written by:
photos by:
July 29, 2013
Originally published in Designers at Home
as
Balancing Act
Textile designer Orla Kiely’s renovated London Terrace House is punctuated by her distinctive palette and motifs.
Textile designer Orla Kiely's home

Textile designer Orla Kiely’s renovated London Terrace House is punctuated by her distinctive palette and motifs.

Photo by 
1 / 5
Orla Kiely living room London

Light My Fire

“I didn’t want to compromise the Victorian nature of the house,” she says. Although the original fireplace was in good shape, the flooring needed to be replaced. Kiely didn’t want to use new wood, so she sourced the weathered ebony-colored boards from an architectural salvage yard. “I wanted the floors to really feel like they were part of the house,” she says. Kiely found the rug at Heal’s and the chandelier and art are vintage.

Photo by 
2 / 5
Textile designer Orla Kiely's home

Sitting Pretty

The ground floor was originally two rooms; now it’s been transformed into one continuous space. To compensate for a low ceiling, Kiely’s team dug into the ground to create a true sunken seating section leading to the garden. Built-in sofas, an Eames rocker, a stool by G Plan, and concrete tiles outfit the space. Kiely chose a neutral charcoal finish for the Malm fireplace to balance the green linoleum floor and her own Rhododendron wallpaper in Sunflower.

Photo by 
3 / 5
Textile designer Orla Kiely's home

Kitchen Confidential

Kiely and architect Maxim Laroussi designed the kitchen unit. “I originally didn’t want an island, but I liked what we did because it feels like a piece of furniture. It’s cozy to cook around,” Kiely says. Panels of orange and olive Formica accent the 1950s-inspired piece, which houses a cooktop by Smeg. A checkerboard of closed cabinets and open shelves offers storage against the far wall for Kiely’s collection of dishes, knickknacks, cookbooks, and small appliances, like the KitchenAid stand mixer and radio by Vita Audio. The floor is green Marmoleum, selected because it feels warm underfoot. Kiely’s own Stem dish towels and ceramic storage jars add more lively color to the room.

Photo by 
4 / 5
Textile designer Orla Kiely's home

Home of the Brave

In the ground-floor eating area, the design team wrapped the walls in rich walnut to instill warmth often found in mid-century homes. “Sometimes one bold move is enough. Be brave with fewer statements,” Kiely advises. “Go for the big thing rather than lots of little things.” Kiely’s Upholstered Dining Chairs from her House collection surround a Danish vintage dining table. Her Gloss vases adorn the hallway console, which is also from her House line.

Photo by 
5 / 5
Textile designer Orla Kiely's home

Textile designer Orla Kiely’s renovated London Terrace House is punctuated by her distinctive palette and motifs.

Like her line of fashion, housewares, and furniture, Irish-born designer Orla Kiely’s four-story, 3,000-square-foot home in southwestern London, is vibrant, warm, and layered with pattern and color. “I know what I like and what works for me,” she says.

The interiors could be none other than Kiely’s—nearly every room is festooned with her signature prints—yet it’s more than just a one-note samba, thanks to her careful consideration of how each element plays off the others. Kiely honed her eye studying textile design at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and knitwear design at the Royal College of Art in London. In 1997, she established her eponymous company. Now her pieces are available at retailers like HD Buttercup, Target, Nordstrom, and Anthropologie.

Alongside designer Susan Minter and architect Maxim Laroussi, Kiely gently recast the house while keeping the original detailing intact, including the moldings, ceiling roses, and bay windows. “It’s a Victorian house, and we didn’t want to make it into something else,” she says. The team removed walls, clad surfaces, replaced flooring, and incorporated bespoke furnishings of Kiely’s own design. “Sometimes you have people who say, ‘I don’t want to live in my work,’ but, in the end, I love what I do and how it looks—so I’m happy to have it.”

