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Homes & interiors IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Trends to take you into 2020

Designs for life: Colours, textures and materials to make you go ‘mmm’

Paddleboard hero’s art charts his journey to wellness

Plus: Getting your home ready for Christmas



Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

New Orenda Living Luxury Furniture Showroom on the Lisburn Road, Belfast

Living in style


renda Living – The Sofa & Chair Company, specialists in luxury sofas and bespoke furniture for both retail and commercial application. All of our luxury furniture is handcrafted using kiln-dried hardwood timbers. Our top-quality, solid beech wood frames are guaranteed for 15 years for lasting assurance. Dedicated to true craftsmanship, we pride ourselves on having only the finest manufacturing practices, authentic materials and a steadfast commitment to quality. We continually strive to offer an impeccable service and a memorable buying experience. This summer we opened our second luxury showroom in Northern Ireland – a brand new

The Alexander sofa breathes new life into classic comfort with sophistication and style. Exquisite detailing, such as the pulled stitch effect of the backrest, provides a visual treat that is sure to elevate any room

The highly successful Hockney corner sofa is as versatile as it is decadent; befitting both the classic and contemporary interior 2,500 sq ft showroom along Belfast’s style mile – the Lisburn Road. Visit to find out more, and follow us on Instagram @orendaliving.

BT9 Belfast residential living room, featuring our contemporary Winston Sofa, Bishop Armchairs, Katherine Carnaby Rug, and the fabulous Portica Gold Chandelier

Introducing the Moore. This contemporary modular sofa is a sight to behold. With clean lines, generous proportions and dozens of different modules, it can be configured for any space


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019


20 27

Welcome home


t’s that time of year when we retreat indoors and cosy up by the stove. The air is full of the scents of autumn and there’s that last burst of colour before everything fades for winter. Having been driven indoors, there’s a new focus on our living spaces and there’s a natural instinct to get our homes in order long before we’re ready to welcome friends and family for Christmas. In the case of writer Andrea McKernon, that’s proved a hilarious labour of love - and other things! If you’re thinking of doing a refurb or simply some tinkering around the edges, you’ll be interested in our pages on what’s trending. Gone are the narrow, prescriptive days of minimalism and in comes a more expressive way of home styling. While the majority of us are content to create interiors that reflect our own personality, tastes and history, now we can do it with a spring in our step. That old dresser, bare wood bookshelves that you never got around to painting,and that room that was defiantly beige in the grey era are now in style. As ever, there’s no joy in slavishly following a trend but they can give you inspiration if you aren’t sure what direction to go. The basic rule remains, if you love it, go for it, whether it’s in fashion or not. One of the big moves at the moment that we love is the fresh appreciation of art. There are limitless options but don’t overlook the vast community of home-grown artists and craft makers when shopping for yourself or for Christmas gifts. Many of their pictures tell a story that might just resonate with you, like Jason McGrugan, whose first solo exhibition charts his dramatic emotional journey to wellness. As well as personal, homes need to be comfortable and especially when it comes time to batten down the hatches for winter. We look at winter warmers, from layering up to creating a welcoming ambience through lighting and aromas. Many of the scents of winter are associated with Christmas. It’s almost time to deck the halls and get ready for a fabulous festive season.

48 25


Contents 10 Bring autumn home

12-23 Trendspotting: From Retro Fusion to Global Traveller, this year’s looks 24 Material matters and woods to swoon over 26 Solo exhibition for paddleboard hero Jason McGrugan

27 The secret behind Jasmine & Lily Floral Wreaths

46 Grand designs? Andrea McKernon dreams on...

28-31 Set the scene for your dream Christmas

48 Sweet dreams are made of this

32-33 Tech worth listening to

50-52 Small apartment packs a punch with makeover

36-39 Garden focus 42-43 Maggie Brady: designer

54 My ‘wee can on the coast’

PUBLISHED BY: BelfastTelegraph, Clarendon House, Clarendon Dock, Belfast, BT1 3BH ADVERTISING MANAGER: Jackie Reid, BelfastTelegraph, EDITOR: Fiona Rutherford, Realtime Editing & Design NI Ltd, | CONTRIBUTORS: Rebecca Petticrew, Ruaidhri McCarney, Maureen Coleman, Andrea McKernon | DESIGN: Susan McClean, INM Design Studio, Belfast | PRINTING: INM, Newry

1 November 2019 | Belfast Telegraph



Start your Christmas S wishlist at Smyth Patterson Welcome to Smyth Patterson

The new customer car park at the rear of the shop

myth Patterson’s Department Store offers a mix of quality products you don’t often find elsewhere. Spread over three floors it’s a great place to spend a few hours. The home department offers an elegant selection of furniture, beds, lighting and decorative accessories – all designed to stand the test of time. Their team of experienced buyers focus on design details that create products that are as comfortable and functional as they are beautiful and sophisticated. In the lighting department you will find a range of table lamps, shades and the latest energy efficient lights. Experienced staff will be on hand Artist Keith Drury will to advise and when you are be visiting the store on starting to wilt try Café Arora November 28 for a refreshing break. The Smyth Patterson picture gallery on the first floor is worth a visit. Local artist Keith Drury’s works have recently been added to the extensive collection. Keith’s art has been used on film sets and has even been commissioned by multinational companies to hang in their international boardrooms. It will make a talking point on any wall. He will be in store on Thursday, November 28, from 6pm to talk about his work. The Department Store has recently been renovated with a new entrance off Wardsborough Road. A new customer car park makes the shop much easier to get to and enables larger items to be collected. With Christmas fast approaching, a trip to Smyth Patterson is well worth adding to your shopping list.



Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

Triple success for Grant with leading consumer body Which?


eading heating technology manufacturer Grant has received a Which? Best Buy for its range of Grant Vortex Pro Utility oil boilers. This is the third year running that the company has received the award, making Grant the only oil boiler brand in Ireland and the UK to be awarded Which? Best Buy awards in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The recognition further reinforces Grant’s position amongst the world’s best-known home appliance brands. As a widely recognised endorsement that reflects confidence, trust and reliability in products, the Which? Best Buy logo plays an important role in the decision-making process for homeowners researching new appliances for their home.

GrantVortex Range – Key Features ■ Each Grant Vortex condensing oil boiler has an ‘A’ efficiency rating and is up to 97% efficient – one of the most efficient on the market ■ The entire range features the unique and innovative award-winning Grant Vortex heat exchanger ■ Grant Vortex boilers come with one-year manufacturer’s warranty on the burner and a five-year warranty on the boiler heat exchangers ■ Each boiler is simple to install with no complicated wiring ■ Grant Vortex Combi models ensure instant hot water ■ The Grant Vortex also comes in a utility model which can easily fit into your kitchen ■ All Grant Vortex boilers feature quiet operation and full-front service access ■ All Grant Vortex boilers are fully compliant with ErP directives Grant’s full range of innovative heating products are available from plumbing and heating merchants throughout Northern Ireland. For further information visit: www. You can also follow Grant on Facebook and Twitter @MyGrantNI. Think Heating. Think Grant.

this recognition from Which? for the third consecutive year. The continued recognition from Which? reinforces the excellent standards to which we develop our products and reinforces our position at the forefront of the home heating industry in both the UK and Ireland.”


Founder Stephen Grant The results of the latest Which? Oil Boiler Survey once again acknowledged the excellent build, reliability and performance qualities that have become synonymous with Grant boilers. These qualities help homeowners achieve maximum home heating efficiencies and in turn reduce their fuel bills which makes these models within the Vortex range the ideal replacements for older oil-fired boilers. Company Founder Stephen Grant commented: “We are very proud to receive

Grant has been providing innovative heating technologies to homes throughout Ireland for over 40 years and its extensive product portfolio, which includes the popular range of Vortex condensing oil boilers and the Aerona3 R32 air source heat pump range, has diversified in recent years to include pre-plumbed hot water cylinders and modern heat emitters including Uflex underfloor heating, the Afinia aluminium radiator range and Solo fan convector radiator range. The ranges offer variety and versatility to fully meet the needs of both homeowners and installers. Stephen added: “As a company we are committed to developing new and

innovative heating solutions for our customers to ensure they can benefit from the most efficient and reliable heating solutions on the market that deliver real value for money.” For more details please visit

Top tips for a warm and efficient home  Ensure your home is winter-ready and book in that all-important boiler service. The autumn months are the perfect time to schedule in your annual boiler check up to ensure that it is operating at its most efficient.  If you want to save a little money on your home heating, then all you have to do is make a slight adjustment to your thermostat. Simply turning your thermostat down by just 1 degree can help you save up to 10% on your annual home heating bill.  Do you have adequate insulation in your home? If not, you could be losing valuable heat which can escape through your walls or roof space. Having effective insulation throughout your home will ensure that your home not only heats up quicker, but also retains heat for a longer period of time.  You may find that your old boiler isn’t delivering the same efficiencies as when first installed. Upgrading your boiler if it is over 10 years old can improve efficiency outputs and help you save money in the long run.  If you intend to upgrade your oil boiler, make sure your heating system is properly cleaned to ensure optimum efficiency.

10 | HOMES & INTERIORS Let there be light

The long, dark autumn and winter evenings bring lighting challenges. How do you ensure there’s enough light to function in whilst creating ambiance? The solution is to use several lamps instead of one overhead ceiling light, allowing you to create darker corners for snuggling up in and lighter spaces for working, reading and eating. Candles are also a great autumn addition, creating soothing, atmospheric lighting as well as making a room smell incredible. Group them in the middle of your dinner table, pile them up in unusable fireplaces, stick them in dark corners of a room - just don’t forget to blow them out!

Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

Bring autumn home Temperatures outside may be dropping but there’s no need to mourn the end of summer.Take inspiration from the changing season and bring colour, texture and light into your home to create a stylish, cozy and comfortable space you’ll look forward to spending time in and with a little planning, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Handmade in Northern Ireland, organic candles from £8, Tulip Moon,

Luce Floor Lamp, £115, Oliver Bonas,

Bring the outside inside

Fresh flowers may be in shorter supply during the winter months but there’s no need to put your vases into winter storage. Dried and artificial flowers, grasses and foliage are a brilliant way to give a nod to nature inside your home. There’s a fantastic array of products online as well as on the high street but the really savvy head out for a walk and see what they can find for free.

Artificial Eucalyptus Sprays, £25 for 3 sprays, Audenza,

Layer up

This decorative jar is hand finished in copper tones with hints of rose gold and can be suspended from the silver metal handle. Suitable for tealights or small pillar candles. Copper glass candle holder, £11.95, Melody Maison,

Whether you’re trying to keep your heating bills down or thinking of the environment, we’re all aware that we should be dialling the thermostat down a notch. The addition of throws to sofas and beds not only keeps you warm, they transform the look of a room, adding colour and texture. Curtains or blinds are also a fantastic addition to your autumnal arsenal – they keep in heat, add colour and texture and give you the chance to change the ambient light in a room. They’re also a great way to gain some privacy.

Vibrant Fringe Velvet Cushion, £20, Joe Browns,

Monroe Burnt Orange Cushion, £50, Soho House & Co, www.

Change your cushions

One of the fastest and cheapest ways of updating a room is to change the cushions. For autumn and winter add richer colours and textures. Go for comfort and luxury with velvet and faux fur or warmth and homeliness with wool. Mix and match colour, texture and patterns. Top colour picks for this season echo the autumnal colours outside, with burnt orange, rust, ochre and greens featuring strongly. Dusky blues and blush tones are also a good pick.

Sheepskin Rug, £59, JD Williams, www. jdwilliams.

100% Wool Geometric Patterned Floor Rug, £289, Cult Furniture www.

Large Fern in Green and White Pot, £20, Sainsbury’s Home,

Chunky Knit Throw, £70, M&S, Reef multicoloured wool rug, £200, Harvey Norman,

Terazzo Bulb Lamp, £25, John Lewis & Partners,

Merino scroll throw, £80, National Trust,

Faux Floral Stems by Abigail Ahern, from £8 per stem, Debenhams,

Julius Velvet Eyelet Lined Pair of Curtains in Ink Blue, £99,, www.

Gold Candle Votives, £25, Kelly Hoppen,

Magnolia cushion with fringe, £30, Harvey Norman, www. harvey-norman.

Rethink your rugs

Time to pack away your summery seagrass and rattan rugs and bring in sheepskins, thick Berber styles, kilims and wool. Choose something that makes you want to lie down on it – your cold feet will thank you.


