Most residential interior design projects these days feature the ubiquitous white or magnolia colour scheme to walls. We are involved in works to a modest house in Marino which has revealed a very different approach to interior colour schemes in the city from the 1920s.
Residential development from this period predated the advent of central heating in ordinary houses: comfort levels were maintained generally by open coal fires in the principal rooms. The internal environment of the houses would therefore have been more smoky and dusty due to coal dust than today. This would have been managed by the darker original colour schemes that are evident underneath later wallpapering in this house. A serviceable dark green colour appears below a 2″ deep black border in many rooms with a lighter cream colour above. In another bedroom a deep red was employed.
Later lighter-coloured wallpapering schemes (presumably from the advent of central heating onwards) featured vibrant patterns which is some ways might not seem out of place in contemporary interior design magazines.
Small cast-iron fireplace surrounds and firebacks were fitted to the smaller rooms that feature a shamrock motif common in the area. Independence had only been achieved several years earlier and it could be imagined that there was a sense of national pride in constructing the first social housing of the Free State. This was also reflected in the drive by Dublin Corporation to reduce reliance on imported building materials for the early stages of the Marino development.