After stints in the UK and France, designer Helen Cody returned to Ireland to find her Dublin 8 home in need of a lot of TLC.
Ask her friends, and no doubt you'll be told that Helen Cody's home, which she shares with her two dogs, Harry and Joe, is very "her". The fashion designer's Dublin 8 cottage is the perfect reflection of her elegant, vintage-loving aesthetic. "I would describe my style as very eclectic, and strongly influenced by history, decay, and things that nobody wants!" she laughs. "I love things that are old and discarded. I'm a bit of a scavenger - whether it's car-boot sales in London or brocantes in Paris. I like re-inventing pieces."
Helen returned to Ireland 2013 to re-launch her eponymous fashion label, specialising in beautifully crafted, handmade, unique, and limited edition pieces. Often her creations take months to complete, and she uses only the finest Italian, and French silks, organza's, Cashmere and laces.
She was drawn to her home by the high ceilings. "At the time - this was 2000 - I had been outbid on nine houses. I drove past one night and saw this house; the lights were on, and there was a 'for sale' sign outside. I decided to just knock on the door and see. As it happened, the homeowner had been 'sale agreed' three times and they had all fallen through so we made a deal there and then. It was amazing."
Helen had to give it a revamp once she arrived back, adding a light-filled studio out the back. "When I returned in 2013 after living abroad for a couple years, it had been rented out, so it needed a complete overhaul, on a small budget. I'm great at the art of the tart-up, though – I started simple to begin with and painted everything white, including the woodwork and ceilings."
Helen's home is filled with personal treasures but never veers into cluttered territory. How does she manage to keep it so calm and clean? "It might sound funny, but I like to photograph the spaces I'm in," she laughs. "If something is bothering me, I'll look at it through a photograph and find that I can read it much more objectively and find a good balance. I like rooms to feel calm and ordered. Also, I think if you collect enough things over the years, your taste settles into itself and things begin to feed off each other."