Tuesday 6 December 2016

Interiors: A feast for the eyes

A home as creative and quirky as its owner provides inspiration for Blanaid Hennessy

Blanaid Hennessy

Published 08/01/2011 | 05:00

Sinead Bailey Kelly
Sinead Bailey Kelly

Sinead Bailey Kelly is just like her home: interesting and somewhat fearless. She's a part-time illustrator, make-up artist, photographer and a full-time barmaid in Bia Bar, Dublin 2.

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Along with friends Colm, Holly and Dean, she's used her creative talents to completely transform an apartment over a shop on Dublin's Northside into an imaginative sanctuary.

Sinead moved from Canada to Dublin five years ago, living in eight other places around the city before finding this one. She met her main flatmate, Holly Murphy, three years ago. They had exhausted the internet looking for a new home, and when they saw this place they knew that, with a little TLC, they could make it their own.

The first thing to change? The bland walls.

"I've always made it a habit to surround myself with things that inspire me, or that are a reflection of who I am.

"White walls creep me out a bit, so I filled the walls with crazy colours and text, all visual stimulation for me and any guests that come to visit.

"I'm pretty happy when people come over and get lost looking at these wall things -- I think it gives them a feel of what I'm all about as well," says Sinead.

The apartment is stuffed with curios -- every shelf groans under collections and paraphernalia. It is a visual feast.

"I've always been a hoarder and I have a habit of procuring posters with graphics I really admire, or collecting bits and pieces of art, mostly from local artists and friends. I've built secret shrines to those artists, mostly for my own benefit and inspiration," says Sinead.

"I love just being able to sit back in my bedroom or living room, and then let my eyes wander over everything -- every picture I've taken of, or works created by, all the amazing people I know, watch or follow."

The apartment is filled with cameras, children's toys, charity-shop lampshades, silk scarves, perfume bottles, paper umbrellas, roller skates, vintage clothes and all you can imagine.

Sinead has an ability to just find stuff -- she has her eyes wide open to the potential of even the most innocuous of things. Lampshades found on the street can be transformed; second-hand clothes can become art.

The more you chat to Sinead, the more you realise how important all this 'stuff' is to her creativity. As a purveyor of clean, calm spaces myself, I imagined I would be engulfed by everything, but, on the contrary, I left revitalised.

As Sinead says, "I never get bored here; there's something really vast and endless about how much creativity can give back to you and other people. I think I'm privileged to be able to express myself the way that I do and I think my home is a reflection of this".

How would Sinead improve her space?

"Curtains for my bedroom and central heating for the whole house, as I can see my breath in the kitchen these days. If I were to splash out, I would definitely love my own dark room/studio space," she says.

"At the moment, I have to take over the sitting room --though I think Holly is less and less surprised when she comes home to find her laundry basket being papier-mâchéd, her lampshades being spray-painted so they resemble space invaders, or giant cardboard robot costumes under construction!"

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