Designer digs

Classic, collectible furniture from all over the world has become a passion for one Dublin family


In the sitting room of the Moloney’s home in Monkstown, Co Dublin, sits a limited edition Egg chair, made to celebrate the Arne Jacobsen design’s 50th anniversary. “When Declan first brought home the chair he told us that no one else was allowed to sit in it,” his wife Emily explains. “I told him that either we were all going to be able to use the chair or he could leave and take his chair with him.”

Seven years on it’s now part of the family. “The kids sit on it. Occasionally you find bits of popcorn or jellies under the seat. But we can live with that.”

Emily Maher, Declan Moloney and their three girls: Scarlet (8), Ellie (9) and Isobel (12), live in a large Victorian house furnished with classic designer furniture that started out as their passion, and quickly became a business.

Emily trained as a textile artist and worked as a designer for Ceadogán Rugs for seven years before setting up Lost Weekend, a design service that sold design and vintage furniture in Wexford town, with Declan, her academic husband.

Two years ago they moved their design practice from Wexford to a large premises in Blackrock, Co Dublin. A split from their business partner saw that company liquidated last year. Undeterred, the couple regrouped and reopened in a smaller space in Dún Laoghaire focusing on interior design rather than retail.

They’ve filled their red-brick home with contemporary furniture that Emily describes as “modern antiques that feel like we’re living in the now”. The set up lets the original features of the house speak for themselves.

In the hall there are several Sean Shanahan pieces, an artist introduced to them by Stoney Road Press, who became fans of their furniture while they were based in Wexford. Chair One by Konstantin Grcic, a bright yellow stackable style inspired by the construction of a football adds a pop of colour.

The house has two interconnecting reception rooms, one of which is is given over to a paint and play room. “It is a constant mess as we don’t yet have the requisite storage,” Emily says.

Storage is one of the many items still on their to-do list but they’d rather wait and get the things they want, when they can afford them, Emily says. On the wishlist is a Rodger Oates carpet for the stairs and a Boffi kitchen.

They eat at a vintage 1968 Arcana table, purchased from a dealer in London, on Arne Jacobsen Series Seven dining chairs. Behind the kitchen table there is a pair of 1968 black leather upholstered chairs of the same design that the couple bought at a Storage Wars-style auction in London’s Crouch End. On the rare occasions you get to sit outside the table and chairs are moved outside to dine al fresco.

Emily and Declan’s bedroom is on the first floor and spans the width of the house. Emily fell in love with the modernist lines of the vintage Stag dressing table designed by John and Sylvia Reid, a piece she bought in London. Her daughters love to sit in front of it to blow dry their hair. The George Nelson chair in front was a Christmas present from Declan. The two guitars, a 1962 Fender Telecaster and a 1972 Fender Stratocaster in the room belong to Declan, who used to play in a band called Twilight Dreams that supported Something Happens and The Four of Us in the early 1990s. His Fender speakers were once owned by a member of the Horselips.

Isobel’s room is wallpapered with posters of One Direction and The Hunger Games. Scarlet and Ellie share a room on the second floor that is full of Magis pieces. The girls sleep in a set of bright orange Bunkie bunk beds by Marc Newson, display games and books on Tide shelving by Zaha Hadid and play at a Linus table, designed by Javier Mariscal, who also designed the Alma chair. Adjacent to it is a Pop chair by Enzo Mari. A Missoni design for Bolon covers the floor because it is “practical, hardwearing and vibrant”.

The children have been fed a diet of designer furniture since they were babies – so much so that they can identify pieces on TV programmes and in magazines, Emily says.

“They clocked the Egg chairs in Ugly Betty and the Eames pieces in House and Wizards of Waverly Place . On a recent restaurant visit, Ellie correctly identified the Magis Air chairs they were sitting on.”