true colours

Avril Wil­son-rankin and her hus­band An­drew turned a Dublin ware­house into a unique and stylish home packed with colour, light and warmth

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - FEA­TURE Jane Bowles PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Gap In­te­ri­ors/mark scott

Frus­trated by house hunt­ing in Dublin, these new­ly­weds took a chance on an old coastal ware­house and un­earthed its po­ten­tial as the per­fect place to call home

Avril Wil­son-rankin cheer­fully ad­mits that she and her hus­band An­drew never in­tended to buy a ware­house. ‘ We started look­ing af­ter get­ting mar­ried in 2008, but find­ing an af­ford­able fam­ily home in Dublin was al­ways go­ing to be a chal­lenge,’ she says. The cou­ple be­gan their search with very dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties. ‘I love older houses with big win­dows and high ceil­ings, whereas An­drew prefers homes that are en­ergy-ef­fi­cient and make for com­fort­able liv­ing,’ says Avril.

The cou­ple also had a fairly tight bud­get to stick to. ‘ We looked on­line for months, but every­thing was un­suit­able or just too ex­pen­sive,’ says Avril. ‘The break­through came when we widened our search to in­clude com­mer­cial prop­erty.’

Shortly af­ter­wards, their cur­rent home came onto the mar­ket. ‘It was a good-sized ware­house in a great coastal lo­ca­tion over­look­ing Dublin Bay, and per­fect for con­vert­ing into a New York loft-style home,’ says Avril. Buy­ing the ware­house was a leap of faith, how­ever, since the prop­erty was be­ing sold with­out plan­ning per­mis­sion to be con­verted into a res­i­den­tial dwelling. ‘ We de­cided to take the risk, and com­mis­sioned Der­mot Ban­non, a well-known Dublin ar­chi­tect, to help.’

First, the cou­ple thought about how to make the ware­house work to suit their life­style. ‘It was a very ex­cit­ing blank can­vas, but also quite daunt­ing, as ab­so­lutely any­thing was pos­si­ble,’ ad­mits Avril. ‘An­drew and I went through our ideas and worked very closely with our ar­chi­tect to max­imise the space. We wanted to keep the ceil­ings full height in the main liv­ing ar­eas to make them feel light and spa­cious. An­drew, an elec­tron­ics en­gi­neer, planned the heat­ing and lighting, so the space would be well lit, warm and en­ergy-ef­fi­cient.’

Once plan­ning per­mis­sion had been granted, the cou­ple chose build­ing con­trac­tors D H Kidd. ‘ Work­ing with such pas­sion­ate and skilled pro­fes­sion­als and crafts­men was a won­der­fully cre­ative and col­lab­o­ra­tive ex­pe­ri­ence,’ says Avril.

With the build­ing work com­plete, it was time to con­sider the decor. De­spite a tight bud­get, Avril was con­fi­dent she could cre­ate the mix of in­dus­trial and vin­tage style that she and An­drew en­vis­aged. ‘I love vis­it­ing flea mar­kets, char­ity shops and car boot sales, I’m a real bar­gain hunter,’ she says.

Find­ing it hard to source the in­dus­trial-style fur­ni­ture they wanted, An­drew and Avril made key pieces, like the me­tal-framed din­ing ta­ble and beds, them­selves. All of this has led to the cou­ple set­ting up an on­line de­sign busi­ness, Goathouse, which Avril runs in her spare time. ‘Although con­vert­ing the ware­house was a stress­ful but ex­cit­ing ad­ven­ture, An­drew and I are thrilled with the re­sult,’ says Avril. ‘I can’t imag­ine us ever mov­ing.’

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