Saturday, December 10, 2011


Making a special appearance as the gazillionth item on my home shopping wishlist is the latest design from the talented creator of the Taika range for Iittala. I lusted after Taika teacups for God knows how long after we featured them in a shoot in our Jan/Feb 2008 issue. I was like a child in a Dickens novel with my nose pressed up against the window of Inreda on Camden Street. When I saw them on sale a couple of months ago I figured that if I still loved something that much after a year then surely I could treat myself to a couple of teacups (and a bowl, couldn't resist). And now, joy of joys, the talented designer Klaus Haapaniemi who designed the Taika range has created the summer equivalent of that wintry design - Satumetsa, which, I am told, is a Finnish word meaning Fairytale Forest. I don't think that I can even wait for the sales to nab these beauties. 


Ceadogán rugs are Irish designs to be extremely proud of. We borrowed some to use in the location shoot in the current issue and it was so sad to be giving them back at the end of the day - you can quite literally feel the quality when you sink your toes into that deliciously thick and soft wool. Anyhow, since I have to concentrate on the more fundamental aspects of decorating when I eventually move into my new home, a Ceadogán purchase will be a long way off, but I intend to be patient and prudent and some day I will be a lucky owner. They engage in some really interesting collaborations, and they have just announced that they are teaming up with TRIPOD III to celebrate the Galway stop-over of the Volvo Ocean Race this May by producing eleven custom designed, handmade rugs based on a nautical theme. The collection is called Yarn and Sail unite and will be on display in the Radisson SAS, Lough Atalia Road, Galway from Thursday 8th May until Monday 8th June. Above are sketches of the designs Binary, Currents and Tidal Chart.

A very exciting purchase!

Ah yes, this is what a combination of age and home ownership do to you, apparently - I am very excited about the curtain fabric that I bought this afternoon to make my bedroom curtains with. I had picked up some swatches in Murphy Sheehy in Castlemarket on Saturday afternoon and I was mulling over them for a few days. When I went to have a pre-auction browse in Buckleys this afternoon I decided to take another look in the MS Dun Laoghaire outpost, and I walked out half an hour later with my fabric, lining and interlining. Never one to go for the safe option, I chose a rich and crafty-looking William Morris print with a complementary pink stripe for the lining.
This is the William Morris fabric, by Fabric Freedom, which is actually a dress fabric. It's quite a traditional design, and there's also a lot going on there, so the basic palette for the room will be soft and neutral - I'll sand down the floorboards and use a soft, light grey on the walls. I'll also want to make sure that it all doesn't end up looking a bit traditional and overly country-ish, so I want to add an industrial-style touch somewhere, hopefully with some cool lighting.

I decided to opt for a striped lining to make the curtains a little unusual, and also to somehow clean up that busy traditional you see where I'm going with this one?!...I'm not sure if that makes sense - but then, to quote Picasso: "The chief enemy of creativity is 'good' sense".

Aren't they pretty together? Clearly I do not subscribe to the old dictum of keeping your curtain fabric neutral, blah blah blah - rules schmules! This will be my first proper curtain making project...I really really really hope I don't screw up!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rad rage

Renovating a house: you start out all 'oh myyyy house won't have ugly things, my house will be PERFECT'. When you began, you had pictures of lovely homes, and you flicked through them on a regular basis, going 'oh my house will look like this - only NICER'. You sniff at the tiniest details that offend your inexplicably high standards (how did someone who grew up as the youngest of five children in Longford in the 80s come to have such snooty notions about solid wooden floors and fancy tiles anyhow?) and tut over the apparent lack of attention to detail. And then everything starts to happen VERY QUICKLY. Large numbers are bandied about and you gulp as you realise that this is actual real money and these numbers are no longer hypothetical sums that you may or may not have to/want to/need to spend, but actual euros that you have to make note of in your ever dwindling budget and you need to make decisions NOW. There are precious euros to be spent on practical (generally ugly) things that aren't that much fun but you can't live without, like boilers and toilets and radiators. Nice invisible underfloor heating? HA HA HA HA HA HA. But, y'know, these days there are really lovely radiators available. After seeing some lovely, lovely, lovely pics of rads in a house (due to be featured in the next issue of H&H) you get your hopes up and then start gabbling about them at the plumber, and then he makes the very rational and logical point that would make your life a whole lot simpler if you would only think of it every time you saw something lovely for sale and started poking in your bag for your wallet: "but they're expensive". Sigh. And then you resign yourself to being sensible and ponder the fact that maybe, at last, you're Growing Up.

And they photoshop out radiators in houses in magazines all the time anyhow. *Grumpy sniff*

They are lovely though. The black one in the pic on the top is from Victorian Salvage, and then the others are by Acova, which you can buy at B&Q. If you can afford them.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Knock knock

Oooo, I have been neglecting my blog this week - in my defence, we're in production with the September/October issue and I am up to my tonsils. Anyhow, excuses aside, I got shots in of a front of house makeover and I thought that I would share cause it's just lovely and cheery and shiney and new. It's amazing what a bit of hard work, some paint and good accessories can do. Ciara's shiny red door is painted in Sandtex paint, and the cool cool COOL number is by Lyshna. Want one of those for my house, I can't wait to get cracking on the front of it - but there is so so so much to do before then.

Now - the lovely owner of this house is a pal of mine, and I actually lived there for a year. It's up for rent and while she doesn't unfortunately have any pics at the mo I can vouch for its loveliness - check out her ad on