Before and after home renovation: Inside Rathmines Red Brick which later featured on RTE Home of the Year

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In 2018, Kate and Cian O’Driscoll took on the daunting challenge of buying an old period house and turning it into a beautiful family home.

The house, located in Rathmines, is a 3 bedroom Victorian property with lots of character and, as Kate says, ‘good bones’.

When Kate and Cian embarked on the renovation, they had no idea that all their hard work would result in their home being featured on RTE’s House of the Year in 2021.

The couple worked with architect Adrian Hill to bring their dream home to life, which included a stunning extension.

They now share the wonderful home with their beautiful baby Matthew and their dog Amber.

Kate has a large following on her Instagram page @victorianrathmines where she continues to share her latest home projects.

Dublin Live spoke to Kate about her home transformation journey and shared some amazing before and after photos with us.

What made you want to buy the house?

We were renting in the area and we loved it. A period property was the dream, but it had to be a wreck to fit our budget.

As soon as we saw this house, we fell in love with the high ceilings and original features like doors, stairs and plaster work.

What did the house look like when you first bought it? Was there a lot of work to do?

It had not been lived in since the early 80s. It had never been modernized and was always divided into beds.

He was very run down but you could see he had good bones.

We lived there like a wreck for 8 months while we made plans with an architect as well as many cosmetic restorations ourselves after work and on weekends.



Kate in her house during renovations



Kate in her garden during the renovation of the house
Kate in her garden during the renovation of the house



Before photo of Kate and Cian's red brick house in Rathmines
Before photo of Kate and Cian’s red brick house in Rathmines

We basically gutted it leaving only three exterior walls and ceilings. We even knocked down and rebuilt the entire back gable and chimney with reclaimed brick.

We wanted a home that had the comforts of a modern home but the character of an older home. As it was a listed building, we had to hire conservation specialists to ensure that we maintained, preserved and restored all original features and finishes.

We insulated the whole house. Rewired and plumbed, and restored all original sash windows.

What was on your wish list for the house – was something missed?

I think we nailed most of the things we really wanted because we had a clear priority list of what things and finishes we wanted. We also saved a lot of money by doing a lot of the work ourselves.

We also did a lot of sourcing ourselves to find everything we could at the cheapest prices possible.



Kate and Cian O'Driscoll's Rathmines House in collaboration with architect Adrian Hill
Kate and Cian O’Driscoll’s Rathmines House in collaboration with architect Adrian Hill



Rathmines Renovation Kitchen Designer by Architect Adrian Hill
Rathmines Renovation Kitchen Designer by Architect Adrian Hill

Tell us about your favorite part of the house?

Having coffee in my egg chair on a sunny morning. The kitchen had no light before the restoration and now, with lots of clever glazing, is flooded with light most of the day. It’s such a nice place to relax in the morning with the warm sun streaming through the glass.



Rathmines House recently renovated after working with architect Adrian Hill
Rathmines House recently renovated after working with architect Adrian Hill

Tell us about your interior design style

I don’t like a particular style but I would say I prefer a more modern traditional style that is a bit more timeless. I like to take inspiration from the building and the look of each room. I like every piece of a home to be enjoyed too. I hate “good rooms”.

I’m also quite object oriented. For example, my particular Sika designer egg chair was in the plans for this sunny spot before I designed the kitchen around it. It was the same for my CA Design Tulip dining table. I love iconic pieces in design and will pay for these over trendy pieces that don’t last.



Rathmines House recently renovated after working with architect Adrian Hill
Rathmines House recently renovated after working with architect Adrian Hill



Kate in her newly renovated home after working with architect Adrian Hill
Kate in her newly renovated home after working with architect Adrian Hill

Do you have any regrets?

Maybe my pink bathroom. The pink and brass was a bit trendier than I normally would and I got bored of it really quickly.

Any advice for people considering renovating a home?

Have a 10-15% contingency fund.

Invest in good plays rather than trends. They don’t always have to be expensive, there are great second-hand options and we bought lots of antique/vintage pieces.

Know the items/finishes you don’t want to compromise on and budget for them, then shop around for other items. There are always clearance deals available if you have a bit of flexibility on exactly what you are looking for.

Always always always consider light in your space. We don’t get much sun in Ireland, so make the most of the sunny spots in your home when placing the furniture.

Is this your forever home or are you going to take on another project?

We have 100% caught the renovation bug and look forward to embarking on another similar project very soon. Can’t say too much right now, but I’ll update my Instagram as I go.

Here is a list of Dublin suppliers recommended by Kate:

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