As soon as you walk through the front door of Andrea Horan’s home, your senses are set alight. There’s colour and texture in every square inch of this house. It’s out there, bold and bright, but not overwhelming. It’s joyful, fun; an absolute tonic. Every room has a different mood and feel, something Andrea was keen to capture from the moment she started the design process and you just know it was a labour of love.
Months later, while the house is immaculate and looks complete to an outsider, Andrea admits it’s still a work in progress. “I’ll never be completely finished, there’ll always be something I want to change or add,” she says with a laugh. After a fabulously fun shoot, we sat down with the businesswoman (owner of funky
nail bar Tropical Popical) to chat about her gorgeous abode, the intricate design process and where to pick up some of the quirky pieces she has placed around the house.
Andrea, what was it that initially drew you to this house?
I love the vibe around Dublin 8, it’s very community driven, everyone loves a chat and there’s loads of amenities in the area too. ere’s just a really nice atmosphere.
Had you always planned on entirely gutting it and starting afresh?
I never really had a plan to be honest. I got this one and then brought in my builder from Mossdale. We had a look around and he said that if I really wanted to make the most of the house I’d have to get an architect, so I contacted Rae Moore who’s amazing. She’s an artist as well as an architect and I love her work and creative vibe.
She came up with a plan for the structure of the house, moved the stairs around and thought of all the clever tricks. I didn’t have a huge budget but she made everything look more expensive. We got the wow factor without the wow budget. There was never an interiors plan, everything happened organically.
Tell us about the inspiration behind it all.
My art collection inspired a lot of it actually. I’ve so much of it, some hasn’t even been hung yet because I haven’t found the space. I love art and I have it on rotation because I can’t put it all up.
The two big feature pieces in your living room are incredible…
One of them is by Peter Doyle. I loved his work and I wanted something special with certain colours so asked him to create it for me. He’s great and I love supporting Irish artists. We have such amazing talent here.
The other piece is from Leah Hewson. When I went to her show in the RHA, I knew it was a painting for me and bought it straight away.
A lot of people are renting at the moment and might struggle to put their own stamp on a place, but art is an easy way to do that, isn’t it?
100 per cent. People go into my living room and think there’s so much going on, but it’s all white walls with paintings and prints. The light fittings were also painted to make them more interesting. They were only €30 and you can take them down whenever you want. It’s all about being clever and thrifty.
If people wanted to start designing and adding colour, where would you suggest they begin?
Tiles! When it comes to tiles people tend to go with something basic because they’ll go with everything but if you go for bold colours they’ll still suit the room, and you’ll love them. You shouldn’t be afraid to commit to them, sure what have you got to lose? The joy colour brings is worth it.
Tell us about your favourite interior and homeware shops.
I got all my tiles in Tile Style, they’ve incredible pieces. I collect loads of things in second hand shops and I think you’ll get lots of beautiful stuff there that nobody else has. I got my bathroom vanity made by Borien.
Having custom made things can feel expensive at the time, but you’re never going to have to buy it again, the pieces are so sturdy and created for your needs and to suit your space. I’m happy to invest in stuff like that, rather than spending five times over when a random drawer breaks.
That bathroom is certainly a feast for the eyes…
Yes! I wanted it to feel like I was in a hotel. I follow this Instagram account called A Pretty Cool Hotel Tour, they capture snaps of adult motels around America and they’re so kitsch. I wanted a back-lit neon heart so my builder custom made that. I wanted curve tiles so we spent a lot of time ordering the perfecting ones so the room feels luxurious. The sink is from the London Basin Company, I found them on Instagram too. It’s such a show piece!
As previously mentioned, Borien made the vanity unit to go with that. Once the main parts were in, I could look at adding other pieces. I love plants and wanted it to be like a jungle. All of the ornaments are from Age Action, I’ve a painting from a friend and a beautiful candle too. I’m not a buyer, I don’t really buy anything new, it’s always second hand or I work with someone to create a piece.
Would it be your favourite room in the house, or is there another that takes the lead?
Oh, I couldn’t pick! I love different areas for different reasons. I love the upstairs bathroom because it’s so kitsch and I love the bedroom because it’s so chilled. I love the couch area because it’s so cosy and comfy, the kitchen because it’s so beautiful and then the yellow bathroom, I mean how could you not love that?
When designing the house I thought about where I was happiest, and it’s in a yoga studio, a club and then on holiday. They’re the three places I’ve always felt the most joy and wanted to bring that into my house. Inspired by them, the floor is wood with white walls all over, I’ve a disco ball from the South William where I used to party all the time and then outside feels like you’re in Greece. Everything is combined.
Is this your forever home?
Yes! I love it so much. My friends call it Barbie’s Dream House because everything is catered for me and my needs. It’s my haven.
Interview: Michelle Dardis
Photography: Evan Doherty
Make-up: Michelle Kinsella
Styling: Zeda the architect assisted by Becca Boyce