June 7, 2021
If you thought that the pandemic would bring the fields of preservation, construction, and design to a grinding halt, you wouldn’t be alone… but you’d be wrong. The past year has left no time for making sourdough starter (although I did manage to conquer Netflix). Instead, my colleagues all agree with me– with folks relegated to their homes and developers planning ahead for society’s inevitable re-opening, we have needed clones to keep up with all of the new projects. This is a good complaint to have, of course, especially as I have spent the last six months (to the day!) transitioning into my new transatlantic consultancy, fostering both old and new jobs in Ireland and generating novel projects here in the US of A.
Earlier this year I spent a great deal of my time completing a project that began in 2020, by contributing to the architectural inventory and recording of a major historic core in Dublin’s North City Center. This survey included nearly 70 historic buildings and some of the capital’s earliest Georgian developments through its 20th century Neoclassical edifices that appeared in the rebuilding after the Easter Rising. Every room was meticulously described in written format, highlighting remaining historic features and their likely provenance, with a corresponding set of photographs to record the buildings in perpetuity. It was a collaborative team effort and a landmark study of which I am very proud to have been a part.
Switching gears, I have also been very busy in compiling conservation tender documents for a new residential project in Sandycove, Co. Dublin. That late-Georgian building has important mid-Victorian embellishments and is also being updated by the design team led by Saul Design to form a contemporary, relevant, and comfortable historic home with its original (and later) salient character intact. Liaison with a series of conservation and building specialists was integral to finding appropriate and economical solutions to project aims. We have just started on site and I am looking forward to seeing the transformation.
While the majority of my time is spent in North Carolina now, I am delighted to still be working for Ireland’s heritage by engaging in my ninth National Inventory of Architectural Heritage survey, this time as an Editor. With nearly 1,200 buildings due to be recorded in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown over the next six months, we have our work cut out for us. Luckily we also get to survey some of south County Dublin’s finest, most regal, and interesting structures. On a personal note, I am delighted that my old house in Monkstown will also be recorded this time around! Stay tuned for highlights of these architectural gems here on the blog.
I’ve also been very busy on this side of the Pond. In March I began work on the interior design of an existing building in Banner Elk, North Carolina that was purchased by a newly-formed real estate firm. The open-plan building required a new internal layout to accommodate a reception and waiting area, conference room, offices, and staff amenities areas. I presented three space-planning options to the client and compiled concept and mood boards, with inspiration taken from the local geography and vernacular architecture, as well as from corporate branding and the aspirations of their clientele. Now that construction has begun, I’m delighted to be reviewing appropriate color schemes and finishes. Come back soon for before-and-after photos!
Last but not least, I am delighted to have spent my time more recently contributing to the amazing work of the team at Today & Tomorrow Interiors in Winston-Salem. They are a well-established and talented practice that specialize in high-end interiors, focusing primarily in the Winston-Salem and Charlotte areas, but with client projects as far away as the Florida Keys, Daniel Island in South Carolina and many other sought-after locations. Of course Winston is a storied and venerated town with a collection of well-maintained, beautiful historic homes that I am excited to work on. I’ve designed a custom upholstered bed frame with bold fins and nailhead trim, am working on the re-design of a master bedroom, and many other projects.
What I love most about the work I do is its variety of focus, skill, scale, and style. Some projects focus solely on interior design, others on heritage, while still others require detailed knowledge of historic building materials, conservation, and construction project management. My favorite jobs are those that combine them all! There is no shortage of interest these days, only a shortage of time. But after the year we’ve all had, I’m just glad to be here (there, or anywhere), at all.
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