Transforming a Victorian terrace
A Victorian terraced house in Ranelagh, Dublin 6 which was purchased in the summer of 2016 has taken on a new life of its own thanks to the creative eye of interior designer Ruth Noble of Ruth Noble Interiors.
Here, Ms Noble talks to us about this breathtaking property as well as the client giving their input.
“The client had lived abroad and had returned to Dublin. Requiring the input of an interior designer from the early stage, the client contacted Ruth Noble Interiors under recommendation from a contact in London who had made the referral. I engaged with the client on the project from conception of the schemes right through to completion of the project,” said Ruth Noble.
“When we first met at the property in August 2016, the home was in a suitable state to occupy but the client had intentions to refurbish the property and would engage with an architect to plan the renovation and explore the possibilities for the property.
“The client outlined her requirements for the house as a forever home and was very open to how we should approach the interior refurbishment of the interior spaces. The client was very open to the use of colour/texture. Working with the existing spaces; we put a plan in place to establish the use for each area and space within the home. The client had the benefit of living in the house before the renovations commenced so she could get a sense of her daily routines and where she liked to sit in the house/watch tv/relax and read,” enthused Ms Noble.
From the off, the client alongside Ms Noble had decided that the kitchen was going to be reconfigured and designed as well as including more storage in the house as the property was crying out for that whilst maximising the use of the spaces so as they would work well and look aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
“Being a Victorian home, we wanted to respect the integrity of the property, restoring original features and incorporating unusual pieces such as light fittings and fixtures which aligned with the client’s tastes and preferences and were to a high specification. We also wanted to incorporate some more contemporary and bespoke pieces to set the home apart from other similar properties,” she enthused.
The client had owned and lived in other properties which she had refurbished so was open to being adventurous when it came to the design of the spaces. She also required the property to be a comfortable welcoming space in which to live and entertain.
Ms Noble carefully collated and presented the house room by room to the client in 2016 before work began on the property. She worked up budget costings for the items as specified.
From there they got to work on developing the designs and specification for the kitchen layout and aesthetics as well as the storage and cabinetry in each room in the property. “We specified the sockets and switches, hardware as well as the flooring throughout, the tiling and sanitary-ware, fittings in the bathrooms. We designed and specified the furniture and window dressings, specifying all fabrics, textures and finishes. Sourcing all items relevant to the schemes,” explained Ruth.
“I proposed a plan, each room had a purpose. The front living room for entertaining and relaxing. The central room, which would traditionally be allocated as a dining room space in these properties, would be designed as a study/library space, offering a clear purpose for this room. I designed and specified the book shelves and cabinetry for this room as well as the new lead/coloured glass window above the double doors.
“The window design for this stained glass window sat in context to the schemes and aesthetic throughout the property. The dining area would be located in the large kitchen space which would be created with the reconfiguration of the kitchen space. The architect proposed a ceiling light in the kitchen space and the introduction of two sash windows to the side of the property to introduce additional light in to the kitchen space,” continued Ms Noble.
The existing small back door and sash window were removed and replaced with a large sliding door streaming additional light in to the kitchen and opening the space up entirely. The team created a seating area in the kitchen and the removal of the supporting pillar in the kitchen meant the whole space could be opened up for us to create a far more functional and versatile kitchen space, incorporating a functional island space with hob and downdraught extraction.
“I specified the kitchen design, cabinetry, counter-top, hardware and dresser. I designed the kitchen table for this space and specified the furniture and flooring as well as the lights and window dressings. The large format tiles which I specified offered a greater feeling of space in the already large kitchen space. We incorporated downlighters, pendant lighting and wall lighting in the kitchen and specified the fittings,” she imparted.
The downstairs bathroom was made larger by reclaiming space from under the stairs and new panelling incorporated the addition of a cleverly concealed door. We specified wallpaper and a flush feature light fitting in this space as well as over counter sink and vanity area.
Upstairs, the bedroom on the return staircase would be utilised as a second guest bedroom but also an additional sitting area where the owner and guests could relax.
“We specified a plush velvet sofa bed for this space and designed panelling with concealed storage for sheets, hanging clothes and storage of items which are not generally in use. We also incorporated a separate closet for coats in the entrance area of this room; shelving, mirrors and occasional furniture were incorporated in to this space.
“What was previously a boxy office space and small family bathroom was opened up to become one large bright bathroom with two windows, flooding natural light in to the space. We were able to incorporate both a large shower space and a bath in to the main bathroom,” explained Ruth.
In the first Guest bedroom on the first floor, Ruth designed wall to wall wardrobe storage, adding shoe storage to the recess left of the fireplace and wardrobes that wrapped around the wall to the right of the fireplace. The master bedroom has two large sash windows which stream beautiful natural light in to the space. What had been a small en-suite and separate walk in wardrobe was reconfigured by the architect to become one large en-suite bathroom with a roof light/skylight, shedding natural light in to the space. She designed a vanity storage for this space and a far more suitable wardrobe space to sit in with the scheme for this Master bedroom.
The entire property was re-insulated and new sash windows installed. The lighting and the electrics were upgraded throughout and Ruth specified the antique brass sockets and switches as well as the new hardware to the refurbished original internal doors.
