‘I love the hunt and the capture’

Pieces of Me: Nicholas Gore Grimes

Home for Nicholas Gore-Grimes, owner of Dublin's Cross Gallery, is in a period villa-type property, set on a quiet square in Sandymount. Having bought the house 10 years ago with his wife Lizzie, who is editorial director of Image Interiors & Living, they undertook a major building project in 2008, adding a large open-plan kitchen/ living area along with one extra bedroom. The extra space was vital, not only for the couple's three children, Andrew (9), Patrick (8) and Alanna (5), but for their collection of art and design. Gore-Grimes set up the Cross Gallery on Francis Street at the end of 1999, and added 20th-Century Design to the art works on show there three years ago. Pieces from the gallery frequently find their way into the family's home.

Describe your style?

I don’t really have any one particular interior style. I like the idea of keeping the space around you quite neutral and then injecting pops of colour and interest through well-made quality pieces. I see our home as an on-going project, adding new art works or furniture when we can. Like a lot of my colleagues, I am a collector as much as a dealer.

Which is the room in your house that you most enjoy?


We don't have too many, so it would have to be our kitchen/living-room where we spend most of the time. It's a light, bright, open space, with two striking large works by Richard Gorman and Michael Coleman. The paintings add a great punch of colour to the room, alongside the multi-coloured Stilnovo Sputnik light that sits over a mid-century dining table.

What items do you most love?

At the moment, it would be a set of eight rosewood 'model 83' dining chairs by Niels Otto Moller c 1970, and a painting by Cross Gallery artist Cristina Bunello called Girl with Bun. We source the design pieces from all over mainland Europe, but predominately from Italy. We've built up some really good relationships with a few dealers over there, which is essential in this business. The internet is fine for research and sourcing certain items, but the really great finds are the ones you hit upon when travelling. I love the hunt and capture of a really great piece. When you find something truly special it's an amazing feeling.

Do things from your home find their way into the gallery?

No, it’s more other way around, furniture tends to come from the gallery to our home. You find yourself buying pieces that you just can’t bear to let go, which isn’t great for business!

Who is your favourite designer? Do you own any of their work?

Probably Italy’s most famous designer, Gio Ponti. I have a pair of his iconic Superleggera side chairs, and a much-sought after reversible card table – both of which are standout pieces of 20th-Century Design.

The artists you admire?

I admire any artist who contributes to the art scene here in Ireland. It has been incredibly tough for them over the past few years and I think, like our writers and musicians, they play a very important role in our society. There are, of course, the giants of the past like Caravaggio, Velasquez, Manet, Picasso and Bacon – to name a few. But if I was to look at an international group in particular, it would probably be the New York School of Abstract Expressionists, including Pollock, Kline, Rothko and De Kooning. They produced the most incredible work over a relatively short 20-year period, from 1940 to 1960.

Biggest interior turn off?

I’m left cold by interiors where large sums of money have clearly been spent on the fit-out, but the resulting rooms lack any sort of character, and feel more like a hotel interior. For me, the really memorable interiors are those where you get a sense of the people who live there.

Travel destination that stands out?

I was in Lisbon during the summer with friends and thought it had something very special going on. We stayed in the old part of town, Alfama, which is made up of a warren of narrow streets, bustling with small local eateries operating out of the front rooms of houses, and everywhere there were these beautiful tiled facades. The food was great, the bars were fun and if you feel like hitting the beach, it’s only 20 minutes up the road.

If you had €100,000 to spend on anything for the home what would you buy?

I have always wanted a piece by the American artist Maureen Gallace, they are small works, but the way she uses paint is simply stunning. The good thing is her prices aren't quite at that level yet, so I might have enough left over to buy a beautifully crafted drinks cabinet by well-known Italian designer Paolo Buffa from the 1940s.

Cross Gallery is at 59 Francis Street, Dublin. An exhibition of work by gallery artists, and 20th Century Design runs from December 10th to February 2017. There’s also a cafe at the gallery, so browsing is rewarded in many ways. crossgallery.ie