Marriage of Style: Inside the Victorian home of two Dublin creatives
When two creatives come together to refurbish their family home, it’s a safe bet that every detail will be carefully considered. Jenni Hedderman of branding design agency, Illuminate, and her husband Mark O’Donoghue of Moda Architects, admit they can be a tad obsessive in their quest to get everything just right in their Victorian end-of-terrace home on Dublin’s South Circular Road.
“It took us four months to decide where to hang the Helmut Newton prints in the kitchen,” recalls Jenni. “We don’t hang art in a standard way. We also move it a lot as we’re never quite satisfied with how it looks.”
This perfectionist streak has seen the couple sit it out to source or afford the desired piece or finish. Their patience has paid off, resulting in a home that pays homage to design heroes while being resilient enough for their six-and-a-half-year-old daughter Inez to play freely.
Attracted by the good structural condition and love that had been lavished on the house, Jenni and Mark sealed the deal in 2004. “Cast iron fireplaces and really nice folding doors had been sourced, mouldings replaced, and a parquet floor laid in the living area,” says Jenni. “It gave us the bones of something good that we felt in time we could bring to life.”
Two-and-a-half years after moving in they stripped back the property, refurbishing it and extending the original galley kitchen to the width of the house. “The idea was that it was a one-off job, fit for another 100 years,” Jenni
recalls. A new light-filled kitchen was created, with concrete flooring made toasty by under floor heating. Laminated stainless steel
cabinetry, designed by Mark, is topped in Carrera marble. The island incorporates Jenni’s cookery book collection. “Cooking is an integral part of our lives. As an art director I do a lot of food photography as well as food and beverage branding.”
Carrera marble is carried through to the bathroom, framing a window and forming three panels for the supersized shower – Mark’s design. Beautifully crafted durable materials are a hallmark of the house. Brazilian walnut flooring – only available once in a five-year growing cycle – brings richness to the hall and bathroom. “We have a huge passion for quality sustainable materials and for what they can do to set rooms apart,” reflects Jenni.
High-spec materials are complemented by furniture from the design greats such as Eileen Gray and Philippe Starck. “Mark bought the white tubular Wassily chair at a Dutch auction; the black Saarineen table in the dining room and the Mies van der Rohe Brno dining room chairs were purchased through Knoll and we spotted the Tom Dixon dome copper light in New York,” Jenni says.
Their travels have been a huge influence, yielding pieces such as the late 19th Century Asian hand-carved teak table in the hall. “Mark always encourages clients to be confident in their choices. We’re lucky that we’re clear about what we like,” says Jenni. “The secret is to think about what you want to achieve. You don’t have to do everything in one go. A home is always evolving.”
Words by Caroline Allen
Photographs by Tony Gavin