“I scheduled days in the early stages of the project during which I would meet with the client in particular showrooms to allow us to view a range of collections relevant to the items we had included in the interior specification for the property at the presentation stages of the project. This allowed me to show tiles or worktops etc in larger pieces and in context to her project,” explained Ms Noble.
“These showroom visits were really beneficial as it allowed her to visualise how the key items in each room would look in her house. It also allowed me to obtain a further sense of the aesthetics and quality which the client was drawn to or disliked. It also allowed me to obtain an outline of current technologies and advancements when it came to specifying appliances and the worktop; we specified a Dekton kitchen worktop,” she added.
“We specified a combination of finishes and textures throughout the property from the polished brass fittings on the new timber sash windows and internal door handles to the refurbished internal doors through to the antique brass finish sockets and switches. The hardware to the kitchen cabinets and wardrobes is a bronze finish as are the finish of the wall and the ceiling light fittings in the kitchen. The base of the kitchen dining table is steel, the table top is a stained oak. The sideboard is steel with brass handles and a vertical linear detail to the door,” revealed Ms Noble.
There is timber engineered wide plank oak flooring through the hallway and in to the two reception rooms and it has created a warm inviting feeling to the home and it allowed Ruth to introduce texture with the introduction of wool rugs and colourful, textured fabrics within the living rooms. The large format porcelain tile in the kitchen added another finish to compliment the painted kitchen and the Dekton worktop and back splash to the kitchen island, counter top and back splash
The ceiling light fittings to the entrance hallway, landing and the bedrooms are brass finish and antique brass finish. The elements and details of brass and antique brass which are also visible in the legs and detail of some of the furniture carries through each room in the property to offer continuity as you move from space to space.
The velvet fabric to the upholstery and embroidered linen fabric to the window dressings introduced further texture and detail to the interiors.
“Lighting was a key element in the interior specification of this project and led to an outcome which we were pleased with. The architect added a great deal of natural light to the kitchen area with the introduction of a roof light and the two sash windows to the side wall, the large sliding door to the back as well as a new Velux window in the en suite bathroom,,’ said Ruth Noble.
“Although it is a relatively bright property to begin with; with two sash windows to the front master bedroom, windows in the main bathroom and a great deal of natural light in the new kitchen space; it was important that we specified functional lighting which was suited to the purpose of each room. Recessed downlighters to the kitchen area, pendant lighting over island and feature pendant lights on dimmers to the hallway, landing reception rooms and bedrooms. Floor and table lamps allowed for lower level, functional lighting which create atmosphere and ambiance in the evenings. Over counter lighting is incorporated in to the upper level kitchen cabinets to shine light down on the Dekton back splash. Pendant lighting is on dimmers and free standing/table lamps/bedside lamps on 5 amp switches,” she added.
“The home is now comfortable and welcoming with an individual and unique style. Each room and space has a purpose and a function. The bespoke shelving, cabinetry and wardrobes were designed to sit within the space. The shelving and wardrobes maximise the storage within the property while remaining aesthetically pleasing. Rather than being overly led by trends, the design of each room was considered to ensure functionality, comfort and complete spaces which are inviting and encourage the use of the space
“My favourite room is the study/library area. What would have traditionally been the dining room within these homes and probably less used these days, will be utilised as a comfortable area to relax/curl up for a peaceful read,” enthused Ruth.
“The objective was to create comfortable, inviting spaces that had purpose and function for day to day living but were also designed to lend a certain level of individuality to the home.
While elements of the design are quite classic, we have incorporated some unusual and unique pieces which would be less expected and a little more interesting than the standard fittings. Textures to the velvet upholstery offer a feeling of luxury and quality,” concluded Ruth Noble.
To make the house function well for day to day living, everything has a place in this property which means that it now functions very well. Considered lighting and placement of mirrors means the ambiance and atmosphere can be adjusted easily when entertaining or carrying out tasks within the home.
The contractors started work on the project 2017 and the project was completed in November 2017. The property was insulated and all sash windows replaced with new double glazed painted timber sash windows.
The wide plank engineered oak floors were oiled. Ruth also replaced panelling under the sills of the windows & on the wall beneath the stairs. The architect created a design for a concealed door beneath the stairs which the contractor produced and finished perfectly .
“I bought an old house shortly after returning from the UK in 2016, and from the outset, I wanted to renovate and put my own mark on it. The sheer number of decisions that needed to be made was overwhelming and after being out of Ireland for so long, I really didn’t know where to source anything,” said the home owner.
“A mutual friend introduced me to Ruth, and amongst the hundreds of decisions I had to make during the renovation, the decision to engage Ruth stands out as the best decision I made.
“Ruth removed all the stress from the project. Although the same amount of choices needed to be made, they were now being made in a logical sequence and taking the whole project into consideration. Ruth encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone on many occasions and many of my favourite things in my new home are things I never would have chosen without Ruth.
Ruth was also great at respecting the budget we had agreed on. If we wanted to push the boat out on one aspect, we would always look to where we could economise on other items. It was a great partnership and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.. I would definitely recommend Ruth to friends and family. It really was great fun to work with Ruth and her team and the outcome has exceeded all of my expectations,” added the homeowner.