Welcome back to GAFF #shelfies! We are excited to bring you this Instagram series, as we explore some of the coolest nooks and crannies of cool homes in Ireland. Each week, we’ll be taking a snoop at a special shelf or space in a super stylish GAFF, examining the owner’s favourite accessories, asking about their home inspo, and taking styling and decor tips as we go. This series is designed to help YOU get excited about your own home space. It doesn’t matter if you have a single shelf or an entire room to get creative with – we want to help you kick start your own interior inspiration.
This week, we’re stepping inside the swoon-worthy home of David O’Brien, Creative Director, and an Interior Designer with RJ O’Brien Building Contractors and the brilliant brain behind one of our favourite Instagram accounts @newbuildireland. We love everything about David’s style, from the Persian rugs and Chesterfield sofas to the sleek, minimalist design.
Tell us about this space and why you chose it.
I chose this corner as it has one of my favourite views of the open plan kitchen/living/dining area of my home. This is where I sit every morning and enjoy a coffee before heading to work. It is a lovely calm space to sit back, relax, and enjoy the country views.
Can you tell us about 3 of your favourite items in this space?
One of my favourite items here is my vintage teak sideboard. I am a huge advocate for shopping second hand, not only is it a sustainable approach to decorating your home, but it is also very budget-friendly. This piece I found on Done Deal for only €80. I love the quality and history behind antique and vintage furniture and I think it adds huge interest to any space. I wanted the bones of my newly built home to remain contemporary, with polished concrete floors and white walls throughout but I also wanted to add character and warmth through my choice of furniture, which I feel the warm red tones of the teak does here.
The chair here is from EZ Living Interiors and is one of the very few new items I purchased for my home. It’s very comfortable and I love the natural look of the fabric and in particular the mid-century look of the wooden legs.
House plants are a key design feature I use throughout my home. Before moving into my home, I didn’t really have any interest in house plants, now I have become a little obsessed and I am the proud owner of over 70. I initially bought a few and found that they made a huge difference to the overall feeling in the large open plan area. They made the space feel cosier but also aided with practical things like acoustics. They add great colour and interest to the room and I feel they are almost like living pieces of artwork scattered around the house. I usually pick them up from my local garden centre and supermarkets. You can’t beat Home Sense’s plant pot selection.
How would you describe your home and interior style?
My home is definitely an eclectic mix, I love contemporary architecture and minimalism but wanted a space that felt warm and comfortable at the same time. From the beginning, natural light and a connection to the outdoors were my main two priorities with the design.
I always knew I would be incorporating vintage and antique furniture into my home. My older brother, Aiden, brought me to my first antique auction when I was around 7, and from that moment I was hooked. I have been collecting since I was a teenager and it was fantastic to finally have my own space to display my favourite pieces, including a fully functional piano from c.1850, which now thanks to a toughened glass top also acts as my kitchen island. I am never worried about mixing styles, I believe it is very much about finding pieces you love and figuring out how they can work together, for example, I have a German coffer chest that is nearly 500 years old sitting next to a polished concrete log store.
How do you approach styling areas of your home?
When it comes to approaching styling a space, I think about the atmosphere I want to create and what statement piece I have planned for the area and go from there. The right lighting is also really important as it sets the mood in the evenings. I often look around the house to see if there are any interesting pieces that if moved would have more of an impact in a new space.
Where are some of your favourite places to shop for interiors?
My favourite places to shop are auctions, local charity shops, car boot sales, and vintage stores. I regularly browse Done Deal, Adverts, and Facebook Market Place. Nothing quite beats the feeling of finding something you love at a bargain price. Some Irish stores that I really like at the moment are Interiosity and Pod Furniture. Online vintage stores are also great options, such as, GAFF Shop, Molly’s Vintage Vibes, Pieces.ie, and Acquired.ie. They have some really beautiful vintage and antique furniture.
What was the last thing you bought for your home?
This might seem quite random but I recently bought an old antique safe, which I plan to use as a side table.
We’ve recently become obsessed with the Architectural Digest Home Tour series on YouTube – where do you find your home inspo?
That is a fantastic series, in particular, I really liked Dakota Johnson’s home. Series like Architectural Digest Home Tour. Grand Designs, Home of the Year and Room to Improve are always great sources of inspiration. Similarly, Pinterest and Instagram can be fantastic. However, I do think that it’s really important that when designing your home, it represents you, what you love, and your style and is not just another carbon copy of the current trends.
David O’Brien from the Instagram account @newbuildireland is the Creative Director and an Interior Designer with RJ O’Brien Building Contractors based in Cork. Their residential and commercial services range from interior design consultations to complete renovations and extensions. Get in touch through Instagram @newbuildireland, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 021 2061796.