Saturday, November 12, 2011

Still life

I have to say, I find these pics extremely calming, a modern soothingly-shaded still life perfect for creating a little calm on a blustery Monday morning. These pieces are from the Tonale collection by architect David Chipperfield for Alessi, who have just opened a new concession in Brown Thomas. It's a very broad range of tableware in enamelled steel, glass, earthenware and wood, in a selection of these beautiful soft shades for creating an easy mix and match, pick em up here and there sort of collection.

Tasty rich colour

Someone was asking me about an apartment that we featured in the September/October 2007 issue; it's one of my favourite out of all of the homes we have featured. Anthony, who owns it, has wonderful taste in both art and furniture. He bought a lot of his furniture from the sadly missed 20th Century Furniture, Olivia Delaney's wonderful vintage furniture store that was a concession in the Habitat store. Much of the art came from The Stone Gallery. I just love the colours in this apartment - the rich purples and chocolates are so inviting, and aren't too overbearing thanks to the lovely cool tones of the marble tiles. I thought that I'd dig out the pics so that I could share the love - enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lovely leftovers

When we feature houses, there are always lots of gorgeous shots left over that we just didn't have room to print in the mag. It's such a shame to leave out some of the lovely details in our readers' homes, so I thought I'd share some with you. These pics are from the home of Olive Power, which was featured in our November/December 2008 issue - such an inviting kitchen, it's no surprise to hear that Olive is a wonderful cook with a glorious garden!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stacks o style

When I was racking my brains to think of someone for Little Black Book for the latest issue, I felt like a bit of an eejit when I finally hit on the idea of asking our stylist Eleanor Harpur - duh! She has fabulous taste and she knows where to go, so she was an obvious choice. One of the shops she mentioned that I am dying to check out is an online one called Volksfaden that I've never heard of before. Anyhow, I'm scouting around for lots of fabric at the moment as we're doing some projects for our next issue, and they have some really fresh and quirky designs. I have to say, I've always been more of a fabric person than a wallpaper person, but I am (as with most things) incredibly indecisive, so I love their fabric packs and fabric stacks. Fabric packs are filled with about 1.25 metre of fabric pieces that will work for small projects, and the fabric stack contains six different pieces of fabric from one of their fabric collections - such a fun package to get in the post!

€1.5 million euro to spare, anyone?

Spotted in yesterdays Irish Times property section: Lisa McNulty's gorgeous redbrick home for sale for €1.5 million. If  I owned this house I think I'd just never leave. I'd stay indoors all day and listen to Lyric FM and hide from the recession.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sneaky Ikea preview

It's the moment that, well, not all of us, but definitely quite a large number of curious Irish shoppers have been waiting for: the opening of the Dublin branch of Ikea. I went to a press preview this morning, and it was great to get a poke around while the store was calm and orderly because I doubt it'll stay that way for long. And the verdict's Ikea! It's the same as any other Ikea only it's just up the road. Looking at the pics I took, it's hilarious really that they could have been taken in any other Ikea around the world. Not that I'm dissing it, we all love a good Ikea fix, and their price points are fantastic - finally, inexpensive furniture and home essentials for Irish shoppers. I came home with a few bits myself; I love the latest PS range so I got the cool Spraka pepper mill and the lovely Vadmal throw, as well as glasses (I don't have any regular ones and I've been drinking my morning juice out of Waterford Crystal champagne glasses, ahem) and candles. I won't be rushing back to kit my house out with their furniture to be honest, but it's always comforting to know that there's a selection of attractive furniture at a fair price if I'm stuck for anything, rather than having to fork out a fortune in desperation. The store opens this coming Monday, July 27th, and while Ikea usually open new branches on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, this time they have chosen a Monday in order to preempt any potential chaos. Opening hours are from 11am (in order to avoid peak traffic time lunacy) to 10pm, and you have to pay for parking between the hours of 4pm and 8pm (so if you come after 4 but before 8 you pay, if you come before 4 but you leave between 4 and 8 you have to pay) and it's a flat rate of €3. Local delivery starts at €30 (but it wasn't entirely clear as to what their actual definition of local is?) and they have a clever van hire service that would make a lot of sense if you are keen to have your furniture home in your own time, rather than waiting for delivery people. There were prices here and there; a lot of prices compared favourably with the sterling prices, but then there were a few items that I saw that were hiked up a bit - somehow, I still think that Irish shoppers are going to take to Ikea like (flatpack-happy) ducks to (extremely inexpensive, if not entirely calm) water.

The old familiar Ikea roomsets

The lovely PS collections are always worth the little bit extra that they cost

Kitchens have always cost a lot here, so a lot of people will really appreciate the cheap n cheerful Ikea option

As my dad would say - who'd be without one at that price?!

