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32IRISH HOMES
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In the living room, the
industrial coffee table (€585,
Industry) really sets the tone.
A jumble of accessories such
as the large metal letters,
vintage birdcage, crate boxes
and old cameras achieve the
eclectic, loft-style vibe
Vanessa envisioned. These
unusual and eye-catching
things, coupled with John’s
own pieces and newlysourced objects, add
personality to the
apartment’s decor
INDUSTRIAL
RELATIONS
When it came to giving a bland
bachelor pad an injection of style
and character, Vanessa met a few
challenges: the limited budget, the
fact it was a rented property and
that the ‘bachelor’ in question was
also her boyfriend...
PHOTOGRAPHY: MAC INNES PHOTOGRAPHY
WORDS: NAOIMH WILKINS
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MAKEOVER
C
an relationships and renovations happily
mix? Designing the home of a loved one
has the potential for high stress,
arguments about paint choices and fabric
swatches, and a downright
misinterpretation of the tastes of the other. So, it takes
a braver woman than most to voluntarily revamp their
boyfriend’s pad. Interior designer Vanessa Mac Innes
did just that. “Updating John’s apartment was an
exciting challenge. The basics were there to make it
stunning, but it just lacked pizzazz. I guess it was
mutually beneficial in the end. He got a new living
space and I enjoyed spending time there more than I
had before.”
With a very limited budget of just €2,000, Vanessa
had to pull a few tried and tested tricks out of the bag.
As owner of Industry, the eclectic concept furniture
store in Dublin’s Temple Bar, where she sells a
selection of upstyled vintage pieces, statement
homewares and unusual accessories, Vanessa had the
designer edge.
The first task was to charm the landlord into
removing the current furniture, leaving Vanessa with
the clean slate she needed to achieve the New York
loft look she wanted. Next, the space was updated
with a lick of paint. “Although I like the feeling of fresh
white walls, I also felt it was important to bring
definition to the apartment by choosing key areas (the
hall, kitchen and the mezzanine wall) to paint in
complementary colours.” In choosing the paint shades,
The project
The project Revamping a
characterless apartment to give it
more personality, turning this tired
space into contemporary living
quarters
The key challenges: Creating a home
that truly reflected the dweller’s
tastes, despite it being a rented
property; furnishing an empty
apartment on a limited budget
The budget: Around €2,000
The time it took: About two weeks,
with the final bits and pieces added
over subsequent months
May 2011 » HOUSE AND home
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MAKEOVER
Vanessa took into account the flooring, tiling
and kitchen fittings that were already in place
as these couldn’t be changed. She picked
Thunderstorm, a dusty blue grey by
Colortrend, for the kitchen.
“I felt the high ceiling, open plan design and
white walls of the living room meant we could
experiment with a darker, contrasting colour in
the adjoining kitchen.” For both the hall and
mezzanine wall, a darker navy blue was
selected from the same palette.
John himself had accumulated a couple of
key pieces, such as the brown leather and
corduroy sofa, the dining table and the Eames
DSR chairs, as well as some key pieces of
artwork and the bed. This meant Vanessa
could use the budget for smaller items that
would lend the space a new look without
major financial investment. “There’s no point
in spending on items in a rental property that
might not suit a future home. Instead we took
a trip to IKEA to buy a few temporary pieces.
We went for a white shelving unit, a yellow
geometric print rug and the grey cabinet.”
Vanessa found that mixing these inexpensive
items with John’s own furniture created the
contemporary interior she was after: the
definite touches of a female designer hand in a
way that doesn’t frighten the menfolk.
The final test, of course, would be whether
or not John himself could live happily with
the results. “We were both delighted with
the comfortable, eclectic, loft style look we
achieved, especially since it was all done on
such a limited spend.” It just shows what
can be accomplished with a lick of paint,
some treasured junk and a fun approach to
interiors. «
As the kitchen is compact,
Vanessa introduced additional
storage with a freestanding
shelving unit and a wallmounted shelf for pots and
casserole dishes. The
blackboard is a quirky
addition for reminders and
shopping lists. In the
bedroom,Vanessa used this
metal pocket board (€195,
Industry) as a functional focal
point. “It’s handy for hanging
up your bag and scarf at the
end of a hard day rather than
leaving them strewn across
the bed.”
online extra
For more bold makeovers
see www.houseandhome.ie
May 2011 » HOUSE AND home
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MAKEOVER
Simple bed linen, quirky
cushions and a luxe wool
throw add texture to a
simple look
Vanessa’s advice for
nestifying your
home
» Invest in good quality key
pieces and add personality with
temporary extras that can be
replaced or added to as more
funds become available.
» If you live in a rented
property, consider elements
that can’t be changed such as
flooring and tiling when
choosing paint colours. Always
get sample pots before
committing to a colour so you
can do a test patch in advance.
» Accessories and artwork are
essential for adding interest to
plain spaces. Remember
everything doesn’t need to be
bought in one week - collect
interesting items over time.
They’ll add individuality and
uniqueness to your home.
For an interior design
consultation with Vanessa
contact her at 01 613 9111 or
[email protected]
Industry, 5 Smock Alley, Essex
St West, Cows Lane, Temple
Bar, Dublin 8,
www.industrydesign.ie.
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