Tuesday, January 10, 2012


OK, so that Crown pic got me thinking about stairs and banisters - not the most exciting spot in the house it has to be said, and kind of difficult to do anything interesting with. And then I saw these banisters by Lyshna - they are downright fabulous. Lyshna do bespoke one-off pieces, like these banisters and very very cool numbers for the front of your house (there's one on page 49 of H&H March/April), as well as countertops for kitchens, all in very earthy, industrial concrete and iron. You can check out more of their work at www.lyshna.com

Red hot sale alert

It's highly tempting to keep this one to myself - after all, why would I want anyone else to nab these fab bargains? Wild Child Originals, purveyors of my dream household furniture - oodles and oodles of 20th century pieces, lots of covetable Danish items - are having a warehouse clearance sale to get rid of all their stock in the Harolds Cross warehouse in order to get ready for the move into a new city centre furniture retail premises. It's a three day event, starting on Thursday 23rd July with a wine reception and sale preview from 6.30pm to 9.30pm for all customers on the wwww.wildchildoriginals.com mailing list (if you're not on it just visit the website to sign up), and then it will be on from 12pm to 5pm on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th. And when they say sale, they mean a seriously hardcore sale: there is an absolute minimum of 50 per cent off all stock, and bargains include vintage leather sofas from €200, Danish dining tables from €400, teak and rosewood sideboards from €200 and Eames rockers (two only) €200. I am tempted to start queuing now - and, for once, I am not exaggerating. I go on to the Wild Child website I'd say once a day to gaze longingly at the sofas. And not only do I now have a house to put one in, I may even be able to actually - *gasp* - afford one! Current favourites include, from the top: Danish distressed leather three seater with rosewood legs; Danish black leather four seater with solid oak frame and down filled cushions; Wikkleso two-seater in tan leather with teak frame (perfect for the front room methinks); Wikkleso sofa recovered in Kvadrat fabric with solid teak legs.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Isn't she lovely!

Ok, I am about to write a little ode to one of my favourite Irish ceramicists, Karen Morgan. I featured her beautiful Folding vase as my My Buy in the current issue of House and Home. She wrote me the loveliest thank you email, and, this reminded me that I am also coveting her wonderful pestle and mortar (left), which won her the House and Home Student Designer of the Year award a couple of years ago. It would have come in extremely handy had I not taken the lazy route to making pesto the other night, which was to whizz it up in a blender. It has a far lovelier texture if you do it by hand, if a tad labour intensive. Anyhow, I have no idea why people buy pesto, it's the easiest thing to make - just blitz together some basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, parmesan, olive oil and lemon juice. Or do it by hand with one of Karen's beautiful P&Ms! (In the middle, by the way, is a colander, and on the right is a garlic crusher) I accidentally made an industrial quantity, and it's going on everything I eat for lunch and dinner but I'm not complaining. It's not just good on pasta, it's great with quinoa and cherry tomatoes for a tasty salad, on creamy risotto for some squidgy comfort food, or mixed with some olives, cherry tomatoes and peppers spread on salmon fillets and baked in the oven for easy entertaining. Yum yum yum.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Crazy Prices

It was with a heavy heart that I put down a set of Missoni bedlinen in TK Maxx yesterday and walked out of there purchase-free. I absolutely love Missoni homewares, but the prices are...interesting. As in, out-of-my-budget interesting. So when I see it on sale I get a bit excited. There was a fab printed kingsize duvet cover and two pillowcases on offer for €80, but I still couldn't justify spending that so I made the sensible decision not to buy them. Being sensible is such a pain. The definition of sensible can also vary, according to my bank balance as well as the kind of value that's on offer, so when I saw two amazing Missoni black and white platters on sale there a while ago for €15 each I made the extremely wise move of snapping them up - they originally cost €120. It's the one in the bottom row in the pic above, taken from a shoot that we did all the way back in 2005, for the September/October issue. It's an indication of my attitudes to portion sizes that I initially believed them to be plates. Ahem. 

I also left behind many other lovely reduced items, though in spite of their marked down prices they were still quite expensive. Marie's Corner in Brown Thomas had some display items marked down and there was a fab fold-up stool thingy in pine with a shiney silver metallic leather seat. It was reduced from €480 down to €270, so they're not exactly giving it away but that is a bit of a price leap - and it's very easy to fall in love with. Pia Bang is sadly going to be closing down very shortly (March 8th I believe) and she has chopped her prices, so if you're in the market for some new gear and your credit card gives you sufficient leeway you might find something that would make you very happy indeed!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Utterly glorious

Oh my. The US Postal Service are nothing short of fabulous. They have commissioned these stamps to commemorate the design genius of Charles and Ray Eames. Now - when are An Post going to commission some stamps to commemorate the design genius of Eileen Grey?

Here comes the sun...

