This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 15 August, 2020

My place: 4 design experts on how they made their first house a home

From finally splashing out on fancy curtains to hanging family photos.

Image: Doreen Kilfeather

BARE WALLS, STRIPPED floorboards and a complete lack of furniture can make the first few weeks – or even months – in a first home feel a little strange.

When faced with a blank slate, it can be hard to imagine that you’ll ever shake the feeling that you’re camping out in someone else’s house. So how did the experts manage it?

We asked four Irish design mavens how they went about settling in to their first home, and what advice they’d offer fellow first-timers…

‘I finally unpacked all the stuff I’d accumulated’

5S3A1689 Source: John Adams/Doreen Kilfeather

Many first-time buyers struggle with the mammoth task of furnishing a new place, but not so for homewares expert John Adams, who moved into his first home twenty years ago, a “fairly modern apartment” in Chester, England.

“I’d been working for Habitat for a few years at that stage, and had accumulated quite a lot of stuff,” he recalls. “It was mostly in boxes, so it was finally a chance to ‘unpack.’”

Putting ‘stuff’ aside, John recommends starting with basics like paint colours and room layouts before moving on to large-scale changes:

Don’t rush to make any big changes, live in it for a while, look at how the light changes in each room during the day before you start taking walls down or planning extensions.

John Adams is owner of the homeware and design store Article.

‘We added to the place by degrees – and got a big comfy couch’

untitled_5of24_a7423955-a196-44a7-9880-f93964aaf975 Source: Rita Slattery

Jennifer Slattery’s home, “on a lovely road near the Phoenix Park,” has a lot of history behind it. The textile designer’s two daughters are the fifth generation to have lived on the property, built in the 1930s.

With so many family connections and hidden stories, it took a few years for Jennifer to put her own stamp on the place. “After getting married, my husband and I finally decided to invest and get some proper painters in – and we bought a big, comfy couch” she recalls.

Jennifer’s most memorable investment piece was a set of bespoke linen curtains which she says “cost a fortune, but were a purchase for life.” Her home design ethos? “I buy things that make me happy, that I can see myself having forever. I’m all for adding to your home by degrees.”

Jennifer has a design studio on Dublin’s Benburb St, plus an online store.

‘When I saw our apple tree blossoming, I knew we’d be here for the long haul’

lyon Source: Instagram/Joshua Moreno

When Joshua Moreno moved into his “tiny one-bedroom terrace house” in Dublin’s Liberties earlier this year, he was immediately drawn in by the large garden.

“As an interior stylist, as soon as I walk into a room I start moving furniture around in my head, imagining where things might fit or how I would use the space better. So I was surprised to find that the one area of the house that really helped us settle in was outside the four walls.”

Joshua now considers his garden an “extra room” to use any time the weather permits. “When we began seeing blossoms on the apple tree, we felt that we could be here for the long haul,” he says.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

Joshua is owner of the vintage clothing and homeware store Lyón Loring.

‘Funds were scarce, so I covered the walls in artwork and photos’

Jackie CARTON Source: Jackie Carton/John Cogill

Interior designer Jackie Carton had never lived outside of her family home when she and her husband moved into a newly purchased semi in south west Dublin twenty years ago.

“After a life spent in the smallest box room, I was beyond excited,” she recalls. Having sacrificed most of her decorating budget on essentials like flooring and window treatments, Jackie had to think creatively when it came to

Funds for luxury items were scarce, so to make the place feel cosy I displayed my own artwork and photos of our families on the walls. I still recommend it as a decorating tactic to my own clients now.

Jackie is owner and founder of Style My Room.

You can make your place feel like home at the touch of a button with Hive, now available in Ireland from Bord Gáis Energy. Control your heat, hot water and lighting systems easily, even when you’re out of the house. For just €299, you’ll get the Hive system, professional installation, and smartphone app, all from Bord Gáis Energy.

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

Sponsored by:

Bord Gáis Energy

Read next: