Hush now: nine ways to a quieter home

Best methods to sound proof your house through panels, coverings and art

 

1. Acoustic panels

Open plan living looks great in two-dimensional newspapers and magazine spreads but when most homeowners start shopping for tiles, kitchen finishes, glazing and flooring they don’t realise that the combination of all these hard surfaces can make the space sound unbearable, particularly when you factor additional interference like Fortnite playing on a screen somewhere. So how do you hush hush your home? Acoustic panels, an architectural requirement for many office spaces, are now being factored into the residential market and Italian firm Arper’s Parentesit collection features panels that resemble artworks and striking screens that double as acoustic walls to reduce ambient noise levels. Design by Lievore Altherr Molina its wall panels start from about €2,165 and can be backlit to add ambient light, another €725, and have speakers installed in it, from an additional €395, to order at Minima Home. minimahome.com; arper.com

2. Safe secrets

The graceful period elegance of number 8 St Stephen’s Green, the former Hibernian United Services Club, has been given an invisible upgrade to make the rooms feel like like you could impart trade secrets without anyone overhearing you. The bespoke system by Justin Treacy, director at RKD Architects, sees a layer of acoustic foam applied directly to the wall, followed by fabric interlayer with a top layer, in this case linen, then stretched edge to edge and fixed to battens with those fixings covered over with a binding detail to the edge to create what looks like a textured wallpaper. Consideration needs to be given to electrical point too say Ambrose Mullins of Sandyford-based Castle Curtains & Blinds who says prices will cost from about €180 per square metre.rkd.ie; ccb.ie

3. Wall art

London based Anne Kyyro Quinn has carved out a niche for herself with her deliciously tactile acoustic panels. Made to measure each is customised to its setting and while a lot of Quinn’s work is open plan offices and atriums that can be multiple height spaces the interior designer also does some very impressive residential work. Her pieces work really well as either wall art forms such as the wool felt Laine, from about €1,110 per sq m, or as fully formed functional furniture, her Lola poufs, for example, which come in 60cm and 90cm diameters and can be made in felt, pictured, but have also been fabricated in leather, silk and tweed. Prices start from about €1,045, ex delivery.annekyyroquinn.com

4. Suspension light

If you can’t hear what your guests are saying at dinner Philippa Buckley of Studio 44 says that one of simplest solutions is Luceplan’s aptly named suspension light Silenzio. It looks good and performs double duty by absorbing sound. Sandwiched between the pendant’s Kvadrat fabric exterior, available in five basic colours and a slew of other customisable options, is a polyester sound-absorbing panel with an inner layer of fabric-lined polyurethane foam that the interior designer has tested and says is super sound-absorbing. It can be ordered direct from Buckley or from Inreda and costs from €2,720. studio44.ie; inredadesignshop.com

5. Sound dampening covers

The Ligne Roset Cover sofa, designed by Marie Christine Dorner, is a classic shape but in addition to good looks it has a plethora of sound dampening qualities starting with the cellular and permeable to air Bultex foam core that will stop sound dead in its tracks. Possessing a memory foam quality the quilted, draped and removable velvet upholstery helps to further soften. Prices for the two-seat start from €4,898 while the three-seat costs from €5,995 at Arena Kitchens and Living where there is 10 per cent off new Ligne Roset orders until April 28th. You can also order a second cover to change the look for summer and winter, €2,294 for a two-seat and €2,728 for the three-seat. Add a shag pile carpet underfoot and even a room with concrete walls, as pictured, will sound rich and soft. arenakitchens.com; ligne-roset.com/ie/   

6. Acoustic ceiling

De Blacam & Meagher’s €12million refurbishment of Bewley’s Café, Grafton Street put an end to what Brendan Kennelly called “Dublin’s legendary lofty clattery café” by installing its Rockfon Mono acoustic panelling to create a seamless plastered ceiling. Considerations include coving as its installation will diminish headroom by about 20cm. It can be retrofitted, the owners of a Rathgar property with a glass box extension with steel kitchen recently installed it to dial down the sound but works better if factored in at planning stage. It costs from €180 per sq m. If neighbours’ noise through party walls is the problem then consider Rockwall sound cum insulation panels. rockfon.co.uk; deblacamandmeagher.com

7. Soft paper walls

Vancouver-based Molo Design has created a paper wall product that generates a wonderful sense of hush. The firm’s stand at Maison et Objet last January possessed a rich, cathedral-like quality. Though not sound proof its softwall design by Stephanie Forsythe and Tod MacAllen helps to absorb sound in a room. Its unique honeycomb structure creates numerous “pleats”, that increase the surface area and improve its sound absorption qualities. The pleated surface and the fact that it comes in a flexible form that can be used to break up a typical room’s parallel walls and flat surfaces, reduces reflection and standing waves. Furthermore, the honeycomb cells function as columns of air stacked against one another absorbing sound waves at each pass. Prices for the panels start from about €900 for a 1830mm by 235mm, brown paper design. molodesign.com

8. Acoustic grade glass

Not all noise comes from within. If you want to keep out noise, traffic from a busy road or rail line, aeroplane activity overhead if you’re living under a flight path, nightlife sounds if you live in a city or town centre, consider acoustic grade glass for your new windows, walls and doors. It will help dial out help ambient Fairco Windows and Doors, with showrooms at Santry, Kilbarrack and Terenure, offers solutions that range from dampening the sound to complete sound-proofing with each window custom-made to your requirements. The prices range from €60 per sq metre up to as much as €220 per sq m.fairco.ie

9. Noise and cold

Soft furnishings are so-called because they help to dim noise. Cushions, curtains, rugs and wall hangings are all easy ways to soften sound, especially in an open-plan glass walled extension. Mourne Textiles and Lost Weekend both sell cool wall hangings and feather Juju headdresses are another option – as seen in boutique hotels like Bellinter House. These Echo Zinc curtains from Hillarys can keep out noise and cold. The sliding doors, about 3m by 2.5m, will cost €1,062 while the side window in the L-shape glazing, about 2m by 2.5m, will cost an additional €849. hillarys.ie

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