...doo-dee-do-doooooo. Oh yes, I think that we can safely say that spring is here. If not because the sun is shining gloriously, and if not because today is the spring equinox, then just because I got these bright and beautiful pics from the new Kenzo fabric collection this morning. I won't spoil your day by telling you how much they cost, just take in their lovely uplifting colours and prints. Mmmmmm, leafy. Anyhow, you only need a teeny tiny bit to make a fancy cushion. I was in Hickeys this morning, grabbing bits and bobs to work on projects for the next issue of H&H, so I'm feeling very inspired. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Biblio-fest in NYC

I can't be let into a bookshop. I get absorbed for, literally, hours on end, staggering around with a mountain of books, adding as many as I can to the pile until I can't see in front of myself anymore and have to admit defeat and find the nearest place to sit. This is the longlist, which is then whittled down to the shortlist. The choices get more difficult after that. I'm always torn between being sensible and...not being that sensible at all. It takes a good half hour before I manage to chop it down to a selection of books that I can 1) carry and 2) justify paying for. There was temptation on every corner in New York. I spent a lovely morning getting lost in the higgledy piggledy mazes of shelves and stacks in Strand Books; the MOMA giftshop was almost as big a draw as the museum itself, chockkers with interesting design titles; and the old reliable Barnes and Noble and Borders were never far away if I needed a quick fix. Anyhow, two of my favourites that I dragged home are books from the lovely, inspirational people at The Nest and Apartment Therapy. I was searching for something that would give this book junkie satisfaction to equal that provided by my much-thumbed Domino book, so I'm looking forward to going home, curling up on the sofa and getting stuck in. You can buy both online at Amazon.

Results of my random internet wanderings

Do you ever find that you're trundling along on the internet of an afternoon, hopping from one site to another, when you stumble upon something lovely? I found the website of Fernlund + Logan architects in New York this afternoon. I love their fresh and airy style, the emphasis on light and brightness is a joy - an unexpected visual tonic on a tired grey weekday.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The gorgeous designs of Laura Farrell

The post below got me thinking about the gorgeous designs of Laura Farrell, one of my favourite Irish designers. We featured her house (above) in a previous issue. We also featured the home of her sister-in-law Amina (below). These kitchen designs are just so individual, and they really make the most of small kitchen spaces.


Interiors event!

Interior designer Marie Clune asked me to fill you in on an event that she is holding in Howth next Thursday (April 23rd). It's an information evening, and, as well of advice on colour, fabrics and budgets, there will be guest speakers from Colortrend Paints and Jem Textiles. These pics are shots of a family home that she decorated in Howth. It will be held upstairs at The Country Market in Howth Village from 8-10pm and you can register by calling Marie on 085 145 9696 or mailing mariecluneinteriors@gmail.com

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Tithe ar an teilifís

Toisc gurbh é seo Seachtain na Gaeilge táim chun post a scríobh i nGaeilge. Tá sé ar siúl ón 2ú Márta go dtí an 17ú, agus tá an-chuid imeachtaí ar siúl ar fud na tíre - tá liosta iomlán ar fáil ar an suíomh Gréasáin

Breathnaím ar TG4 go minic, is maith liom an meascán cláir a chraolann siad agus is athrú é ón gnáth-muck a fhaigheann tú ar na stáisiúin eile. An chlár is fearr liom faoi láthair ná Eochair an Ghrá, a théann amach gach Luain ag a leathuair tar éis a naoi. Is é a tharlaíonn ná go dtéann fear nó bean singil chuig trí tithe chun cinneadh a dhéanamh cé as an triúr sin lena rachaidh siad ar dháta - ach ní bhualann siad le húinéirí na tithe, caithfidh siad an rogha seo a dhéanamh ar bhonn ceard a cheapann siad faoi na tithe. Is í Eibhlín Ní Chonaghaile an láithreoir, agus téann an síceolaí Kevin Ó hEaghra timpeall léi ag míniú ceard gur féidir a rá faoi pearsantachtaí na ndaoine seo bunaithe ar a gcuid maisiúchán istigh agus an stuff atá acu. Hmmm, ceard a smaoinfeadh sé fúm dá shiúilfeadh sé isteach i mo theach?!

Windows & doors

It's time for me to get organised and start planning the renovation of this house, which is going to be a messy and expensive task - but a fun and rewarding one nonetheless. One of the first things that I need to nail is the windows and doors end of things. They're a pricey and extremely crucial element of the overall process, and one that I need to start thinking about straight away. There is, of course, a whole trade-off between what they cost and what they look like. I haven't started getting quotes yet, but my tastes, in general, tend to veer in the direction of items that are way beyond my price range. I have a feeling that, given my limited budget, these windows and doors are going to be compromise numero uno. Anyhow, I'm not at a stage where I have to make any decision just yet, so I'll dream on about things that are probably beyond my reach, but in my current state of blissful ignorance I can remain in hope. Look at these fab door frames belonging to Patrick McKenna of Wabi Sabi - he's one of our My Budget Style people in the current issue, and he had architect Jim Lawlor of Melted Snow working on his house.