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Dublin: 7°C Monday 6 December 2021

'Totally transformed': 4 incredible before-and-after shots from home makeovers around Ireland

From a drab kitchen turned fab living room, to a downstairs loo that’s no longer overlooked.

WHEN YOU LOOK at your home, can you immediately envision what your dream space would look like? 

Interior designers – the good ones, at least – have the gift of being able to look at a dreary or dilapidated space and see the good that can come of it. While we often see the result of their vision, we don’t always see the starting point. 

I asked four interior designers to share with us their favourite before-and-after transformations, some in their own homes and others where they were able to create a space that better reflected the owner’s style. 

They walked us through the design decisions that resulted in some seriously striking transformations, and we might just learn a trick or two to help transform our own sad WC or depressing entryway. 

1. Carla Benedetti of Carla Benedetti Interior Design

The transformation: A drab Monkstown kitchen turns into a light-filled sitting room 

carla before side by side

Carla Benedetti’s favourite transformation was in her own home in Monkstown, she said, “This was originally the stables of Glandore House, which was built in 1850. It had been rented before we purchased it, but we had plans to gut it from the outset.”

Benedetti set about transforming the entire home, which included swapping rooms. “The house was completely transformed,” she said.

This room was originally a kitchen with a blocked-up chimney but now as the sitting room, it’s very restful with natural light from both sides and is especially lovely with the fire lit.

2. Eilish Rickard of Eilish Rickard Interiors

The transformation: An overlooked downstairs loo in a busy Dublin home gets a stylish revamp

eilish rickard

Interior designer Eilish Rickard chose the smallest room in the house as her favourite transformation. The space needed extending and a full renovation, she explained, “This was a busy family home in Dublin with four teenage children.” 

Rickard wanted to give as much thought to the rooms that often get overlooked and to not just concentrate on the big home projects. “Even the smallest room in the house can deliver on character and style,” she said, “A WC shouldn’t be an afterthought.”

The downstairs loo can often be a bland box room with no personality, so injecting some was high on Rickard’s list of priorities.

Panelling the walls and the ceiling instantly gave the room the character and texture it needed to make it look as important as any other room in the house. An oversized piece of abstract art gave the colour, and the hints of brass added to the sense of luxury. I sourced graphic cement tiles for the floor to add a bit of fun.

3. Geri O’Toole Glynn of Geri Designs

The transformation: A Limerick City living room goes from bland and boring to stately and fresh

geri rickard side by side

Geri O’Toole Glynn’s favourite transformation is in a house in Limerick City. “I was approached by new clients to work on their new home away from home, a period semi-detached property in the centre of Limerick City,” she said.

Glynn used colour to immediately change the feeling in the room and set a different mood: “I used white to make the coffered ceiling crisp and clean, and then painted the walls in a lovely rich green that gave the space warmth and depth.”

With calming colours, the soft furnishings had a huge impact on the overall design:

The layers with the roman blinds, the linen fabric on the sofa and the softness on the rug all warmed the space up and were carefully considered to look natural and easy.

Living spaces are often the first rooms that people think of when updating their homes, and Geri always starts with what will be the focal point. She recommends,“Start with the biggest piece of the room and work back from that point to make everything else around it create the warmth and comfort you want in your living room.”

Elaine Verdon of Leo + Cici

The transformation: A hallway in a Dublin period home gets a major maximalist decor boost

elaine verdon side by side

Elaine Verdon’s favourite room transformation was in a house in Dublin. She explained, “This was a family period home that had undergone a large renovation a few years previously and minimal decoration had been done once finished.”

Elaine is a firm believer in making your home represent you from the moment you walk in the front door. She said:

Every time my client walked into her house, she felt a bit sad with the previous decor. She’s highly creative and far from beige, yet the hallway didn’t reflect her personal style it all.

Elaine’s solution was to “inject some ‘joyful maximalism’ into her home and ban the beige,” she said, “Your home should make you joyful, so having a hallway design that made my client happy on her return home was really important.”

More: 5 designers share the investment pieces they’re glad they bought – and the ones they really regret

About the author:

Jennifer Stevens

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