The Gloss Interiors feature article…

It’s been hectic recently, hence the scarcity of posts. However I am delighted to say that we featured recently in an article in The Gloss magazine Interiors Special Edition with the Irish Times newspaper.

front page

My thanks to Jane McDonnell and the team in the Gloss, photographer James Fennell and Maoliosa Murray.

gloss cover


page 2 living room 1

page 3 kitchen 1

Read the full article here.



“The project to convert this large two-storey over garden level period home in Dublin 6, dating from the 1860’s, was one that Nicki Cloonan and Brian O’Donnell of Coda Architects took on in 2011, a time when there was little activity in the housing market , and buyers at the upper end were scarce. The plan was ambitious: transform the derelict semi-detached property comprising 17 separate units into a home for a single family. The time frame was tight: the owners needed to be in within a year of the commencement of works. The project also posed a number of other challenges: the conservation of a protected structure, the need to address how traditional spaces might be reinterpreted for family use and the addition of a modern kitchen and dining area that was unashamedly non-pastiche, yet sympathetic to the original.

The ethos of the Coda practice, established in 1996, is driven by a process of analysis of the specific requirements of each project, rather than a pre-determined style or stamp. If this project was to fulfill the brief, there had to be a balance between old and new, between retention and reinvention. The first step was the removal of more than 1000sqft of external extensions, as well as the taking down of multiple partition walls which subdivide the interior. Fortunately though the house was chopped into separate units, each with its own bathroom and kitchen, the divisions were largely cosmetic so that underneath, many of the original features remained. The original layout at hall level was restored so that the proportions of the interconnecting drawing and dining rooms and the large hall could be appreciated. The architects linked this level with the garden level with two simple windows, one at the end of the hall, the other in the living room wall, both overlooking the open-plan kitchen dining area below.

At garden level, where most of the original features had been obliterated, a contemporary approach was taken to provide a variety of living spaces. A modern kitchen with two large walk-in larders, streamlined cupboards and a marble topped island opens to a double height dining space, with one wall clad in oiled French white oak boards, a contrast with the Douglas fir floorboards, the other with black aluminium double height windows and sliding and folding doors leading to the garden. Formerly a riot of out of control planting, the garden is now a sequence of outdoor spaces from patio to lawn, hedged play area and at the end a full vegetable garden. A spacious hall opens to a home office and a children’s den, a laundry and utility room.

While the integrity of the original house is intact, Nicki Cloonan was keen to ensure that the main period rooms would be used every day. Her suggestion to turn what would usually be used a s dining room into a library-with a great table made from the leftover floorboards- ensures the hall level is constantly in use, a place where work meetings, homework, reading and games can happen. For both Nicki Cloonan and Brian O’Donnell, getting the interior right was as important as the architecture. Their design of built-in cabinetry, use of vintage and auction pieces, their choice of lighting and furniture was augmented by a selection of beautiful rugs and accessories supplied by Maoliosa Murray.”

Text of article as it appeared in The Gloss Special Edition Interior Magazine with the Irish Times, Autumn 2014