Archive for April, 2009

Black Is Back


Did you know black, white and grey are not considered to be colours in themselves as they are not represented on the colour wheel


 But they obviously have an important role to play in your colour scheme and they also have strong psychological association for most of us.

Some people see black as dark and mysterious. In the eastern philosophy of Feng Shui, black is powerful and represents money. Black has almost become a uniform in the world of design and in Western fashion, black is seen as the height of sophistication and glamour (and in walks Audrey Hepburn).


 When I think of black in designing, I think Audrey Hepburn in that black dress, cool, sophisticated, elegant, mixed with a bit of drama. This is black to me, you either love it or hate it but you have to give credit, its a daring person who mixes with black.

Black Walls 


This bedroom oozes sophistication with the black wall, its a great room to introduce black into, as this room gets a lot of natural daylight, its black but bright.


Black and gold are very rich together, the picture frame and the mirror adds more drama to the black painted wall, and it thoroughly compliments the beautiful antique chest of drawers.


Lyra table lamp, Meadows & Byrne €150


Table lamp, Ikea £24.47.

black-table-lamp-bj-at-debhe-55Black table lamp from Debehams by Betty Jackson,£55


 This room is very well balanced, the contrast between the black walls and  the white carpet , fireplace and pictures work really well together. The black and white curtains continues this effect.


Simple black walls and white curtains for a dramatic effect, love it.


The contrast of walking from a white bright hallway into a room with a black statement wall, makes a big impact upon entering.


Another option to add black to your walls, try wallpaper.


 Wallpaper from Laura Ashley, £12.99


Oriental garden wallpaper from Laura Ashley, £12.73.


 Paisley motif wallpaper from Osbourne & Little.


For dog lovers, wallpaper from Osbourne & Little.


Wallpaper from Romo fabrics & wall coverings.


Wallpaper from Romo fabrics & wall coverings.


Fabulous wallpaper and fabric both from Harlequin.


Mixing colours with black ( Keep an open mind with colour)

Black & Yellow


Inspiration comes from the smallest things.


The yellow colour adds a more friendly feeling to black, as yellow is seen as an optimistic colour and has a unique ability to raise the spirits and inject vitality into any room.


Debehanms, Betty Jacksons, yellow woven cushion,£14.40.inspire-animal-wall-art-59793Inspired animal wall art, Argos, €59.79


In this room adding black furniture to yellow walls adds a more warmly feeling, the black furniture stands out against the yellow background, complimenting it.


The black fabric on this beautifully designed chair compliments it, chair from Furnishing Distributors.


I do love yellow and black stripes, they can make such a statement.


You don’t have to go crazy with either colour, just enough to make an impact.


Black & Pink


 I think this bird was waiting for the camera, so he would look good running across the pink flowers.


Betsy Jackson’s trademark pink colour is always accompanied by black in her interiors.


There’s something about black and pink together, the Black makes the pink really stand out and the pink really makes the black stand out. To me pink is a true feminine colour and black dark and mysterious, they seem to bounce off each other.


Black candle holder, Debenhams, 24.99


The pink cushions spring out of this picture because of the black wall background.



Do you see what I mean about pink and black, this particularly shade of pink is gorgeous with black .


 Picture frames, Debeham, John Rocha, £22.40



Frames from Zara Home,£16.90

Black & Green


 Blackberries, Always reminds me of my childhood, picking lots and lots of them and eating them straight away ( I could not wait until I got home to wash them)


A simple black vase with greenery, makes its own statement.


Black vase, Debehams, £12.99


Greenery, from your garden, free.


Black and green is very refreshing together, green is very healing and soothing against the black.


Green is a good colour for balance, it makes the right decisions but it also compliments this by being supportive and tactful when necessary with black.


Black & Orange


I owned a variety of cats growing up but my favourite will always be “moggy”, my black, white and ginger cat.


Orange with black, orange is not a popular colour but it is warm-hearted and generous it is a positive colour, when used with black it cheers up any room.


Even just small touches with black in this room, brings these two colours together.


Orange is a sociable and optimistic colour and likes to work as part of a team, its team member here is black.


Black and white chair from Furnishing Distributors.


