Pieces of Me: David O’Donoghue, fine art printer
An industrial dishwasher, a vintage car and a “soggy-bottom” chair
David O’Donoghue in the kitchen. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
Harrison the family pet in their 1968 Fiat 500. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
David O’Donoghue’s ‘industrial’ Dishwasher. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
David O’Donoghue studied art, before setting up Brownes, and later the Pantheon Galleries in Dublin. For the past 15 years, he has run the fine art printers Stoney Road Press, with James O’Nolan. Stoney Road collaborate to create limited edition prints with leading artists including Dorothy Cross, Anne Madden, David Godbold, Brian O’Doherty, Alice Maher and Richard Gorman. David is married to Eileen, and 17 years ago the family moved to the downstairs half of a Victorian house on the seafront in Bray, Co Wicklow. Thirteen years later, they got the chance to buy upstairs and began the big job of converting the property into one home for their three children, plus Harrison, their giant Newfoundland dog.
Describe your style
I asked Eileen what my style was, and she laughed. I hate labels, and pockets on shirts, and big watches, and pointy shoes . . . I have abandoned matching socks because my children steal them, so as a family we all wear odd socks in a range of colours and patterns. I don’t really have a style, more an appreciation of form with function.
Which room in your home do you most enjoy?
Our biggest decision when we converted the house was to move the kitchen from the rear downstairs to the first floor, where the balcony overlooks the seafront. Now, the kitchen/dining room takes up the whole first floor; you can see from Dalkey Island to Bray Head.
We designed the kitchen ourselves. It’s not to everyone’s taste as it is quite industrial, but it’s great to cook in. Noel from Greenwood Joinery used salvaged oak beams, which I sourced, to make the dining table and the island.
What items do you love most?
I do love my commercial dishwasher; it takes 180 seconds for a load, and the joke is that you can see the lights in Shankill dim when I put it on. It’s not the most economical but it’s incredibly quick. In the kitchen we have Tolomeo lighting by Artemide, from Rocky at WINK lighting in Bray, which works brilliantly as task lighting.
I also love our Tom Rock chair by Ron Arad, purchased from Garrett O’Hagan about 10 years ago when he had Haus in Temple Bar. Then there’s the Random bookcase system from MDF Italia, and an enormous saggy-bottomed leather gnarled chair from Adam’s auction rooms that originally came from Kinsealy House.
What else do you love?
A fine lip on a porcelain cup. I love making coffee on an old Bialetti Moka Express; the functionality of how the machine works is as enjoyable as the coffee itself. I have a wonderful painting of a slice of chocolate cake by the American artist Charlie Brady, and a beautiful enchanted woodland early painting by Sean McSweeney that I’d probably save before my children if there was a fire. (Only joking: of course I’d save the kids first, and then get them to help me bring things out.)
I love my reading glasses. For years I got them from Ottica Carraro in Venice but now I get them from Optica on Dawson Street in Dublin. Amazingly, it turns out that Optica (Deirdre and Donal MacNally) have designed a range of glasses and have them crafted exclusively by the same artisan studio in Italy that makes the ones I used to buy. The Optica showroom on Dawson Street is possibly the most beautiful retail space in Ireland. It was created by Irish craftspeople and artists including Niamh Barry, Ryan Connolly and Ned Cody. It’s more of a gallery than a shop.
And I love my 1968 Fiat 500. It makes people smile when I drive it, especially with the big dog sitting in the front seat. The car came from Milan and is left-hand drive; people think the dog is driving.
Who is your favourite designer? Do you own any of their work?
I had the pleasure of working with the architect Tom de Paor a number of years ago and it was a fantastic experience. He challenges all your ideas about design.
The artists you admire?
Everybody that we have worked with at Stoney Road would be artists I have the highest regard for, but aside from them, I love the work of Basil Blackshaw, Graham Gingles, Stephen McKenna, Charlie Brady, James McKenna and Michael Kane.
Biggest interior turn off?
Seeing artworks hung too high or badly framed. At Stoney Road Press we work with Artisan Frames in Clonmel, and have the greatest respect for them for getting it right.
Travel destination that stands out?
We travel to Venice a lot; we have an apartment there, and love it. It’s a magical place, especially off season, when you feel you have the city to yourself.
If you had €100,000 to spend on anything for the home, what would you buy?
Parquet flooring throughout the house, reclaimed and restored from an old factory or school, with the aged patina of time.