Inspired by the tranquil tones of nature, this contemporary kitchen and living area in Drogheda is artfully simplistic, creating the perfect functional space for the young family who inhabit it.
Entirely open-plan, an archway is all that marks the division of rooms in terms of architecture; it is the interior design which works effortlessly to create two distinct yet connected spaces where all the family can relax.
Based in Dundalk, Lana Dullaghan Designs has completed a range of projects throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland. Lana considers interior design as art and indeed, this is reflected throughout the two rooms.
“The brief was to use light, organic colours along with different textures, but to focus on simplicity,” she says. “The clients were a young couple with kids so they wanted something contemporary, inspired by nature, but which was also a very practical space with durable materials. I decided to go modern but with a touch of elegance.”
“The clients were a young couple with kids so they wanted something contemporary, inspired by nature…”Lana Dullaghan
Cool, calming kitchen
The flooring which flows across both spaces takes the form of laminate tiles rendered in a neutral tone, with a hint of grey base colour. This connects the two rooms with that all-important nature-inspired palette.
Meanwhile, with cool mint-green walls and units in a light grey and beige shade, the kitchen blends elegance and homeliness to great effect, while keeping the overall style modern.
“Modern can be quite plain,” says Lana. “Part of my brief was that my clients wanted modern but homely, so I wanted to stay away from the more commercial look.
“I decided to go with a subtle light tone on the walls, using Colourtrend paint. In the sitting room I chose tropic green, greys with green undertones and blues, so in the kitchen I wanted to connect the two spaces and their colours, but not too obviously. I chose this mint-green tone because it goes well with the other blues and greens. The art in the kitchen further complements it and ties in with the overall concept.”
Art deco features
While the kitchen cabinetry carries a matt finish, this is contrasted with glossy gold handles on the units, adding elegance and warmth to the room, while also giving a nod to the art deco style. These warming gold tones are echoed in the pair of brass-plated, clear-ribbed spherical pendant lights above the breakfast bar, which have a gold gloss effect at the top.
“These are very good lights,” says Lana. “Sometimes when you choose lighting for a kitchen it looks good but isn’t practical. You need good lights over the breakfast bar because in the winter, when it’s darker in the mornings, you need the lighting to be reliable.
“I wanted to bring in a touch of art deco with the gold elements because I always like to add elegance and luxury to my designs. In the sitting room, for example, there’s an art deco armchair and art on the wall with brass finishes.”
Creative contemporary design
At the heart of this redesign project is inspired creativity when it comes to textures, styles and colours, says Lana, which ultimately makes the end result “more interesting and dramatic.” While the dominant colour scheme in the kitchen are those beige and grey/white tones, these are softened by those warming gold accessories throughout, which extends on into the dining area.
Indeed, the pale tones of the kitchen’s durable granite worktops are complemented by that of the dining table, a contemporary piece of furniture with a gloss finish ceramic top and marble effect. Practical for the kids when doing their homework, and for dining, the table continues the elegance present in the rest of the décor with its marble effect finish. Meanwhile, the black metal legs and frame with powder-coated finish – along with the black bench seating and chairs – gives it that distinctly modern look.
“The kitchen units are matt with gloss handles so the table is really the other way around, with its gloss top and matt frame,” says Lana. “It’s simple and elegant.”
Hanging behind the dining table is a piece of abstract art with a brass and chrome finish, which again, complements the overall colour scheme and brings a calming, peaceful mood to the space. “It gives an almost ‘old-world’ effect,” says Lana. “The art is another big part of this design project. It brings in colour tones from the sitting room to connect the two living spaces without matching it. That makes it more interesting. I think if you match things exactly it gives it more of a hotel look.”
A relaxing, cosy space
Moving into the sitting room, this space is filled with light thanks to a wall of large windows, with the design full of textural contrasts. As such, the chimney behind the wood-burning stove boasts cladding with a textured, uneven surface, instead of flat tiles.
Meanwhile, the roller blinds at the windows are finished in a natural rattan (basket) texture, with the fabric of the custom-made L-shaped sofa contrasting with the smoother plush of the art deco-style chair.
“I chose the huge sofa style because this room is all about relaxation,” says Lana. “I designed it to suit the space as premade options are usually standard sizes.”
The clean, modern lines of the sofa fulfil the brief’s modern concept, while the sea-inspired blue tone feeds into the ‘inspired by nature’ colour concept. The slightly two-tone colour of the sofa also “makes it more interesting,” says Lana. “It also has a bit of shine through it for added elegance and is 100% polyester and washable, so is perfect for practical family living.”
At the end of the sofa, a detachable pouf adds further practicality as this can be pulled into the centre of the room and used for resting tired feet. It also has storage inside and when the top is removed, a piece of fitted wood underneath provides the perfect table-top for a coffee.
Opposite the sofa, two stacked side tables with marble-effect tops and brass legs provide the perfect spot for relaxing with a coffee and a good book. The colour tones here once again tie in neatly with those used throughout the kitchen and sitting room spaces, as also evidenced by the tall adjustable floor lamp. Meanwhile, more abstract art decorates the adjacent wall, again in warming brass tones.
The colour scheme is also seamlessly connected by the abstract-style rug in front of the sofa, which combines a mixture of blues and greens and brings a calm and relaxing vibe to the room.
“I always say there are no rules in interior design. When you decorate your home it’s an art and in doing so, you create your own art.”LANA DULLAGHAN
While both kitchen and sitting room have spotlights, mood lighting is achieved in the latter space via three corner ceiling lamps which extend down artfully to the right of the wood-burning stove. Ideal for chilled-out evenings, these add cosiness to the room but also serve a dual purpose.
“I used this lighting as a trick,” says Lana. “The kitchen has a higher ceiling so when you walk into the sitting room the lower ceiling here makes it feel like two very different rooms. So, for continuity I used this lighting to lose that feeling. It’s a bit different.”
Beneath the trio of ceiling lamps is one of two contemporary sideboards, both of which are made from a light Scandinavian wood. Again, modern design and texture here is key, with the doors – when viewed up close – rendered in an uneven finish.
“They’re almost like little shells, not just plain white,” says Lana. “It’s all about that extra hidden detail.
“I always say there are no rules in interior design. When you decorate your home it’s an art and in doing so, you create your own art. If you want something different, just go for it. If you’ve never seen something done before, don’t worry. It just makes it more personal to you.”
With the overall design of this open-plan space one of modern style and elegance the end result is one which fitted the brief perfectly and ultimately delighted the clients.
“It’s all about space and simplicity and light colours,” says Lana. “I always add accessories too as they’re very important for a room. They pull all the colours together and create a more homely and relaxing atmosphere. I highly recommend accessorising homes as finishing touches are so important.”