Step Inside a Dublin Home Where Art Deco Architecture and Modern Design Collide

Stand on the street and this home, in a well-heeled district of Dublin, looks like any other smart semi-detached house. However, hidden behind its unassuming 1930s façade is a surprise—an arching, spacious gallery of a property. Created by Dublin-based design firm LyonsKelly, the concept for the house is as evident […]

Stand on the street and this home, in a well-heeled district of Dublin, looks like any other smart semi-detached house. However, hidden behind its unassuming 1930s façade is a surprise—an arching, spacious gallery of a property. Created by Dublin-based design firm LyonsKelly, the concept for the house is as evident in the arched, airy architecture as it is in the contemporary pieces inside.

Known for their unified architectural and interior vision, John Kelly and Eoin Lyons like to find a meeting point in each of their projects that is truly distinct. The task of turning this 1930s abode into a giant residence perfect for both entertaining and family life was something that architect Kelly and interior designer Lyons enjoyed. Art Deco in spirit yet utterly timeless, the result is a slick, three-story house and basement with a procession of rooms circulating around the ground floor: formal rooms to the front, family areas facing out toward the garden.

Connecting through to the dining room, the central hall is the heart of the house. Here, a console by Hervé van der Straeten and a colorful artwork by Terry Frost, a leading British abstract artist who worked in St. Ives, Cornwall, during the 1950s, reign supreme. In the dining room, the light fixture was designed by the late Irish designer David Collins for Lobmeyr.

At its arresting square entrance, a Niamh Barry sculptural pendant and an oversized 1940s mirror greet visitors. Past the Eltham Palace–inspired dining area and a paneled drawing room—a nod to the design duo’s appreciation for French Art Deco and Jean-Michel Frank—is a generous kitchen that marks the start of the informal spaces. It positively glows with natural light.

That type of light, which LyonsKelly managed to maximize by opening up façades and introducing a top-lit, double-height central atrium that helps illuminate the middle of the hall, is arguably home’s greatest extravagance. “Everyone comments on the qualities of the light,” Kelly says. “It is coming in from every possible angle.”

Running across the front of the house, the drawing room provides intimacy and warmth through elements such as the Luke Irwin rug, curved Liaigre armchairs, and organic bronze mirror by Hervé van der Straeten. This contrasts with the champagne-colored birdseye maple paneling made by Irish furniture brand Zelouf & Bell, which represented in New York by Maison Gerard. Notably, metallic elements pick up the evening light, such as the artwork by Patrick Scott and the 1950s side table from Michael Mortell Gallery. The curtains were made by Mary Wrynne using fabric by Christopher Farr while the plinth was bought at Bernard Tinivella in Paris.

The inspiration for the dining room was the Art Deco dining room at Eltham Palace in southeast London. The table was custom-made by Irish company Klimmek Furniture and is surrounded by dining chairs by Ecart. The console is from Soane Britain while the 1970s vases are from AD Antiques Paris.

Throughout the house, a sense of luxury is balanced out by restraint. “It is elegant and glamorous but not overdone,” says Lyons. “Our client’s taste is quite sparse, but they also wanted a luxurious interior with lots of detail.” Each room has something remarkable—from the David Collins light fixture in the dining room to the custom cabinetry in the dressing room. Many pieces are French, which suits the Irish climate and way of living. “Sofas tend to be more upright, like how British people tend to sit, rather than low-level Italian furniture,” Lyons notes.

Regardless, in this comfortable home, it’s the sinuous shapes and consistent sense of harmony that most speak to a job well done. And after all, enhancing the character of this architectural abode were Kelly and Lyons’s overarching aims.

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