Houzz Tour: A Small Dublin Home Feels Bigger and Brighter Now
A brick row house gains an entrance hall and, through a kitchen cabinet door, a bathtub and a laundry closet
The catch? The interior was dreary and cramped. So O’Kelly called on architect Eva Byrne to make her new home feel light, airy and spacious.
House at a Glance
Who lives here: Buyer’s agent Breffnie O’Kelly and her daughter
Size: 592 square feet (55 square meters); two bedrooms, one bathroom
Architect: Eva Byrne of Houseology
Before: Everything about this early-1900s row house said “good buy” to O’Kelly and her daughter when they spotted it — everything, that is, except the dark and dreary interior.
But it wasn’t long before she came up with a complete redesign and O’Kelly commissioned her to take on the full project.
A Pretty Front Door Opens to a Useful Entryway
At the front, Byrne replaced the windows and door and took down the modern railing around the flower bed. “We [installed a wood] door in a welcoming color,” she says.
Front door paint: Dix Blue, Farrow & Ball
“You don’t do anything near the door anyway, so you’re not losing any living space by adding a division,” she adds.
The team also put in a ledge with hooks underneath and a round mirror to turn the space into a useful hallway.
The Key Ingredient Your Entry May Be Missing
The living room is simple and cozy, with white walls, recessed spotlights, a soft rug and a comfortable sofa. “The sofa is a neat [71 inches] wide,” Byrne says. “It’s important to size furniture appropriately so it doesn’t take over the room.”
She kept the fireplace minimal too, with a flush hearth and a plain opening for the wood-burning stove. The chimney alcove on the left contains a bookcase and a cabinet.
Langbrook wood-burning stove: Dimplex; sofa: Soul Lifestyle; rug: The Orchard
The seat is positioned next to a window, which Byrne lowered to maximize the view of the courtyard and bring plenty of light into the room.
She chose botanical prints for the walls to further connect the inside with the outside space.
The “before” plan of the ground floor shows how a shower room blocked the view. Byrne removed it and put an open-plan kitchen-dining area in its place. She then tucked a bathroom at the back of the house.
“As Breffnie’s daughter is a teenager, we thought it was important for her to have her own space,” Byrne says. The design includes some separation in each area of the house so mother and daughter can enjoy time together and apart.
Just before the dining area, there’s a glass door to the courtyard. The large window next to the table doesn’t open, but it helps bring light and a spacious feeling to the home.
Porcelain floor tiles inside and on the patio further connect the two areas.
Three narrow picture ledges provide enough room for books without encroaching too much on the space.
Dining chairs and picture ledges: Ikea; table base: Häfele; browse pedestal dining tables
Find a carpenter for your project
The space already had a skylight, and Byrne maximized the brightness by choosing a quartz countertop and glass tiles for the backsplash. “These were remnants from a discontinued line, which is a good way to save money,” she says.
Quartz countertop: Egan Stone; glass backsplash tile and porcelain floor tile: TileStyle
Another smart design idea allowed Byrne to fit a bathroom and utility closet into the space. The cabinets are located along a partition wall that sits 53 inches away from the original back wall. The full-height door on the right looks like a tall cabinet but is, in fact, a door to the room behind.
“We used white in here and lots of mirror, so it doesn’t feel small,” she adds. “We put two shallow Ikea cabinets side by side for storage. With bathroom storage, you only need a cabinet deep enough to fit a toilet roll.”
Bathroom fixtures and tile: TileStyle
Find an architect near you
Slim wall-mounted shelves in place of a bedside table save space, while a picture ledge above provides a surface for books.
Opposite and out of view is a cabinet that’s about 17 inches deep. “It’s a good option if you don’t have a lot of space,” Byrne says.
Bed, bedding and picture ledge: Ikea; find similar picture ledges
More home tours: Apartments | Small Homes | Colorful Homes | Contemporary Homes | Eclectic Homes | Farmhouses | Midcentury Homes | Modern Homes | Ranch Homes | Traditional Homes | Transitional Homes | All