1 November 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Reflect the glory

FINDYOUR STYLE has been among the companies bringing the Mid Century revival and its Retro Fusion offspring to the fore. Its website has a fun tool to help you figure out where your tastes lie. Mine was 67% Retro, 33% Scandi, which makes sense of the confusion – or is it simply fusion – in our house. It suggests your favourite colour palette based on your choice of seven images, gives you lots of photos for inspiration and identifies individual items you’d like – genius! Check yours out at


irrors add much immeasurably bigger more to home Placed above a decor than fireplace, they can a place to transform an ordinary stop and surround into a fix your lippy. Take a stunning focal point second to reflect on A windowless room what they bring to is transformed by the Cosmo jewellery hanging your home: use of a mirror. mirror, £40, Debenhams, They reflect light, They come in many bringing life to dark shapes, sizes, styles and places, especially placed colours, adding a touch of opposite a window or near design magic to a room a light Hang them in groups for a They make a small space look gallery wall with a twist.

Zuiver retro round wall mirror, £79, Cuckooland,

With a scalloped bevelled edge in a frameless design, this trio of classically French, shabby chic mirrors hang from a pretty silver chain. Set of three ornate frameless wall mirrors, £36.95, Melody Maison,

Star by Julien Macdonald Multi Squared Mirror, £80, Debenhams,

Reflections mirror, 12 block frame, £325, Harvey Norman,


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019



f you could afford to redecorate every year, the chances are you still wouldn’t. It’s not simply about wasting money and resources but also about letting our homes evolve through time as they reflect the seasons of our lives. Most of us embrace a trend or two over the decades and then adapt and add in elements of the new to keep things fresh and updated. Generally, it’s only when it comes to replacing a big ticket item like a suite of furniture or flooring that the oppportunity arises to redefine the ‘look’ we want. The vision for 2020 is very much about sustainability – having quality basics that will stand the test of time and that can be accessorised to incorporate new schemes. You may yearn for more pattern or more colour. Perhaps you’re sick of too much of one colour or of that pattern. You may struggle to arrive at a look that you like

Named after actor Dorothy Dandridge, this armchair combines real leather with brass details and sleek lines for a high end design statement. Dandridge armchair with Wormley side table, Essential Home, www.


and suspect that a better version of your living space is within reach. Often, a few well placed additions or rearranging the placement of furniture can transform a space. Adding artwork, extra lighting, a few plants, a different rug may help you achieve a more pulled together look, whether you like the idea of the latest version of Scandi, the mid century theme or a Boho jumble. The beauty of home decor at this point in time is that just about every trend of the past centuries is ‘in’, from vintage Victoriana to pared back minimalism. Whether you like dark and moody, bright jewel colours, muted vintage hues or pale pastels, there’s a multitude of choices to help you achieve a style that has you feeling completely at home. Sit back and relax in Over the next few pages, we highcomfort in this sumptuous light some of the looks the stylists bean-filled real leather are loving this year... chair from Beanbag Bazaar’s ‘70s Soul Collection, which fuses contemporary and retro One trend that continues to evolve and grow is Retro Fusion and according to Tamara Kelly, of Ideal Home, it’s going to be around Kitsch ‘70s style meets for a while. It’s the contemporary black in the Jaan Large Rattan Shade, perfect label for £49, this nostalgic trend that marries The Valerie multicolour palettes of coloured embroidered the 1950s and 1970s – cushion is made in India the mustards and greens with a couched, semiand browns – with the designs, figurative, vase pattern. shapes and textiles of the 1930s to the 1970s, 50 x 50cm, £65, Habitat, from Art Deco curves to wooden legged settees. It’s traditional with a modern twist for anything from floor to wall coverings, furniture and cabinets to throws and accessories. If you have an old chesterfield gathering dust, bring it front and centre! A 1970s wallpaper pattern with its swirling shapes, a funky 1960s clock and a brass lampstand from earlier times can all find a place in a Retro Fusion home.

Retro Fusion

Retro inspiration from Delightfull,

Ornate mirrored trays in gold, copper and silver, in various shapes and sizes from, £9.95, Melody Maison

For a masculine take on the retro theme, shelves with a metal surround and are paired with Jackson velvet three seater settee, £649.99 Argos,

Retro styling updated for a new millennium. Raised on chrome legs to help create an illusion of space, this red 2 seater sofa’s sharp sleek lines will look great in a contemporary apartment – and with padded cushions and soft bonded leather upholstery, it’s comfy too. Baltimore Sofa, £349.99, Furniture Choice, www.

Designed by award winning Luka Stepan the Polygon shelving unit has eight shelves in ash veneered plywood and powder coated steel book ends. Also available in walnut, £299,

The sleek outline of the Dandy Mid Century modern sideboard showcases Scandinavian design. Made from solid walnut and gold plated brass it’s a real statement piece with a price to match at over £3,000, it’s available at

Zuiver retro ceiling light in metallic chrome, £239, Cuckooland,

With dynamic lines and angled legs, this high-impact but still compact sofa is inspired by a 1960s take on a classic wing back design. Kubrick 2 Seater Sofa, Plum Purple £599,

A witty take on the traditional design, the Miu yellow patterned cuckoo For the Zoo to Regent’s wall clock is exclusive Park, Retro Framed Wall to Habitat, £35, Art Print, £99,

Deco Tayberry, from the Winchester collection of hand crafted tiles, £3.38ea, Original Style

Shelving can be as kitsch or as sophisticated as you like. Gold shadow box, £38 Next,


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

Go bold


Dunluce Vibrancy by Portrush artist Adrian Margey

Artistic abstract and geometric shapes add fun and interest to any room. Angles and lines tend to be soft and organic but choose whatever appeals to you. Colours can be as contrasting as you like. Mirror, vase, bookend, geo prints, geo tealight holder, geo print box, large Venus box, Clovis table light and Swoon Aero shelving in brass, J by Jasper Conran, Debenhams,

Matcha geometric small cage lightshade in forest green, Dowsing and Reynolds,

Geometric Mira rug, Rug Society Abstract nude framed print, Cox & Cox, Silver abstract candle holder, The Contemporary Home, Multi-coloured Abstract face embroidered cushion,

Ebba multi-coloured embroidered cushion, Habitat,

Handmade from glass, tell the time from a unique perspective with an Abstract Home Decor Clock, this one in yellow and gold, 24� x 6�, Reformations,

Abstract Face plant pot, Rose & Grey,

Abstract four colour screen print Cut Outs by Jonathan Lawes from London, Look Like Love, Gometric cushion, Next,

Berry coloured T-Ellipses cushion by Tom Tailor, Wayfair,

Stepto ceramic vase, Habitat,

Originally designed for the Guggenheim Museum, New York, Flensted CircleSquare Guggenheim Mobile, Urban Coo,

Bamako African Mudcloth throw, Lola & Mawu,

Coral Reef made-tomeasure wallpaper mural by Twisted Pixels exclusive to Available to order onto a variety of wallpapers including paste the wall and peel and stick for rented accommodation

16 | HOMES & INTERIORS Luxurious and indulgent with velvet covering, Melville swivel chair in dove grey with brass base, £314.99, MY Furniture,

Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019


Set up your home bar: Nazca Sideboard in Rosewood and Brass, £679, Hagen Ottoman in Zinnia Velvet, £189, Aravali Bar Trolley in Brass and Marble, £269, Villon Rug, £299, Rhe Pendant Light with Brass Plating, £89, Swoon,

Richly coloured with a flash of brass, this Contemporary bar cabinet will pour a bold dose of depth into your room. Banner bar cabinet, £629, Swoon,

Refined Glamour

This mustard yellow velvet sofa oozes style. Traditional Alwinton 3 Seater Sofa in Portland Velvet Brass, Sofas & Stuff,

The luxe trend of recent years is becoming more understated and sophisticated. Opulent velvet, marble, brass and beautiful woods are fundamentals to this trend which also embraces the new curved shapes.

There’s something warm and embracing about curved seating, whether it’s the rounded arms, a scalloped back or a circular sofa, made for enjoying company. Curves are elegant, softening and gentle and with rounded tables, chairs and accessories, you can easily have them in all the right places...

Big Softie Corner Unit In Portland Velvet has different grades of foam and oodles of feathers, for serious laid back comfort. Two choices of arm too. Big Softie Corner Unit In Portland Velvet, £4925, Sofas & Stuff,

This scalloped oyster velvet chair will add a luxurious touch to any corner. The perfect bedroom chair, with soft, mustard orange velvet, shell shaped, scalloped back and gold tapered legs, Audenza,

Embrace the


Contemporary design is full of loopholes, but none as slick as the brassy loop within this grey Cassini pendant light. With its pewter grey drum shade and that lozenge-shaped loop, the Cassini offers simple style for a remarkable home – it’s time to flick that switch, £99, Swoon,

Dexter chaise longue in navy, MY Furniture, The Circa sofa from Orenda Living Amsterdam light coffee table, Next, Get in a spin with the Magis Spun chair from Nest, Josephine Art Deco fan wallpaper in rose gold, Cult Furniture

Misha 3-seater sofa, Miso footstool, Harvey Norman


Japandi: A celebration of two cultures in one serene style

Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019


Freya lounge chair, all Cult Furniture

Farrell large sideboard, solid mango wood, natural, £729


ast meets West in this hybrid style of traditional Japanese minimalism and the warming comfort of modern Scandinavian design. Japandi is centred on simplicity and functionality, both being the core elements of Japanese and Scandinavian styles. The Japandi aesthetic balances the soft and peaceful nature of Scandi with the polished richness of Japanese palettes. While Japanese interiors can look overly sleek, the rustic details in Nordic design add variance. Where Scandinavian interiors can appear so clean they appear almost clinical, the darker colours of Japanese design give the room a sense of richness and character. The biggest fusion of the styles, however, is the cultural one. Japandi interiors combine the Scandinavian concept of ‘hygge’ that encourages a warm, comforting atmosphere combined with the Japanese ‘wabi-sabi’ which means finding beauty in the perfect. The result is an interior with clean lines and contrast that champions functionality. The look embodies a ‘less is more’ lifestyle.

Metal vase with sarge handle, grey, £26

Sloane wooden cross leg dining table, natural, £369

Hatton wooden bar stool, dark grey 72cm, £79

Leonard corner sofa, light grey, £999

Curva dining chair - black / natural seat, £109 Cult Furniture’s range of Scandinavian influenced chairs and sofas are perfect for capturing the look. Building on this, Japandi interiors are exclusively function-driven. Decorative items

take a backseat, however, a few statement pieces will ensure the design feels intentional. Bear in mind that this style celebrates the careful consideration of every item in the home, so when choosing these statement pieces, opt for functional items rather than flashy ones. Such items include Cult Furniture’s selection of warm throws and Japanese inspired vases and pottery. Japandi style values the bringing elements

of nature into the home. Greenery, open space, and big windows are highly valued. As is the use of natural wood, a hallmark of Japandi is the contrasting mix of light and dark woods; this use of wood brings depth to the interior. This beautiful style combines the best of both worlds to create the perfect stress-free atmosphere to come home, drop what you’re doing and relax.


1 November 2019 | Belfast Telegraph Rich colours and soft wool from Finnish weavers Lapua Kankurit. Revontuli mohair blanket, €155, with Metsa cushion cover and Corona Uni cushion cover,

Cane Armchair £849, Single sheepskin rug, grey, £45 Jute Pouffe £79, Ennis Coffee Table, natural £199, John Lewis & partners

d n e Tr

Green Palm Paradise in plastic pot from £70, Monstera Plant in plastic pot £60, Strelitza in plastic pot £75, Wild Grass in zinc pot £100, Green Fern Bush in plastic pot £25, Harvey Norman,

La Forma Stahl Contemporary Planter, £165, Cuckooland. com

Grow Mini Greenhouse by Caroline Wetterling’s Grow has a spout in the lid for watering and regulating the conditions inside the mini greenhouse, £38, Abode Living,


Scandinavian style as ever emphasises the design ethic behind everyday functional items, from floating shelves to exposed clothes rails. While in the past, furniture was set against pale wood and white backgrounds, the New Nordic version is softer and warmer with stark white giving way to warmer shades of off-white along pale pink or beige lines. Natural colours and fabrics remain key and especially at this time of year, wool and sheepskin as well as leather and jute add texture and warmth. Black is still popular as an accent colour, however the overall effect has been to add cosiness to a calm and soothing space. Add interest with sumptuous rugs and cushions and plants galore. Scandinavians are quite at home with dried or faux flowers, making a virtue out of necessity borne of long cold winters while the ubiquitous cheap and cheerful white paper lampshades are doing for New Nordic interiors, what ornate chandeliers are doing for Mid century modern.

