Anyone who has spent a few years renting will attest to this: If it teaches you anything, it’s what you don’t want in a house. For a creative couple like Joanne and Vinny, the chance to put their long list of dos and don’ts and quirky ideas into practice was a dream come true. After two years of construction, DIYs and charity shop visits, their self-build became a comfortable country home bursting with personality.
Justifiably so, Joanne claims that their proudest achievement is how cosy the space feels. Between the stove that Vinny keeps going and the uplifting colour scheme Joanne chose, visitors to the Tipperary home often remark on how welcoming it is.
“Our style is definitely eclectic,” Joanne explains. “I love to mix and match old and new. We visit charity shops and car boot sales every week and I rarely leave empty-handed. But for more modern pieces, TK Maxx is great.”
Joanne’s top tip for decorating a self-build is simple, but can be tough; “Be patient!”. “Don’t panic buy, or fill your house with things you don’t really want. Even if it takes a year or two, hold out because the perfect piece will be worth the wait.”
Another piece of advice Joanne recommends is to not allow yourself to be confined by decorating norms. “If you find a vintage wardrobe you really love but don’t need in your bedroom, don’t be afraid to shelf it and use it in another room for additional storage. It’s your home, so your rules.”
Thinking outside the box is something Joanne has done not only with her home, but with her career also. While furniture-hunting for her house, Joanne discovered how difficult it was to find the kind of furniture she had seen on websites like Apartment Therapy and Pinterest. She knew she wanted something unique, but couldn’t find what she wanted it in Ireland. Instead of settling for a style that wasn’t hers, Joanne got to work at upcycling vintage finds. Friends and family became intrigued by Joanne’s budget-friendly creations and wanted in on the action.
“During the Celtic Tiger, I think a lot of people got sucked into thinking they had to spend large sums of money on décor for their homes to look good. It’s refreshing to now see people take style into their own hands and focus on quality and design, rather than something just being “high-end”.
After identifying people’s desire for quality pieces that were just theirs, Joanne founded Kyle Lane; a studio in which she takes commissions for revamping and repurposing furniture. It allows people to keep that old family heirloom, but adapt it to their own personal style. Kyle Lane also hosts workshops which are popular for groups looking for a fun, productive day out.
The success of Kyle Lane has seen the creation of Joanne’s first book; ‘Furniture Crush’, a go-to guide for furniture painting and furniture upcycling.
The money Joanne and Vinny saved on furniture allowed them to make splurges on investment pieces like an Aga cooker and Smeg fridge. Joanne knew that if she kept her focus (and cash!) on those iconic appliances, she could use her creativity to keep the rest of the kitchen on budget.
Another stand-out feature in the home is the concrete slab underneath the stove. This was salvaged from Joanne’s grandparent’s home, meaning it comes with not only an aged patina, but tons of sentimental value. “I love the fact that I can have a little piece of history, and part of my family, in what I consider the heart of my house”.
All photographs by Cathal Noonan Photography.