OUT OF THE OR­DI­NARY It’s hard to be­lieve that this stun­ning home in Ire­land was once a sim­ple bun­ga­low

Gitte Trench turned a very sim­ple bun­ga­low into a cosy, nur­tur­ing space, char­ac­terised by deep neu­tral shades, touches of bright colour and re­laxed yet el­e­gant styling

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - FEA­TURE & PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Bar­bara Egan/re­portage

When Dan­ish-born Gitte Trench’s beloved hus­band Bernard had to move to a nurs­ing home a few years ago, ne­ces­si­tated by a long ill­ness, it prompted a life-chang­ing de­ci­sion. ‘I sold our house in Dalkey, County Dublin, where we had raised our fam­ily and spent many happy years,’ says Gitte. ‘That way, I could use the funds to make sure Bernard was in the best pos­si­ble fa­cil­ity for the rest of his life. I didn’t want to stay in our beau­ti­ful home if Bernard wasn’t able to share it with me, so I set aside money for his care and a small bud­get to buy an­other house.’

Gitte de­cided her new prop­erty should be sin­gle storey and near shops and pub­lic trans­port, but the one thing she wouldn’t give up was be­ing near the sea. Even­tu­ally, she found a 70sq m bun­ga­low on an es­tate in Grey­stones, County Wick­low. ‘It was mod­est in size, very or­di­nary, but I knew I could cre­ate a home that would be right for me,’ she ex­plains.

The prop­erty was in poor con­di­tion, ‘a real doer-up­per,’ re­calls Gitte, ‘ but it was what I could af­ford. I de­cided to make it a home, which would en­close, soothe and cheer me.’ Three months later, the house in Dalkey was sold, and Gitte was plan­ning a to­tal re­vamp of this ‘or­di­nary’ bun­ga­low. ‘The in­te­rior of our pre­vi­ous home was in a very light, pale, typ­i­cally Scan­di­na­vian style, but for this place I wanted some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent,’ ex­plains Gitte. ‘I was, how­ever, keen to have a din­ing ta­ble and a sit­ting room big enough to ac­com­mo­date my sons, their partners and chil­dren, and my­self. I also wanted a small mez­za­nine level, which

de­sign tip ‘ Make an im­pact and liven up a dark pal­ette with a pop of bold colour like I have done with my vi­brant red stair lad­derõ

could be a fun zone for my grand­chil­dren, so they could all hap­pily play up there while I got some peace down­stairs!’

Gitte added a three-me­tre-wide ex­ten­sion to the rear of the prop­erty, bring­ing the to­tal area to 90sq m. The ex­ten­sion didn’t re­quire plan­ning per­mis­sion and cre­ated room to add an open-plan liv­ing and din­ing space onto the kitchen, with three sets of French doors open­ing to the gar­den. ‘I don’t like slid­ing doors, and felt both the ex­ten­sion and the French doors bal­anced the space well,’ says Gitte. The mez­za­nine level is ac­cessed with a stair lad­der – ‘the stur­di­est and most cost-ef­fec­tive one I could find,’ she says. To the front of the house, Gitte had the wall be­tween the sit­ting room and hall re­moved to cre­ate an open, wel­com­ing space, which con­nects co­he­sively to the rest of the prop­erty.

‘This house works for me,’ says Gitte. ‘The sit­ting room is the sun­ni­est area. The colour scheme of sand, char­coal and camel is based on my mem­o­ries of the Kala­hari, where I lived for six months as a teenager with my mother and her hus­band, who was work­ing out there. This room also fea­tures my favourite pieces in the house – the book­case di­vider made by my son, and the beau­ti­ful Napolean III chairs that I bought with my hus­band in Paris.’

The rear liv­ing area is Gitte’s win­ter re­treat. ‘I love the deep colours at night when the lamps are lit; it cre­ates a cosy space that’s full of sparkling light,’ she says.

This once or­di­nary bun­ga­low is now full of per­son­al­ity thanks to Gitte’s cre­ative touch. ‘It has a feel­ing of warmth and calm,’ she says. ‘I fi­nally feel at home again.’

favourite item‘ The be­spoke book­case, which was made by my son. It helps to de­fine the hall and sit­ting room, and pleases me greatly’

KITCHEN Gitte mixed paints to cre­ate the vi­brant shade for the stair lad­der, which leads up to the mez­za­nine. ox­i­dise 111157 wall­pa­per, £107 per roll, Es­tate Fab­ric and Home

KITCHEN Mir­rored and brass splash­backs lift the dark units and add a glam­orous touch. Dark oak kitchen, £ 4,750, sup­plied and fit­ted by noyeks new­mans

Fam­ily room ‘I wanted warm, en­clos­ing, serene colour,’ says Gitte. Casamance In­stant wall­pa­per in Char­coal Linen, £65 per roll, Casa Home

HALL/SIT­TING room A large, cosy sofa cre­ates a re­laxed, wel­com­ing feel. trafal­gar grand sofa, £1,499, DFS. Vittsjö nest of ta­bles, £ 45, Ikea

hall/ SIT­TING room The be­spoke book­case dou­bles up as a handy room di­vider. book/dis­play unit, £2,800, stu­dio trench

Bed­room Min­i­mal styling and a neu­tral scheme cre­ate a rest­ful feel. Vittsjö shelv­ing unit, £ 45, Ikea. Pen­dant light, £12, Dunnes stores

Bath­room A large mir­rored wall panel in­creases the sense of space. wall tiles, £20sq m, tubs & tiles

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