Onion shaped Risbyn paper lampshade, £15, Ikea, Give your home a personal touch with hand-painted ceramics from Ikea. History comes together in Godtagbar ceramics that take their shape from traditional functional items like old mason jars and milk jugs,

Add sunshine on a cloudy day with the Usva bedlinen and Eskimo blanket from Finland’s Lapua Kankurit,

Stay warm while you’re wrapped up in a blanket, admiring the stars, with the extra large Nordic steel fire pit brazier, £168. The Farthing,

Add a dash of mustard with this Nordic house print cushion cover, £12.50, 2shedstudios,

Shaped green vase £25, dipping bowls (set of 4) £15, two tone plate £12, two tone bowl £8, Radience black cutlery £28, Oslo large jute natural placemat (set of two) £10, large 3 tier rattan easy fit lampshade £75, Debenhams,

Large Mus (Danish for mouse) Pot can be adapted for many uses and is glazed on the inside, matte on the outside, £24, Abode Living,

Medium bamboo lantern, Danish Home collection, £45, Debenhams, Natural embroidered lopp cushion with wool, £30, Debenhams,

The Scandi Boho cushion (40x40cm) is made from thick weave cotton, £17, Albert & Moo,

The future goes back to the ‘50s with Danish firm Carl Hansen & So. It has reintroduced the iconic Huntsman Chair, designed by the legendary Børge Mogensen, to complement the Hunting Table. The rugged elegance of the Huntsman Chair, which helped to define Mogensen’s distinctive style, works in many contexts – even as an attractive lounge chair in its own right. See and select the English translation.

For a Welsh take on the comforting concept of hygge, these blankets from Welsh Otter would warm the coldest heart. Mêl pure wool blanket in mustard and grey £62.99, ‘Fforest’ green and cream tapestry throw, £129.99,


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019


A sitting room in Tranquil Dawn’s Meaning palette

A kitchen done in Tranquil Dawn’s Play palette Tranquil Dawn - Creativity palette

Tranquil Dawn - Care palette

The Ellen dining chair has a sculptured curved back, polished brass legs and is upholstered in neo mint velvet,

Dulux Colour of the Year 2020, Tranquil Dawn Meaning palette

Blush leaves lampshade with gold lining is digitally printed onto velvet fabric and can fit a ceiling or base lamp, £210, Mint & May,

Vivian lamp, £641, Arteriors

Dawn of the


Streamlined elegance characterises the Outline Sofas by Muuto. A classic Scandi lounger with a visually lightweight look, £2,195, Chaplins, Made from cotton sateen, wadded to create a sculptural, 3D effect, this soft and sculptural complements both neutral and monochrome schemes. Also available in saffron. Aliona Cushion 60 x 60cm, £65, Habitat,

Tranquil Dawn - Play palette

If you like green and love paler shades, read on.


Bathtimes get even more relaxing in this freestanding, curved bath in Tranquil Dawn. Made from composite quartz, the Dawn bath and countertop basin work beautifully with fawn surrounds and foliage. Bespoke painting available, Dawn freestanding bath, £2395, Waters Baths of Ashbourne, and local stockists

ight and cool shades of green are and luxurious. It’s a very simple, paredsweeping the interior design world down palette, inspired by the dawn of a cool for 2020. Dulux’s take on it is a winter’s day.” softly smokey shade called Tranquil Play: “This is a palette for a more invigoratDawn. Inspired by the morning sky ing, energising space,” says Shillingford. “It’s this is a cool-tone shade of green, sitting definitely for people who are more confident somewhere between green, blue and grey with colour, as there are really amazing and was designed to engender a calm and shades that pop. Soft, chalky Tranquil Dawn relaxed ambience. holds the other colours together and brings Furniture brand Essential Home calls grown-up balance in a playful space.” its colour of the year 2020 Neo Mint and Creativity: “This one’s very strong, bold and Pantone, which has yet to declare its hand, a little bit more earthy, a bit more creative,” is drawing inspiration from the sea with a Shillingford explains. “It’s an ideal palette cool pale green set to be included among its if you have an eclectic mix of furniture - say top shades. a sofa from your granny and a mid-century Apart from their appealing calming effect modern chair. This palette will draw it all in these frenetic days, these light greens are together and anchor it.” versatile and can work in different ways in a Care: This palette, Shillingford says, is “a warm, neutral, soft or bright palette. warm inviting blend and less demanding of Used with a sandy tone, they creyour attention, so colours that Authentic Retro style from long established favourites ate a relaxing, positive ambience. work effortlessly together. This Parker Knoll, the Shoreditch Comforting fabrics, cushions and creates a soothing, re-energischair in Jennings Mist, £999, throws, warm woods and mood-boosting zone in a very gentle way.” Parker Knoll and range of ing indoor plants complete this light Essential Home’s theme ‘Neo stockists and airy look. mint’ was chosen ‘to harmonize sciDulux has created four palettes ence and technology with nature’. A beautifully crafted table Meaning, Play, Creativity and Care The company says: “In addition lamp, designed by British showing how Tranquil Dawn can to this, neo mint brings some artist Anna Jacobs and based Large round on her painting of a wild be used in various combinations nostalgia “the past”, while at enamel table, flower lake in Pembrokeshire, to create different moods. the same time taking into £70, Bombay Duck, Wales. The lamp base is Meaning: “This comprises neu- consideration the “present” made in Norfolk from mouth trals working from almost black and forward-thinking to the blown crystal glass. Welsh up to the palest grey,” explains Marianne future too. Now, more than ever, we recognize Reflection lamp on Jade, Shillingford, creative director at Dulux UK. the importance of the environment and the £199, Anna Jacobs, “These can create peaceful, contemplative preservation for future generations and neo spaces, which are also effortlessly elegant mint represents this.”

Bedtime stories will sound even better on a gorgeous mint Booboo swing sofa,

A simple take on a 1930s floral with delicate, meandering leaves and flowers giving a naïve, stencil-like quality. Rosetta neo mint wallpaper, £65,


1 November 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Beethoven bust is made from resin with a hot pink flocked velvet coating, £38, Audenza,

Hot to trot

Who doesn’t love the Grassington medium formal sofa in pink Portland velvet, from £1,255, Sofas and Stuff,

Let it shine withthis pink mirrored lamp, £39.99, HomeSense,

Geometric patterns and vibrant pink make this Portfolio Home Geo Pink towel a must have, £9.99, Harry Corry and other stockists


Natural pop

Pink has been popular for a while and the trend forecasters predict it’s not going anywhere soon. It’s so versatile, from soft pastels that soothe and flatter to bright pops of cheeky fuchsia that pack a punch. Useful for any scheme, including Nordic, it’s set to play a major role in the revival of pastels next year. Pink patterned wallpaper softens a modern bathroom with Newton black and gold washbasin from Maison Valentina,

The ICON Milano Velvet Stool is extremely lightweight and can be used as a stool or footstool, £49.99, Beanbag Bazaar, www.

Like pink, hydrangeas are huge now. Favourite flowers from Emma Britton’s ‘Up the Garden Path’ splashback collections are now available as a round tray in three colourways. Finished in hardwearing melamine, they can be used outdoors too, Pink Hydrangea tray, £33, Emma Britton,

A surprise choice for a bathroom floor, pink vinyl flooring, Carpetright

Softly softly

Brighten up a neutral space with a pop of pink, from Next Scandi style dusky rose pink vase with smooth matte finish, £34.50, The Den & Now, Star by Julien Macdonald, pink faux fur throw, £125, Debenhams, A most delicate pink makes this velvet lampshade a sophisticated addition for a small or thin table lamp, £25, Abode Living,

Pink textured cushion with pompoms, £16.99, HomeSense Faux Mongolian fluffy cushion, £28, Debenhams,

Pretty in pastel

Handwoven in Vietnam the Ular pink seagrass laundry basket with lid combines functionality with distinctive design, making an attractive addition to a bedroom, bathroom or utility room, £80, Habitat

The Salvador pink and grey set of 3 hand woven storage baskets is a soft and squishy design that adds pattern and texture to a space, £20, Habitat,

Pink is perfect for a pastel palette as in this tea set from Next

22 | HOMES & INTERIORS Green Palm Paradise in plastic pot from £70, Monstera plant in plastic pot £60, Strelitza in plastic pot £75, Wild Grass in zinc pot £100, Green Fern Bush in plastic pot £25, Harvey Norman,

d n e Tr

Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

Soft tropics

Toned down colours with lots of green and greenery bring the Tropical interior style home for next year. Muted shades of mustard, pink, green and blue make for a bright and cheerful palette. There’s lots of Paloma round emphasis on botanical prints and natural footstool, £59, Cult Furniture, fibres like rattan. Hummingbird Tropical wallpaper in navy, £10.99 for 10m roll, Cult Furniture,

Arthouse Amazonia black and orange cushion, £25, Arthouse,

Gold Parrot on stand small £65, medium £100, large £175, Harvey Norman, www.

Pineapple table lamp with black faux silk shade, £96, Dar Lighting Group,


1 November 2019 | Belfast Telegraph Maori Chiefs wall art, Mind the Gap,

Gold Lion Head Planter £172. Artificial Philo Potted House Plant (H78cm) £64, Audenza,

Environmental Map peel and stick mural by Lovell Johns, £32 per square metre,

Cosmo constellations wall art, £20, Debenhams,

Global traveller

Animals Of Europe wall art, £15, Debenhams,

Another trend that seems set to stay, this stars authentic handcrafted homeware products that take influence from around the globe. It’s all Elephant family, £35, Harvey about items that tell a story. Rugs, wall hangings, Norman, www.harvey- wicker baskets and pottery are perfect for this look. Global items work wonderfully with lots of other styles, on a small scale with a luxe look or over the top for an eclectic interior. It can work with a neutral colour scheme or shout colour. Cosmo block print cushion, £25, Debenhams, www.

Gingko leaf wall mirror, £120, Audenza, This large woollen storage pot has been handwoven by Berber tribes in Morocco from natural raffia stalks wound with brightly dyed wool, approx 45cm tall, £65, Postcards Home,

Bamboo mirror, £10, Next,

Indian Block Carpet in yellow or grey, £89, Dutchbone at Cuckooland,

Global nomad hanging planter red, £9.99, TK Maxx

Mix and match with a sophisticated Blenheim Mirror £425, coral decoration and framed prints of Dublin, Harvey Norman,

Kubu Rattan Wall Mirror, £99, Dutchbone at Cuckooland, Faux large white grass, £29.99, TK Maxx

This stunning handmade gold beaded large vase is a real statement piece for a stylish display, £74, Audenza,

Cosmo Woven Kilim Cushion, £28.00

Global nomad large wool beige and white pouf, £99.99, HomeSense

Devyn table lamp, £78, Devyn hand-knotted macrame shades in natural cotton; sold as a pack of two, £198, Dar Lighting Group,

With more faces than a Where’s Wally drawing, this is a lovely peardrop shaped piece of glass in a gentle sea green. Jewel lamp base with block printed shade, £155, Pooky,


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

Material matters

Solid glass worktop by Channel Glazing Ltd,, illustrates how stunning this hard-wearing option can be


An Aria solid core worktop from Formica

lastic is the bête noire of the current age and designers are working on ways to utilise the material to minimise waste. Expect to see new variations on plastic as the creatives try to keep it out of our oceans. Waste products from construction and other industries are also becoming breakthrough materials with a range of benefits for the environment –

We love this steel effect tile in rust by Ascot Ceramiche, available from DB Tiles, Dutch firm Plasticiet has come up with a sheet plastic material using recycled plastic which resembles manmade stone composites like terrazzo

Whimsy goes wild in this black and red scheme from Cersaie, the International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings in Bologna, Italy, ©

including air cleansing porcelain. Tiles, whether stone or porcelain, 2D or 3D, are breaking out of their traditional locations and being used by cutting edge designers to create statement walls anywhere in a home. Tiles are no longer limited to their traditional finish either – they can mimic anything from wood to metal and marble. A cross wood floor looks stunning in a kitchen or bathroom, with none of the problems associated with water. Worktops need to stand up to a great deal of wear and tear as kitchens are increasingly used for more than simply cooking. Toughened glass is becoming more common and can be made in a vast range of colours. Solid core, such as the Aria range from Formica, replicates stone and marble. Worktops, as well as backsplashes, are easy to install, abrasion-resistant and completely waterproof,

Terrazzo is celebrated at the major international bathroom and tiling exhibition Cersaie in Italy in October

meaning not only can you install drainage grooves and an undermounted sink, they are also easily wiped clean and require minimal maintenance. Other materials that are huge now also

Set of three Maze storage baskets, £75, Kelly Hoppen, range of stockists

Practically beautiful Make a style statement with ordinary objects.

reflect a desire for sustainability and reconnecting to the natural world, from furniture with bare wood finishes to concrete and its colourful sibling, terrazzo, lustrous metals, steel and long-lasting marble...

