Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thoroughly Irish treats

I dropped into the launch of the new Foxford Woollen Mills shop on Drury St this morning. It's called No. 6 Castlemarket, and it's very much a showcase of the partnership between Foxford and Helen McAlinden, who has been designing soft furnishings for the company for a while now, about five years I reckon. The actual shop has been open for almost three years now (I think!) and they recently gave it a mini makeover to create more of a focus on the interiors end of things. Helen has given a really contemporary and cosmopolitan look to the brand, which is often perceived as extremely traditional, and the shop is a wonderful showcase for the many beautiful Foxford products. Uses for the soft and snuggly wool extend far beyond blankets and throws, and there are some fab sofas and statement chairs on offer, as well as woollen blinds and, my personal favourite, an extremely huggable wall covered in a soft grey woollen pinstripe. So cast aside your very traditional view of Foxford Woollen Mills and take a look at how modern it is. You really can get everything under the one roof here as well - besides the soft furnishings, there are lots of lovely pieces of furniture and some great accessories, along with the Faulkner Interiors Studio where you can avail of David Faulkner's interior design service that includes curtain making. My very amateur photography does it little justice, but here's a taster of what's on offer - from the top: this is a soft and cosy wing chair (€800) covered in Foxford wool, and there are also other chairs and sofas similarly covered; these would make such a statement in the garden, and they're citronella so they keep bugs at bay - you can buy refills that slip in easily; I want want want want want this table - it has a wooden base and concrete top, and it's my dream dining table, the only catch being that it's €1,100; here's a teeny tiny sample of the wide range of bedlinen, that is competitively priced, particularly given the quality - 300-thread duvet covers start at €55; here are some of the lovely breezy accessories; a pretty little coffee table upstairs; this is the totally touchable upholstered wall - mmmmmm, soft.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Did I inadvertently make it rain by yakking on about how nice the sun was? It's so grey out there now - makes me want to wrap myself up in Cath Kidston oilcloth and hop home all colourful and waterproof! If you're a CK fan the Kildare Village outlet is a must for you. I wouldn't even be super into her stuff, but, dotted here and there about the house, her prints are bright and lively. I got some wonderful napkins and teatowels, as well as a cute knitting bag, which is currently home to my second knitting project - a scarf for my five-year-old nephew. Anyhow - you can get oilcloth there for €22 per metre.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday dreaming

The sun has been making an extremely commendable effort to pop its head out from behind the clouds of late, which is giving me lots of summery vibes. I'm really excited about the prospect of potentially getting to wear some summer clothes this year, they don't get out much with our monsoony holiday months. Since I am bracing myself for the prospect of home ownership, I don't really see how a proper foreign holiday can fit into the plans this year. If we do actually get a summer I would really love to take a break at home - I haven't been to Dingle in ages, and the house of gallery owner Susan Callery (featured in our July/August 2008 issue) really made me keen to pay a visit to that neck of the woods as soon as I get a chance. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Irish building of the year 2009

The RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2009 are taking place and you have until Sunday to submit your vote for the People's Choice Award. There are 35 buildings to choose from, I haven't quite decided which is my favourite yet, but my shortlist is as follows:

This is an insertion into St George's & St Thomas's Church by Clancy Moore architects - so unusual to see such a project these days.

This is a café/bar on Deal Pier by Niall McLaughlin Architects. I love this, it's so wild and romantic looking.

Hazelwood School by GM & AD Architects is a school that caters for 60 student with multiple disabilities, aged from 2 to 19. The aim with this project was to take away any traces of an institutional feel, and it really does look like a welcoming and stimulating environment.

Landscape room by LID Architecture - this looks positively idyllic.

The Library in Abbeyleix by de Blacam & Meagher - if only all public libraries could be like this...

...and if only all cinemas could be like this! The Light House cinema by DTA Architects.

The Wexford Opera House by OPW & Keith Williams Architects - mmmmm, opulent.