Love Your Home Winter 2020 Magazine ROI

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Bi-annual publication – Winter 2020

Republic of Ireland local edition



Creating A Characterful Home On A Budget


Finding Your Kitchen Style


Bathroom Inspiration


A Tropical Hideaway


Queen Of Creative DIY On Restyling Her Home The Thrifty Way


House Plants Inspiration


Little Oaks Cookery School Recipes


Where To Start With Your Extension Project


Chirstmas Gifts Inspiration


Contemporary Update For Dublin Kitchen

If you are looking for advice, information and inspiration on home improvements and interiors then you are in the right place.

Feeling run down by the lockdown? It’s time to take the bull by the horns, pick up your tools and spruce up the house! Love Your Home is here to help you get cracking on that DIY project you’ve been putting on the long finger. To get you started, we have loads of Irish homes to draw inspiration from. In fact, our extension, renovation and garden projects are full of tips and advice from homeowners just like you. We also have a selection of articles that show you how to get the look you want on a budget, with inspiration pages to give you a feel of what different parts of your home could look like. And of course, now is the time to get into the Christmas spirit too!


Bedroom Inspiration


Kitchen Inspiration

It’s no secret that Irish craftspeople have been especially hard hit by the pandemic so what better way to support them than to buy local? Get your stockings filled, or find a unique gift for that special someone, with the very best products local artists and foodies have to offer. (Oh and our mouth-watering recipes will give you ideas of how to use some of these fabulous products…)


Laid-Back Style For City Dwelling


Simple Elegance For Blackrock Sitting Room


Love Your Home

So this festive season, ditch the multinational websites. All you need to do is shop online, but local. Love Your Home and go native! Enjoy the magazine

5 Ways To Use Vintage In Your Kitchen

Join us on Facebook and Instagram for inspirational articles and special offers throughout the year.

Editorial Team


Astrid Madsen Astrid Madsen is the editor of SelfBuild & Improve Your Home magazine. She previously held the same role in an Irish trade publication, before that she worked at the National Standards Authority of Ireland. She graduated with a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University in New York and holds an MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Bursatiles in Madrid. France of origin, she now lives in Co Laois where she taken on the task of renovating a listed building. Email:

Claire Savage Claire Savage is a copywriter, journalist and author based near the Giant’s Causeway. With more than 10 years’ experience in the media, Claire previously worked as a newspaper reporter in Coleraine before taking up a sub-editing role in Belfast. Having written for various newspapers and magazines, including the Belfast Telegraph and Culture NI, Claire set up her copywriting business, CS Editorial, in 2014. She is the author of three novels for 8-12 year-olds and hosts the Giant’s Causeway Book Club for the National Trust. Email:

Gary Dobbin

Hilary Justin is the head chef at Little Oaks Cookery School. She is passionate about food and loves to experiment with fresh, seasonal produce and strives to support local producers. When planning cooking sessions Little Oaks Cookery School tries to cater for all tastes. She finds feedback from students invaluable. Cooking sessions are totally tailored to suit the needs of individuals and Hilary is constantly developing recipes to suit the needs of expanding families with varying requirements, allergies and tastes. Hilary is AGA/Rayburn-trained. There is a choice of demos only or hands-on cooking sessions which always conclude with participants eating the creations.

Before setting up in vintage and antiques, Jill worked in magazine publishing and marketing in New York, San Francisco and London. She returned to Belfast in 2007 and launched the vintage and upcycling brand ReFound shortly after. Initially using the medium of a ‘pop-up shop’ to show and sell the upcycled furniture and interior decorations, it became a fully fledged shop in 2012. Collaborating with On The Square Emporium, her husband Justin’s antique shop, they now have one of the most intriguing interior shops in Northern Ireland! It boasts an eclectic mix of upcycled & bespoke furniture, antiques, vintage and salvage; movie props and bric a brac. Jill & Justin have assisted commercial fit-outs, set designs, home interior styling, food markets & distilleries. Jill has written and presented talks on the area of upcycling, pop-up shops and vintage interiors.

Katrina Carroll is the vivacious personality behind Vintage Irish Kat which has taken Instagram by storm and more recently TikTok. Katrina has kept us all entertained and uplifted during lockdown. We have joined Katrina building her Tiki Bar, making a shelving unit from hula hoops, trying to paint slabs and the doorstep in the rain and learning to roller stake with her young niece. Having received widespread recognition for her interior design work, Katrina is a former winner at the House & Home Awards, as well as a Finalist in the UK Interior Awards and a Home of the Year Contestant. Kat is keen to encourage others to upcycle and reuse. She has a passion all things vintage and loves that upcycling gives us all the opportunity to create something special for our homes at low cost. With over 20 years’ experience in retail, Aine Mulvey is currently Retail Director at Lacey’s, a growing company that supplies tiles and bathrooms to hundreds of customers yearly. From working with Interior designers, architects and DIY’ers alike, there’s not much happening in the world of bathrooms that she doesn’t know about.

