Thursday 19 July 2018

The loves of my life: Denise O'Connor


Managing Director of Optimise Design Denise O'Connor
Managing Director of Optimise Design Denise O'Connor

The architect and managing director of Optimise Design chats to Elle Gordon about her favourite people, places and things.

The person

That's a really hard one to answer. I couldn't possibly pick one person - there are so many special people in my life. My family are really important to me, so I'd have to say my husband, my two sons, my parents, my brother and sister.

The memory

The first really heavy snowfall. I can remember everyone was off school, but because I could walk to school, I had to go! My dad collected me that day and we walked to the Swiss Chalet in Stillorgan, my favourite restaurant at the time, and had chicken and chips, an ice-cream float and a great chat.

The moment of the day

Early morning. I'm a really early riser.

I love the peace and tranquility of the early morning, before anyone else in the house is awake. I like to take my time to get organised and get myself ready for the day.

The song

Anything by The Rolling Stones does it for me.

The movie

Star Wars. I must have watched it hundreds of times as a child, and I still love it. I know passages of text off by heart.

The hero

My parents. They are such wonderful role models and have always encouraged me to follow my dreams.

The book

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. We had to read it in school and I loved everything about it, from the era, to the wonderfully descriptive passages of text. It's such a beautiful book.

The outfit

I love getting dressed up, but I don't often have the occasion to do it. My brother got married last summer and I wore a gorgeous black-and-white dress with a full skirt, and a pair of bright coral shoes.

The gadget

My iPad. I love it. I invested in a keypad recently and I use it for everything now.

The accessory

I need to wear glasses, but I really don't like wearing them, so I invested in a really nice pair by Ray-Ban last year which I'm delighted with.

The pet hate

Mess - it drives me crazy! I can't think straight in a messy environment.

The friend

My very best friend from college, Brid Carr. She now lives in Chichester, so I don't see her nearly as much as I'd like to.

The piece of advice

When someone offers to help, accept. I am quite independent and tend to try to do everything myself, but I have learned over the years that it's just not possible.

The beauty product

Carmex. I've been using it since I was 14, and haven't been without it since.

The holiday

Martinhal in Portugal. It's a wonderful family resort, with so much for the kids to do, and a gorgeous setting. They really think of everything and you come back feeling like you've had a real break.

The drink

I'm not much of a drinker, but I do love the occasional cosmopolitan. They do great cocktails in Pichet in Dublin.

The celebrity

Brendan Gleeson. I did some work for him a couple of years ago. He was a gentleman and lovely to work with.

The hotel

Rival in Stockholm. My husband took me there, as a surprise, for my birthday a few years ago, and we've been back three times since. It's really lovely and laid-back, but has all of the little comforts that make it special, such as a pillow menu.

The bar

I don't have a huge amount of time to visit bars these days, but I do enjoy the surroundings of the bar in The Westbury Hotel. It's opulent, uncompromising art deco - like stepping back into The Great Gatsby.

The hobby

Yoga. I try to go three times a week and really miss it when I don't go. It's fantastic for managing stress, and it's a great workout, too.

The part of my body

My hands! I love everything creative, from making things and colouring with the kids to cooking and gardening. Needless to say, my hands come in handy when I'm designing buildings and sketching features - in many ways, they are the tools of my trade.

The virtue

Integrity. As an architect, integrity is so important. I need to be able to stand over my work for my clients, and I

only work with service providers in the industry who have a high level of integrity too.

The vice

Coffee. I know I should drink more water, but I need at least three cups of coffee a day to keep going at full throttle!

The smell

For me, it's citrus - it just makes everything smell fresher and cleaner.

The taste

Mint. Especially a home-made mint sauce around Easter, with spring lamb. It's so easy to grow your own herbs. There are so many beautiful window sill greenboxes you can get nowadays, and they bring a little piece of the outdoors inside.

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