The bold and the beautiful is what makes this house a home

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The Bold And The Beautiful Is What Makes This House A Home The Bold And The Beautiful Is What Makes This House A Home
Kathleen Lonergan documents her lavish decor on Instagram houseofklaximalism. Photo: Arther De Urbanic. Styling: Sophie McKenna
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Ornate, opulent and eclectic are just three words you could use to describe Kathleen Lonergan’s west Dublin period home. The Facebook employee, her husband David and their “diva” dog Woolly moved in nearly three years ago, having bought the house in July 2018.

Although the property was structurally sound, the couple decided to undertake an extensive renovation at the back of the house to transform the functionality and aesthetic of the downstairs space.

Having lived in the property for a couple of months before the works commenced, Kathleen says being in situ allowed them to fully establish what they wanted.

“It helped us understand how the sun moved around the garden and where we would want our living space to be and how we wanted to design it as well,” Kathleen says. They worked with architect Antóin Doyle, who approached the project from an engineering and construction perspective and “not just lots of ideas”, to create a streamlined, light-filled extension that reflects the couple’s love of nature and being outdoors.

“He focused on what would be possible, not just what would be amazing to do,” Kathleen explains. “He was so conscious of the site we have and the aspect of the garden. Even in winter time in the den area off the kitchen you can just feel like you’re outside, even when it’s lashing rain and two degrees.”

As the house had been painted white just before they moved in, she says the blank canvas helped them to see what the rooms looked like at different times of the day, which in turn dictated their new colour palette accordingly.

Remaining in the house while the renovation took place (they initially thought it would take six months to complete), Kathleen describes the process of living and working there during the renovation as “really tough”, especially because they had no kitchen for most of the time.

“At one stage we had all the windows gone at the front of the house, the entire back of the house was a building site and I was in one room trying to work and make sure my dog didn’t run out into the middle of the road,” she laughs.

When the work was completed in November 2019, Kathleen was finally able to put her own stamp on the house and embrace her love of bold interiors.

“If I look at the evolution of my taste journey, with this one it’s very different,” she muses. With the couple now in their third home, Kathleen is sure of what she likes and confident in her tastes; those preferences, she says, were honed at her mother’s knee.

“One of my inspirations would have to be my mother, who passed away in 2008. She had a love for antiques, textiles, bold wallpaper patterns and ceramics, and she was very confident in her style. So I guess this is probably where I get my love of antiques and vintage shopping from.”

As a self-described maximalist, Kathleen’s love of the bold and beautiful can be seen throughout the interiors in her home. It is her use of dramatic paint colours and patterned wallpaper, and also her careful eye for antiques and judicious sprinkling of contemporary furnishings, that help to make this house a home.

When it came to creating her eye-catching interiors, she used patterned wallpaper as her starting point, to create décor that “brings a smile to your face. That’s really, really important to me. It’s all stuff that I really love.”

Kathleen has played to the house’s strengths; in the original interconnecting drawing and dining rooms, she’s used the deep, aquatic tones of Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue on walls and woodwork as well as wallpaper by Divine Savages to play to the available light and proportions. It’s bold, and it works.

“It’s everything I wouldn’t have done 10 years ago. There are jaguars on the wallpaper, there are oriental pieces in there, there’s a blush pink marble table that took me about a year to decide upon. It’s a really important room to me. It’s got animal stuff, the dark hues I love, the natural stone and a lot of brass touches as well and a lot of sentimental pieces in terms of antiques and ceramics passed down from my mum.”

By contrast, in the large, bright, open-plan kitchen diner, the look resonates with pattern, print and colour too – including a dramatic quartz countertop – but in softer pink and green tones that really suit the space.

And while Kathleen is content with the look she’s achieved so far, this keen antique hunter believes the space will continue to develop over time. “My home is definitely going to be an evolving home. If I see something that I really love and I can afford it, I’ll get it. Mixing colours, patterns and textures, that doesn’t bother me at all. I’ll always find somewhere to put something.”

It will come as no surprise to find that there is a phase two of this home renovation in the works. Kathleen and her husband are currently planning an upstairs renovation, which will consist of an extensive bedroom suite featuring a luxury bathroom, bedroom, dressing-room and powder-room, and a similar suite for guests in an attic conversion. They also plan to work in a couple of smaller bedrooms that can double up as office spaces.

For a house to be a true home, it has to perform, so the couple wants to create a home that has form and function. “We’re going to make more space for what we need,” Kathleen says. “There’s only the two of us here so we want to make sure the space is working for us.”


Whether you’re buying one or making one Welcome Home, talk to Bank of Ireland about Home Improvement loans today

*Lending criteria, terms and conditions apply. Over 18s only. Bank of Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

*Participant has received a gratuity for the creation of this content.

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