Living in a contemporarily designed house has the benefit of timeliness and modernity; living in a historic building, on the other hand, offers timelessness and perspective. It’s seldom that we come across a project that so deftly combines both qualities as is the case with the Bolton Coach House in Dublin, Ireland. Designed by local interior design practice Kingston Lafferty Design (KLD), the residence seamlessly unites a renovated 18th century coach house and paper mill, and a new extension of contemporary sophistication. Rather than imposing a uniform aesthetic, the designers have chosen to juxtapose the industrial heritage of the renovated coach house with the elegant minimalism of the new building, as well as eclectically apply a variety of different styles to define each area. Far from creating a patchwork of themed interiors though, the four-bedroom house effortlessly unfolds in charming poise thanks to KLD’s free-flowing spatial layout that connects rather than separates rooms, a preference for simplicity over ostentatiousness, and the consistent use of distinctive details.
At its centre, the common areas on the ground floor unfold as a multi-level, unique space that interweaves the historic building and the modern extension. From the vaulted dining area and intimate sunken lounge, to the minimalist, light-filled sitting room and kitchen, the designers have created distinct zones that flow into one another, offering multiple routes to navigate through the space. The spatial fluidity also extends outwards to the exterior, where a new terrace has been seamlessly integrated as the continuation of the indoor living areas. A fully tiled eating counter that straddles the boundary between indoor and outdoor further enhances the sensation of spatial continuity.
The house is a treasure-trove of playful juxtapositions seen in the paper mill’s original stone barrel vaults which give way to three-metre-high ceilings, exposed brickwork, stone and rough plaster coexist with polished marble, walnut and brass, while poured concrete floors meet rustic floor tiles. Despite such contrasts, the rooms are united by an acute sense of subdued elegance and uncluttered austerity, as well as the use of bespoke, black-painted steel framed doors and portals which echo the historic building’s industrial heritage, both in shape and sensibility.
The eclectic material palette also extends to the furniture selection which combines classic mid-century pieces such as Eero Saarines’s tulip table, with contemporary pieces of whimsical modernism like the bright red conical pendants by Maison Dada and the large circular brass pendants by Edizioni Design, as well as bespoke pieces specifically designed for the project by KLD that range from the elliptical mirrors trimmed in brass that line the entrance hallway, to the free-standing bed in the master bedroom.
Such a variety of cheekily combined eras, styles and finishes attests to the designers’ creative boldness which is fuelled by a broad spectrum of inspirations: from the Memphis Group-inspired, built-in pink banquette seating, and the Milanese chicness of the drawing room, to the oriental elegance of the paper lanterns and porcelain tiles in one of the bedrooms and the contemporary Moroccan vibe of the pearlescent navy tiles blanketing the indoor-outdoor bar counter.
Underpinned by a keen sense of style, KLD’s irreverent eclecticism never lapses into frivolity or gimmick, gracefully instead showcasing the building’s industrial heritage through a lens of contemporary sophistication and vintage elegance.