Tuesday 11 December 2018

'I'm treating it a bit like a pub' - Dermot Bannon reveals why he's designing his home like an Irish bar

Dermot Bannon of ‘Room to Improve’. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Dermot Bannon of ‘Room to Improve’. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Dermot Bannon, host of the hit show ‘Room to Improve.’ Photo: Colin O'Riordan
The exterior of Dermot Bannon's new home in Drumcondra
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

TV architect Dermot Bannon is currently living with his family in rented accommodation while his new home undergoes a complete refit.

The Room to Improve presenter recently bought a three-bedroom home in Drumcondra for close to €800,000, and he's been busy with the redesign.

“I’m treating it a bit like a pub, that we have one central space that’s open plan and there’s going to be lots of snugs off it,” he tells Independent.ie.

“The house is an experiment. We have an office, we’ve got a play room, we’ve got a living room, we’ve got a dining room, we’ve got a kitchen – all in the one space. But I’m using levels, I'm using the light so that the spaces that you’re drawn to in the morning will be smaller and more intimate spaces when you’re together. Evening times are when people gather so that’ll be where the bigger dining table is going to be.”

Bannon admits the whole process is nerve-wracking because his design for the house is in itself an experiment.

“We’re moving from an open-plan house, and there have been lots of advantages and disadvantages to open-plan living.”

“I’m using light, I’m using the shape of it, I’m using height, it’s all about bringing light to the ground floor so it’s connected to downstairs.”

“So it’s an experiment in open plan living because there’s no point in me banging on about it for everybody else if I don’t do it myself…. You have to live how you preach, don’t you?”

“I’m nervous about it because if it works out it’s going to be amazing, because it means that we’ll all still be together, we can all talk to each other, yet be in different spaces and kind of converge.”

“The kitchen is going to be the hub of the whole house. The kitchen is the fulcrum that everything is going to revolve around. And we’re kind of using the site as well because, where the house is, it’s got a fantastic view to a church across the road, and I’m capturing that and bringing it to the whole house. “

“It’s about creating different atmospheres. It’s not all about creating a big space. It’s going to be about creating spaces that have a certain sense. Because small spaces are nice too like when you get into a snug. D’you know when at Christmas time you’re all gathered around a fire in a little pub or a stove or just in a snug, there’s something lovely about that intimacy, and then there’s something lovely about being in a cathedral.”

“So what I’m trying to do is create different levels, different heights, big dramatic spaces, small intimate spaces like I’ve got one space that’s going to take just a dining table for two, because I want to use that just for the morning.”

“There’s going to be a day bed in the window so that’s where you’ll go to get the early morning sun. So it’s designed to be a space for one or two people, and that’s OK. Not every space has to hold 25.”

Bannon and his wife Louise, who have three children, decided to sell their old home on Bantry Road in Drumcondra when they realised the house had served them well.

“It’s an experiment in how we live and thinking what makes the ultimate dining space and what makes the ultimate thinking space and what makes the nicest space to read a paper.”

“So it’s thinking about how we live as a feeling as opposed to just living in a house that’s going to look well on TV or on a magazine or stuff like that.”

Bannon, who was speaking to Independent.ie today as he partnered with Vodafone gigabit broadband, says a crucial planning issue for him is ensuring his house is connected to fast fibre broadband.

"Delivering super-fast fibre broadband direct to the home, has the power to change and improve the way we live today and into the future,” he said.

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