NORTHERN WOMAN MAGAZINE
A house in Northern Ireland which takes refrence from Italy, France, Africa, Egypt, and hand-painted by an American? Now there's a story, writes Carol Anne Dornan
Mark Moore moved to Belfast from New York three years ago, swapping a lifestyle of transforming houses for the Manhattan elite for small commercial and residential projects in Northern Ireland. Although still not complete, this particular project has given him a rare opportunity for artistic licence in NI as well as sparking off a friendship. Mark first began work on the living room a year ago transforming it with an Italianesque flavour. The finished result, complete with painted floor boards, lavish murals and Tuscan style paint effects was so impressive that he was invited to extend his expertise to the rest of the house.
His methods are painstakingly labour intensive and highly individual. Normally restricted by his design brief, this project has presented him with a virtually blank canvas. "Asking me how a room is going to look when it's finished is like asking a jazz musician what he is going to play this evening. I improvise as I go along and it is an ever-growing process - I don't think that this will ever be really finished."
One of the best things about living in Northern Ireland for Mark is the social scene that he enjoys here. "This is a great party house. It's always buzzing with people - the owner is a wonderful and very generous host and when you are sitting in that room with the fire lit and a good glass of wine, you really could be somewhere in "Southern Europe." The paintings vary from neo-classical frieze work to flamboyant murals taking the interests and passions of the owner as themes. A mural paying homage to Formula One hero Ayrton Senna take pride of place above the fireplace. Pet parrot the irepressible 'Ayrton' MarkII, has also earned a place in the decor of this room and throughout the house. The resplendent hall takes an African theme complete with a rather seductive looking angel on guard above the front door.
A downstairs washroom is a novel oasis in an Egyptian desert, the owner's passion for wine celebrated in the kitchen. "wanted to create a French vineyard workers' rest house hence the vines growing through the timbers of the ceiling and the stone walls. The mural on the back of the door will also eventually include two pheasants and other details." Suitably rustic units and an enormous stove, capable of cooking a feast worthy of any Bordeaux table complete the effect.
The spectacular stained glass window on the landing is offset with a mural which is destined to depict the owner's prized limited edition Ducati motorcycle. The Latin read "the voice of Ducati is the voice of the soul." At the top of the stairs more Latin, this time the risque message is "I have resolved to make love in Tuscany 1,000 times." The master bedroom located at the rear of the house benefits from the same fabulous evening light and views over the classically manicured gardens as the living room. Here Mark decided on a Roman mosiac brickwork effect for the floor with 'Ayrton' and friends swirling above in a brilliant blue sky covering the expanse of the ceiling.
Mark has just completed work on the Knockbracken country club.