Home Property Features From Engineering to Interior Design

From Engineering to Interior Design


Emma Kelly talks about designing in Cork

Cork native Emma Kelly spent many years working as an engineer though she always harboured a passion for design and also trained as an interior designer. With a growing young family, like many, she found the rigorous demands and inflexible work structure of a corporate career in the Technology sector difficult to balance with family life so decided to follow her passion and set up her own design practice, EKDesign,  in a bid to create a better work life balance.

She recently completed design of this show house in Kerry Pike, Cork for the O’Flynn Group. She has subsequently worked on a number of houses sold within the development and continues to grow her portfolio with a number of private residential and some commercial projects in the Cork area since.

“The Clonlara scheme in Kerry Pike was launched in late 2017 to an eager Cork market and was very well received. I had a connection to the O’Flynn Group through my engineering back ground and had meet and proposed my design concept to them in early 2017. Luckily, they liked my pitch, they were great to work with and gave me full creative freedom. The project was delivered on schedule and on budget,” said Emma Kelly.

Clonlara is a high quality development of 144 houses offering a range of modern and efficient detached, semi-detached and terraced homes laid out in attractive avenues and cul de sacs situated in the picturesque village of Kerry Pike in the north west outskirts of Cork city. The area offers both town and country living and is extremely accessible to the City and Ballincollig.

The spectacular Lee Valley and River Shournagh are immediately south and Tower/Blarney with all there amenities are close by.

Kerry Pike is considered one of the finest locations on the west side of Cork city for family homes benefiting from a range of amenities in the surrounding area including national schools, secondary schools, bars, restaurants, banks, shops and all only minutes away. The quality of the architecturally designed modern A rated homes laid out over two floors with beautifully landscaped environment ensures that Clonlara is great place to live. 

“I tend to draw a lot of inspiration from my environment and nature, I am an outdoors type, I live in the beautiful seaside town of Kinsale, a lot of the colours I see daily blues, greens and earthy colours feature strongly in the house. These are calming, cocooning and restful colours which in turn lead to restful, sanctuary like spaces,’’ explained Ms Kelly.

“I am also a big fan of Danish design and wanted to create a cosy home.  I used lots of natural organic materials and textures layered to add depth and character to the individual spaces. Painted wood panelling and limed wood floors, wool carpets and contemporary weave patterned rugs, sheepskins, leather, marble tiles and metallic accents are all a nod to Danish design though all materials were sourced in Ireland,” she enthused.

“Carrying these tones, textures and finishes from one space to another within the house creates cohesion and a sense of flow within the house.

‘The budgets for showhouses can be tight and can be tricky to manage so you have to be creative without compromising on design. I had very little budget left for artwork so I sourced a few abstract pieces from the Cork based Danish chain Sostrene Greene, though inexpensive they worked well with the overall design concept and looked the part,” explained Emma.

“I also sourced some pieces through local art galleries from Irish artists and makers to help root the house in it’s Irish country surrounds. I made a beautiful faux floral swing as an unusual feature in a bedroom designed for a little girl. Small quirky touches and details can make all the difference when it comes to lifting a design and it’s always nice to add touches that are unexpected and a little out of the ordinary,” said Emma.

“I enjoyed working on this project and overcoming the challenges faced along the way to create a design to fit the brief with a little extra, I hope!. As this is a large development with phased launches, I have just commenced design concept for a new house type within this scheme featuring a landscaped internal courtyard so this should be an interesting project. I am currently working on concept mood boards, sketches and sample selections for same for input to CGI graphic design mock up for an early April launch date,” concluded Emma Kelly.