Houzz Tour: A Victorian Double-fronted Home Gets a Fresh Makeover
Intriguing and unusual salvage yard finds sit comfortably with original period details in this charming family home
The house, which had only had three previous owners, was in a pretty sound condition and had a generous-sized garden, plus much of the work that needed to be done was cosmetic rather than a complete overhaul. “The house was well cared for, but the work was just not to our standard,” she adds.
Who lives here Jill O’Neill, Justin Lowry and their young son, Harvey
Location Helen’s Bay, Co Down
Property A Victorian double-fronted house
Size 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
Designer Jill O’Neill of On The Square Emporium
Photos by Ruth Maria Murphy
Justin Lowry and Jill O’Neill, who got married last year, bought this house a week before their son, Harvey, was born. “It was a pretty hectic few months,” O’Neill admits. “The previous owners had been living here for 40 years and we had to do a fair bit of work on the chimneys, wiring and windows.”
The couple, who run On The Square Emporium, an auction house and salvage yard in Belfast, were attracted to the generous proportions of the house, which is known locally as Rust Hall. “We loved the feel of it,” says O’Neill. “It was so welcoming and obviously a lovely family home. The couple before us were just so sweet, too. It’s also where Justin grew up, so we knew what the area was like.”
One of the first spaces they tackled was the beautiful hallway, complete with original stained-glass windows, which needed little work apart from some repainting. When they ripped up the carpet, they were thrilled to discover the parquet flooring beneath. “It was such a great find,” says O’Neill.
Walls painted in Wedgewood Blue, Zoffany.
However, it rarely feels like too much work for the pair, who are both mad about salvage, upcycling and renovating old houses. “We wanted the house to feel updated, but to have a nod to tradition,” says O’Neill, who also owns Refound, a company that works with artists to upcycle old pieces. “Some people think it’s a bit out there, but it’s a really comfy and workable home with lots of interesting trinkets and character.”
Original Herbert Terry Anglepoise standard lamp; Persian rug; Globe-Wernicke bookcase all On The Square Emporium. Parker Knoll chair and copper-topped table, Refound.
Ceiling wallpaper, Zoffany at Atelier Design.
“It was a big job, as we had to replace the flues,” says O’Neill. “It was also difficult finding the right guy for the job.” Fortunately, the renovation was successful and both fireplaces have been gloriously restored. Finishing them off with slate hearths adds a contemporary touch.
Walls painted in Down Pipe, Farrow & Ball.
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Ercol table and chairs; Stools; Belfast sink; vintage lighting, all On The Square Emporium.
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Woodwork painted in Harbour Grey, Zoffany. Metalline wallpaper, Tektura at Lee Austin Design.
Walls covered in Brunswick wallpaper, Tektura Wallcoverings; painted in Mushroom-Quarter, Zoffany.
“It’s a disaster!” says O’Neill with a hoot of laughter. “We also have lots of outhouses, which are currently full of taxidermy. There’s a lot more in the house than I would like and at some point I’m going to have to say no!”
What do you think of this revamped house? Do you live in a home full of vintage pieces? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.