Though Roisin Lafferty, creative director of Dublin, Ireland-based Kingston Lafferty Design (KLD), considers this project their most challenging to date, the end result shows no sign of its original condition. The setting of this mid-terrace, Georgian townhouse was ideal—Mountpleasant Square in Ranelagh, a leafy South Dublin city with a lovely village—the property was another story. Before the creative team could select finishes and paint colors, they had to address foundational issues. The structurally-unsound conservation project with highly restricted access had been neglected for years, which proved detrimental to its structural integrity. Extensive work was required to support the existing and proposed structures and to retain the neighboring properties.
The goal was to strip and redesign the existing circa-1817 house with a large, double-height extension and a fully landscaped garden. “The main objective for the interiors was to maximize the space and direct as much natural light as possible into the existing property,” says Lafferty. “The entire basement was reduced to improve floor-to-ceiling height and the rear garden was extensively excavated to allow for the construction of a large conservatory extension.”
Because the property is fully conservation-protected, particular care was paid to the materials and construction. “For me, it was all about retaining the original character and history. And by keeping it more traditional, it was easier to get planning permission,” says Lafferty. “The challenge was to avoid pastiche, and to achieve the right balance between contemporary and traditional.”
A sleek, new basement kitchen features reflective surfaces to counteract the north-facing orientation of the garden. The lacquered cabinetry and waterfall island are complemented by Silestone worktops. A bespoke blue pantry wall of storage with cabinets in different depths conceals the angled wall behind them. Honed-limestone tile with under-floor heating was chosen for the basement, while the original floors remain in the living room and library.
Aesthetically, the 2,200-square-foot dwelling reflects the client’s eclectic style, paying homage to the original era while maintaining modern conveniences. Among the distinctive displays are a mix of old and new plates in the kitchen and old frames artfully arranged in other rooms. “We do some restaurant design and like taking ideas from commercial spaces and bringing them into the home,” says Lafferty. “Things tend to look better in clusters; even a set of IKEA frames will look stronger than one on its own.”