Deep sides and colourful finish make this a hit. Green bamboo cactus serving tray, £9.99, TK Maxx,

Made from steel with antiqued pewter finish and industrial style visible welding details, this handy log holder has a central hinge to fold away for easy storage in the summer months. Burnished steel folding log holder, £70, Cox & Cox, www.coxandcox.

Crafted from industrial style raw steel with authentic welding marks and burnished details, this handy boot jack will help you get your boots off in style, £18.50, Cox & Cox,

Chevron shelving unit in bleached mango and brass, £549, Atkin & Thyme,


1 November 2019 | Belfast Telegraph


Global nomad bamboo lamp, HomeSense

Wood toswoon over Versatile wood is wonderful in every way.


‘Autumn Arrives, Crawfordsburn’ by Adrian Margey

ARTIST Adrian Margey has returned to the to create his original pieces. From largeCulloden Estate & Spa with a major scale canvases to smaller works, visitors solo exhibition and sale of his work will enjoy a vast range of the artist’s this weekend, from now until Suncityscapes, landscapes, traditional day, November 3. Margey’s much music scenes and depictions of iconic anticipated annual Autumn exhibition landmarks. draws visitors and collectors from “Each year I look forward to returnacross Northern Ireland, keen to view ing to the Culloden with my latest work. the artist’s latest body of work. Artist Adrian I have continued to explore the local area Well-known for his inventive approach Margey ahead this year and have created a new body of to capturing the familiar, this new col- of his Culloden work that I hope captures it well. I will be Exhibition lection will not disappoint. More than on hand to discuss the work throughout 40 portrayals of North Down, Ards and the exhibition and hope that visitors enjoy Belfast sit at the heart of this new body of the show,” commented Margey. work. Studies of the Coastal Path at Holywood, Kinnegar Pier, Bangor Marina, Donaghadee, CrawOpening Times: Friday & Saturday, November fordsburn Forest Park, Mount Stewart, Scrabo 1 – 2: 11am – 8pm; Sunday (3rd): 11am – 6pm. Tower and Strangford Lough promise to delight Admission is free. visitors. Depictions of the North Antrim Coast Visit or telephone and Donegal also feature strongly. 07841593762 for more information. Margey’s Margey uses expressive brushwork together work can be viewed at his Portrush Studio and with palette knife and finger painting techniques Gallery throughout the year.

Agra mango wood side table, £225, Next,

Fusing the timeless elegance of a cool marble top with the warm treacled tones and tapered form of an acacia base, the Penny table is available in two heights – 52cm and 42cm – and two classic colours; black and white. Large white marble penny table £279, Small black marble table £249, Content by Terence Conran,

Oriental engraved pestle & mortar, £14.50, Sainsbury’s Home,

Crafted from a mix of cool steel and solid mango wood, this side table’s multi-layered aspect doesn’t just offer form, but function too, with an extra place to store your items. It is a fusion of raw, rustic, contemporary and industrial style. Hand-crafted by a family of artisans in India, Jakob Side table in Mango Wood, £179, Swoon,


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

Artist hopes work will help others find the strength to ‘climb back on board’ life

Jason McGrugan has been through choppy waters since he was dubbed Belfast’s surfboard knight seven years ago. His first solo exhibition, ‘My StepsTo Wellbeing’ charts that journey. Fiona Rutherford finds out more.


rt mirrors life and nowhere more so than in the work of printmaker Jason McGrugan. His dynamic, dramatic woodcuts chart a tumultuous year in which he has plunged into the depths of despair, then broken through to a clear, bright place, an emotional trip worthy of one of his adrenaline-charged kite-surfing work-outs. The 46 year old records his passage from despair to contentment through these outsize prints and the process of creating them was cathartic in itself. The images are full of emotion, the sheer physicality of cutting into the wood as expressive as the swirling

Finding space to work on the floor

patterns, places and faces which merge and emerge from the paper. A standout piece is an enormous 8 x 3 feet print of his beloved paddleboard. Incredibly, it has proved a life-saver in more ways than one. Relaxing on a local beach after a good work-out on the water recently, Jason was approached by a walker, Wendy Crawley, who had spotted someone in difficulties in the water. Jason’s efforts to save them were hampered by an offshore wind pulling them both out to sea. It took all his strength and skill, using the paddleboard for buoyancy, to bring the person close enough to the beach for others to wade in and help. The coastguard, police and ambulance services all arrived on the scene and the person was taken to hospital. “It didn’t hit me until later that night, how close that was,” he says. It wasn’t the first time the surfer has stepped up in a crisis. He and his paddleboard made headlines back in 2012 after he went to the rescue of people cut off by floodwater in Castlereagh. Dubbed ‘Belfast’s knight on a shiny surfboard’ by the BBC, Jason ferried at least 15 people to dry land following the devastating flash floods and received a Belfast Telegraph Making A Difference Award for his heroism.

The Wild Atlantic Way captured (top) and above, a detail from a woodcut Back then, art was the last thing on Jason’s mind but this week, his first solo exhibition, ‘My Steps to Wellbeing’, opened at Seacourt Print Workshop in Bangor. Having graduated from the UU’s York Street College with a BA (hons) in Combined Studies Art and Design in 1994, life took him away from art until a couple of years ago when he began painting watercolours and acrylics, drawing inspiration from his love of the outdoors. “I wanted to get back into printmaking because it’s associated with photography. I would go for a long walk, take photos and get ideas.” He got as far as the doors of Seacourt but says: “I’m a bit of an introvert and I got cold feet. Then I went through a lot of madness. About

The paddleboard print is 8 feet high

November or December I thought, ‘I need to get back to Bangor and I need to join this workshop and get my life back on track’ and that’s why I’m here today.” The first part of the exhibition is separated from the rest and reflects Jason’s worst period with titles like My Head’s Pickled and Every Day’s A Struggle. “I would never in my life have gone to counselling but in November through to January this year I just hit a brick wall and needed to talk. I couldn’t climb out of the hole. The work is about me feeling down and reaching out. Where I would’ve been embarrassed about going to counselling, now I think if someone needs to go, they need to go.”


1 November 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Making an autumn themed wreath

A finishing touch with a flourish Jason McGrugan made headlines in 2012 when he went to the rescue of east Belfast residents after flooding struck the city. Photo: Conor Dunn By February, he was through the worst and began creating woodcuts of significant places. “They’re landmarks of places that mean something to me - the North Coast, Bangor where I was brought up, west Belfast where I lived and have a lot of friends and Donegal which I’m passionate about for surfing and kite-surfing and all that. I can’t do a piece of work that doesn’t mean something. Although they have recognisable landmarks and are personal, I love that people see different things in my work.” He rented a cottage in March and allowed the Wild Atlantic Way to work its magic on him, capturing Clare and Kerry landmarks like the Kilkee Cliffs, the Cliffs of Moher and Dingle Peninsula. “I brought the wood with me and carved outdoors while I was down there rather than taking a load of photographs. It was a time in my life when I’d got over all the madness and felt back in touch with who I am.” The result is a stunning, distinctly Celtic print, full of life and movement. On his return, his work became family oriented, with prints in which you can identify his dad and his daughter Macy (11), herself a dab hand at the woodcuts. Loneliness is a theme with an egg timer signifying his battle to get his life back. “That then inspired me to do the paddleboard one. The point of that print is that you make a conscious decision that you climb back on board and move on and put the struggles behind you.” It’s a heck of a journey to take in one year. Jason says when he joined Seacourt this time last year, he used it the way other people might go to the gym, unwinding after a shift at one of his jobs, working at gigs with Aiken Promotions or at the Royal Victoria Hospital where he is a duty manager, covering support services which often means dealing with patients in crisis. “A big thing for me at the moment is mental health and loneliness and how it impacts on people’s lives. It’s huge so I want to try and do something through my work with that.”

Proving that wreaths aren’t just for Christmas, Jasmine & Lily Floral Wreaths are popping up on the most stylish doors across the country. The creative brains behind Jasmine & Lily, Louise Morrow, has won several prestigious Twitter awards, notably Theo Paphitis’s Small Business Sunday and Jacqueline Gold’s WOW Championing Working Women. Jasmine & Lily’s bespoke wreaths range from full-on floral extravaganzas to subtle, unfussy embellishments. Homes and Interiors caught up with Louise to find out more... How did you get into making floral wreaths? I made my first floral wreath nearly two years ago just for myself. I made a couple more and posted photos online to show my friends. By the end of the day, I had sold three!

Jason’s prints capture emotional turmoil His woodcuts are all hand carved and hand printed on fine Japanese paper. “It’s very time consuming as they’re too big to go through the press. I prefer working big. Even the smaller ones don’t go through the press, I prefer hand burnishing them,” he adds. The paddleboard print was the last item created specifically for the exhibition and is even more imbued with significance since that dramatic sea rescue. It hit Jason when he got home, how close that person came to losing their life. “It was a case of right time, right place, that’s all,” he says, completely discounting the fact that it took all his strength to save them. “It’s funny how things pan out; how paths cross. Although you’re going through a journey yourself, you don’t know what other people are going through.” He never expected to have his own exhibition. “Over the last year I’ve just carved and carved and carved and never in a million years thought this would happen. To actually have an exhibition and people to actually interact with it is incredible.” Catch ‘My Steps to Wellbeing’ at Seacourt Print Workshop at Balloo Industrial Estate, Bangor, or visit

Louise Morrow, of Jasmine & Lily Floral Wreaths Do you have a favourite that you’ve done? I’ve had lots of favourites! Sometimes I think about keeping it but never do! Many of my customers send me pictures of the floral wreaths in their homes or on their fabulous doors. I love it when someone is delighted with what I’ve made for them and that it makes them smile every time they see it. Is it an expensive craft to take up? It can be expensive buying good quality faux flowers and wreath bases, but you only need a few pieces of equipment. Oh, and plenty of space to work!

Where do people hang them? Where do you get your inspiration for A stunning Most of my wreaths are bought by winter any particular style? people who decorate their front doors, arrangement but you can also display them on a The four seasons are my inspiration. I spend my time either in Armagh or feature wall. They have also been used Cushendun, two rural areas, so I see the colours by small businesses as a shop window display and textures of the natural world changing and photo prop. The best thing about the floral every day and that really inspires me. wreaths being faux flowers is that they will last for years, even outside. What do you like about floral wreaths? I love how every one I make is different, how much scope there is for creativity using such a simple form as a circle, and how fulfilled I feel after I’ve got one ‘just right’ after tinkering with it for hours. I’ve been known to do a happy dance! What tips do you have for someone wanting to try it for themselves? Give it ago! Start off with faux flowers and colours you like. It may take a while to get it right but you will get there! You’ll hurt your hands and burn your fingers with the glue gun but you’ll have made something that is unique and will make you smile every time you look at it!

Peacock feathers add the wow factor to this wreath

Jasmine & Lily Floral Wreaths can be contacted via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or via its new Web site


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019 tableware to shine. Check that you have enough crockery, cutlery and glasses. Serving dishes and sauce boats are the sort of thing that can be easily done without during the year so check your supplies before the Reindeer Neon Outdoor Christmas rush. Don’t Light, £42, Clem & Co, forget to include table cloths and napkins in your checklist. If you need a new dining table and chairs, start looking now and you will love dining in style come Christmas. Lights come into their own at this time of year. Go for wall lights, table lamps and candles over harsh ceiling lights – but when it comes to dining, you can’t Gold LED Star Christmas beat a dramatic chandeLights, £36.95, Melody Maison, lier for a classic style statement. Candles and table lamps make for a relaxed, feelgood atmosphere, whether you have company or are enjoying time alone. Fairy lights, around a mirror, under shelving, around the perimeter of the conservatory and pretty much anywhere in the kitchen are need to find a new setting. style essentials and can stay up all year Don’t forget the practicalities that round. go with the time of year – having your Once you have the house in order, think boiler serviced and making sure all the back to last Christmas and whether you kitchen appliances are fit for purpose were happy with your Christmas decoragiven the extra demands of a full house. tions. Did you have enough or were some If you have any doubts about your cookitems damaged or broken? If a shopping er, now might be the time to invest in a trip is in order, work out what your theme new one. tends to be and try to buy things that Christmas is the time for your broadly fit.

