Wednesday 19 June 2019

Storage everywhere, a dressing room, and enough room to host dinner parties in revamped Killiney home

Two heads were better than one to upgrade a 70s pad in Killiney, writes Celine Naughton

The living room and dining room are interlinkable spaces suited for entertaining on special occasions like Christmas and birthdays
The living room and dining room are interlinkable spaces suited for entertaining on special occasions like Christmas and birthdays
This reception/diner with its stove looks out on the garden
Michelle Moyles relaxes with her dog
The white entrance hall with timber floor
The exterior front brightened
The kitchen with its central island unit
The adjoining dining and reception
Michelle with twin sister, designer Lisa

Celine Naughton

One of the long standing clichés about identical twins is their propensity to like the same things; sometimes to an extreme degree.

Perhaps the most extraordinary example is the 'Jim twins', born in Ohio, in 1939 and given up for adoption. Jim Springer and Jim Lewis were raised by different couples, who happened to give them the same first name.

When reunited aged 39, they discovered they'd both owned dogs named Toy, both married women named Linda, later divorced the Lindas and both married again, each to a woman called Betty. They named their sons James Alan and James Allan. Both were sheriffs, enjoyed carpentry, smoked the same cigarettes and drank the same beer.

Recently in the UK, it was revealed that designers Nik and John Daughtry, identical twin brothers who dress similarly, own the same car (a Mini) and work in the same firm, have built identical houses next door to each other on the outskirts of Sheffield.

This reception/diner with its stove looks out on the garden
This reception/diner with its stove looks out on the garden

When twins get stuck into a project, they go double-barrelled. So it was only natural that Michelle Moyles would call on identical twin sister and interior designer Lisa O'Shea for joined-up help to transform her Killiney home.

"I share some of Lisa's interest in design, but she's the one with the real artistic flair," says Michelle. "She has a great eye for colour schemes, she knows what works and she brought her knowledge of materials and experience with tradespeople and craftsmen to bear. As identical twins, we know each other really well. I just had to tell her what we wanted and she interpreted that perfectly."

The house is located in the Watson estate off Church Road in Killiney which was built in the late 1960s and early '70s by Gallaghers. The four-bedroom detached homes were snapped up by professionals with growing families, and that remains the key demographic today with proximity to schools, amenities and transport links a big draw.

Michelle and hubby Tommy bought the house in 2005 and reconfigured and extended to provide 2,034 sq ft. "When we bought 60 Watson Road, we were looking for space to raise our three children - our son was nine and our own twins were four," says Michelle. "We know this area well and love it because it's so central.

"One of the features we liked about the house was that the rooms were mostly square, not long and narrow as we'd seen elsewhere, but like most houses from the 1970s, it needed updating."

One of the first things they did was to build an extension out the back to add a family room to the kitchen-diner. Then six years ago as the children reached their teens, they embarked on a major refurbishment to suit the family's changing needs. It was at this point that Michelle called in Lisa.

Michelle Moyles relaxes with her dog
Michelle Moyles relaxes with her dog

Michelle and Tommy wanted an open-plan living arrangement where the family could come together easily yet still have their own spaces to retreat to when required. With dinner parties and get-togethers for family and friends a regular occurrence - not just the 20-plus people they host at Christmas - they wanted lots of space for entertaining, with guests able to move about freely indoors and out. Also, high on Michelle's personal wish-list was that most coveted of aspirations for women who love their fashion - a dressing room.

"Downstairs we took out doors to create one big open-plan space," says Michelle. "We put in a bespoke kitchen and Lisa recommended the Oscar Ono smoked oak flooring, which I love. Now the entire living room, dining room, kitchen and family room are all open-plan, but we kept a separate study-den to the right off the hallway, where any of us can have a bit of quiet time to work, read, or just chill out.

"Lisa was fantastic. It was her idea to redo all the coving and skirtings, and she softened the walls in the hallway and elsewhere with wood panelling. I wanted bright, airy rooms with a homely feel, and she executed that beautifully.

"I hate clutter, so I wanted storage everywhere. Thankfully, the kids are quite tidy, but there's no reason why they shouldn't be with all the presses, wardrobes and units we had specially made to make the most of every nook and cranny."

No space is wasted in this house, even down to the guest wc where a washer and dryer are tucked away behind a curtain, with storage units on top.

Upstairs got an overhaul too, with the fourth bedroom knocked in to create Michelle's dressing room with sliderobes on either side, and an ensuite bathroom with full length bath, walk-in power shower, wc, whb and heated towel rail. There are two further double bedrooms on this floor, and a family bathroom. To maximise the space further, they pushed into the attic to create a second floor with two multi-purpose rooms.

The adjoining dining and reception
The adjoining dining and reception

Then they turned their attentions outdoors. The front got a smart brick driveway, while in the west-facing back garden, they ripped out an old wooden deck and replaced it with outHaus Italian stone tiles that look remarkably similar to the oak floors inside.

"As much as possible, I wanted a seamless connection between the house and garden," says Michelle. "The tiles don't stain, which is great when you have people round for a barbecue. It also gets the sun all day. The only upkeep we have to do is put a cover over the barbecue when it's not in use and water the border plants. Lisa did the garden too. She's very handy to have around."

Watson Road is 15 minutes' walk from Killiney Golf Club, shopping centre and the Graduate pub, and there's a large Tesco on Churchview Road, minutes to the beach.

"Now that our eldest is in his final year at college, and our twins are doing their Leaving Cert, we've decided it's a good time to take on a new project," says Michelle. "We won't be moving far - most likely Dalkey or Sandycove - but we leave with fond memories of our lovely family home. And for the record, the neighbours are amazing."

The property has just gone on the market with Sherry FitzGerald seeking €825,000.

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