TV architect Dermot Bannon has a few pet hates when it comes to house design.
Sun rooms and garden decking, fans will know, have long been maligned by the presenter.
But he has another bug bear.
Bannon, who is soon due to go ‘Sale Agreed’ on his family home in Drumcondra, finds it irritating when homes are decked out in the latest trends, doing little to reflect the personality of their owners.
“I try to steer clear of trends… interior design is so popular now, how many magazines are dedicated to trends in interior design at the moment? It’s become a small bit fashiony, a small bit high street, and because it’s become a bit of phenomonon, they tend to turn over the trends quickly to keep them fresh and new, so you have to change them then.”
“The industrial feel is a look,” he tells Independent.ie. “I know people who would dress like they’re working in those coffee shops – so if it reflects your personality, the Soho look will work in your home.”
“If you’re only trying to create a look and it’s not really you, that’s when it gets my goat.”
“It’s like in Ab Fab, the character Edina is always trying to keep up with the latest trend… I feel a bit like that about interiors. If you would have bought that stuff anyway, yes, but if you’re going out to buy it just because it’s a look, that irritates me.”
He added: “I’ve gone into people’s houses and it really feels like the inside of a hotel, and there’s no personality, you’re thinking where’s the personality here?”
Bannon, who will speak at house 2018 in the RDS this weekend, has just finished a first draft for his own family’s home. Light, unsurprisingly, will be key. As will functionality.
“Now that my kids are of a certain age I know what to do and what not to do. And because I’ve designed houses for people with children at every life stage, I know the empty nest stage, and all the stages. So I’m trying to plan a home that suits my eldest who is 13, and will start to have friends over in the teenage years, and the youngest who is six and who plays everything through his cars. He even plays Ireland’s Fittest Family through his cars.”
“I have a design at the moment where my son can act out with his toy cars, and he’s still in the same room with us while he’s playing away, but in three years’ time, I’m thinking can we put a pool table there? Because we all love to play pool. That’s what we love to do when we’re on holidays.”
“So I’m designing a house where they can all do their own thing. ‘If we don’t need the playroom anymore what will that become?’ That’s the big challenge, getting all those things right.”
Bannon is happy to bid his old Drumcondra abode goodbye, he says.
“The house has served us well. We’ve been there a lot longer than I thought we would be. We haven’t signed contracts yet, we’re nearly ‘sale agreed’, the house is still for sale but we’re nearly there.”
Next week, he’ll talk to the masses at house 2018 about the mistakes we make in Irish house design, and how to make your home function by making a few simple changes.
“I’ll talk about the fundamentals of architecture and the things that people have been doing wrong for so long and why. We focus a lot in this country on the final layer, the carpets and cushions, and we never really get it quite right, and hopefully I’ll say some things about the simple ways that you can get it right.”
“Light is the big thing, and how to get light into your home. People spend a lot of money trying to get light in with white paint and light coloured tiles … but it’s vital to get the light right.”