I had serious flatpack fatigue by the time I got this far... I re-fuelled with some crazy Swedish food!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Get your green on

The wearing of the green is going on in a serious way here at House and Home. Not only is our March/April issue our Irish issue, but we're also celebrating Seachtain na Gaeilge and of course St Patrick's Day is next week. We have a new homegrown brand to add to the list of people we're proud to call our own: Max Benjamin candles. Handmade in Wicklow, they have created lucky number 13 to add to their range of scents. It's the Olio candle, a mix of lemon, nutmeg, sandalwood and vanilla, which, having personally tried and tested it myself, I can tell you is light and refreshing - the perfect accompaniment to these brighter evenings. And as I am such a sucker for aesthetics, I love the zesty green packaging. The candles cost €18 each and while they make a great present, they make an even better gift 'from me to me'. Get them in Brown Thomas, Arnotts, Meadows and Byrne and in gift shops around the country

My need for organisation + my love of fabric = pretty notice boards project

I am a very organised person, largely because I get a rather sad and extremely nerdy thrill from making lists and putting things away in cute files and the like. I am also quite scatty, so being organised is necessary in order for me to actually get anything done. I have tons of plans and ideas for my new house, and obviously these all vary from room to room. To create a more cohesive plan of what I want to pull together in each room, I'm going to do up individual mood boards, with all of the images and swatches and sketches and everything that I have scattered about the place pulled together and pinned right where I can see it evolve as I get to grips with what I want to achieve versus what is I can realistically aim to end up with. I took myself off to Decwells on Georges Street at lunchtime to see what I could find and I found these dull but functional cork boards for €10 each. Even though I know that they will eventually be covered in random bits and bobs I just can't handle looking at them the way they are, so I went rooting through the leftover fabrics box to find scraps that would pretty them up. There were some gorgeous Osborne & Little designs that I can't wait to use:

Chinese Dragon (the piece I have is in green rather than pink)



Wilde Carnation (the piece I have is chocolate on black)

So, the plan is to iron the rather crumpled pieces of fabric, paint the frames of the boards and then fix the fabrics to the boards.

My mid-century tendencies

My eyes are slowly opening to the fact that I actually do have specific tastes that veer in a very specific direction - you may be reading this thinking 'duh!!!', but to be perfectly honest until I had to knuckle down and make choices and think seriously about buying things (as opposed to my renting days, when I trundled along compiling fantasy buys in my head) I just thought that I liked, well, lovely things regardless of what style or era they are from, just all lovely things. But no, my leanings, subconscious as they may be, are firmly mid-century, with a smattering of Scandi. The biggest purchase of my life was a late 1930s/early 1940s house for goodness sake. And yet I only really twigged just how intrinsic and natural these tendencies are when my newly purchased Ilum Wikkelso sofa (above), that I had my heart set on and had drooled over for months on the Wild Child website, had arrived and made it safely through the front door and into the living room. My (clearly far sharper than I!) sister in law turned around and said "it really suits the house, doesn't it?" It had never occured to me that I would buy furniture that is roughly of the same era as the house - after all, it seems quite a luxury, doesn't it? But it just happened that two things I fell in love with were created around the same point in time and they marry beautifully, if I do say so myself. I was just buying things that I loved willy nilly, but I guess it really is true that when you really love things you should just buy them (finance permitting, of course, ahem) and they really will just naturally work together - the only way to achieve a genuinely natural and uncontrived look. My mum was dubious about the sofa before she saw it in the house itself, she thought that it would swamp the room, but it fits in hand in glove. I approve of the whole large-pieces-in-small-spaces theory, it somehow makes the place seem uncluttered, I think it's the strong shape of the sofa. And then, as if I don't have enough to be spending my money on, I got this Normann Copenhagen Norm 69 pendant light in the sale on Finnish Design Shop (I don't think this is on sale any more, but I swear there was money off it when I bought it!!!). How beautiful is it going to look hanging above my Wikkleso sofa?
The latest on the renovation front is that I have escaped to my big bro's house while he and his family are on holidays, as it is all a bit bananas in my little mid-terrace palace at the mo. The builder came over and put doors between the front room and living room and it's amazing the difference that they make, the front room looks like a whole new room now. Yes, I know, 'duh!!!' again, but honestly if you had been living in it for two months as I had you would know how that one simple change made the main living area feel brighter and more spacious - and, most crucially, more and more like my very own space. My dad, who is something of a superstar in the garden, very kindly paid a visit and got to work with a strimmer and a saw to tackle the forest in the front and the jungle out the back, so now there is also more natural light coming through the front and back windows. So - now there is also the sofa in the living room - and then the plumber came in to start working his magic on Tuesday and the place is now hilarious, there is rubble and old sanitaryware and stuff out the front and there are pipes and other plumber-y yokes hanging out of walls and floors. I didn't realise that the bathroom could actually look smaller without anything in it, but amazingly enough it does, whoulda thunk it. It's a pity that I didn't think of it before I started going bonkers buying sofas and lightshades and curtain fabric, but I have to go and get the tiles for the wetroom now. Looks like there'll be a whole lot of beans on toast in store for me for the forseeable future! I'll nip in today or tomorrow to take pics of the ginormous work in progress that is my home, so that you can see for yourselves just how very, eh, in progress it really is.