Named Northern Ireland Business Woman of the Year in October 2021 by Ulster Tatler, Victoria Patterson isn’t afraid to make bold choices at work – or at home. There’s no doubt Victoria is a rising star in the property industry.
With an impressive background in the music and hospitality sector, she’s now using her expertise as Director of Sales and Acquisitions at Mayfair Group – Northern Ireland’s leading property developers.
Here, she shares the inspiration behind her beautiful Belfast property.
In the leafy suburb of Cultra, Belfast, Victoria has created the ultimate modern family home for herself, with careful consideration given to every aspect.
Designed by Des Ewing Residential Architects, the house sits on a breathtaking elevated coastal location with spectacular panoramic sea views.
Built-in a classical architectural style with imposing windows and elegant stonework, the house itself is a feast for the eyes, too.
The award-winning property features an impressive 20,000 square feet of luxury accommodation over three floors.
Internally, Victoria’s home is inspired by Californian open-plan living with a sprawling kitchen-dining space enjoying a stunning aspect looking out to sea.
“I used to live in California and took a lot of inspiration from the show homes over there,” Victoria said. “The downside to open-plan here is, we don’t get the California weather, so we use a lot of rugs to help keep the house warm.”
The family living areas face the sea with simple, clear panes of vertical emphasis to make the most of the views, while the more formal rooms are at the front of the property, closest to the entrance.
Victoria’s home is a calming and cohesive space with a classic monochrome pallet flowing throughout – but the process didn’t happen overnight, as she explains.
You can see in her home design that family means a lot to Victoria. The house offers sprawling open-plan areas tailored for big family gatherings and smaller spaces for intimate and relaxed family dining.
A collection of family photographs adorn the shelves in the kitchen-dining area.
“I’m a big believer in living in your home and taking your time with your interior and décor. Don’t rush the process, as that’s when you will make costly mistakes. It’s taken years to get this house tied in together with many changes to each room.”
Externally, the entire property is finished in soft, white painted smooth render for a clean and timeless look that stands out against the luscious green landscape.
The front is of the house is a stunning example of Palladian, neoclassical design.
As much as possible, Victoria’s team tried to use locally-sourced materials in the build – the grand four-pier entrance portico construction is made from handcrafted Donegal stone.
Victoria opted for a minimalist front garden with low box hedging, topiary balls, and Cypress trees to ensure uninterrupted views from every angle.
She explained: “Adding Cypress trees gives the Italianate feel, but they are also great for adding a pillar effect for entrances or between garages. They are my favourite type of tree, but bear in mind it’s hard to keep them alive in cold climates like ours.”
The rear of the house is Art Deco with a modern twist. With extensive glazing and a veranda just off the dining area, it was designed to maximise the view and make the most of the stunning surroundings.
The palatial hallway sets the scene for the classical contemporary style that’s to follow throughout the rest of the house. Immediately, you are struck by how light and airy the entrance is with the double-height space and mezzanine gallery.
But the real show-stopper is the sweeping Portland stone staircase and decorative wrought iron handrail.
“The grand hallway is my favourite room in the whole house. The staircase was designed to appear as if it was floating,” explained Victoria. “It’s actually the only solid stone staircase in the whole of Northern Ireland.”
The monochrome scheme creates drama, with Old School House White walls and crema marfil floor tiles contrasting against the ironwork and black accessories.
Proving that you don’t have to buy new to make an impact, Victoria upcycled the hallway table herself. She added, “We found a brown table in a charity shop but painted it black and added glass to create this look.”
Sitting proudly underneath the staircase is Victoria’s childhood baby grand piano, putting a personal touch firmly at the centre of this impressive hallway.
The neoclassical-style fireplace in the hallway was designed to perfectly complement the stone staircase.
The accessories offer perfect symmetry, while a large mirror hung above reflects light around the space and ensures the handrail can be seen from all angles.
“We decided to go for a mirror to reflect the railings instead of a painting,” said Victoria.
“I always advocate painting mirror frames the same colour as the walls as it makes the frames look like decorative mouldings – it’s an affordable way of creating a high-end look. So, we painted this one a stone colour to make it look as if it was part of the fireplace.”
Continuing through the centre of the house is the main dining table which inspired the wrought iron handrail of the staircase.
“This table is my favourite piece of furniture,” Victoria explained. “I inherited it; it’s about 30 years old. I love it so much I chose the railings on the staircase to match it.”
This formal dining area continues the monochrome scheme and boasts a glazed external veranda and views of the sea beyond, bringing a sense of serenity.
It’s completely open plan which offers an incredible sense of space, allowing you to see straight through from the front of the house to the back.
The room embraces the neoclassical period with mouldings, pillars and pediments enhanced by concealed lighting to maximise the space.
A light and modern kitchen follows on seamlessly from the formal dining area. “The kitchen is the heart of the home. We went for a classic kitchen with a black, white and cream theme. I love the aga, even though it’s not the most practical,” Victoria explains.
Victoria chose a relaxed hand-painted wood for the kitchen units, with oversized chrome handles to pop against the cream. The black cast iron aga offers contrast against the cabinetry and nods to traditional style.
The kitchen also features a versatile island and round wood dining table that’s perfect for informal dining. Victoria added: “A round table is always my favourite style of table – I find it great for conversation and use of space.
“We actually restored this table, which is over ten years old. We sanded it down to get the stains out, then used oak stain to bring the colour back to life.”
Elegant double-doors lead from the hallway and into a calming study. The room features tall windows overlooking the courtyard and a large mirror above the fireplace, creating an open and airy feeling.
Built-in bookcases create a relaxed, decorative feature, while a comfortable L-shaped sofa provides the perfect place to curl up with a good book.
Stepping away from the monochrome scheme is the sunroom which takes its inspiration from the outdoor surroundings.
The continuation of the crema marfil tiles create a cohesive look throughout the ground floor, but with blue and green hues reflecting the sea, this room evokes a sense of tranquillity.
Victoria said: “I wanted to bring the outside in and use the ocean as a mood board for this room – hence the blue and greens in the furniture and accessories. The doors open on all sides, which is perfect for summer parties and barbeques.”
Mix and match sofas and armchairs create a homely and relaxed vibe that’s ideal for sitting back and watching the sun set over the sea.
Large blue Ming vases take pride of place by the fire, while leafy palms further complement the room’s relationship with nature.
A convenient second entrance provides access to the house from the floor above the garages, so the main formal entrance can be reserved for guests.
From an eight-person elevator, a gorgeous side hallway greets you and leads on to a shared bathroom with traditional panelling and an elegant vanity unit.
The hallway continues the neoclassical theme with an opulent gold-framed mirror and traditional accessories.