Inside: Nicole's Trend Savvy Family Home
Good design appeals to all senses. Beyond physical appearance engaging the tactile and visual sensors, good design considers the experience; the holistic experience. A space that demands engagement of all five senses has a cumulative and often powerful effect. Multi sensory design has becoming a topical discussion across the entire design world. It seems from research that those experiences that resonate and please us most involve all senses at some level. Unsurprisingly, when I visited the home of Clean Slate Founder, Nicole Connolly, the sense that was immediately activated was my sense of smell.
A rich aroma of coffee with a subtle sweetness flooded the air. A flickering Clean Slate candle centered on a salvaged coffee table was the source of this sensational smell. Absorbed in the scent, the design details all came at me at once: a perfectly balanced palette of grey and neutral shades, a blackboard wall, hand-drawn calligraphy, clean subway tiling, a large wicker pendant, all styled with clean white and green flowers dotted around the space.
Instantly (all senses heightened) I could feel so much about this home. No stone was left unturned, no detail not considered, no sense not catered for. Textures and patterns absorb my sense of both sight and touch. And the sound of the grinding coffee machine and the subsequent taste of a sweet almond milk latte which Nicole and I enjoy as we chat all thing interiors while I capture shot of her beautiful home.
We chatted excitedly over our coffees, discussing our interior obsessions. The tips, ideas and experiences of others are always unique and thought provoking. The hour and a half we spent together, sharing design ideas and stories reminds me why I love doing these posts so much. Meeting others with the same interests who can alert you to new ideas, places and people is what its all about. Design is becoming more and more about sharing; collaborating and thinking about how we can create things with each other and use our collective talents in meaningful ways.
Nicole is certainly no stranger to design either. You can sense this from the moment you walk into her house. The space is full of clever features and personal design projects she has completed herself, often with the help of her three children. The gallery wall in the living room is one fine example: made up largely with paintings by Nicole and her children.
Nicole has also met with some of the best in the interiors industry. She presented to Kelly Hoppen during an interior design course she took in London, as well as taking tricks and tips from Abigail Aherne at one of her masterclasses. But aside from those she’s met and picked up tips from, Nicole has her own natural creative flare. It is clear that her head is full of ideas and she executes them flawlessly throughout her home.
From quote prints to her handmade office desk, much of the house is made up of items Nicole has devised and made herself, as well as family heirlooms she has so cleverly worked into the space. One particularly interesting piece is a large rounded vase. A piece passed on from her husband’s grandmother. She was a doctor, which was most unusual for a woman of her era and the vase in question was a container used to store medicinal solutions at the time.
This woman, clearly ahead of her time, obviously saw something in these beautifully shaped containers, as too did her granddaughter in-law, many decades later, who so elegantly styles it amongst a mix of books, plants and decorative bowls on her beauitfully salvaged coffee table.
Downstairs is a large open plan family area. And a sense of family is most certainly one you get from the home, even though we did have the space to ourselves while Nicole’s children were out on a trip to the zoo.
Family photos, artistically captured moments, tastefully arranged amongst beautiful coffee table books, on gallery walls and pin boards. They are unintentionally colour coordinated. Largely black and white with subtle colour every so often.
Upstairs the master bedroom is heavenly. A dark charcoal feature wall gives the space a trendy edge. The details are largely soft and delicate, juxtaposing the dark feature wall: blush pink and grey cushions, relaxed linen bedding and soft furs give a touch of contemporary romanticism. The space balances a masculine and feminine feel not in a gender neutral fashion, but by incorporating a mix at both ends of the spectrum .
A large walk in wardrobe neatly houses a colour coordinated stream of clothes. Opposite the beautiful clothing display, there is an equally neat and inspiring work space designed and built by Nicole with the assistance of her father.
The children, Heather Bell (11), Rosie Bow (9) and Charlie Finn (7) share two rooms: a girls and a boys space. Charlie Finn’s space reflects his keen interest in all things discovery and the natural world. A large atlas covers one wall and his perfectly arranged birds nest with real eggs and a vividly coloured crystal are prominently placed. Charlie's book collection is made up of the same topic: wildlife and adventure. David Attenborough is his hero.
The girl’s bunk room is the perfect balance of trend and femininity; very apt considering it must satisfy the tastes of Heather approaching her teens and Rosie (9). The palette of greys, neutrals and blush pinks is carried through here with a fantastic use of materials and patterns like the linen duvet covers and a marble desk top.
In late 2015 Nicole set up Clean Slate, a fragrance company that produces fragranced products including soaps, sprays and candles. The company was officially launched last year, but Nicole admits it been a long time in the making. She has perfected the fragrance range through years of research and testing. It is clear that this process has taken time and effort and the result is a range of clean, contemporary items that I have not yet to come across the likes of in Ireland.
I love working on posts like this and meeting people like Nicole. I was buzzing the morning after we met last weekend. Her home and our conversations have totally inspired me and I left that morning determined to take a leaf out of Nicole's book and take on more DIY and up cycling projects in my own home.
I leave passing a positive note. The morning motto Nicole has devised with her children, which they read before they leave for school each morning:
'Be kind. Be polite. Try your best. And have fun.'
'To satisfy my desire for fragrance, gorgeous products, design and creativity, I began making my own little luxuries that would blend all these passions. This grew into creating a range of products that are aesthetically pleasing, high quality and affordable.
All our products are hand poured and handmade in small batches. Our candles use clean, sustainable soy wax, essential oils, and fine fragrance oils. Our soaps and sprays use quality ingredients and essential oils. Our packaging is non-fussy and gender neutral with the apothecary amber glass giving a nod to the past. Finishing off our products with simple colour free labels makes them suitable for any room.
Little luxuries for everyday use.'
- Nicole, Clean Slate
For more information on Clean Slate products check them out at www.cleanslate.ie