For the more adventurous individual.


 Laura Ashley, black hand painted Chest of drawers, £308.39.


A striking collection of irresistible fabrics, which combine contemporary and classic damasks all from Harlequin.

Black & Blue


The beauty of blue and black.


Blue is tranquil and serene in its nature, it is the colour of contemplation and inner reflection, it is not a demanding colour and works well with black. The beautiful black floor and rich blue walls has a personality of its own.


A lighter tone of blue somehow softens the hard black. 


The soft nature of blue even calms the black against it.



This beautiful fabric is from Sanderson see it on the chair below, you can purchase this fabric from most good fabric stores, check out their site to see local stockists.



“Black is real sensation, even if it is produced by entire absence of light. The sensation of black is distinctly different from the lack of all sensation”. – Hermann von Helmholz

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Stairs, Giving Them Life

Many people overlook stairs when decorating their home, just settle for a plain carpet and neglect to spend time to consider their options. Well I am here to change your mind, you can jazz up your stairs, here’s a few ideas.


 “The elevator to success is out of order. You’ll have to use the stairs… one step at a time”.


This is Cath Kidsons design for The Rug Company, lovely and colourful, will put a bounce in your step.


A stripy situation, The Carpet Showroom have a very good variety of stripe carpets, as they are stockists of Cruical Trading, Liosban Ind Estate, Tuam Road, Galway, Ireland.


More stripes.


Subtle stripes.


For a more natural look.


Loving this funky stair runner.


This carpet makes these stairs. Brintons, fine carpets have a gorgeous selection of carpet runners, they are all over Ireland, check out the website for your nearest supplier.


This is a great idea, the wooden stairs has been painted on the sides only, to give the illusion that the unpainted wood creates a stair runner.


Again, part of the stairs is painted white to add a more classical feel to these stairs.


The black and white version.


You can even stencil a design on the steps, putting your own stamp on your design. You can do it yourself, how to stencil or get a professional, Peter Sutton, Dublin.


These are actually stencils on the stairs.


Very pretty stencilling.


Wallpaper is added to these stairs, unique.


Bold colours for a more dramatic style.


Vibrant red stairs.


Go Completely mad with colour, the paint looks like its spilling down these steps.


Fun loving stairs.


This green painted stairs goes really well with the style of this hallway.

Take your time when decided what you want in designing your stairs, keep an open mind.

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My Treasure

About four years ago myself and my partner were looking for a new home, we wanted to live in the countryside but found it very hard to find what we were looking for, we both have a love for old houses. It took us two years to finally find a truly unique gem of a house we could call home. We bought a Thatch Cottage in the countryside near the town of Dundalk, it is a truly enchanting house. We want to live here for a while to get the feel of the place before any work commences, decorating is a process that takes time and I have all the plans in my head, I am going to bring this beautiful place back to life.

I continue this feeling throughout my house bringing things back to life, as none of my furniture is new, its furniture I have collected along the way in antique shops, second hand shops and charity shops. 

This side of me comes from my mother, growing up I always remember my mum at a sewing machine, needling away her latest designs. Every Interior designer gets inspiration from somewhere or someone, my inspiration comes from my mum. She would spent hours making curtains for every room in the house, covers for sitting and even duvets for the beds, she even made all our dolls clothes. I still have two dolls she knitted for me and made beautiful dresses for them. My mother has a great sense of style, especially with clothes, she could buy a simple cardigan and by the time she was finished adding on lace to the sleeves and bottom of it, changing the buttons, it was fabulous. She thought me to put my own stamp on everything and I cherish her for that. She is truly an inspiration.

Here are just a few items from my home.


This beautiful Green painted french style table, I bought for €100 in an old antique shop, Kearney antiques, Fearney Street, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan. I have bought several bits and pieces in this shop, it is a small shop with a lot of clutter but sometimes  you will come across a gem. Above this shop is an Italian restaurant, Cavallios, the food is absolutely gorgeous its real Italian food, the man that owns it, Daniel is a character you would nearly go, just to have the crack with him, definitely worth a visit

 The two lamps on the table I bought in TKMax for €30 each.