Set the scene for your dream Christmas

Entertaining at Christmas with John Lewis & Partners including linen tablecloth, Steel, from £50 Tom Dixon, Dartington Crystal Just The One Whisky Experience Glass Tumbler, 260ml, £7, Denby Halo Pasta Bowl Dia.24cm, £16.50, and other stockists


moothe your way to a calm Christmas by starting to plan for it now. Imagine the scene you want to set, welcoming family and friends at the door, ushering them into the dining room for dinner or the living room for drinks by the fireside. Twinkling lights add to the atmosphere and the air is full of the scents of the season and the sound of people relaxing and enjoying themselves. Make that as effortless and enjoyable for yourself and your visitors by beginning to get ready now. If your home tends to be a bit messy, you can transform it by simply spending 10 or 15 minutes a day tidying and putting things away between now and Christmas. Start with the outside of the house and check that it looks its best from the kerb. You want the exterior to look neat and the garden to be tidy. Is the porch area clean and clutter free? Would a couple of planters with heathers and cyclamen

Electric train set £45, Peacock ClosedTail Feather decoration £9, Post Box ornament £25, Deer in Plane with LED light, £25 Harvey Norman,

Majestic wreath 1.2m £110, Church Mice Sitters £16, Christmas Tree Glitter decoration £22, Harvey Norman, Baby It’s Cold Outside double quilt cover £60, Hot Hugs Bunny £28, Candy Cuddly throw £35, Harvey Norman, www. lift the overall appearance? The hallway can accumulate a lot of clutter – a good clear out of coats and boots that aren’t worn any more will make it easier to keep on top of that. Are the walls, doors and woodwork clean or do they need a good wipe down or a lick of paint? Floors suffer a pounding in winter, with rain and mud being tramped through. If yours are looking shabby, get them professionally cleaned, or replaced to give your whole home an updated feel. Make sure you have runners in the hallway and good, hardy doormats to minimise the mess throughout the season. Clutter is your enemy if you’re going for a calming atmosphere. It’s a good idea to fight that battle all year round but especially at the start of the festive season. You don’t want your Christmas decorations warring with lots of ornaments for space. Clear away any surplus items before you start decorating. When it comes time to put them back again, you’ll be able to decide which ones you love and which ones


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

Festive faves

Fill the air with the aromas of the season with some autumnal or Christmassy scents from a beautiful Tulip Moon candle or diffuser. Candles, from £8, luxury scented diffuser, £20,

Enhance your Christmas decor with some new additions this year...

Neon Style Polar Bear, £75, Cox & Cox, Pinecones and Green Spruce Illuminated Wreath, £35, Clem & Co, Deer Christmas Stocking, £25, Bobby Rabbit, www.bobbyrabbit.

Christmas styling from the National Trust

Berry Christmas Stag cushion, £14, Sainsbury’s Home


1 November 2019 | Belfast Telegraph Light Up Christmas Tree, £125, Cox & Cox

Reindeer LED lights, £24.95, Annabel James, range of stockists

Christmas Bauble Fairy Lights, £19.95, Melody Maison,

Christmas Rose gel candle, £18, Laura Ashley,

16 Mini Bottle Lights Warm White, £12, B&Q,

Christmas Cinderella Carriage ornament £4, Hanging Snowflake £7, High Heel Shoe Trim £5, 3-Piece Glitter Cream Parcels £45, Swan in White from £18, Deer in Gold £70, Reindeer in Silver £25, Harvey Norman,


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019





4 Tech worth a listen…


he way we listen to our music has changed and evolved, from the gramophone to the iPod and from vinyl to online streaming. And the devices we use to listen to our favourite music with have advanced from analogue speakers and clunky headphones into devices that wouldn’t look out of place in Star Trek. We now have smart speakers with built-in AIs capable of answering you queries, beefy soundsystems that you can play on the go and headphones that don’t need plugged in to play music. Here’s some of the best music tech available today that you might want to keep your ear to the ground for…


Whether you are just looking to listen to your music or have your curiosity sated without having to stop what you’re doing to Google a question, smart speakers have you covered. Ever since Amazon introduced their voice-controlled Amazon Echo and its AI assistant Alexa back in 2014, smart speakers have found their way into more and more homes around the world. Since then, Google and Apple have added their own artificial helpers to the market in a variety of devices. These smart devices have improved year on year and added to their range of capabilities. They can now answer your questions, tell you the weather forecast, play games, set alarms, work in sync with the rest of your home’s smart devices and more. So whether you use it just to settle arguments at the dinner table or keep your hands free in the kitchen, you will find a use for a smart speaker in one form or another. Here are some of the standout devices you should take a look at:

1Google Home — £89

While the Home works well as a decent sounding hi-fi and radio replacement, it’s the device’s built-in Google Assistant and integration with your home’s other smart devices that make it a real game changer. Not only can the Home play any song you

can find on YouTube (which, as it turns out, is a lot) and sync with your Spotify account, it can control your Google Chromecast, broadcast to any other Google devices in your home and can even make calls to landlines in the UK. It can also control other smart home devices you have, meaning you could use it to dim the lights, change the temperature, turn on a kettle or microwave, or even start your Roomba. The miniature Google Mini at £49 is also worth considering as it offers a largely similar package to its big brother just with a weaker audio performance. Be sure to keep an eye out for deals on the Mini too, as recently Spotify handed them out for free to their new and existing family service subscribers.


Amazon Echo — £89.99

One of the best value smart speakers available, the second iteration of the stylish Amazon Echo is another great sounding speaker that also serves as an excellent starting point for your smart home. Amazon’s ever-improving AI assistant Alexa offers a wide range of functionality and the device comes at a price point that’s hard to look past.

3Apple HomePod — £279

and ease of use with your other Siri-capable products make the HomePod a quality device to consider introducing to your home.

4Sonos One — £199

This sleek looking smart speaker packs a real punch in terms of sound quality and volume and comes with Amazon’s Alexa built-in, all without losing any of Sonos’s own brand of smart functionality. The Sonos One also integrates well with Apple’s Siri thanks to its AirPlay 2 feature, however Google Assistant is missing despite plans to introduce the AI helper to the device down the line.


Though most lack the AI functionality of the smart home speakers mentioned above, these Bluetooth speakers more than make up for it with their sound quality and portability. A decent Bluetooth speaker is a must for get-togethers with friends and family and on any occasion that needs a soundtrack to go with it. Each speaker comes with its own selling point, whether it’s a focus on durability, sound quality, volume or even just design — there’s a device that will have your needs covered. With that in mind, here are some Bluetooth speakers to keep in mind:


The no-brainer option for Apple devotees, the HomePod pairs seamlessly into the brand’s ecosystem while offering a superb room-filling sound. Though it does come with the usual Apple premium, its sound quality, intuitive set-up

5UE Boom 3 — £99

The UE Boom 3 offers one of the best all-round Bluetooth speakers you can buy — especially for around £100.


The Boom 3 offers a powerful 360 degree sound, is durable and waterproof enough that it floats and can even be completely submerged in water for up to 30 minutes. It also has a strong enough battery to keep playing your music for up to 15 hours before needing to be charged.

6JBL Charge 4 — £159.99

Another rugged all-rounder, the JBL Charge 4 is just at home by the pool as it is in your home. The Charge 4 is the perfect camping speaker too, with its 20 hour battery life as well as the option to charge other devices through its USB-A output. It also boasts a surprisingly balanced and powerful sound for its size while it is durable enough to take a beating by the pool on holiday.

7Bose SoundLink Mini II — £145

Despite having been on the market for a few years now, few other Bluetooth speakers come close to the Bose SoundLink Mini II when it comes to sound quality in such a small package. Although the battery life does take it hit to make up for its performance, the diminutive SoundLink Mini II packs a real audio punch while its weightiness and sturdy build quality suggest it can take a beating without packing in.

and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless 8Bowers — £499

You will be hard pressed to find a more eye-catching speaker of any kind than the stunning Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless. While the price could make you wince, its sound quality is even richer as it effortlessly fills up any room with an audiophile-approving sound. Designed as a complete wireless hi-fi system for the home, the Zeppelin Wireless could be the only speaker you’ll ever need.


1 November 2019 | Belfast Telegraph


It’s not hard to imagine how wireless headphones came to be. All it must have taken was for a genius sound engineer to feel the familiar disappointment of having your headphone wires get caught on a door handle and yanked out of your ears mid song. And since that musical Einstein was mildly inconvenienced, wireless headphones have become far more readily available and affordable in recent years. Although you will pay a bit of a premium for going wireless, you will gain a far greater freedom of movement — ideal for trips to the gym, your runs and bike rides. And thanks to improvements in wireless technology such as Bluetooth, you won’t have to sacrifice on sound quality either. So if you feel like cutting your audio cable — on purpose, for once — here are a few options to consider:

9Sony WH-1000XM3 — £299

The Sony WH-1000XM3s have fast earned a reputation as the best all-round wireless headphones available thanks to their mix of great audio performance, peerless noise-can-

10 9 long periods of usage. And the WH-1000XM3s will be more than up for prolonged usage thanks to a huge 30-hour battery life.


AKG N60NC Wireless — £150

celling and extended battery life. Sony has got the noise-cancelling down to a tee on the WH-1000XM3s whether you’re on the ground or mid-flight, giving the excellent sound quality a platform to shine. You won’t have any distractions from your music either, as the thick and cushioned earpads will remain comfortable even after

AKG’s N60NC Wireless headphones feel like they should be much more expensive than they are. They offer effective noise-cancelling and superb sound quality all while looking and feeling like a much higher-end pair of headphones. The only drawback is that they fit on-ear rather than over-ear, so they won’t be as comfortable over longer listening periods.


111Bose SoundSport Wireless — £114

The Bose SoundSport Wirelesses are ideally suited to anyone wanting to keep their music experience going while on the move without having to worry about earphones falling out or wires getting caught. The sound quality is particularly lively and upbeat, keeping you on your toes during your workouts, while they fit securely and comfortably in-ear. Battery life is a short six hours, however if your exercise is lasting longer than that then you are doing very well.



Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

Kitchen dreams come true with Mode


ode German Kitchens came into being in 2017, having been a member of the In-toto Kitchens franchise for the previous 11 years. Owner John Herron explains: “The transition gave us free choice to select the right products for our customers and we have chosen to work with Brigitte Küchen for our furniture. This is a family owned, fourth generation, true German kitchen manufacturer, which has won German design awards for its latest range of products.” Mode’s spacious design studio showcases a range of affordable, high quality German kitchens as well as the latest appliances,

worktops, sinks and taps. The company is a displaying dealer of appliance products from reputable brands Neff, Miele, AEG, Gutmann, Blanco, Quooker and Elica appliances. It can accommodate a vast range of styles with a mix of German laminates, Sensa granite, Silestone quartz, Dekton ceramic and Corian acrylic worktops. “Our consultation and design process is free of charge and, in order to achieve the perfect kitchen to suit a customer’s lifestyle, we are happy to spend as much time as necessary with them, learning about them and their requirements, so we can produce a kitchen design that entirely meets their brief,” John adds.

John Herron’s kitchen background spans 35 years so he brings a wealth of knowledge about design and customer service. This experience, combined with John’s own skills and personality, mean a different level of service. He explains: “I work from both a practical and designer perspective – there is no point in having a fabulous looking kitchen if it hasn’t been planned down to the finest details, with practicality in mind.”

We Listen: Tell us your dream kitchen and what your essential appliances are. We’ll work with you and your budget to give you exactly what you’re looking for. We Plan: We’ll come to you and measure up the kitchen area or work from plans for a

new build or an extension to your home. We Design: Your new kitchen will be digitally designed to scale, allowing you to virtually walk around your home. We’ll discuss each step of the process until it’s perfect for you. We Install: Your kitchen will be delivered from Germany within 6-8 weeks. We can coordinate the full kitchen installation for you, or work with an external company. Prospective clients can also browse the website for more details about the company as well as many images from previous clients’ kitchens for some inspiration and to see the high standard of Mode kitchens.

Call Belfast 028 9066 0011


1 November 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Colours for autumn cheer

The house and garden should feel as though they belong together


ots of shrubs create an impact throughout autumn and winter, ranging from dark purple through to fiery reds and burnt orange or yellow. Photinia Red Robin looks well but doesn’t like competing for nutrients so avoid planting it under a tree.

Euonymus Alatus compactus is a riot of red and purple with red berries and of course Acers are a delicate addition which come into their own now. Add colour to your borders or planters now with winter flowering favourites like cyclamen and pansies.

