With oodles of space and natural lighting, this new-build just outside Randalstown has been transformed into a cosy, contemporary haven by Derry-based designers, Astoria Interiors
Tasked with fitting out the entire house, Rachael McCrea from the company says the project threw up a few challenges, but well worth it, as the results really do speak for themselves…
Having built a few houses in their time, these home-owners are now in their forever home – somewhere their grown-up children can visit, with plenty of room for accommodating any additional guests. From the beginning, says Rachael, they had a clear idea of what they wanted in terms of décor and design.
“They wanted something more contemporary, as their last house was quite traditional,” she says. “The brief was simplicity, with clean lines and no fuss, but something that was still homely.”
“The brief was simplicity, with clean lines and no fuss, but something that was still homely.”
Involved from the very early stages, when the house was still a building site, the Astoria Interiors team was busy from the outset, working alongside the builders and electricians.
“We went away and did a full-house mood board and then came back for a meeting, going through everything we’d picked,” says Rachael. “The clients eliminated some things at that stage and it took a few meetings to get everything sorted, as there was a lot to think about. Accessories came later, but we did discuss the main paint colours and ideas for the kitchen and bathroom at this stage. We also put some fabrics forward, but they were decided upon at a later stage.”
Cool and calm kitchen space
The first port of call was the kitchen, from which the rest of the house took its style inspiration. The brief was clean lines and no handles and it also had to work as an entertaining space, as well as being a practical cooking area.
“Our lady of the house loves to cook and entertain,” says Rachael. “She wanted the kitchen to come around the island so she could cook and chat to friends. So, the kitchen runs in an L-shape around the back of the dining table.”
With handless cabinetry for that seamless style, the kitchen is a neat and tidy space, with extra storage in the form of a walk-in larder cleverly concealed behind two sliding doors. The island, which is bordered by a Quartz Helix Matt worktop, offers a sociable space for the cook, with a flat hob on top and stool seating gathered around the unit. Above, is a drop-down ceiling with down lighting while behind, the sink with surrounding Neolith countertops offers resilient surfaces which further integrate the minimalist style of the space.
“All appliances used in the kitchen are from NEFF,” says Rachael, “and these, along with the cabinetry come from Greenhill Kitchens in Omagh, who made the units bespoke. The clients wanted grey tones, so the doors were picked particularly for them and are Veneered Oak, a horizontal grain which was in a bespoke colour specific to them. The main door is spray-painted in a dark lead tone.”
All of the paint in the kitchen and indeed, the rest of the house, comes from Zoffany, with neutral tones used throughout. Large floor tiles in a mid-grey tone – sourced from Ceramica in Bangor – lead in from the front door to the kitchen, flowing on into the dining room.
Delectable dining space
The kitchen’s dining area is full of natural light, thanks to windows stretching almost floor to ceiling along two walls. These open onto an outside patio area and when closed, retain privacy with vertical sheer blinds.
Three square black iron pendant lights encasing glass cylinders with globe bulbs hang above the dining table, which is a bespoke piece of furniture with matching iron legs. The seating is also bespoke-made, with the fabric from Voyage. A smaller side table sits off to the side, in the same style as the main table.
Continuing the minimalist theme, a four-metal profile Crittall-style door leads from the dining area into the hallway, adding an art deco vibe to the space. This metal-framed door complements the furniture from the dining room and fulfils the client brief of clean, straight lines.
“This was made bespoke to flow between the kitchen and hallway,” says Rachael. “The main features of the hallway is this Crittall door and the stairway. The clients wanted visitors to be able to see right through into the open-plan kitchen area.”
“The main features of the hallway is this Crittall door and the stairway. The clients wanted visitors to be able to see right through into the open-plan kitchen area.”
The stairs also have straight iron bars flowing from handrail to floor, with a grey-tone carpet running down the middle with a white-line border, again continuing those straight lines. The space was simply accessorised using the clients’ own artwork, as they had kept various pieces from their previous home.
Family-friendly living room
Although the house has two living rooms, it is the main family room pictured here, which was designed not just for the humans of the house, but also had to be dog-friendly.
“They use this room all the time,” says Rachael. “They’re dog lovers so they wanted it to be dog-friendly and didn’t want it to be all pale colours. The sofas and footstool are made bespoke by Voyage to fit the size of the room, with the fabric from Linwood. We added a contemporary fire which gives a cosy feel to the space.”
While storage was required, the clients preferred not to have sideboards or units. The Astoria Interiors team subsequently collaborated with Function Design Furniture in Newtownards, asking them to make and then fit bespoke layered shelves in a wood-stain effect with pull-out drawers beneath.
