AN ART­FUL MAKEOVER

Aine Cur­ran and her hus­band bought the house of their dreams in 2000, but waited un­til they found the right ar­chi­tect to trans­late their ideas into the per­fect home. Edited by Mary O’Sul­li­van. Pho­tog­ra­phy by Tony Gavin

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

Though it only hit our shores last au­tumn, is a word with which we’ve all some­how be­come fa­mil­iar. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s hard to pro­nounce and we en­joy try­ing it out. Or maybe it’s be­cause it’s a Dan­ish word and we love ev­ery­thing Nordic — their TV shows, their restau­rants, their jumpers — so why not trans­lates as a feel­ing of cosi­ness, and maybe our em­brac­ing of this funny word is be­cause it’s some­thing many of us were in dan­ger of los­ing sight of when it came to tart­ing up our own homes, and this con­cept came as a timely re­minder.

Aine Cur­ran, who lives in a beau­ti­fully de­signed and dec­o­rated house in south Co Dublin, is very fa­mil­iar with hav­ing lived in Den­mark in the early days of her mar­riage. And there’s no doubt that those two years in­formed the way she and her hus­band Peter ren­o­vated their house in re­cent times — it is beau­ti­ful, yet ‘cosy’ and ‘easy to live in’ are also words that spring to mind on a tour of the house.

“It’s funny to see all those books com­ing out now about I

hygge hygge? Hygge hygge. hygge,

re­mem­ber the Danes try­ing to ex­plain it to me; it was the big­gest com­pli­ment any­one could pay your house to say it was Aine notes, adding “Dan­ish peo­ple have a very dif­fer­ent at­ti­tude to do­ing up their houses to us. They tend to meet in each other’s houses; even stu­dents would have each other over to din­ner, and even peo­ple in their 20s would be very house­proud. Their queen is a graphic de­signer; they re­ally value de­sign, it’s mas­sive there. We were in­vited to all the neigh­bours’ houses, and they would have a story about each piece of fur­ni­ture; so much thought was put into each thing. ‘We were 12 years look­ing for this rug’ or ‘This chair was so dif­fi­cult to come by’. They are lovely peo­ple, re­ally.”

How­ever the Dan­ish ex­pe­ri­ence isn’t the only rea­son why Aine’s home is so in­ter­est­ing yet cosy; both Aine and her hus­band, Peter Rob­bins, are ex­tremely creative, and it’s ap­par­ent in their colour schemes, their choice of fur­nish­ings and the many pieces of art hang­ing on their walls. Peter, who stud­ied mar­ket­ing fol­lowed by a PhD in in­no­va­tion, is head of the depart­ment of De­sign

hygge,”

In­no­va­tion in Maynooth, and teaches cre­ativ­ity right across the cam­pus from un­der­grad­u­ates to PhDs. Aine stud­ied fine art print­mak­ing in NCAD and has been teaching art in the art depart­ment of Our Lady’s Col­lege, Green­hills in Drogheda, for the last 25 years. She has also be­gun to do etch­ings again in re­cent years. “I love teaching. I don’t know if I could work on my own all the time, as most full-time artists do. I love work­ing with peo­ple, spe­cially creative peo­ple. We’ve a big art depart­ment, and a lot of our stu­dents go on to do art at third level,” the en­gag­ing brunette notes.

Aine and Peter, who both hail from Black­rock, Co Dublin, have known each other since their teens, but didn’t get to­gether un­til their late 20s. They have two chil­dren So­phie (18) and Will (16). Apart from their so­journ in Den­mark, they’ve mainly lived in south Co Dublin, and have been in their house since 2000; their first house was around the corner. “We used to look at this house and say to each other, ‘Wouldn’t you love to live there?’” Aine notes, adding, “We could see it from our house. It was big­ger than ours; it was in a cul-de-sac; it was on a corner site; you could park in the drive — all the things we didn’t have.”

When they got the op­por­tu­nity to buy it, they jumped at it, and have loved it ever since. “The houses were built in 1939. There’s a lovely mix of peo­ple on the road: stu­dents, young fam­i­lies and peo­ple in their 90s who’ve been here since the houses were built,” Aine notes.

The down­side was the house had hardly been changed since 1939, so Aine and Peter did a bit of ren­o­va­tion in 2005, adding a kitchen and play­room, though the main changes were to the gar­den. Diar­muid Gavin de­signed it, and his plant­ing is still thriv­ing — a par­tic­u­lar de­light is the row of tall Tilia lime trees. “Diar­muid called the Tilia trees our ‘hedge in the sky’, as when the leaves are

‘Diar­muid called them our “hedge in the sky”, as when the leaves are in bloom, they pre­vent us from be­ing over­looked’

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