 This two seater I bought in a charity shop for €70 with the plastic still on it, would you believe, the material  €15 a yard, I purchased from a shop in Dundalk called The Remnant Basket.

The talented Rita Black, Rita covers everything for me and my clients, sofas, chairs, curtains you name it and her work is perfection and so is her price. She works from home and lives near Knockbridge, Co Louth, I would highly recommend her, she is a genius.


 Chaise long, purchased in charity shop €50.


Two antique chairs, purchases  from charity shop, €10 each, I covered them myself, material €5.


My latest purchase an old iron framed garden bench, which I will  paint and restore, in the summer time. Purchased from charity shop, wait for it, €30.

These are just a few of the treats I have found, I have more in storage, again none of it is new. Buying from charity shops is not for everyone, this is my choice of style for my home, I love buying old furniture and restoring or covering it, the results are amazing and it means more to me.

People have this concept that they need to spend lots of money for their home to look good, that is not the case at all. To me it doesn’t matter if its designer or what name is on it, you either like it or you don’t, why go for it because of the name.

I have met clients, were they feel the need to spend lots and lots of money on furniture they don’t even like, cause its all designer and miss Jones down the road has it. I am not saying don’t spend money on good furniture just be realistic.

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Creating Your Own Style

Most of us will be drawn towards a particular style which we feel expresses our personality and ideals. However, while we may yearn for the style of a medieval castle, few of us would actually want to create such an authentic style to the point that we would sacrifice our modern convenience, electricity, central heating and comfortable upholstered furniture (well I wouldn’t). The key to success lies in taking the main elements of a particular style and balancing them with modern comforts, and individual preferences.

To find out which style you like, find out more about each of the styles.

Classical Style

Smart and sophisticated, this approach to decorating is carefully controlled and well thought out. Originating in the classical traditions of Ancient Greece and Rome this style is seen as orderly and balanced, elegant and timeless.


Classical style kitchen polished and refined, period or reproduction furniture is the most appropriate with this style.


Ralph Lauren I adore his designs, nobody does classical like him, magical. A bedroom from his collection. Above and below.


Ralph Lauren, it is definitely a must to visit this site, when you do, click into collections archive for all his wonderful designs.


 Ralph Lauren classical sitting room.



Country Style

This is a comfortable style, with a strong sense of tradition, this style is not about making things match but about creating a comfortable haven where the mood is relaxed and we feel at home.


This is an informal, friendly style and even the more sophisticated versions are welcoming and make you feel at ease.


Country style bedrooms, this style allows you to get away with murder, mix and match various pieces  if furniture to see how they look together, there are no rules here.



This style is not mimimal, but don’t get to carried away, when done successfully, the arragement of accessories provides great interest to the eyes and creates movement within the scheme.



Contemporary Style

Contemporary style is simple yet comfortable, there is a focus on quality of light and space and also the look is clean cut.


Contemporary style kitchen, colours are generally pale, to keep that spacious feeling, decorative details are kept to a minimum, clutter doesn’t work here.



Above all with this style details are plain yet elegant, most furniture in this style will usually have legs, which makes the floor area seem larger and adds to the sense of space.


When strong colours are used they are carefully balanced with neutrals, so as not to lose the effect.



Dramatic Style

Dramatic styles demands attention, they can add interest to many areas and provide the opportunity to create a scheme that is totally unique and individual. This style is not for the faint hearted, beware bright images.


 All furniture should make a statement, nothing about the dramatic style is intended to blend into the background.


This is a chance to let your imagination run wild.


 This style demonstrates that you have the confidence to express yourself freely and confidently.



Global Styles

This style is a celebration of culture and heritage and reflects many influences from around the world.


Moroccan style.


Touches of Moroccan style throughout this room, all furniture items with global style generally looks handcrafted, as if each piece is a one off.




African Style.


 Animal skins and tribal patterns are instantly reminiscent of African style.




Oriental style


Creating a global or ethnic look is a wonderful way to display treasures from your travels.



Eclectic Style

This is the style of today, this style of today allows us to dislay treasured memories alongside chain store accessories. You may work hard to achieve a certain style but there are still those sentimental items of furniture or holiday treasures that you want to keep in your home. For this reason most domestic interiors don’t fall neatly into one category of style, this style is called eclectic, you draw from various styles to create an interior as unique and individual as yourself.


