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my home in one photo

'I have a passion for revamping old furniture': Sarah shares her maximalist and art-filled dining space

Sarah Twigg Doyle on choosing a strong paint colour.

EACH WEEK, WE ask a reader with a passion for interiors to share one photo of a favourite spot in their home.

London-born Sarah Twigg Doyle has lived with her husband and two children in their home in Bray since 2008. “It’s an eco-timber frame kit house by the German company Hanse Haus,” she explains, “We joke our house came off the back of a lorry!” 

This week, Sarah (@retwiggd) gave us a tour of her kitchen/dining space, complete with budget-friendly upcycled finds and original art. 

IMG_6749 Sarah Twigg Doyle Sarah Twigg Doyle

What do you love about this part of your home?

Our kitchen/dining space, like most people’s I’m sure, is the heart of our home, where we all tend to congregate. Our living spaces, whilst not huge, are all open plan, giving you a feeling of space. I love sitting at the table here in the morning with my breakfast and a cuppa, looking out into the garden, especially in summer when it’s in full bloom. The back of the house is east-facing and gets the morning sun, drenching the space in light from the patio doors.

How well does this photo reflect the rest of your home?

With the dark green walls and matching woodwork, we have been braver in this room with colour than anywhere else in the house. The Instagram effect! But the styling is very reflective of the rest of the house: quite eclectic with lots of vintage finds, upcycled furniture and plants.

Talk us through some of the objects in the photo.

So many of my favourite pieces are in this space. I have a passion for revamping old furniture and our drinks cabinet is one of the favourite upcycles, bought for only €40 in a charity shop. It’s painted in Graphite Annie Sloan chalk paint to look like ebonised wood, and I added gold paint to the feet and trim. I wallpapered the back panel in some stunning Designers Guild wallpaper picked up from a Dublin store. A beautiful print by the talented Irish artist Roisin O’Farrell sits above it.

Our art collection is hugely important to us and I’m lucky both my husband and my mum are keen amateur artists. My husband painted his interpretation of a work by Frida Kahlo that sits above our vintage sideboard as a Christmas present. 

Another bargain charity find for €10 was the standard lamp, again painted using chalk paint.

Our white Ikea dresser houses china and glassware, among other bits, plus my growing collection of vintage blue and white delft – a collection bordering on obsession according to my other half. It’s the Dutch in me, as my maternal grandfather was from the Netherlands.

How much tidying did you do before taking this photo? 

I’d love to tell you it looks like this all the time, but of course that would be a lie. Invariably the dining table is littered with the detritus of family life. Usually it builds up in to piles at the side of the table and when I’ve had enough of staring at the mess I tidy up! This photo was taken to show off the new lampshade when I received it recently, so it involved lots of faffing!

What was your inspiration when you were putting this room together? What are the most important elements to you in a room?

We redecorated it last autumn, laying new oak laminate flooring, which replaced horrible ugly orange laminate put down when the house was built. I had it in my mind to go dark on the walls and really loved the deep greens I’d seen on a few of the Instagram accounts I follow.

We decided to keep our window wall off white to keep the feeling of light in the space and I’m so glad we did as despite the darker colour, the room still feels bright. Lighting, too, is key. We have a central table pendant light on a dimmer so we can keep the light soft while we eat. Then ambient lighting from lamps creates atmosphere in the evening. 

I tend to be an interiors maximalist, filling most empty space with my collections. But that said, it’s usually with a palette of restful, calming, natural colours, such as greens, blues, soft greys, dusky pinks and warm ochres.

Do you have a spot in your home that you’re particularly proud of? Do you enjoy styling the different rooms in your house? Are you always adding and changing little things to make your space stand out? If so, we want to hear from you! Email with a few lines about yourself and your home for a chance to feature in My Home in One Photo. 

More: ‘When the sun streams in, it’s magical’: Emma shares her Hamptons-inspired kitchen on a budget>

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