A French degree, a nightclub and Valentine’s Day – The story behind a picture book house in Dublin 3

36 Vernon Gardens, Clontarf, Dublin 3

Selling price: €895,000 Agent: DNG (01) 833 1802

Not many people can boast that two professional artists helped them design their home. However, Sinéad Dennis was able to draw on the creative skills of her aunt, the well-known artist and DJ Mo Kelly, and her mother, the photographer and artist Síle Dennis.

This colorful sister act has heavily influenced the look of their former coastal home in Clontarf.


Let’s move on… Sinéad, Thomas, Cora and Tedh at the artistically tiled entrance hall

She and her husband Thomas Loumaigne bought their home in need of renovation when they decided to settle down.

When Dennis got an art degree in French and economics, but later started working in advertising, she genuinely thought she would never use her French again. Until one night at 3am on the dance floor of the Black Door nightclub on Harcourt Street in Dublin she met a French guy. “It was Valentine’s Day. He came from Bordeaux and was here on holiday.”


The living area overlooks the back garden

He asked for her number, but she accidentally left out a digit. “When I didn’t hear from him right away, I thought OK. That’s great. Then, about five days later, I got a text message that said, ‘Sinéad?’ He works as a lead developer at an IT security company and had come up with the 10 numbers it could have been.” As well as using her French on a daily basis, Dennis is now married to Thomas and they have two children, Cora, two, and Tedh (1). “I feel very fortunate because it was one of those ‘right time, right place’ things,” she says.


hallway and stairwell

During this time they purchased and renovated 36 Vernon Gardens, Clontarf, a 1421 sq ft three bedroom semi detached home near the sea in Clontarf. The 1930’s house was in poor condition when they got it in 2018. “There was a galley kitchen with a formal room at the front and a small dining room at the back. Nothing has been done about it for at least 40 years,” explains Sinéad.

They called in Denali Builders and also hired interior designer Clodagh Barry. “Clodagh did some drawings for us of ideas we had on how to open the house. We planned to extend it at the back as much as possible without planning permission and create a light-filled entertaining area.”


One of the family bathrooms

At the rear a large open plan L-shaped kitchen/living/dining room has been developed. The kitchen counters are made of quartz and there is a large island in the middle. The space benefits from two large skylights and sliding glass doors leading to the garden in the living area, which houses a large couch and has floor to ceiling shelving to one side.

A narrow hallway at the front of the house now leads into the open plan room, the staircase of which leads to the dining area. The pantry has been converted into a downstairs WC and utility room. The formal room at the front of the house has the original fireplace. The three bedrooms are upstairs – two of which are doubles, and there is also a bathroom with a walk-in shower.

Sinéad chose the colors on the advice of her mother Síle and also her aunt Mo. Mo has DJed in Ibiza and Dubai, where she has had residencies and her paintings have been exhibited all over the world.

“I wanted to add color and personality to the house, but I thought bold colors would make the rooms smaller. I sat with Mo and we talked about it. She explained that if you use the right tone, it can work. She brought fabric samples and we examined the light in the rooms.”

The result is effective use of bold colors throughout the home.

For example, the living room at the front is painted green, while the open plan kitchen/dining/living room is painted in various shades of navy and the downstairs bathroom is bright yellow.

Various paintings and prints also bring color into play. “There are a couple of Mo Kelly’s paintings, one from my 30th birthday and another that she gave me for my wedding. I also have some of my mother’s paintings there.”

The house comes with a B3 BER rating. They laid parquet-style tiles on the floor and added underfloor heating.

They did a lot of work on the 80-foot-long back garden that faces northwest. “We started by painting the walls. Then we added a pergola and loungers and created a boules court behind it. The French are gas. They’re going to have a drink and stand around on the pitch and play boules for four hours.”

The garden was her sanctuary during lockdown. “It was fortunate because we were able to chat outside.” They installed a shed in the back that they use for remote work.

Sinéad is from Clontarf and loves it. “It’s close to the sea, which is important to Thomas as he likes to surf, and it’s also close to Dublin Airport.” It’s also just a three-minute walk from the village of Clontarf.

“Our neighbors have a WhatsApp group and have street parties in the summer and a New Year’s Eve party every year,” she says. “And the street really comes alive at Christmas when all the houses are lit up. It’s incredible when everything is lit up.”

The couple are now planning to buy another home in Clontarf which they can also refurbish. “We loved the challenge as I am very creative and my husband is practical. We’ve done as much as we can on this house and it seems the right time to sell it.

“We know we are very fortunate to be able to buy this house and live in Clontarf,” she adds. “Now we’re hoping to sell our turnkey home to someone who will love it as much as we do.” DNG is asking €895,000 for them.

https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/a-french-degree-a-nightclub-and-valentines-day-the-story-behind-a-picture-perfect-home-in-dublin-3-42046583.html A French degree, a nightclub and Valentine’s Day – The story behind a picture book house in Dublin 3

Fry Electronics Team

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