‘We’re creating the antiques of the future’: Ranelagh’s Interiors Atelier is a carefully curated interiors store that offers flair and future-proofed designs

Founder Sinead Moore and creative director Lisa Donnelly of Interiors Atelier on the moment that sparked their partnership, and the appetite for tapping into international design using native craft

Creative director Lisa Donnelly (left) and founder Sinead Moore (right) in their newly-opened interiors store and design studio in Ranelagh. Image: Emily Quinn Photography

Enlisting the expertise of an interior designer can be fruitful for many people and many homes. But few would consider a possible business endeavour out of such a passing partnership. For Dubliners Sinead Moore and Lisa Donnelly, this was exactly the kick-starter for their newly-launched interiors store and design studio, Interiors Atelier.

Opening its doors on Dunville Avenue this year amongst the red brick Victorian homes, eclectic storefronts, and close-knit suburb of Ranelagh, Interiors Atelier was born out of an acute design and supply problem that was surfacing in a world post-Brexit and post-pandemic – and one that Moore and Donnelly found themselves at odds with at both ends of the market: Donnelly as a homeowner and Moore as an interior designer.

Interiors Atelier is nestled among the red brick Victorian homes, eclectic storefronts, and close-knit affluent suburb of Ranelagh

Donnelly had just returned to Dublin in 2020 to settle down with her family after an international career in publishing consultancy that brought her from the Condé Nast headquarters in London to GQ in Hong Kong and Vogue China. Her consultancy kept her acquainted with the international trends that found themselves in the glossy pages of magazines – interiors being one.

“Having moved home mid-pandemic and post-Brexit, I was struggling to find certain pieces to finesse my home and make it liveable for three kids, and I knew that offering was available in London and other international cities,” Donnelly says.

And it was a dander past an emporium in Sandycove – housed in what was formerly the iconic Buckley’s Galleries auction house – that Donnelly spotted “the most beautiful, upholstered antique lamps” in the window; naturally, she was coaxed inside and there she met their purveyor, Moore, who had just taken Interiors Atelier (then a design consultancy and interiors store that mixed modern and antique pieces) from Frances Street to Sandycove.

It was at this point that Donnelly enlisted Moore’s design expertise for her home: “Sinead came into my house, and the first thing she said was, ‘It’s fantastic, but it needs to be finessed.’ She gave me excellent suggestions for wallpaper, and she had cushions made for me and other pieces upholstered – we got on really well and just clicked, and we discovered we had the same design taste.”

And they discovered they had the same design quandary too: the supply problems of the pandemic coupled with the cost problems of Brexit created a perfect storm for Moore who was running an interiors store that kept its finger on international design: “As an interior designer, I didn’t want to tell clients that I had found them the most beautiful dining room table and chairs, but that it’s going to take a 20-week lead time to produce and it will cost them three times the price you would pay pre-Brexit,” Moore says.

The Birchall Cart, €1,550

Having over 25 years of experience in interior design and home renovations – some might remember Moore from RTÉ’s Beyond the Hall Door renovation show in the early 2000s – Moore knew the value of delivering on design, cost, and timeline expectations for clients – all the characteristics that Donnelly struggled to source on home soil. And as necessity being the mother of invention would have it, the pair’s entrepreneurial ways were sparked: “We thought, well, how do we solve this problem?” Donnelly says.

It’s Moore’s design pedigree and extensive “little black book” of trusted tradespeople, coupled with Donnelly’s business development tools and stylistic vision that helped hit refresh on Interiors Atelier and make it what it is today: a curated interiors store and design studio that offers flair and future-proofed designs, which wouldn’t look out of place in the studios of New York’s discerning meatpacking district or London’s Pimlico Road. Their point of difference is that their furniture is designed and made in Dublin by local master craftspeople.

Their newly-launched IA Furniture Collection is the first of many with this native-skill-meets-international-design appeal. Featuring bedside tables, ottomans, a bar cart, and console and coffee tables, the collection is designed and made “within the M50” using FSC environmentally-certified wood.

Each strand of the business– from the store, to the website, and the design consultancy – complements the space Interiors Atelier has carved out in the Irish market. Image: Emily Quinn Photography

And it’s notable for its entirely customisable features; you can choose your piece of furniture and have it made in a selection of fabrications and eight colourways (matte black, milk white, earthy green, and muted red, for example). And to troubleshoot the bugbears of international lead times, each piece is made to order by local manufacturers in four weeks.

“All of the skill is already here. I have built strong relationships with suppliers, fabric houses, craftspeople, and makers over the last thirty years, so I knew who would be happy to collaborate and try something new, and who would be able to deliver it in four weeks because they are tooled up and have the resources. The skill just needed design direction,” Moore says. “So with our furniture maker, we took those overseas trends, like scalloped edges, bobbin styles, and boucle fabrications, and we created our collection with an Interiors Atelier flair,” Donnelly chimes.

Each strand of their business – from their store, to their website, and their design consultancy – complements the space Interiors Atelier has carved out in the Irish market, with the latter, as Donnelly describes, “curating for busy people the pieces they should have in their homes, because they may not have time to source them themselves. It’s the concept of a fashion stylist translating into the interiors world.” Clients can expect a by-appointment service where they can avail of Moore’s interiors sourcing and trusted tradespeople who restore furniture, hang wallpaper, and make bespoke curtains, headboards, and cushions.

The Winnie Ottoman, €2250, and the Dexter Table, €1550

It’s a service they know is invaluable to those with busy schedules – not least because they have busy schedules themselves. Though their days are dedicated to building their brand – and it's clear their heart is in the game – they are mothers, carers – and dog owners – too, so it’s a tight ship they run. “My husband commutes to London every week, we both have three kids, and Sinead is bringing up a family on her own. So we do feel proud that we actually went for it.”

Despite its early days, Interiors Atelier’s evolution will draw on the addition of antique and restored pieces too, but its identity will hold sway, according to Moore: “Clients can always expect an enduring interior, a piece you are buying for life, that you won’t be sick of in ten years. We’re creating the antiques of the future.”