Country style bed and covers, classical style chest of draws and chair, colour a bit dramatic, mix it all together and you have created your very own style.


Global style, Moroccan theme on the walls, contemporary style all the furniture. Eclectic style is highly personal.

“Style” is an expression of individualism mixed with charisma.

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Outdoor Living

Ok so I know I am a bit early but yesterday, 31st of March was so sunny and warm it give me hope for a hot Irish summer, remember those, when you were about five years old. They ain’t like that anymore, so here’s hoping, if by miracle we do have a good summer, here’s some outdoor furniture to relax and enjoy the sun.


 Ah the classic wooden sun lounger and umbrella, don’t you wish you were there.31ens12oh2bl__sx280_sh35_1Sun Lounger at M&S £99.99.


Loving this parasol from Ikea, £5.99.



Jjust rocking around lazing in the sun.


Gudrun Sjoden


I have just recieved  Grudrun Sjoden summer catalogue and as usual I am in awe of her beautiful designs.


To be able to use methods as simple as a block of wood to create these delicate prints, this is genuine craftsmanship, that is very rare.


Beautiful colours for outdoors and indoors, the collection of clothes is beautiful too, take a look at her website.



A contemporary design for outdoors, you will need a bit of space in your garden to achieve this. This is for all year round, a permanent fixture, add colour with cushions.


This designer yellow print cushion from Betty Jackson £12.99, from Debenhams, perfect to bring colour to this sitting area.


Very simple to achieve this look, Ikea have a variety of stones, candles and holders.


These lovely lanterns are from Next homewares, they start at €39.00.



 Just a simple old bench, fabrics and cushions from Harlequin.


  Vintage metal glider and chairs.


Beautifully coloured and patterned, this great value spotted jacquard cushion is very soft and very stylish, Debenhams, £5.00.



Colourful furniture. Culcita, in Wexford do a great variety of outdoor cushions and furniture.51mrgblulgl__sx280_sh35_Wicker chairs at M&S, £209.00.


White wicker armchair from Ikea, £67.53.



What a great outdoor seating area, great for a group of friends, the circular seating adds a more intimate setting.



Making a statement.

312bvt5-xvkl__sx280_sh35_large pebble hurricane lantern £25.00 from M&S.


Parasol tea light holders, £19.50 at M&S.



 Love this wooden bench, real natural with the branches entwined to create this wonderful seat. Outdoor Scene  in Dublin, make beautiful rustic style wooden furniture.



Vintage Chic, so easy to achieve, have a look around charity shops for old pieces of furniture and add colourful floral and stripe cushions.                      Try Cath Kidson, Laura Ashley  and also Avoca for the cushions. Take a look at this blog Homebug, there is a great post on cushions and where to buy them. This blog is diffinitly worth a look, I have followed it for a long time now, its so refreshing and is very helpful with ideas, it is run by interior design journalist, Zita Spring.



This enchanting furniture set is from Arboretum in Co Carlow, very elegant.



Wow, a lot of work went into this table, its breath taking, really like the contemporary style chairs with the table.                                                             Montana Furniture have a good variety of Contemporary style chairs.


Black and White. 



Beautiful setting for a evening dinner party, one old long bench and a mixture of mismatching chairs. Effortless.


Bringing the living room outside.


Shabby chic, I could live here.



You could sleep here under the night stars, this is actually a day bed, you can purchase this bed at Laura Ashleys (see below). The floral throws and cushions adds cosiness, the colourful floral flags hanging from the tree are from avoca, as I bought them myself 24.00 euro. This is diffinitly for those who want a romantic look in their garden.


Laura Ashley, day bed.


Cool and elganant.

41ydfif1b2bl__sx280_sh35_4Pacific two seater, armchair and table  set all from M &S for £1319.00.

ms-1950Cushions from M&S.




You don’t have to go mad spending a lot of money on garden furniture, just a simple table, a mixture of chairs or benches and you will have created your very own style.


Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.  ~Anthony J. D’Angelo, The College Blue Book

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