Rather than taking it easy when it came to creating the aesthetic for a spacious, newly-constructed abode in north Dublin, designer and decorator Suzie McAdam chose to focus on understated but beautiful pieces.
Character and colour are the overwhelming first impressions upon entering this space. “The family brought me on board from when the house’s foundations were being laid, and I was really excited to help them create a home from a blank canvas,” says Suzie.
The furniture in this expressive Malahide home is pared back, with an emphasis on mid-century design classics. “I’m a nerd when it comes to design classics because they are so timeless in their beauty and they stand the test of time.”
It’s fun to play with current pieces but in 20 years it’s the chairs in this house that will still be the real stars and will stay in the family”, notes Suzie, though she has a soft spot for one striking piece in particular.
“The polar bear bookcase is probably my favourite piece here. I’d coveted it at Maison et Objet in Paris last year but it’s a difficult piece to place because it’s so big and requires a large space to really show it off. It was one of the first pieces I showed to the family when the living room was planned and they loved it too!”
Throughout the house, you start to pick up on a few key materials and colours, which reappear in different guises. “There are materials that the client really liked which enhanced the house, but a secondary benefit is that they link the house and create a unified and uncluttered feel,” says Suzie.
A case in point is the beautifully simple Saarinen marble dining table, decorated solely by three copper hanging Plumen bulbs. The same cool white marble is reproduced on the kitchen island and backsplash, detailed only with a copper Arne Jacobsen kitchen tap and two small copper Tom Dixon pendants.
Light and space were Suzie’s guiding principles in configuring the ground floor. “Walking around the shell of the house alongside the builder, I encouraged the owners not to add any internal walls at the back. Two smaller rooms lead off the back living area, both with double sliding doors to allow the rooms to be free-flowing,” says Suzie.
The resulting ground floor offers both an enormous living area as well as cosier spaces that can be closed off for relaxing or working, whilst upstairs there are four well-proportioned double bedrooms and three fabulous bathrooms.
Layering and texture are the crucial foil to the luxurious mood that runs through the house. The master bathroom upstairs features masses of marble metro tiles with chunky chrome taps and a deep basin and bath. “The marble tiles really stood out for their weightiness and depth compared to plain metro tiles,” explains Suzie, who adds that her client wanted a non-corporate look of luxury. What really makes the bathroom, though, is the patterned Moroccan floor tiles – an unexpected but perfect choice to add character.
A colourful, intricately patterned Moroccan floor tile has also been used in the entrance hallway – not an obvious choice in a huge space but the fantastic, visually evocative effect really works and slightly throws you on entering from the modern exterior. A new build might not be everyone’s dream, but Suzie’s creativity has rewritten the rules on this one for us, illustrating that history is not a prerequisite for a meaningful home.
Extracted from Jessica Elliot’s interview with Suzie McAdam in the March – April issue of IMAGE Interiors & Living.