13 Sep 2022

At Home: Joanne + David

As you approach the front door of this immaculate red brick home, it's clear that owners Joanne and David have a thing for detail.  Put simply, everything is perfectly in place.  As you look to the right of the door, a modern black fence and glimpse of a contemporary extension, hint that there is more to this 1930s home than meets the eye .  A stylish and welcoming hallway makes way to a jaw-dropping open plan living, kitchen area.  We spoke to owner, Joanne to find out a little more about her beautiful home.

(Photography by Simon Hutchinson).

Can you tell us about your home and who lives there?

My home is a detached, 1930s house in east Belfast, where I live with my husband David and two teenage kids. We have lived here for just over thirteen years.  Initially we rented the house as we couldn’t find somewhere we wanted to buy, but we soon fell in love with the area and the spacious, south facing garden and we ended up buying the property a year or so later. While we didn’t initially love the house, we knew over time we could reconfigure and put our mark on it.

 How has the house changed since you moved in?

The original layout of the house wasn’t great and there had been a few alterations and extensions added over the years by previous owners which didn’t help the flow of the ground floor living spaces.  David is an architect  so he had a vision of how the house could be transformed both architecturally and functionally.  Systematically we have worked our way through the house rebuilding and refurbishing year on year.

Not long after we bought the house, we had to replace the roof and at this time we also took the opportunity to reorganise the layout upstairs, creating a new bathroom and reorganised the bedrooms to allow for a future extension.  Following this we then refurbished the rooms on the ground floor which were part of the original house.

One of the last things we did was the extension to the rear, which was more about reconfiguring the space we had and making better use of it, rather than extending significantly beyond the footprint. The extension consists of an open plan living, dining and kitchen with separate utility and ground floor bedroom. 

Overall, the house now works much better for us allowing the old and new sections to sit comfortably together. While it did take us time, we now feel the house has more cohesion and flow, with a homely feel.

Where do you get your ideas and inspiration for your home?

David being an architect is always full of ideas and inspiration, but I have always loved interiors too. I enjoy nothing more than scrolling through interior accounts or flicking through interior magazines such as Living Etc. or Elle Decoration, which are always full of inspiration. I’m also a faithful attendee to the Living Etc. house tours, where you get to wander around amazing homes which have featured in the magazine. I always come away from this event full of great, unaffordable ideas!!

What is your favourite bit of your house?

The open plan extension to the garden has to be my favourite part of the house. We spend most of our time here and I love how this part of the house feels so connected to the garden.  When we were planning the extension, we wanted the garden to function as a continuation to our open plan living area, so we created a large overhang on the façade, which provides a covered area to sit outside.  When the weather is good, we spend a lot of time in the garden and enjoy cooking and eating outdoors – all made so much better with our lovely outdoor furniture from Maven!


Have you got plans for any more projects at home, or are you happy with where it’s at?

There’s always a plan in the making for one project or another, and for us that’s the fun part. The garden is very much an ongoing project.  When we bought the house the garden to the rear resembled a field, with a single tree and shrub.  Each year we make some addition to it, whether a new border or seating area; this year we plan on finishing the patio area and adding a bistro set, where we can enjoy a cup of coffee.

We also have a room of doom, which was the original kitchen. However, it is currently functioning as a games room for teenagers and despite the lack of investment in this room, it is one of the hardest working rooms in the house! We plan on turning it into a bedroom, dressing room and en-suite but for now that’s on hold and I just ensure the door stays closed!!!  

If money was no object, what you buy for your home.

Art! I think art injects colour and personality into a home. There are a few local artists whose work I admire, so if money was no object, I’d get a large piece commissioned for the living area.

If you were to ask David this question, he’d request a classic Eames lounge chair and ottoman; he has asked faithfully for the past 20 years!

How would you spend a perfect weekend?

We are both very much content at home.  Where we live there are plenty of lovely walks and lots of restaurants to choose from, so a perfect weekend would not involve us going too far! Ideally when the weather is good, I love nothing more than a potter in the garden, interspersed with a few cups of coffee, a nice walk along the Greenway and dinner in one of our local restaurants.



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