for their family. However, Kelly’s customers max out their streamlined living room’s flexibility. The space hosts get-togethers with buddies and sitcom watching about the laptop, and even offers his-and-hers reading nooks by each one of the two windows (one is pictured here with all the green arm chair and ottoman).
The stairs, typically located in the very front of a home, run through the center of this one.
Kelly’s customers also work in style, and they love her whimsical take on the traditional coatrack. “A panel of cast iron hooks just wouldn’t work for them. They really wanted me to expand the quirk factor down to the last detail,” she says.
Runner: TC Matthews Carpets; coatrack: Swedese
Lime-green vinyl wallpaper and a rug using protruding circular dots add feel to the living room.
Sofa, armchair: Duff Tisdall; java table: Home Couture; wallpaper: Siam, Casamance; artwork: “Pink Polish,” by Jasper Goodall, A New Space; carpeting: Toppissimo, Nani Marquina
“I also love my client was so open to using very powerful colors and bold art in their primary living space. This is a supercozy area in winter, with its open fireplace, and relaxing and cool in the summertime,” says Kelly.
The next reading corner sits across from the principal sofa in a coveted spot between the fireplace and the window.
The designer placed the quiet star of the room — a midcentury teak sideboard — by a Scandinavian chair and ottoman. “It’s such a typical piece, because typically sideboards from this era are a little deeper in color, and they do not have metal legs, and that’s what attracted me to it,” says Kelly.
Sideboard: Wild Child Originals; armchair, ottoman: Swedese; side table: Kartell
Kelly tweaked the Shaker-style kitchen cabinetry by substituting the large wooden knobs with chrome pieces. The knobs and the stainless steel appliances — as well as the lime-green kitchen carpet which reproduces the retro color of the living room — lend the country-style kitchen a more contemporary look.
Dimensions: artificial stone
More about choosing hardware for Shaker cabinets
The home’s location, in a very suburban, family-oriented area of understated homes, pushed the designer and her customers to go bold with accent-wall colors and artwork. The customers’ very own collection of contemporary art and mixed media aided. This digital print of Charlie Chaplin using a graffiti background gives the room a lively edge.
Dining table chairs: Pedrali; tabletop: habit by Joanne Kelly; window remedies: Blind Style; pendant light: Secto Design; wall mounted paint: Pinot, Color Trend
Kelly filled a lonely landing corner with an upcycled tallboy in the secondhand furniture store. A colleague stripped it down and refinished it, keeping the original handles and incorporating artwork she discovered on the internet to the drawers.
“It adds this element of surprise and makes turning that corner which much more fun,” says Kelly.
Repeated prints of white feathers on a teal background take center stage from the master bedroom. “Normally clients need some convincing when it comes to really graphic, adventurous wallpaper. However, my customers were drawn to the wallpaper as soon as I revealed it to them,” says Kelly.
Wallpaper: Ferm Living; Chair: habit; sideboards: Ikea; pendant light: Le Klint; carpeting: TC Matthews Carpets; bedside lamps: Business
Personalized Ikea side tables using painted drawer fronts add cheerful citrine splashes.
A mirror doubles the impact of a bold wallpapered accent wall in the toilet, distracting in the older wall and floor tiles.
“My clients commute into town proper, so at the end of the day, they actually enjoy relaxing in the bathroom. I’m glad that we were able to revamp the room only with the addition of a wallpaper which adds a great deal of punch. And we remained within budget,” she says.
Wallpaper: Alice, Mini Moderns; wall paint: Chinese Slate, Color Trend; floor and wall tiles: existing