Architect and interior designer Kate Ghyoot Jollye of KA-AD recently renovated an apartment in Killarney to create a light-filled and contemporary home.

A Killarney Apartment Undergoes a Pared-Back Renovation

James Strack

A Killarney Apartment Undergoes a Pared-back Renovation | House and Leisure

Architect and interior designer Kate Ghyoot Jollye from KA-AD recently renovated a run-down apartment in Killarney. House and Leisure chatted to her about the ups and downs of renovation projects, and shares some tips on how to keep your renovation current and classic.  

What was the client’s original brief for the renovation of this apartment, and how is that reflected in the final design?

The apartment was purchased from a deceased estate and had not been lived in for some time. The interior was dated, neglected, and had pigeons nesting in it. Needless to say, it needed a complete revamp and refresh. The client is a bachelor and wanted to modernise the interior by opening it up more. He likes an industrial loft-type style, so this was reflected in the choice of finishes. A restrained palette of mainly monochrome colours was used.

We removed the wall between the kitchen and the dining room, and completely changed its layout. The new kitchen has an element of flexibility in that the island is on wheels, so it can either be used centrally in the space as a breakfast bar, or pushed to one side. The island also contains various storage spaces including a bookshelf on one end. The bespoke patterned wall tiles in the kitchen are a key feature of the space.  

A Killarney Apartment Undergoes a Pared-back Renovation | House and Leisure

The bathroom was originally made up of two smaller rooms that we consolidated to create a spacious bathroom. Black hexagon floor tiles and fittings break the white wall tiles, in keeping with the palette used in the rest of the apartment.

A Killarney Apartment Undergoes a Pared-back Renovation | House and LeisureA Killarney Apartment Undergoes a Pared-back Renovation | House and Leisure

We then opened the bedroom up to the living area by breaking out the wall between the two rooms and putting in a steel and glass curtain wall to act as a visual divider, while still allowing in lots of light. Even though this space is open to the rest of the apartment, the client wanted it to be cosy and intimate, which informed the decision to use a dark wall finish. 

The original sunroom had been neglected over the years, so we added a patterned terrazzo floor tile, refreshed the walls and fitted the room with custom built-in furniture, making it into a great spot to relax and enjoy the view. We continued with the same steel and glass partition leading into this space as used in the adjacent bedroom.

The apartment had carpets laid over the original parquet floors. The carpets were in a terrible condition, so these went and the parquet was refurbished.

Was it smooth sailing all the way or did you face some structural/design issues?

Structurally the changes that we made were quite straightforward given that the building has a concrete frame, so we designed around this and were able to use it to our advantage when removing walls. The main challenges came with the finishes; given the nature of a renovation you are working with existing conditions and some unknowns. Though of course there are always the usual delays and details that need to be resolved, working together with the contractors we were able to overcome the challenges. For example, finding a reliable person to restore the parquet floor to an appropriate finish. 

How would you describe your style when it comes to designing and decorating?

The style of my work is still evolving: over time, through experience and experimentation this is a natural process for any creative person. I do have a preference for simple, clean, considered designs. I love patterns, and using them in unusual ways. I try to create spaces that are considered in the materials that are used, while not overly influenced by the latest trends. Lots of natural light, openness and a feeling of space are important design considerations too.

What’s your favourite element of this particular renovation/home decoration project?

The glass and steel partition wall between the bedroom and living room is a defining feature of the apartment and has the greatest impact in terms of how the space is used and experienced.

What are your main renovation tips for keeping architectural and interior designs timeless yet current?

Keep it simple and classic, the less fussy the better. When using materials that are seen as ‘on trend’, select these for furniture pieces that can be easily changed at a later stage should you tire of the material, as opposed to a permanent fitted finish that is more difficult to change later. The designs that remain relevant are those that have been well thought through. Keep to a more constrained palette of materials and a simple layout, while always being considerate of the end user.