This story originally featured in The Book of Interiors Volume 2 (2005)
The three-storey redbrick state-of-the art “Tudor Victorian” style townhouse is situated in the former paddock of a long demolished Georgian manor house in Blackrock, Co. Dublin. It was designed by McGrane & Partners. Paschal O’Reilly of Renaissance Interiors was subsequently recruited to lend his inimitable flair to the interior.
The house is accessed through a front door, bordered by Japanese ligustrum sentries. The oakwood door opens directly onto a sleek white marble floor. A silver frame Elba mirror and rare Harrison & Gill scroll chair, both sourced by Renaissance Interiors, lend an immediate sense of French sophistication to the hall. To the right, an oak staircase wends its way up to the first and second floor bedrooms. The dining room lies directly ahead and to the left is the drawing room, a voluminous comfort zone set around an English Tudor sandstone fireplace installed by Ballymount Fireplaces. A contemporary montage mirror hangs opposite a hypnotic triptych of St. Kevin’s Sanctuary by Enniskillen photographer Pip Sides. A large three-seater sofa, designed by Renaissance, is covered in Bourdelle java from the Musee du Tissu collection; a two-seater and wing chair are covered in Rayure Parchment from the same collection. “Louvre Java” drawing room curtains frame the bay windows, the exterior of which is accentuated by jutting granite sills.
The French-pleated drawing room curtains are echoed on the French windows in the dining room next-door. Likewise the solid dark walnut coffee table by Theodore Alexander in the drawing room is effectively a smaller version of the dining table. The dining chairs are covered in fabric from the Musee du Tissu while a series of decoupage glass and bronze table lamps by Theodore Alexander are discreetly arranged around the room.
The French windows open onto a salient garden that has lately sprung up to the rear of the property. Under the direction of Fintan Gilman, Naas landscapers “Down to Earth” (087-6167918) have perfectly illustrated how a relatively small space can be converted into a mini-utopia. A full moon shaped grass lawn floats upon a sea of pebbles, interspersed with the flotsam of Chinese granite rock, quartzite paving and Indian sandstone. Banksia roses, red robins, agapanthus and golden bamboos encircle the entirety. A wall the rugged red of an Arizona sunset runs down one side of the garden, its theatrical effect accentuated by three concave mirrors inserted within. It might stretch the imagination but when the sun shines in a garden like this, you could be forgiven for expecting a tropical micro-climate to take permanent root.
The garden is beheld through large Norwegian sash windows from the kitchen. Designed by Michelle Burnett, the kitchen is fresh, inspiring and state-of-the art. The room is equipped with Neff oven, double bowl sink, brushed steel coffee machine and ivory fantasy granite déBros worktops. The windows are surmounted by Roman blinds of Bourdelle Java from the Musee de Tissu range. The floor is composed of Crema Marfil tiles supplied by Rocca Stone & Marble Ltd.
An Ulster velvet carpet, the colour of natural linen, rises up to the first floor bedrooms. Andrew Martin supplied the fabrics for the striped curtains, chequered bedspreads and ebony velvet headboards. The children’s bedroom is made all the more buoyant by floral curtains, again from Andrew Martin, and white latticework at the head and foot of the bed. The master bedroom is located in the exceedingly generous Attic. Designed by O’Reilly, a solid mahogany Italian bed is draped in a lush throw from acclaimed French upholsterers Casamance and trimmed with glass beads. Casamance also supplied the pure silk curtains and sumptuous Oriental Gold wide stripe wallpaper. The latter compliments the unobtrusive monochromatic Farrow cream paint running through the rest of the house and is well suited to the clean lines of a modern home. Wardrobes in cream, cherry and ebony colour were supplied by Cawleys while Renaissance designed the Italian oval drawer chests.
The bathrooms were a collaborative design by O’Reilly and Burnett. Decorated with Romanesque friezes, these deeply inviting rooms feature a variety of travertine stone and Emperador marble tiles by Rocca and excellent Piedmont Dual Bath cast iron bathtubs from Eurobath. The master bedroom features a Jacuzzi and multi-jet shower of a velocity that would impress even the haughtiest of hippopotami.
Grove Paddock is a remarkably radiant house, made the more so by its high white ceilings and O’Reilly’s fondness for round windows and reflective oval mirrors. The design simultaneously boasts a panther like sleekness; even the panel and flush oak doors are polished so smooth a toddler could roll its cheeks down them without fear of splinter. And yet O’Reilly has been sensitive to the potential pitfalls of ultra-modernity. Surround sound speaker systems and C5 cabling might seem absurdly outdated in ten years time. To counteract such perils, he has incorporated traditional bedrocks like sandstone fireplaces and cast iron bathtubs as major features. Supported by a comprehensive team of carpenters, designers and fabric specialists, Renaissance Interiors are now perfectly poised to market themselves as one of Ireland’s foremost one-stop shop for interior design.
Photographs: Paul Sherwood
Words: Turtle Bunbury
Designer: Renaissance Interiors
Contact: Paschal O’Reilly (01) 458 7373