Designing a home around one of his passions worked wonders for Andy Bradford, who now has a light-filled space that displays his eclectic art collection, perfectly
Andy Bradford’s house needed, well, a house: It had to be rewired, a new hot water and heating system had to be installed and there was no insulation. The roof even needed re-slating and all the doors and windows had to be replaced. But, for Andy, a TV producer, it was the development potential that won him over. “I could see how it could be made more conducive for modern living,” he enthuses.
Andy turned to architect, Niall Henry of Dublin Design Studio, who came up with an innovative design to marry old and new. The plan was to restore the original space and add a new extension. As an avid art collector, maximising space and light was a top priority.
The open-plan living area in the new extension has large sliding doors and roof lights that were supplied by The Folding Door Company of Ireland
. The extension gives great views of the garden. The concrete floors where supplied by King Concrete
and were then polished by Renobuild
. The lighting was supplied by Evan Henry Electrical
. This room is painted in Yorktowne Green by Benjamin Moore & Co., available at MRCB
. The art above the fireplace is by Mark Redden. Andy has has made an effort to get to know the artists behind his pieces “This has given me a real insight into their work,” he says. “I have a great sense of what inspires them. Being aware of the emotions they are trying to evoke, means I have a greater connection to the pieces themselves.”
A large rustic-style table provides the perfect spot for entertaining. The chairs and the sideboard are both second-hand bargains. Andy bought the artwork above the sideboard from The Origin Gallery
. It’s by one his favourite artists, Suzy O’Mullane.
Over a period of ten years, Andy has collected some wonderful works, most of which are by Irish artists. “My love of art was encouraged by Noelle Campbell Sharp, director of the Origin Gallery. The gallery exhibits both Irish and international artists who are either established or emerging. I love contemporary art and I’m normally drawn to striking darker pieces,” admits Andy.
Naturally, many of Andy’s decorating decisions were made with his art in mind. “I didn’t want everything to be white,” he says, although he does admit that it was quite hard to choose colours that would make his pieces pop. “Olah Kelly at MRCB Paints reassured me that I could use the dramatic colours I wanted, without detracting from the artwork,” says Andy.
The look here is clean and uncluttered thanks to the simple lines of the kitchen cabinets, from Kube Kitchens. Teamed with industrial bar stools from Décor on Wexford Street, Dublin, he creates great contrast. The kitchen area is painted in shades of green from The Little Greene Paint Company
– Citrine and Olive
Exposed brickwork matched with dark walls adds texture and depth. The walls are painted in Bronze by Paint and Paper Library
. Andy’s lush velvet sofa is adorned with a collection of colourful cushions covered in material from Scion’s Pepino range. Find similar at Arnotts
. The flooring is reclaimed oak supplied by the Victorian Kitchen Company
Natural light filters through the hall from the new extension. The large expanse of wall is the perfect spot to display artwork; many of these pieces came from The Origin Gallery. The walls are painted in Plimsoll from the Paint and Paper Library. The carpet on the stairs is from TC Matthews
The new extension added almost 40sqm to the existing build, to bring it to 114sqm, and achieved the original goal – to introduce more light. This was both a blessing and a curse: “I had all the windows fitted with gallery glass to keep out harmful rays,” he says of the need to protect his collection. “I also had a special light rail put in, so, at night, the art can be illuminated.”
Andy keeps this space simple and contemporary in design. Exposed bulbs, supplied by Evan Henry Electrical, update the space without being fussy. Above the bed hangs a painting by Irish artist, Patrick Pye.
The existing house was very small and Andy was keen to retain two bedrooms on the first floor, to ensure maximum flexibility. Architect Niall Henry came up with the practical solution of fitting sliding doors. Now, the space can be used as one large room, or converted into two if he has guests
Due to the planning restraints, the architect couldn’t extend outwards from the first floor. Without losing any floor space, they decided to drop the very high ceiling in the front reception room and utilise the loft space. This resulted in a spacious new bathroom with a pitched roof. The loft area provides the perfect space for Andy’s bathroom, supplied by Tubs & Tiles
. Roof lights from The Folding Door Company of Ireland bathe the space with light.
With building work completed in ten months, it’s clear that every inch of Andy’s house has been utilised. We’re convinced that his practiced eye for a great piece helped him achieve his vision. But one thing is certain: he now has the perfect home for himself as well as his ever-growing and diverse collection.
Photography Philip Lauterbach | Words Penny Crawford-Collins