The soft furnishings include a rug which is again made bespoke to fit the room size, with splashes of colour added through citrus-coloured cushions. These bring out the tones in the Tiffany curtains, which are neutral with a hint of blue and orange. Shade lighting further complements these neutral tones.
“We usually try to talk people into a wee bit of colour, otherwise it can look very bland,” says Rachael. “They absolutely loved it and are glad there’s colour in there. It can easily be changed if they want a new colour scheme in the future. We also styled out the rest of the room, sourcing all the accessories from a range of our suppliers.”
Space to relax
Heading upstairs, you step out onto a landing which opens into quite a large area, with a high vaulted ceiling adding extra depth to the space. A bridge walkway leads across to a bedroom and bathroom, further enhancing the roominess of this floor.
As both clients run their own businesses, their initial plans for the landing were to convert it into a study area with desks. However, with sweeping floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a lake outside, they settled upon a space to relax instead.
Bringing a leather brown chair from their previous home, this sits in a cosy corner, with the window behind bedecked once again with those sheer blinds. Wallpaper with tiny textured squares also creates a feature wall in this space, with a subtle shaded wall-light adding nice mood-lighting at night. “It gives this area warmth, as it’s so open-plan and so big,” says Rachael.
Artwork – again, the clients’ own – hangs on just one side of the landing, while the carpet continues on from the stair runner, a style which is hard-wearing and easily maintained.
“All the carpets throughout the house are different colours, but are all greys,” says Rachael.
Magnificent master bedroom
Moving into the master bedroom, large apex windows and double doors opening onto a balcony create quite a statement in this huge space, which presented a bit of a challenge to Astoria Interiors. Nevertheless, it is one they overcame with more bespoke furniture and quality fabrics, creating a calm, comfortable room which exudes elegance.
“The curtains on the apex window are stylish JAB ANSTOETZ fabric,” says Rachael. “We picked all the fabrics based around the bed, which is a bespoke super-king-size. The navy headboard and valance are both upholstered in Sanderson fabric and our sewer made the pleated valance bespoke.”
The bedside units are also bespoke and concealed storage comes in the form of handy walk-in wardrobes. Adding further luxury to the room are a pair of chaise lounges from Voyage, which sit at either side of the apex window and are upholstered in a rich royal blue material. Hanging at the smaller windows are Roman blinds made from Harlequin fabric. The blinds are motorised and easily operated at the press of a button, with this same feature used throughout the house.
“Behind the bedroom window curtains is another hidden curtain, again made from Voyage fabric,” says Rachael. “The aim is to hide it behind the main curtains so they can pull that at night. It’s a lighter curtain and was again, made bespoke by us.”
Tranquil tones for guest bedroom
The guest bedrooms are decorated in softer tones, as per the clients’ brief and the room pictured here is used for both guests and for one of their daughters. With a corner and front window there is again, ample natural lighting.
The overall look here is relaxed, with the bedding – both here and throughout the house – from House of Fraser. The classic white covers match the shaded lamps on the bedside tables, while the main shade light carries soft pink hues which complement the blush throw, curtains and chair.
Both the curtains and lightshade are bespoke, as are the pink and grey curtains, which pull the look together, with fabrics sourced from Voyage and Harlequin. Meanwhile, the pink chair by the window is from Made-com.
Bathrooms and beyond
The brief for the bathrooms was to continue the minimalist theme, keeping things simple and easy to maintain. A guest toilet downstairs has distinctive black wallpaper from Brian Yates, with a small basin fitted to one wall, the only other feature being a small toilet.
“They wanted low-maintenance for the bathrooms,” says Rachael. “Something that didn’t require too much scrubbing! So, there are features like flat shower trays with no grooves.
“What’s interesting about this project is that the stonework outside the house inspired the interior décor. It keeps the flow of the design continuous throughout.
“From beginning to end the project took a full year. They came to us January 2017, when the house was just starting to get built, and we finished styling it the week before Christmas. Throughout the house there was great lighting with big windows, corner windows and floor-to-ceiling windows. So, with the lighting we picked, it wasn’t our priority to light up the house. It was more for the aesthetics.
“They weren’t really into patterns or colours so we tried to bring in texture through wallpaper and fabrics to add warmth and cosiness. It’s really nice to see the end result and I’m happy to say that they’re delighted with it.”
344 Longland Road, Claudy Co. Londonderry BT47 4AJ
Tel: 07731705742 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
More info at astoriainteriors.com