Fashionista’s fixer-up gets a 1950s vibe
Stylist Ingrid Hoey spent two years planning the interior of her Churchtown home
Ingrid Hoey has been styling glossy editorials, fashion shows, advertising campaigns for years. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times
Fashion stylist Ingrid Hoey has been cheating on fashion for the past few years and having a love affair with interiors instead. It began in 2013 when Hoey and her husband Neil bought a 1950s fixer-upper in Dublin’s Churchtown, which turned into an all-consuming passion project. “We fell in love with the potential of the house, it’s mid-century charm and most of all the 100-foot garden, which was ripe with potential for expansion, but we’d no idea of the long journey that lay ahead,” says Hoey.
Hoey cut her teeth in the world of fashion, first as a buyer for menswear store FX Kelly in the late 90s and has been styling glossy editorials, fashion shows, advertising campaigns and the cast and contestants of RTÉ’s The Voice for the past decade. She was dying to unleash her creative side on her home but had to wait two years, “jumping through planning hoops and ticking off all the boring but necessary boxes before we could even think about a pot of paint.”
The house was in its original condition and needed a full rewire, new plumbing, new insulation, windows and heating installed. They also wanted to take full advantage of the space to the rear so enlisted architect, Brendan Balfe to make it all happen. “We gave him a pretty big wish list including using every square inch available for storage, to get as much light into the house as possible and to pretty much double the floor space. Not only did he deliver but the end result exceeded all our expectations.”
Balfe designed an L-shape extension to the rear of the house with ceiling to floor windows to catch the light all day, which has transformed the east-facing return into “a space so bright and sunny you could wear your sunglasses in there from dawn to dusk,” says Hoey.
Balfe also etched out lots of hidden space, including a massive under stairs storage facility, which Hoey calls the kit room, “Our two tween girls, Freya and Milla have amassed so much gear – ballet kits, hockey kits, tennis kits etc, so it’s great to have this camouflaged space in the hall to throw it all into.” While the extension of the house is distinctly modern, the couple respected the mid-century heritage of the house by keeping the fireplaces and all of the original doors and coving.
Although Hoey was frustrated by the wait for planning permission, building works and fundamentals to get sorted, on reflection she feels it probably allowed for her interiors style to evolve along with the house. “When I scroll through my original Pinterest mood boards for here, it was all clean wood and New Hampshire interiors, yet the house has turned out nothing like that. As each room was finished I’d realise, oh this room has loads of natural light, maybe I can paint it really dark, or vice versa. And when I look around me now, I realise how much more eclectic and bold my style has become.
“Our previous home was very safe in terms of colour and style but I was much braver this time around. There’s little explosions of prints, colour and quirky points of interest everywhere. In fact, it’s quite like my fashion sense – classic shapes, with lots of textures and always a few bonkers surprises thrown in to the mix,” says Hoey
The funky front room has become her favourite space. “In my mind this started out as a clean, airy Scandi room, but then I took a totally opposite approach and went really dark and moody and dialed up the 1950s vibe completely. The walls are painted in Falling Water, from the Fleetwood Vogue collection and most of the furniture and accessories I got from Retro Rummage.
“The owner Paul Byrne, is incredible and can source anything mid-century you desire and he’s much cheaper than most other vintage suppliers out there. I’ve added also little pops of brass everywhere too, like the bird lamps form Mo Muse and the wire lamp to jazz things up. It’s most definitely an adult oasis and there’s not a toy or piece of gym gear in sight.”
When Hoey approaches styling a fashion shoot, she like to mix up vintage, designer and high street and she applied the same principals to her home. “I love Matthew Williamson’s maximalist approach and while I wouldn’t want a whole room of his stuff, I’ve pops of it here and there and find his wild prints and fabrics can really lift a plain backdrop.”
Hoey found some good bargains in H&M and Zara Home and picked up “great little accessories” from April and the Bear.
“CA Design is also amazing for replica design classics. I got my Saarinen style oval dining table there for a snip of what an original would cost.”
The glam of the fashion world can also be found peppered all over the house by way of fashion sketches.
“I’ve some gorgeous drawings by Kitty Moss, who always hides a little cat somewhere in her work that you have to seek it out, and Jane Ryan is another great Irish illustrator whom I’ve been collecting too.”
When it comes to paintings, Hoey is just starting down that road, “but Santa Claus brought me a beautiful abstract piece by Galway painter Lola Donoghue last year. It’s bursting with colour and attitude, which I love.”
Hoey’s new found love for all things interiors led to her recently joining forces with Irish paint brand, Fleetwood as a colour expert for its Vogue collection. It’s an area she wants to delve further into and wold love to see more of a symbiotic relationship evolve between interior and fashion trends.
“I think both worlds could benefit the other: fashion could learn to be more long-term and interiors more responsive to the zeitgeist,” says Hoey.
But for now, Hoey’s happy to take a breather from DIY and decorating. “I’ve expended so much energy and spent so much money over the past few years on the house. It’s time to refocus on the humans who I love the most and on the dog who thinks she’s a human. And it’s time to get back to fashion, pulling outfits together is so much easier than pulling a home together.”