Creativity and a colour pop combine for a living room transformation

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Creativity And A Colour Pop Combine For A Living Room Transformation Creativity And A Colour Pop Combine For A Living Room Transformation
‘It’s all sustainable, that’s what really excited me about it. The scatter cushions and the back cushions are recycled polyfibres, made from plastic bottles,’ Condon says of her Farnham sofa and footstool from the new Grand Designs collection, exclusively at DFS. Photographs: Philip Lauterbach. Styling: Sophie McKenna
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When it comes to revamping and reimagining spaces, furniture artist and colour creative Joanne Condon is a dab hand at upcycling unloved or forgotten pieces to give them – and the rooms they’re in – a new lease of life.

In her own home, a self-build in the rolling Tipperary countryside which she shares with her husband, Vinny, (not to mention their four chickens, Ann, Catherine, Helen and Cornflakes) she is no stranger to transforming her interiors with projects that showcase her skill for sustainable DIY and bold, bright palettes.

For her latest endeavour, Condon set about updating an area of her large kitchen-diner that had never really worked for her – the living space. She felt it hadn’t functioned the way she wanted it to, despite her previous attempts.

“Originally I had a three-seater and a two-seater couch, and then I changed it to a three-seater and put in an armchair, but it never functioned right. I couldn’t get it to work properly,” she says.

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With the living, dining and kitchen area as one large open-plan, Condon knew she needed to create a cohesive scheme. For this lover of bold shades and eclectic flourishes, though, the backdrop is always white.

“A white wall opens up a room, it’s really fresh and then you can have as much fun as you want with your furniture and your soft furnishings to really make it your own that way,” she says. “A white backdrop gives you so much freedom to change things.”

This is the shade that ties these large interconnecting spaces together, with Condon’s skill with colour ensuring that all her bright, tonal accents pop – and work. In the living room area, she’s created a contemporary, fun palette of mustard, coral and pink, which segues perfectly with the rest of the spaces.

Her scheme was informed primarily by the shade of the sofa she picked: a three-seater Farnham sofa from the DFS Grand Designs collection with left-hand facing chaise and footstool in mustard velvet.

“I always look at fabric first and work around it,” she explains. “The mustard velvet is so rich – it’s lighter in the morning and richer at night – and that was my base colour.”

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‘The position of the couch works so well for the room – it maximises seating space while keeping the space feeling open and inviting.’ Joanne Condon says of her delight at finally getting her open plan living room scheme just right.

Palette picked, Condon then decluttered the room, removing the existing furniture and an old dresser, and planned out a functional and fun new way to use this area. She created a piece of bespoke art to hang above the stove, and built in cabinetry to house the television.

On one wall she has also created a vertical, interior garden of succulents in colourful pots, which she cast herself. “It brings new life to the space without the clutter,” she says. Condon also reimagined the hearth area by adding on-trend hexagon tiles, an intricate shape that even professional tilers can be wary of, but she loves the “struggle”.

“I’m big into pink, so there’s a lovely blush pink tone in the tiling,” she says of her choice. “Then I added a terracotta tone in small little areas. I love playing with colour in that sense.”

On one wall Condon has created a vertical interior garden of succulents in colourful pots she cast herself

Condon encourages everyone to get busy with DIY projects. Her advice to a novice who wants to embark on a similar make-over in their home is simple. “Take your time,” she says. “Once you know the key steps to upcycling, there’s really nothing you can’t do.

“If it goes wrong you can always sand it back and start again, and with that extra bit of time the pressure’s not there. I hate when people say, ‘I want to get it done today’, because it’s not enjoyable if you’re rushing.”

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She also says that doing it yourself can be more rewarding in the long run. “It’s so satisfying to see something you might have considered getting rid of before, and just changing it, giving it a whole new lease of life – and maybe a different function as well.

“I feel like it becomes your prized possession in your home because you had a part in making it the way it is now. You can paint it any colour you want, or you can get a little bit more creative by putting wallpaper on it. You can really customise to your own tastes.”

The sustainable sofa

The star of the show in Condon’s new scheme is the standout Farnham sofa from the Grand Designs collection at DFS, along with the matching footstool.

It has helped to transform the open-plan living area. “We were limited with where we could put a couch, and it is absolutely perfect in the space – the seats are really generous and the chaise end keeps the space feeling open and inviting,” she explains.

Condon also loves that it has been made sustainably, something that is at the heart of her passion for upcycling. “It’s all sustainable, that’s what really excited me about it. The scatter cushions and the back cushions for the seats are recycled polyfibres, made from plastic bottles,” she says. In fact, there are about 200 recycled plastic bottles used in each seat cushion.

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“Everything has been carefully thought about with this range, and you don’t have to compromise on the style or comfort either. You’d have no idea that it is plastic bottles and recycled polyester yarn in the velvet.”

That’s not all: the pieces feature hand-made frames crafted from sustainable FSC timber, 100 per cent recyclable springs, and come in recyclable packaging. There are four sofa ranges, Kent, Edinburgh, Tenby and Farnham, as well as the stylish accent chair, the Padstowe. Each piece is available in a choice of three fabrics and eight colours, from chic neutrals such as mink and light grey, through to the rich tones of mustard and terracotta.

Since the transformation of the space, Condon says she and her husband use it so much more and look forward to spending their time there.

“I’ve decorated it in my mind so many times over the last few years. We had the TV over the fireplace before and now we’ve moved it down. The position of the couch works so well, so it’s a bit of a relief that I finally have it sorted,” she says. “It’s the most comfortable couch as well. When I see it, I just want to jump into it.”

DFS has been making furniture for over five decades. With every sofa handmade, and a design to suit every home, DFS is Europe’s largest sofa expert. DFS has stores in Blanchardstown Retail Park and Carrickmines in Dublin; City Gate, Mahon, Cork; Ballysimon Road, Limerick; and Well Park Retail Park, Galway, and delivers nationwide.

Discover the Farnham sofa from the Grand Designs collection at DFS stores and online at www.dfs.ie

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