TV and radio broadcaster Jonathan McCrea and his young family find refuge in their bright period house in Dublin’s Sandymount, where every corner reflects his love of music, photography, and fashion.
Step inside Jonathan McCrea’s period house in Sandymount, Dublin 4 and it’s impossible not to feel a rush of property lust. Big, bright and peppered with interesting artwork, auction finds and the occasional quirky piece, it exudes graciousness. But it also has the appealing lived in feel of a family home; the journalist who presents Futureproof on Newstalk 106-108 and The Lie on TV3 moved in here last December with his wife Dara and their young son. Jonathan grew up in an old house with lots of character, and this has informed his own interiors style. “In an ideal world, I think my house would be just like the interior of Industry, the shop on Drury Street,” he says. “I love that mix of reclaimed wood, distressed steel, and worn leather. My mum, who is an interior designer, always taught me the value of quality materials and so I tend to go for that if I ever see a bargain or can afford to splash out.”A keen amateur photographer, some of his own shots adorn the walls, and he has used his treasured record collection to overcome an aesthetic conundrum they faced upon moving in. “We arrived and found that there was wall to wall shelving in the living room, dining room and office. Empty, they looked terrible, but they turned out to be the perfect size for my records, which have sort of documented my adult life,” Jonathan says. “LP covers are like pieces of art from a very specific time of my life”.
What do you love about where you live?
The Green in Sandymount is remarkable; there always seems to be a good vibe there. People clean it all the time – there’s a huge respect for the environment and people care for how things look. I really like that idea that there’s a community spirit and people say hello to each other. It’s almost like a country village, but it’s only ten minutes from the city centre. We’re expecting a son or daughter in October, and I know that there are five people on this road we could call on if we needed to – that’s so rare nowadays.
How does this house reflect your style?
I’m a real sucker for detail. In terms of clothes, I like to find something that is just a little bit different, and I think our house is very much about pieces and it feeling very comfortable. It’s not super-clean lines, everything looking very sharp, but there are some nice pieces. That reflects the fact that we like to think that we are quite laid-back and we do appreciate detail and design, but don’t think that design can take over completely. It’s not practical.I am too busy to have a perfect house; my wife is too busy to haven a perfectly clean house. This feels like a home.
Do you have a favourite room?
I love the living room, with the big bay window. And I love having my records on the wall because music was very much a part of me growing up from the age of 16 to 25.I used to DJ all over the place.
Do you have a shopping style when it comes to the house?
Dara would have a mission; I would pick things up as we go along. Often times, it’s completely by accident when we’re walking by a flea market. We have two old toy boxes, which are just gorgeous, and a school writing desk that I happened to pick up, but now I don’t know where to put it.I think that’s the problem with picking up, rather than having a mission; I love this, but where the hell will it go?
Any interior style tips you’d like to share?
I think life is too short to be too predictable, reasonable or conservative. I’ve never bought something of quality and regretted it, whether it was clothes or furniture or something to hang on my wall. If you really love something, just buy it. You probably won’t starve because of it and if you do, well, it’s a lesson learned for the next time. There are rules to design, though, and if you don’t know them, you can’t break them. Get advice from someone arty to get you going if you want to do something new with your place, but
don’t have the confidence to start from scratch. My mum did this in every place I’ve lived. I was lucky because it was her job and she has an incredible eye. Genetically, I must have gotten a little of that, right?