Cyclamen is a wonderful stop gap to keep colour in the garden all winter

Time to take stock


he mild autumn means gardens are still looking quite colourful Rudbeckias are with rudbeckstill looking ia, fuschia, sedums glorious and dahlias all still blooming away quite happily. Ornamental grasses look amazing and even the pampas grass is earning its place in gardens at the moment with those huge white plumes swaying in the breeze. It’s only a matter of a short time before we’re hit with a hard frost, however, and the mood turns less jaunty. With summer bedding fading and growth slowing down, it’s the ideal time for planning landscaping projects and for general improvements outdoors. Once dead material has been cut back, it’s easy to see what’s what and where things can be made better. For recent movers, it’s advisable to wait a year before embarking on major

Make the most of a quiet spot with a solo seating area

changes in the garden, as it takes a cycle through the four seasons before you can be confident of knowing the ground well enough. Some areas might be prone to standing water during wet periods, there might be issues with drainage and so on. This is a good time for digging clay soil, which can be rock solid in summer, if you need to improve drainage. Get the most out of your garden all year round with attractive seating areas. There’s no need to limit yourself to one – a sunny corner might lend itself to a chair for some solitary relaxing. If you felt you missed out on maximising the time outdoors this summer, now is the time to plan ahead for next year. A patio in a sheltered part of the garden can be covered in winter to extend the season and walled around with raised beds for architectural ‘oomph’. A conservatory or bifolding doors from the kitchen can make the home and garden feel more unified while a garden room is the ultimate in escaping into the great outdoors, whatever the weather. Do some research on garden design if you are considering a major overhaul. There are lots of tricks to enhancing the appearance of even a small garden, such as laying borders at a 45 degree angle to the house to draw the eye to the farthest point of the garden. Try to use colours and materials that complement your house. Also, don’t overlook the maintenance essentials at this time of year. Tie back anything that might be prone to wind damage, lift tender plants, make sure your gutters are cleared and carry out repairs before winter sets in.

Euonymus Alatus brings a vibrant red and purple splash to the garden - aim for the compact version for maximum impact Hellebores have beautiful bell shaped flowers throughout winter

Photinia Red Robin has attractive branches which start green and end red

Skimmia Japonica has clusters of red berries against dark green leaves – like a holly without the pain

The feathery fingers of an Acer Palmatum


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

Tulips to swoon over


here’s nothing quite like the joyous display of early spring bulbs bursting forth, from the first snowdrops in January to the crocuses, narcissi and finally tulips. If you haven’t got round to planting daffodils yet, you’ve probably left it a little late but this is exactly the time for getting your tulip bulbs in. Versatile tulips lend themselves to both formal and informal schemes and to

Tulips lend themselves to an informal planting scheme, as well as the more formal type

being planted into borders, meadows or pots. They can be classically cup shaped, blousey like peonies or fluted and elegant and come in black, white and most colours in between. Plant them deeper than other bulbs, at least eight inches, and they are less likely to collapse. They like good draining soil and a sunny spot and if you plant a range of varieties, you should have a display that changes over a number of months.

Tulip ‘Ice Cream’, £7.99 for 5 bulbs, Thompson & Morgan,

Go potty Tulip Rasta Parrot is a funky new flower, £5.99 for 5 bulbs, Van Meuwen,

Plant any combination of winter plants in containers for a stylish addition to the patio. Heathers, grasses, cyclamen, pansies or violas, small firs and trailing ivy will all work and cheer you up through the dark days of winter.

Tulip Angelique is prized for its peony type flowers as well as its beautiful scent, £7.99 for 16 bulbs, Thompson & Morgan,

Tulip Tangerine Green is unusually two toned and makes a great cut flower, £9.99 for 16 bulbs, Thompson & Morgan,

Blooming beauties


oses remain a favourite in our gardens for their long flowering season, often heady fragrance and sheer beauty. They look wonderful anywhere from a mixed border to a patio pot and come in so many shapes, sizes and colours, there’s at least one to melt the hardest of hearts. You can start to plant bare root roses from now up until March. Before planting bare root roses, soak roots in a bucket of water for at least two hours. Prune any damaged roots and dig a hole 30-45cm (1218 inches) deep and 60cm (24 inches) wide. Heel them in well after planting.

Newtownards rose specialist Dickson Roses bred five new roses in 2019. Order now and be among the first to grow these beautiful floribunda roses. Storyteller is most unusual – it’s a vigorous floribunda whose numerous flowers start life buff pink, opening peach and fading creamy white, £10 for one bare root plant, Dickson Roses

Dame Judi Dench is a new English Shrub Rose bred by David Austin. It has rich apricotorange blooms, filled with many ruffled petals and is suitable for a mixed border and shady areas, £18 for bare root rose, range of stockists and

Rose Belle Epoque is a new hybrid tea and is reminiscent of a nectarine, with peach inner petals and plum-red reverse. It’s fragrant with almost continual light flower production from June until November, £12.95 for one bare root plant, Sarah Raven,


1 November 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Help the hedgehogs

Look after wildlife in your garden this winter. If you happen to have a hedgehog, you’ve a four-legged slug controller in your midst. Hedgehog numbers have dropped by almost a third in recent years so gardeners are encouraged to do their bit to help protect them. Don’t plug all the gaps in hedges or fences as they need to be able to roam. A hole that’s about 13cm by 13cm is enough. Attract insects for hedgehogs to feed on and if you’re putting food out for them, stick to tinned cat or dog food. Check for hedgehogs and frogs before sinking a fork into your compost to turn it..

Garden buys

The gardener’s wishlist can be a long and varied thing, including anything from a new mower to a greenhouse, a sharp knife or stylish planters. There are many useful items to be added to your stock ahead of spring.

Ivyline Poole Iron Outdoor Fireplace, £400, Houseology,

A raised planter makes tending to your plants easier on your back, plus crops are better protected from unwanted garden pests. Forest Garden Caledonian Tiered Planter, £114.95, Cuckooland,

Name that rose!

Give someone an extra special gift this Christmas by having a rose named after them. These rose bushes for special occasions were bred by Colin Dickson, a specialist rose breeder with a long tradition of winning roses at international trials. For further information visit, call 078 2192 2204, or email

Forget standing on a wobbly step ladder with the Verve telescopic hedge shear, £18.40, B&Q,

This log store looks good and the slanted sides encourage rainwater run off. The slatted back panel promotes airflow helping season your wood. Forest Garden Pinnacle Log Store, £179.95, Cuckooland,

Spare your knees with the Haws Classic Garden Kneeler, £37, Farrar & Tanner,

The eminently useful Tool bag and stool, £25, National Trust,

Move everything more easily with the Vonhaus mesh garden cart, £84.99,



Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

What’s hot in bathrooms

With its pared-down design and monochrome colour schemes, the current fashion for utilitarian shows no signs of releasing its grip on bathrooms. Yet while inspiration drawn from factories and warehouses continues to replace fussy chintz with no-nonsense concrete and stone, interior designer Naomi Nunn predicts a clear nod towards our softer, more indulgent side. Modern industrial meets luxury spa

Utilitarian may still dominate overall, but the introduction of soft wood hues, as well as a renewed focus on natural greys and off-whites in floor and wall tiling, is helping offset the hint of Scandi starkness. “An abundance of wicker baskets to hold your toiletries and towels will help recreate the sense of calm well-being you find in a luxury spa,” says Naomi. The timeless appeal of black and white shows little sign of waning, either, but for those in search of alternative notes, the softest baby blues or creams via fittings or wall coverings will add extra interest. Shades of terracotta remain enduringly popular for worktops and tiling, and contrast perfectly with a monochrome template.

The 1980s revival spreads to bathrooms

Naomi believes that repurposed stone helps soothe and relax our senses, particularly when matched with the sumptuous marble finishes which have become a hallmark of contemporary good looks. Basin units constructed from rustic wood materials are proving popular, too, particularly when twinned with the bold, industrial brassware that has become the centrepiece of many bathroom designs.

Bathroo m Trends

Black matt for taps

Black taps and basins were once considered a strictly high-end taste, says Naomi, but with a growing number of buyers looking for alternatives to white sanitary ware, black matt in particular can create a dramatic statement for all. While only the bravest reader may opt to pair the look with a splash of millennial pink, the soothing hues of pistachio green perhaps will provide a welcome relief, particularly for anyone who shudders at the memory of 1970s avocado. For monochrome traditionalists, shiny, crisp and even clinical is the name of the game, but the steady influx of pale gold fittings is unmistakable, says Naomi, reflecting “a new desire for gentle warmth in a room where an abundance of chrome may leave users feeling very chilly”.

Spa style Geberit bathroom from Elite Bathrooms with AquaClean shower toilet

Acceptable in the ‘80s

The ongoing 1980s revival has already spread to the bathroom and, alongside it, the more experimental consumer is looking for geometric patterns and simple, almost childlike patterns and shapes.

Whether it’s intricate gridwork or outsized square tiles, the look is “reminiscent of a child’s marker-pen daubs”, says Naomi. For further information, visit Elite Bathrooms,

Celebrating 40 years in business Greenbank Ind Est, Newry. AJ Elite Bathrooms, Rathfriland Rd, Newry

AJ Plumbing


J Plumbing Supplies Ltd was established in 1979 by Newry man Jim O’Brien. After working for several years in A. Shiells, he made the decision to start his own business and AJ Plumbing Supplies was formed. Jim started working from a couple of small sheds at his parents’ home on 38 Chapel Road in Newry before building a purpose-built property to accommodate the quickly growing business. Along with supplying plumbing materials, the decision was made to construct a bathroom showroom which would be open to both trade and the public. At this stage Jim had a number of employees working for him in sales, store work and delivery drivers. It wasn’t long

before the company had outgrown its limited space at his parents’ house and the decision was made to purchase a much larger property in Greenbank Industrial Estate. In 1993, the move was made to purchase premises previously owned by Smith Concrete. This site in Greenbank also had room for expansion which in the future years proved a very wise decision. The business continued to grow year on year when the opportunity arose to purchase stores in Banbridge which were then also converted into plumbing and heating stores and a bathroom showroom. Due to the success of both Newry and Banbridge depots, another two premises were purchased in Ballynahinch and Rathfriland Road in Newry. The Ballynahinch site followed the Newry and Banbridge models with plumbing and heating sales along with another bathroom showroom. The Rathfriland Road site was named Elite Bathrooms and specialises in high end, brand-named products.


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

Carpenter’s daughter Maggie carving out a name in interior design Good design does not have to cost a fortune. That’s the philosophy of interior designer Maggie Brady who combines influences from her late father along with her former home of New York state. A devotee of colour and vintage furniture, the Rathfriland woman tells Andrea McKernon of her journey towards her vocation.


hen interior designer Maggie Brady travelled to an old rectory outside Jonesborough for a consultation, the client began to wax lyrical about the remarkable workmanship he’d had carried out by a carpenter some years before. What the client said next meant from that moment on, Maggie knew her decision to set up Pearl Redesigns a couple of years earlier was the right decision. “The client was speaking about the amazing workmanship carried out and the special wood features in the property. He said he’d had the best carpenter in the country who did the best work and there had been nobody like him. He then said the man had lived in Silverbridge. “That’s where I grew up. My father was a carpenter,” she explains. With her hands on the rectory wood panelling, she asked the carpenter’s name. “He said Derek Clarke – my father’s name – and I nearly fainted. It was one of those moments in your life you just can’t believe. I got goosebumps. “Daddy had died shortly before. It was an amazing and life-defining moment.” And for the mother-of-two, there was no better spiritual message she could have received in that old rectory. “I already knew I was doing something I loved and was good at. Now I knew I had the blessing and guidance of my father,” she said. “And as I did the work in the place where my daddy had worked some years before, I felt safe and protected. It was amazing.” It was even more significant because the years prior had not been easy for Maggie (54), including the breakdown of her marriage. She had just moved home after 25 years in America and was recovering from cancer. But she knew she had a talent and a passion for design – a passion developed in upstate New York over many years. While living Stateside, she had also enrolled in an interior design course and got to develop her craft further.

Back and on track

Maggie Brady, founder of Pearl Redesigns, loves upcycling and transforming homes for less Picture: Divine Photography

On returning home, Maggie got her life on track, developing a unique approach to helping people transform their homes without breaking the bank. Clients get a walkthrough of their home and Maggie is on point with the current drive towards reducing waste. Tasteful upcycling is proving a major hit among householders for the business, says Maggie. “My motto is good design doesn’t have


1 November 2019 | Belfast Telegraph French charm living room design

An old family churn gets started on a new lease of life... I would find fabulous, quirky things. When I decided to come home, I couldn’t part with them. I brought them all home in a shipping container and trailer.” Coming back home Maggie took the big step of setting up in business. She knew interior design was primarily about the people she would work with and the amazing spaces she would create with them. Her love of vintage and antique Vintage decor makes for an inviting snug

and is transformed for a stylish bathroom would always be an influence which had the added advantage of cost benefits. “Good design doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Pearl Redesigns is all about colour and bespoke design. I’m not flatpack modern. There is a place for that, but I love the richness of colour and vintage. Like my father I appreciate good workmanship and the quality of vintage furniture. “I very much want to know what the person wants, but I’m keen to show them colours and styles that they may not have seen before in Ireland. Everything here is quite small and much the same and that often looks great, but I’m about so much more when it comes to creating beauty, tone and texture. I suppose in that way I’m just like my dad. I’m a dyed in the wool designer, it’s in my genes and I’m indeed my father’s daughter.”

