We knew Cocu founder Emilia was a whizz when when ate at her restaurants (delicious, healthy food that comes at a decent price), so it’s no surprise that her brilliant brain extends far beyond the eateries food and interior design and into her own apartment. We met the founder and DIY maven for the inside scoop on her gorgeous living situation.
Hi Emilia! Thanks for having us over! So, tell us about your apartment.
Well, it’s compact – it has a bedroom, bathroom, living room and adjoining kitchen with a balcony. i’d describe my interior’s style as quirk, it’s a very unique city dwelling.
Tell us about your inspiration – what gets your creative juices flowing when it comes to your home’s design?
My creative juices flow from liking expensive things, not having the money to spend on them and having to get creative to get make or find similar. Industry on Drury St have all of the enviable things that I really can’t afford, I take inspiration from pieces in there and try making them myself. At the moment, I’m trying to make a cool exposed table lamp out of leftover wood from Cocu (I need some help from my brother, however) !
My favourite charity shop is Age Action on Camden St, I walk past there for work and can’t help having a quick look around. They do a fantastic window display, too. I love the furniture and odds and ends. I most recently bought a statue of Mary and spray painted her gold as she was in need of a jazzing up!
Emilia, we know you have a MAJOR talent for innovating and DIY- tell us about your proudest DIY job to date?
Probably my up-cycled filing cabinet. I bought an old filing cabinet on DoneDeal for €20 and spray painted it Khaki green and rose gold.
It’s the most useful thing in my apartment, as we are so tight on space, especially in the kitchen. I have two drawers of dry ingredients in there – it holds so much. One side of the filing cabinet is used as a notice board, with photos, magnets etc and it looks nice.
It is so hard to get inexpensive storage solutions, I have previously broken drawers by putting too much stuff in them and the bottom falls out – this filing cabinet is indestructible!
Finders keepers – let us know where you found and bought some of your favourite home furnishings.
My grandparents houses. Both sets of my grandparents have passed away and I have helped my parents, aunts and uncles with the big job of clearing stuff’ out.
I’m the only one who wants old junk, so I have a number of things that I really value and have given a good home. My granny’s old kitchen chairs which I painted and re-covered, and her old scullery table are some of my favourites.
Your best ever bargain and biggest splurge?
An old bush radio that I found for bargain on Adverts.ie and then splurged getting it up-cycled to a Bluetooth speaker! Unfortunately, I couldn’t do the job myself so found a guy on ETSY who lives in Ireland to upgrade it for me, It was a tricky and expensive job, but the sound from the speakers is fantastic. It sounds so old and atmospheric.
If you could live in any hotel in the world, where would it be?
A boutique Riad hotel in Marrakesh. The colours, courtyards, how they bring in water and plants to their living spaces. … That’s my idea of heaven.
What has been the biggest challenge in designing your living space?
Space. And trying to cover up a really ugly mantel piece (It has no fireplace, just a plug socket for one of those fake electric fireplaces.) It made it awkward to plan the room as there is a large marble plinth on the floor. We found a neat Ikea couch to fit just in front without taking up too much space.
However, Taking the fireplace out is my next DIY job. I have already bought a cool drinks cabinet (from Age Action) that will replace it and a nice chair.
The apartment came with three shelf blocks that were dotted around the room and they took up too much space so we piled them on top of one another to make a kind of partition wall and it really makes the room.
Do you have a favourite ritual in your GAFF?
Curled up on the couch, with something trashy on television (like Ex On The Beach) and lots of candles- the light from candles is so calming. Tiger makes it affordable to have candle over load, They sell them in every colour, two for €1.
3 books/magazines on your coffee table
Grace Jones’ Autobiography- Its fantastic.
A Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert (it’s really interesting, I think everyone should read it).
Humans of New York. It’s such a gorgeous book to pick up every now and then.
The Interiors piece on your wishlist?
Tell us about your biggest DIY AHA moment.
Realising you can spray paint anything has been an eye opener for me. From gin bottles to Mary, to the up-coming drinks cabinet. I don’t have the patience to paint things. You have to sand, prime, apply loads of coats etc and the finish is never as good as you had imagined.
Spray paint is cheap, you can get it in great colours- metallics are brilliant- I have sprayed old frames I find in charity shops and they are so much nicer than Ikea frames.
What is your favourite thing in your GAFF?
A painting my mum bought me for my birthday last year. I live really close to Merrion Square, and artist Liz Levy’s paintings always caught my eye. I always thought I couldn’t afford to even enquire about the prices but when I emailed her to ask I was pleasantly surprised. The painting is of Dublin Bay, and it makes me happy every time I look at it.
What’s the most important thing for you when you’re looking for a new space for business or home?
Light and the ability to start with a blank canvas. When we got this apartment, the furniture was so big in it. There was a huge dining table with six chairs, heavy curtains, and two big couches. Thankfully, we were able to get rid of most of it. We replaced the curtains with a blind, which makes the room seem much bigger.
We don’t have a dining table now, but most people don’t ever sit at the dining table. The space looks much bigger now and every inch of it is used.
Follow Cocu’s journey on their Instagram. And thank you for letting us in, Emilia!