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

Custom cabinetry and trim in Chicago apartment renovation.
The Second City is second to none when it comes to inventive modern architecture, from Louis Sullivan to the present day.
February 12, 2016
Kitchen of 1956 midcentury modern Palm Springs home.
Celebrate Palm Springs Modernism Week, which runs from February 11–21, with a look at some of our favorite modern desert oases.
February 12, 2016
A Seattle studio's courtyard
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 12, 2016
Chalet in the French alps
An innovative glass addition adds contrast to a timber mountain lodge in France.
February 11, 2016
Aumas' assorted collectables.
Bright colors and vintage furniture are abound in these French homes.
February 11, 2016
Kogan designed a number of the built-in furnishings, including the headboard and cupboard in the master bedroom.The cupboard is deliberately reminiscent of a mid-century stereo speaker. The vintage lounge chairs are by Percival Lafer.
Need to relax? Make your bedroom an oasis from the rest of the house.
February 11, 2016
Modern Florida seaside home with corian island, dornbracht faucet, cees braakman combex chairs and marble knoll table in the kitchen
Read more about Knoll's impressive career here, but in the meantime, explore just a few of her works in these contemporary homes.
February 11, 2016
Modern small box home in Mexico
Letting the warm climate indoors is a common thread through these diverse dwellings.
February 11, 2016
Modern white cabinets under the stairs with skylight above
What could be better than a modest-sized house in a quaintly historic city?
February 11, 2016
dining room lighting
These renovations connect rustic, classic, and modern design in Italy.
February 10, 2016
12362509 211441865858796 1743381178 n1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 10, 2016
modern outdoor garden room plastic polycarbonate
From colorful living rooms to a backyard retreat, Belgian designers reimagine vernacular forms and materials for the modern world.
February 10, 2016
Tel Aviv kitchen with custom dining table and Smeg fridge
Would you go for an out-of-the-box palette for your major appliances? See how these kitchens tackle the trend.
February 10, 2016
Exhibition view, of Klaus Wittkugel works at P! gallery, New York
On view through February 21 at New York's P! gallery, a new show explores the politics of Cold War-era graphic design with a presentation of works by Klaus Wittkugel—East Germany's most prolific graphic designer. Curator Prem Krishnamurthy walks us through the highlights.
February 10, 2016
Reclaimed cedar and gray-stucco home outside San Francisco.
The new kid on the block in a predominantly Eichler neighborhood, this Menlo Park home breaks the mold and divides into three pavilions connected by breezeways.
February 10, 2016
A third floor addition and whole-house renovation modernized a funky cottage on an unusual, triple-wide lot in San Francisco.
From modern interiors hidden within historic structures to unabashedly modern dwellings, these seven renovations take totally different approaches to San Francisco's historic building stock.
February 10, 2016
Delphi sofa from Erik Jørgensen and gyrofocus fireplace in living room of Villa Le Trident in the French Riviera, renovated by 4a Architekten.
The Aegean's all-white architecture famously helped inspire Le Corbusier; these five dwellings continue in that proud modern tradition (though not all are as minimalist).
February 10, 2016
San Francisco dining room with chandelier and Eames shell chairs
Brooklyn-based RBW's work—from diminutive sconces to large floor lamps—shape these five interiors.
February 09, 2016
Glass-fronted converted garage in Washington
These garages go behind parking cars and storing your drum sets.
February 09, 2016
Modern Texas home office with sliding walls, behr black chalkboard paint, concrete walls, and white oak flooring
From appropriated nooks to glass-encased rooms, each of these modern offices works a unique angle.
February 09, 2016
picnic-style table in renovated San Francisco house
From chandeliers to pendants, these designs make the dining room the most entertaining space in the house.
February 09, 2016
Midcentury house in Portland with iron colored facade and gold front door
From preserved masterworks to carefully updated time capsules, these homes have one thing in common (other than a healthy appreciation for everything Eames): the conviction that the '40s, '50s, and '60s were the most outstanding moments in American architecture.
February 09, 2016
Modern living room with furniture designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
These oases by the sea, many done up in white, make stunning escapes.
February 08, 2016
A Philippe Starck standing lamp and an Eames chaise longue bracket the living room; two Lawrence Weiner prints hang behind a pair of Warren Platner chairs and a table purchased from a River Oaks estate sale; at far left of the room, a partial wall of new
Texas might have a big reputation, but these homes show the variety of shapes and sizes in the Lone Star State.
February 08, 2016
Montigo gas-burning fireplace in spacious living room.
Built atop the foundation of a flood-damaged home, this 3,000-square-foot Maryland home features vibrant furniture placed in front of stunning views of a nearby estuary.
February 08, 2016
Studio addition in Seattle
An architect couple sets out to transform a run-down property.
February 08, 2016
West Elm coffee table, custom Joybird sofa, and matching Jens Risom chairs in living room of Westchester renovation by Khanna Shultz.
Every Monday, @dwell and @designmilk invite fans and experts on Twitter to weigh in on trending topics in design.
February 08, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment living room vertical oak slats
For the modernists among us, these spare spaces are a dream come true.
February 08, 2016
The square fountain at the courtyard's center is a modern rendition of a very traditional feature in many Middle Eastern homes.
From a large gathering space for family or a tranquil sanctuary, these seven designs feature some very different takes on the ancient idea of a courtyard.
February 08, 2016
stdaluminum 021
Since windows and doors are such important aspects of your home, it’s always a good idea to take the time to evaluate how they fit within the lifestyle you want. Whether you’re in the middle of constructing a new home, or you’re considering replacing your current setup, there are multiple elements to consider when it comes time to make the final decisions. Milgard® Windows & Doors understands how vital these choices are to the well-being of your home and has developed ways to turn the process into a journey that can be just as enjoyable as it is fulfilling. Not sure where to start? We gathered some helpful insights from their team of experts to help us better understand what goes into the process of bringing your vision to life.
February 08, 2016