Commercial work for Pearl Redesigns to cost a fortune. My influences were so varied and wide ranging in the US,” she explained. “With so many countries represented, the fabrics, furniture and designs are vast and varied. There are so many different styles even in New York. “I had an apartment and in America they want you to leave interiors the way they have been done for renters but I’m a colour person and I just couldn’t live with magnolia. I always had to design the place to what I wanted and then I’d paint it back to magnolia when I left.” Maggie’s ability to see and draw from many influences widened the scope of her designer’s eye. “Every state has a different style and inspiration. I would go to car boot sales in Manhattan and the huge, open air Stormville Airport flea and vintage market.

A client’s painted floor gets a gold border

Maggie is down to the nitty gritty when it comes to restoring and transforming spaces


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

Relax in style and comfort this winter


here’s no need to sacrifice style for comfort when aching joints or ill health get in the way of doing things the way we used to. The Scandinavians know all about creating a warm and cosy interior for when the days are getting colder with lots of layers. Getting in and out of an armchair can become trickier as the years go by but don’t give in and opt for sitting on hard kitchen and dining chairs. Shops like Comfort First and Stairlift Solutions have superb ranges of recliner chairs that make standing up a breeze. There are lots of ways to keep feeling at home in your home and to make sure you’re safe and sound. Here are some must haves:  Non slip mats are a safer option than the normal ones, especially on a hard floor. If balance is an issue, don’t have any mats near doorways. The Pappelina Carl Pale Rose/Ballet runner rug is reversible and nonslip. Made from woven plastic, it’s hardwearing yet soft and pliable, dust and dirt repellant, water and UV resistant so the colour won’t fade, from £68, www.

 Decent lighting makes reading much more pleasurable. Floor lamps with adjustable reading lights are perfect or simply a floor lamp that can be adjusted to illuminate whatever you like is useful. Marlowe swing arm floor lamp, £175, Habitat,

 Do you look back fondly on the days when you could touch your toes without even thinking about it? Well you don’t need to with modern gadgets that take the strain out of bending. Dustpan and brush with solid beech handle, £25, Garden Trading, www.

 For craftwork or sewing, this portable lamp with magnifier comes with a USB rechargeable battery. It remains bright for eight hours when charged and casts light uniformly, so there’s no need to squint as you work. The Halo Go, £59.99,

 Subtle lighting on the stairs and outside can prevent trips. Astro’s Borgo lights come in white and stainless steel finishes with versions for bathroom or outside use, from £88, /

 We love this extra large clock, £157.99, by Windsor Browne, www.windsorbrowne.

 Rugs, throws or blankets, whatever you choose to call them, are undeniably the best way to cut down on heating bills. Cosy up with your other half. Illusion woollen throw, £60, Harvey Norman,  Good pillows are essential for a decent night’s sleep. Pop into your nearest Harvey Norman store and staff can advise on the correct height and texture of pillow for you! Pillows in range of sizes

 Perfect for breakfast in bed or a TV dinner, the Tiffany walnut folding breakfast tray, £30, Habitat, www.  The PILL neoprene hot water bottle won the Design Plus and Solutions Awards. With a cover made of the same material used to make wet suits, it stays hotter for longer. It is also much safer to use thanks to the freestanding design and pullout funnel - particularly for those who experience difficulty in holding the bottle steady in one hand while they pour with the other. Available in a range of colours, £34.95, Cuckooland, www.cuckooland. com


1 November 2019 | Belfast Telegraph


Stairlift Solutions, national and local Business Awards winner Here to serve you!


ince opening their new showroom in Bangor, Stairlift Solutions have just been going from strength to strength. Having been nominated for several awards at both the Bangor Business Awards and the Federation of Small Business Awards, they came away winning the award for Business Development at the Bangor event and also winning the ultimate award at the FSB Awards, coming away with the title of Best Small Business in Northern Ireland.

As Michael Wallace from Stairlift Solutions says, the company has two main strands to its success. “Number one is we have fantastic staff, it wouldn’t be possible to do what we do without them,” he said. “Number two is our focus on after-sales care. That’s big for us; we need to make sure our customers are happy with the product they have and ensure they know they can come to us if there are any issues. “If you look at our website more than 200 people have left testimonials praising their

Winner of Business Development at Bangor Business Awards: (from left) Pete Snodden, compere, Randle Anderson and Michael Wallace, Stairlift Solutions, and Councillor Trevor Cummings, who presented the award

From left: Nick Fullerton, SONI, presenter Wendy Austin, Michael Wallace and James Dowling, Stairlift Solutions, on the occasion of winning Best Small Business NI at the FSB Awards experience with Stairlift Solutions and each one of them is very gratifying to read. To us, each one of them is proof that we’re doing our jobs well.” This hasn’t all just happened overnight as the company have been going since Michael’s father Ken started it from his garage at home in Donaghadee in 2000. Based at Unit 21, Innotec Drive (beside The Signal Centre) on Bangor’s Balloo Road, the new showroom is the ideal location for them to display a new line of mobility aids that are now available. Michael said: “Stairlifts, from straight or curved, new or reconditioned, even indoor or outdoor, will remain at the core of our company. However, our team here at Stairlift Solutions have listened to what our 2,000+ customers have had to say – and

we’ve responded by adding equipment such as scooters, rollators and wheelchairs to our ever-expanding list of mobility products.” He added: “We are aware of just how important independent living is to those with a disability or mobility problem and with an aging population, it’s important for us to not just promote independent living, but also to enhance it. So along with walking aids, we have also started selling bathroom and toilet equipment, as well as riser recliner chairs and more.” For more information or if you have any questions on their new mobility products, simply call in and meet the team, or phone 028 9188 2249 where you can also arrange a FREE, no obligation survey of your staircase. Or why not visit their excellent website at


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

DIY plan has more delays than Brexit When Andrea McKernon moved into her 1920s house with her new husband, she had high hopes of transforming it into a dream home with old charm and character. But, three years later she wryly reflects on how marriage — and some husbands — don’t always make for picture-perfect living spaces.


e bought the house three years ago and moved in after our honeymoon. Brexit happened too. Into our living room and lives it crept. The husband assured me he’d be working like ‘a good un’ doing up this old house — a Belfast parlour dwelling, semi detached and built in the 1920s. Like Leave politicians before the referendum, his promises rolled in on a big bus of assurances. He would never rest. What domestic bliss there would be with him indoors deftly working through all the big ideas we had for our home. I saw images of woodworking, amazing spaces, gorgeous varnishes — ingenious and dynamic upcycling. Me with all the ideas. Him with all the skills. All our trendiness exhibited in front of our adoring friends when they came to visit. “Yes, this 8ft mirror was bought for £2 and we just fixed it up,” we’d say. Husband has all the gadgets after all. He’s good and handy. I’ve seen it. And so we settled in. First things first and off to a flying start, I got the heating sorted to be changed to gas. We’d qualify for a grant. Except it turned out his wages were more than he’d said (that’s another issue) and we were above the threshold. The dog was sliding down the gloss painted stairs. So I bought a hall carpet. Life went on. He didn’t seem to be getting round to or getting into the dynamic upcycling workshop thing. Christmas came and went. I got a spark in and upgraded the electricity. I looked at him. “I thought you said you’d work really hard to get a house you owned sorted?” I said. “We’ve (we’ve?) done lots so far. No rush. And anyway it’s the football season. Once the summer comes…” said he.

“Selling husbands as commodities on social media is not allowed, especially one that was going viral.”

Summer came, but the Grand Prix was on, The Ashes, Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Wimbledon, World Cup and Olympics. And Brexit of course, rumbling in the background. The pitched battles we see in the House of Commons were starting to unfold in our home. Like Theresa May rushing off to EU summits, I was running myself ragged from organising work to be done, sanding paintwork, painting doors, pulling out the overgrown garden, organising finance, running to the credit union. He was on another planet. Like Jean Claude Junker — waiting for some deal and for me to do it. A war of attrition began. Bust ups of the ilk of, ‘You’ve let me down’ and ‘Do I have to do everything in here? Have you no initiative at all? “You said you’d work at your own home.” Murderous intent rose in me. A hard border of trading insults — all one sided in me. Then it was not talking because I couldn’t stand the sight of him. Useless man as he was. “What’s the rush?” he would say. So I posted him up on Facebook marketplace — open to offers. The highest bid I got was 50p with a broken bike. I thought it too much. And then Facebook took it down. Selling husbands as commodities on social media is not allowed, especially one that was going viral. My deal was rejected. I felt like Theresa.

The living room has a feature bay window

When home improvements walk in, love goes out the window On life went. I’d look at the windows that needed replaced with increasing resentment. Friends came and went. The wallpaper in the dining room that was here when we moved in just got dirtier. We managed to rip out half the kitchen. (That was part of my stealth strategy of 2018). I fixed up an old bed and bought second hand furniture for the spare room. It cost £75. After nearly three years the TV was still on the floor. I was a big grump. The 1980s avocado bathroom didn’t seem to annoy him. But I could take no more last summer. I got to work on him and took another trip to the credit union. He picked the tiles, we worked together. He seemed to enjoy it. We got the bathroom fitted (by a fitter, not us).

I got annoyed again. I started to do work alone in a ‘no it’s ok, I’ll do it’ way. I got into the hall that had doors caked thick with gloss paint and around the hinges. They’d all have to come off. The inner hall door was taken off. I let him help me strip off the paint after we had ‘a talk’. We worked at the door in the garden. A big, heavy oak door with glass panels and 100 years of paint layers. It was over blistering paint I saw him enjoy it. The door was opening a world of heritage and intrigue. I said: “How old do you think this door is?” “I expect it’s been here as long as the house,” he said as we made it to the original varnish and orange-coloured preservative. “It’s seen the Great Depression and the Second World War, and The Beatles,” I said. “The moon landings, the assassination of Kennedy, the Vietnam War,” he added. “The Troubles, rationing, the nuclear bomb, civil rights, the swinging sixties.” It was Culture Night. “Forget Culture Night,” he said, “this is culture.” The door and house has seen couples like us and will see more when we’re dead and gone. And now it’s seeing Brexit — with us. The big, heavy hall door still isn’t finished. I’ve been stripping the other side this week. The autumn sunlight has been shining through those broken down window panes that need replaced. They don’t diminish the beauty of this old, historic house. The TV is finally off the floor. The bathroom has painting to get done, but it’s looking wonderful anyway. The football season’s in full swing as another year enters its final months. I have to admit — it’s a privilege to live in this imperfect, gorgeous, unfinished old house — with an imperfect husband.


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

Sweet dreams are made of this...

Ellaria double duvet cover wet, £80, Harvey Norman,


good night’s sleep can make a huge difference to both mental and physical wellbeing. A few essential elements can help you relax and sleep in comfort. The right mattress and pillows are vital. If you don’t remember when you got your mattress, there’s a good chance you need a new one. Do your research and ask sales staff about which type of mattress to go for. The level of light in the room is important – opt for blinds or curtains that blocking the light out. The temperature of the room and your bedding play a role in helping you snooze soundly as well.

Don’t have the heating on high in the bedroom and if you find you tend to get too hot during the night, go for layers on top of a light duvet rather than a heavy winter duvet that you can’t bear for long periods. Keep bedrooms as free of clutter as possible - clever storage solutions make a huge difference here, such as under bed storage. The ambience of the room should be calming and soothing. Don’t have clutter on your nightstand but stick to a favourite photo or plant that you love to look at. That way, the first thing you see in the morning is going to give you a boost. Barcelona Bedside Table comes in an industrial-style mango wood finish with cement and brass inlay, £229, Atkin and Thyme, www.

Champagne French bedroom chair, £340, The French Bedroom Co,

Rosada throw, £58, Oliver Bonas,

Asiatic Florian soft sheepskin floor rug 60cm x 90cm in range of colours, £79, Cult Furniture,

Weighted blanket, from £60, John Lewis & Partners

Bedroom lighting options: ‘Antique’ brass metal conical floor lamp £250, ‘Task’ shiny nickel floor lamp £200, ‘Task’ shiny nickel table lamp £100, ‘Antique’ brass metal conical wall light £85, Harvey Norman,

Weighted blankets hit the high street


ohn Lewis & Partners has launched its first weighted blanket. Made from pure cotton and filled with weighted glass beads, it aims to create a reassuringly cosy feel providing a cosseting, even pressure across your body as you sleep. The blanket can also be wrapped around shoulders, across your lap or legs to help reduce restlessness and create a gentle, comforting feeling of relaxation. Unna Patel, Partner & Filled Bedding Buy-

er at John Lewis & Partners says: “Investing in products which improve daily wellbeing and quality of sleep is a growing priority for many of our customers so we have developed this product to offer a new tool for relaxation. “We recommend customers select a blanket weight that is around 10% of their body weight so we have created six different weighted blankets of differing weights for customers to choose from.”


