Before we bid farewell to summer, Northern Woman’s Catriona Doherty visits an 1880’s Victorian home in North Belfast. This fantastic property is like a mirror to the past and has the perfect blend of Victorian beauty with sleek modern touches.
Stepping into Alan and Louise McDowell’s home feels a little like stepping back in time. Quirky details catch our eye; a servant’s bell by the fireplace, a patchwork of coloured tiles in the entrance hall, and an antique Singer sewing machine are all testament to times gone by. Age-old details sit alongside contemporary touches, in this modernised Jordanstown home that bestows nods to the past.
Alan and Louise bought the property in 2014 and have spent three years ardently renovating it with the help of family, friends, neighbours and local suppliers. “We wanted to keep with the period of the house and update it,” Louise begins. “The house was built in 1888 and there is just so much history here.”
Dreamy Décor & Perfect Parquet
The mirror is older than the house itself, it dates back to possibly the 1860s. The mirrors were found in a convent in County Clare, so we have a little bit of the West in the house (I’m from Galway!). The frame was sourced by Trevor Millar Restoration, Newtonabbey. The window seat furnishing and Roman blinds were custom-made via Eamon McAuley Interior Design, Newtownabbey, and Eamon picked the colours for the living room.
Emma McNeilly designed the kitchen. We love entertaining so the island is ideal for that. I work for an airline and have pick up bits on my travels; the lights are from Restoration Hardware in Boston. My husband saw the cooker tiles in The Harp Bar, Belfast. He took a photo on his mobile and used an app to see where they were from, which was Fired Earth, Lisburn Road and we bought ours from there. Gary Tisdale Furniture, Ballymena handmade the units and larder.
Familiar Touches and Family Heirlooms
This is original door detail; we took it off and soaked it in order to clean it up. My husband’s great grandmother used the Singer machine to make parachutes during the Second World War. The clock was given to us as a wedding present.
The bedroom is the room that sold the house for me; I love it. Before we moved in it was a formal room. I bought the chaise longue from Little French Barn, Lisburn and I based my colour scheme around it. Eamon McAuley did the wallpaper, the lights are original, Alan’s uncle painted the framed artwork, and Pamlyn Interiors, Belfast made the curtains.
Sweet Escape & Sensational Storage
We jokingly call this room the man cave; it’s where the boys have guitar lessons and watch the rugby.
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