DAYS OF HEAVEN

Emma Lynch had won­der­ful mem­o­ries of hol­i­day­ing in Brit­tas. To her de­light, she got an op­por­tu­nity to buy that very hol­i­day home, and it also led to a new busi­ness. Edited by Mary O’Sul­li­van. Pho­tog­ra­phy by Tony Gavin

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - MY FAVOURITE ROOM -

We all have our Prous­tian mo­ments; when a sight, a taste, a smell, a touch, or a sound will send us off on a jour­ney of nos­tal­gia; a trip down mem­ory lane. For the nar­ra­tor in Mar­cel Proust’s fa­mous se­ries of nov­els called

this evo­ca­tion of times past hap­pened when he tasted a madeleine cake dipped in tea. For Emma Lynch, in­te­ri­ors en­tre­pre­neur and co-owner of Lamb De­sign, it’s the heady scent of her grand­mother’s gar­den in sum­mer which can evoke days of her youth; days spent hap­pily splash­ing at the sea­side in Brit­tas Bay and making cas­tles on the beach; days of fam­ily gath­er­ings and pic­nics and birth­day par­ties. Happy days.

It was a scent which Emma never thought she’d fully ex­pe­ri­ence again once she’d grown up — her grand­par­ents had sold their house many years ear­lier, and Emma and her fam­ily stopped go­ing to Brit­tas. Then, one fate­ful day three years ago, she got a call out of the blue from her fa­ther. “You’ll never guess where I am?” he said, down the phone to her at her then home in Lon­don.

That phone call led to Emma get­ting the op­por­tu­nity to re­live the days of her youth and give her own chil­dren a

Recherche Du Temps Perdu, A La

sim­i­larly care­free up­bring­ing. It also led to the cre­ation of her thriv­ing new busi­ness.

A lot had hap­pened in Emma’s life in the in­ter­ven­ing years. Born and reared in Dublin, the youngest of three chil­dren, she had stud­ied mar­ket­ing and PR, and went on to be­come the mar­ket­ing man­ager of Bri­tish Tele­com in Ire­land, where she worked for three years. In 2009, she mar­ried her hus­band Peter, a businessman, and they de­cided to go and live where Peter’s work took them, first to the US and later Eng­land. “We lived for three years in Scotts­dale, Ari­zona. It’s just gor­geous, and there was a great so­cial life. Ca­reer wise, it was a bit tricky for me with work visas, but then Chloe ar­rived, and I looked after her full-time.” Emma re­calls.

Chloe, six, was fol­lowed by Hugo, three, who was born in Lon­don, where the cou­ple lived for two years. At the time of Emma’s dad’s phone call, they were de­bat­ing about com­ing home, as they wanted Chloe to go to school in Ire­land.

“Dad said, ‘I’m having a cup of tea with the lady who owns gran’s house’. It tran­spired that Carlo, who did paint­ing jobs around the house for my dad, was do­ing a job for this lady, Susan. They got talk­ing, and Carlo found out that Jill, Susan’s late mother, had bought my grand­mother’s hol­i­day bun­ga­low in Brit­tas from her. Susan asked Carlo for my dad’s phone num­ber, purely to have a chat,” Emma re­calls, adding, “The house had been left to Susan by her mother, and it had been derelict for 10 years. At that stage, she had no in­ten­tion of sell­ing the house, but I ex­pressed an in­ter­est, and she thought the fact that it had been my grand­mother’s house, and that I loved it enough to want to buy it, even though it was derelict, was a won­der­ful story,” Emma re­calls.

The happy out­come was, Susan agreed to sell, she got an es­tate agent to set the price, and Emma and her hus­band were thrilled to be the pur­chasers. Emma re­calls with de­light the day they came to see it; it com­pletely lived up to her mem­o­ries of the house — in fact, she thought it was even more won­der­ful. It was a glo­ri­ous day, and the set­ting looked idyl­lic. “As a kid, you have no con­cept of views, and I sup­pose that was one thing I didn’t re­ally re­mem­ber. We came back to look at it on a blis­ter­ing hot day and we re­al­ized the set­ting was amaz­ing, with these gor­geous sea views.”

When Emma and her hus­band orig­i­nally bought the house, they planned to do a com­plete re­design, and she was go­ing to en­gage an ar­chi­tect and an in­te­rior de­signer. To ex­tend would have meant look­ing for plan­ning per­mis­sion, which would take months, and, as the sale it­self had al­ready taken a year to com­plete be­cause it was a pro­bate sale, they just didn’t have the stom­ach for any more de­lays, so Emma went with her gut in­stinct and did an in­ter­nal re­design her­self.

For Emma to take it and bring it back to life was a joy, but she also felt a cer­tain re­spon­si­bil­ity in that she wanted to honour the home of her grand­par­ents. She and her hus­band trans­ferred back to Ire­land in 2014, and, while the house was be­ing ren­o­vated, they stayed in Wex­ford with Emma’s par­ents, who had re­tired to Gorey.

The ren­o­va­tion, which took two months, in­volved tear­ing the house apart in­ter­nally, leav­ing only a shell and a roof. “The house dates from the 1950s. There were al­ways four bed­rooms, but

‘She thought the fact that I loved it enough to want to buy it, even though it was derelict, was a won­der­ful story’

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