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

The neoclassical style and the colour white served as the starting point of this interior. White cornice mouldings create a beautiful contrast with colourful modern furniture and add a certain cultural context. The wood panelling gives a French allure

Small apartment packs a punch with award-winning makeover


esigner Oksana Salberg-Vachnadze from the prestigious O2 Design Moscow Studio won the Interior Design Apartments category in the International Property Awards with this project. The clients, a married couple with a teenage daughter, wanted a modern interior. The designer initially created a monochrome palette, but then they asked to add

The apartment’s planning is simple and logical: it consists of three rooms with a big living room and a space that combines the kitchen with the dining room, and two bedrooms — master bedroom and the daughter’s bedroom.

a little colour. The result is an interior with a striking colour palette, stylish furniture, and impressive contemporary artwork. The luxurious and striking furniture, upholstery, lighting, and accessories from Covet House brands like Boca Do Lobo, Delightfull, Brabbu, Koket, Maison Valentina, Circu, Luxxu, Essential Home, Rug’Society, Pullcast and Foogo complemented the overall aesthetic and architecture of the apartment.

In the living room area, the colour scheme of the space is bright accents against the white background. The stylish rug with a print imitating stone is a link between furniture items: the sofa, the bright yellow armchair and the coffee table with an openwork metal base, with tempered smoked glass resting on the polished stainless steel base. This simple yet refined piece from Boca Do Lobo blends delicacy with its contrasting strong character.

Aquarius table from Boca Do Lobo A bit provocative and almost eclectic, this living area shows how well the colours of the modern movement fit into a contemporary style. The floor lamp Duke, from Delightfull, pays tribute to the jazz musician Duke Ellington with its retrostyling, brass arms and white shades


1 November 2019 | Belfast Telegraph


An ergonomic kitchen with an island is stylish and colour neutral. It is deliberately not supposed to stand out in an open plan living room/ dining room/kitchen area. The breakfast table is neutral as well. The bright accent of the kitchen is confined to the yellow chairs.

Next to the living area, is the equally masterful dining room. A perfect symbiosis of styles and colors, the single space is divided into two areas by a console with art deco table lamps. An unusual chandelier, contemporary artwork, and velvet curtains create an atmosphere of aristocratic chic. The Botti chandelier is the perfect midcentury lighting design, inspired by the American trumpet player. Handmade in brass and boasting a sophisticated gold-plated finish, this modern ceiling light is the right match for the art deco table lamps.

The white color palette and wall mouldings make the hallway visually bigger. The Brubeck Wall Lamp from Delightfull is a statement piece on its own.

Botti Chandelier

Wall and ceiling moldings and herringbone parquet flooring are inspired by the Paris impressions. A Venetian mirror and contemporary console are one of the examples of how effortlessly objects coexist in this interior. The handmade mirror is done in a rare, almost lost technique of mirror carving. This object is unique and can be passed down to the next generation.

The Sinuous Patina Console from Boca Do Lobo is handcrafted in mahogany with a high gloss black lacquer finish and top coated in polished brass

An elegant mise en scene in the entrance hall: the console, the painting, monochrome vases. The console with a geometric print is designed by Oksana SalbergVachnadze herself.

The customized Galliano Wall Lamp from Delightfull produces a unique lighting effect when the light is being cast through its pipes.


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

In the master bedroom, the pale turquoise of the Tiffany box served as the starting point of this room’s colour palette. Crimson, red and grey objects were chosen to accompany it. Mirrors play a major role in the bedroom’s décor: there is a mirror door slope, a mirror above the bed and nightstands that seem to slowly melt into the air.

The bedroom, view from the doorway. A light hexagonal lamp accentuates the shape of the bay window where there is a tea table with armchairs, the color of which matches the color of the walls to make the room appear more spacious.

The daughter’s room is colourful and has a comfortable lounge area with pillows in the bay window. The study area is compact and consists of a small elegant desk and an office chair.

The bathroom is designed with a deliberate luxury feel with a marble panel, black freestanding bathtub and a contrasting black and white floor pattern. The unique marble pattern in the bathroom resembles the river current. Copper and gold accessories complete the picture.


1 November 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Create a Mindful home Why Noteworthy styling


Give greenery a stylish new home with our modern vases you wouldn’t find at your gran’s house. Handmade by artisans in Vietnam, crafted in fair working conditions, with fair pay and supported educational programmes. Mio vases, £50

ake a step back from the digital, the noisy and the overwhelming and embrace Mindful living. Building a calm, peaceful and sustainable home reduces anxiety and encourages a love of the little moments. The team at have curated a collection for those who want to take stock of their lives and chart a sustainable direction. The Relax fine art print features a modern nostalgic illustration of a woman relaxing in the sea. Illustrated in house and printed in London, prints are kept personal and handmade in Great Britain, from original illustrations to printing. Relax fine art print, £22

Baskets weave a story

Heavy 100% linen with vintage wash cushion covers have a soft colour palette with on-trend fringing. A fresh attitude for any season. Linen cushion cover, £50

Sustainable, renewable and recyclable, cork is harvested once every nine years without felling trees. These ceramic teapots are made in Portugal, where cork oak forests are the lungs of the environment, the economy and the society of Mediterranean countries. Cork and ceramic teapot, £36

Wxy’s hand poured, UK made candles contain no animal derived materials or parabens. For clean burning results, they use a 100% plant-based wax, which is palm free. Designed to evoke states of mind and unspoken sensations that only smell can communicate. The aesthetic is clear and simple, looks good in any room and lets the smells do the talking. With each purchase of a wxy. product, 3% of profits go to a charitable organisation or project. Warm Musk & Black Vanilla 7oz candle with 40 hour burn time, £20

This extra long towel takes up little space when folded and dries up fast - perfect for the gym. Enhanced with a wrap functionality, this towel is a part of Noteworthy's Wellness series. Towel To Wrap Around You - Stone Rose Pink, £39


thical homeware brand The Basket Room flies the flag for sustainability with a range of beautiful baskets and home accessories handwoven in natural, ethically-sourced materials such as sisal, jute and banana leaf fibres. Un-dyed baskets, handwoven from natural grasses and locally-grown fibres, work seamlessly all over the home and complement practically every aesthetic – from Scandi to Boho, minimalist to maximalist.

Beautifully supple sisal baskets hand woven in a range of neutral hues, natural stripes and rich, earthy colours. The weaving groups who make these baskets enjoy total creative freedom in their work, weaving patterns of their choice using a colour palette reliant entirely on 100% natural dyes. Available in a range of sizes, our unique baskets can be used as planters and flower pots, desk tidies and fruit bowls, from £31

choose hemp?


ollowing increased customer demand for more sustainable products, Soak&Sleep has added a range of hemp products to its bedding collection. The range includes pillow cases, duvet covers and fitted and flat sheets in all sizes from single to superking in a neutral ‘chalk’ colourway, with prices from £30. Hemp’s sustainable credentials are high. It grows in abundance and produces double the fibre yield of cotton per hectare. It also uses 30% less water than cotton to grow and 25% less water in the production process. The plant is naturally repellent to pests meaning less pesticides are needed to grow it successfully. Plus it returns 60-70% of nutrients to the soil, keeping the land better fertilised for the following year’s crop. In addition to this, when hemp is made into a fabric it is up to eight times stronger than linen and is resistant to UV light so it holds colour better, meaning these items will last longer than any other natural fibre. As a natural fibre hemp is good at absorbing moisture and heat and it’s a great temperature regulator, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. What’s more, it has anti-bacterial properties, which means it’s also appropriate for allergy sufferers. And whilst hemp might conjure up visions of hippy-style fabrics, this unique fabric creates a very elegant look reminiscent of Irish Linens with a smooth-to-the-touch feel. Commenting on the new range, Sally Hancox, Buying Manager said: “Being environmentally conscious doesn’t mean compromising on luxury. Our hemp range isn’t like you’d imagine, it’s super soft, smooth but with a textured hand-feel - similar in texture to our French Linen but even softer, with a superb drape. It’s a true super-fibre and is exceptional at regulating your body temperature, helping you to sleep comfortably all year round - sleeping green never felt so good!”

100% hemp standard housewife set of two pillow cases, £30, Soak&Sleep,

Elegant, eco homewares for everyday living. Drawing inspiration from nature, Noteworthy create products that evoke the spirit of coastal living and bring a natural sense of balance into the home. This is the perfect bowl to keep your breakfast fresh and your dinner warm. Cork and ceramic bowl in storm grey, £10

Perfectly fitting for minimal Scandinavian homes, industrial lofts and sophisticated tonal decors. These earthy coloured lamps have a simplistic, timeless design for understated beauty

Striking hung alone on a wall and stunning displayed in a group, these shallow baskets, made in Zimbabwe, also make for practical tableware. Wall Platters in natural fibres, from £23


Belfast Telegraph | 1 November 2019

‘Wee can on the coast’

is a roomy home from home By Maureen Coleman


Siobhan McGuigan and her ‘wee can on the coast’

he may have visited many exotic destinations with her high-flying job in business travel, but for Glengormley woman Siobhan McGuigan, there’s nowhere quite as magical as her much loved ‘wee can on the coast’. That’s the nickname she’s fondly attributed to the static caravan she bought two years ago. The Ballycastle bolthole has become her second home and the place she heads to once the working week is over. Perched on a cliff-top and looking out towards Rathlin Island, the caravan is a haven of peace and tranquillity for Siobhan and her rescue dog JJ, although she regularly hosts visits from her friends and family members too. And with all mod cons, enough space to house eight people and its enviable position at Atlantic View caravan site, Siobhan, Operations Manager EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) at Global Business Travel Association, says it’s the best investment she’s ever made. “Home doesn’t necessarily have to be bricks and mortar,” she says. “As the cliché goes ‘home is where the heart is’ and where you feel happy and secure. “I have a house in Glengormley, which I love, but there’s nothing quite like sitting on the decking of my caravan, with a glass of wine in my hand, looking out towards Rathlin Island. I can see two of the three lighthouses on the island and it’s pretty magical watching the lights twinkling sporadically. There’s something about that which makes me feel quite safe. “To be honest, it’s even cosier when it’s raining. I curl up with JJ, stick on Netflix

Siobhan relaxing with JJ The kitchen is fashionably black

and chill out. I’ve always loved the sea so the site is pretty perfect. It’s like a play house but with every amenity I could wish for and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.” Having worked in travel and tourism throughout her career, Siobhan was always on the go, flying frequently and spending time dashing around airports. She often travelled alone, enjoying the freedom of the solo holiday. But two years ago, after a break to Spain ended with an over-priced taxi fare and a long flight delay, she began to consider the possibility of having somewhere closer to home where she could escape whenever she wanted. Siobhan made inquiries about buying a static caravan and several friends who had beaten her to it, told her it was a brilliant idea. She travelled up to Atlantic View and fell in love with the site and her ‘wee can’, though with three bedrooms, a living room, shower room, toilet and kitchen, it’s a lot roomier than it sounds. “I’ve a double bedroom and two twins so the caravan fits eight people comfortably,” she says. “It’s got satellite television, central heating, lovely bedding, cosy throws. I’ve even bought Jo Malone hand products! “I keep clothes there and my make-up and hair straighteners so everything is really convenient for me. It’s just like a home from home and is so easy to get to. I just jump in the car whenever I feel like and because I work from home, I can work at the caravan too. “My friends all love coming to visit. It’s so lovely having them here. In fact, it’s easier to get them to come to Ballycastle for dinner, than to Glengormley. But I don’t really blame them. It does feel like you’re in a different world; that you’re getting away from it all.” A keen art lover, Siobhan has given a nod to the locality, filling the caravan with paintings and crafts from the town. She says the Ballycastle community and other caravan owners at Atlantic View have all been very welcoming and made her feel right at home. “It’s not a financial investment,” Siobhan says. “I’m not going to make any money out of it. But it’s definitely an investment in my mental health. “I’ve got the best of both worlds. I can be on my own with JJ or I can have people down to stay. Everyone’s who visited loves the caravan. It’s just so relaxing. When I drive into Ballycastle, I feel my shoulders relaxing and I have a smile on my face. “I ended up staying for longer than I’d intended to recently and said to a friend ‘I’d better think about going home’. My friend said ‘but where is home? You spend so much time at the caravan’. And that’s true. I’m very lucky to have two places to call home, even if one of them is a few feet off the ground.”

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