Katrina has been extra busy during lockdown setting up her own online shop @prelovedbyshayandjo on Instagram and Depop. Here, her love of vintage and preloved items continues. She inspires the wearing of and promotes sustainable clothing, buying preloved items, thrifting and dressing OTT!

vintageirishkat & prelovedbyshayandjo

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Hollywood Mirrors, Vanity Tables & More! Visit our Showroom - Junction 7 M4 Unit G5, Maynooth Busines Campus 01 629 3791

Creating A Characterful Home On A Budget Having spent many years living and working in America, where she bought old properties, did them up and then sold them on, Margaret (Maggie) Brady has a flair for creating beautiful upcycled interiors.


ince relocating back to Northern Ireland, she’s since worked her magic with various new clients after setting up her interiors business, Pearl Redesigns, five years ago. As such, she’s quickly gained a reputation for being the person to go to if you’re in search of a vintage gem. “When I was doing interior design in America I always used to look at trends in places like Ballard Designs and Pottery Barn, then I’d recreate them on a budget, sourcing things from charity shops,” she says. “When I came back here I started fixing up pieces of furniture for people. They asked me for more and one thing led to another until I eventually started the business. Maggie has subsequently used her talents to transform her own home in Newry, which she recently renovated and redesigned. With her eye for a second-hand bargain and her skill in breathing new life into pre-loved furniture, the result is an almost completely thrifted interior with a classy, elegant edge.

Reinvented kitchen space

Extending the back of her property during the renovations, Maggie relocated the kitchen to this new space and gutted the entire house,


although she retained some of its original features throughout. Keen to fit it out with pre-loved furniture, she then went online to see what she could find and managed to buy a complete set of kitchen cabinetry for just £550, including appliances. “A lot of people sell their kitchens,” she says. “I went onto Gumtree and there was a solid maple kitchen for sale. I bought it and then got together with my joiner and we reconfigured the whole layout. The end result is what we came up with. I had to make extra doors but all the work was about £3,000 in total.” This work included restoring the original black granite worktops, with Maggie purchasing an additional piece of white granite to create an island unit, complete with two stools sourced from auction. The island counter complements the Alabaster White shade used on the surrounding cabinets, with the paint sourced from well-known Irish brand, Colourtrend. The island itself, meanwhile, provides a decadent contrast with its rich Radicchio tone (a Farrow & Ball colour created with Colourtrend paint). “I painted it all myself,” says Maggie. “I like to use a mixture of different paints and I matched the island colour to my sofa in the living area, which was reupholstered. It was all about tying everything in together. Everything I had from America went into this kitchen too.” While the appliances were included with the cabinetry, Maggie bought her own cooker from Currys as she says, “you’re better off putting in something new when it comes to stoves and cookers.” She chose an extra-wide model, reminiscent of those in the US, which tend to be bigger and are what she was used to. Similar in form to an Aga it provided a cheaper alternative while achieving the same look and fitting in with her overall budget. New electrics were also installed in the room. “There’s good storage in the kitchen,” adds Maggie. “I don’t have any wasted space in the house at all.” The kitchen wall tiles are in a sage green tone and come from the Splendours Green (with crackle glaze) range at Irwin Tiles & Hardwood Flooring in Castleblayney. Meanwhile, the kitchen doors are painted in a fetching blue-black – the Dressage shade from Colourtrend paint – while the doorframes are painted a contrasting white.

Statement wall for open-plan living area

With an open-plan design, the kitchen space flows into a comfy living area, which is separate from the main living room in the house. “Everything blends together,” says Maggie. “There’s a very different look in the kitchen living area to the front living room. For example, there’s a curved wall in the kitchen living area with black Ralph Lauren wallpaper, which is really rich looking. I wanted to make a statement with that. There’s also a coffee


table here which I upcycled and gave a distressed French finish in gold.” The curved feature wall with its sprawling cream roses on black background does indeed make a statement and it’s simply adorned with a large round clock in brushed brass. The black tones also appear elsewhere in the space, with floor-length black curtains, as well as a black lampshade and a piano which hails all the way from the streets of New York. “I found the piano at the side of the road in New York years ago and brought it back home,” says Maggie. “The owners had left it out with a note; they wanted it to go to a good home. We’ve had it now for about 15 years. I sanded it back for this room and then painted it up, but left the front more natural looking. It’s all about knowing how much to work on something. You have to be sympathetic to the piece.” The main light in this living space has a brass effect, mirroring the fixture which hangs over the dining area. Meanwhile, a vibrant rug in front of the sofa is one Maggie has owned for 20 years and its mixture of red, black, green and gold in a trellis pattern is a colour-scheme which flows throughout the house. “The house has a theme within the patterns,” says Maggie. “I’m not afraid of mixing colours and patterns.”

Decadent look for front living room

Moving on to the main, front living room, this space has a beautiful brick fireplace and woodburning stove, which were in the house when Maggie bought it and reminded her of her home in America. “I usually start off a design by looking at one particular thing that I want to include in the room,” she says. “I always say to people, find something you really love and build the décor around that. I think the sofa was the starting point here for me. “I bought the set – including a threeseater sofa and two armchairs – from a second-hand shop in Holywood, Co Down for £450 and then had it reupholstered in navy velvet. So, for me, this room started with navy velvet.” To one side of the sofa is a decorative feature wall which shows off the original wood that lined the interior of the property when Maggie took ownership. While the rest of the wood has since been removed and the house re-plastered, she retained this one wall and painted it with Porters Paints to add character. “I gave it an old chippy, distressed finish, building up the textures and layers,” she says. “There are actually four different colours mixed onto that wall and the mirrors hanging on it are from Scarva Auctions.” These oval mirrors continue the brass theme running throughout the rooms, while


one of the pictures alongside them features peacocks, which complements the similarly peacock-feather colour-scheme surrounding it. “That peacock picture came from an antique shop in Portadown,” says Maggie. “I love peacocks and I love navy and teal tones, along with reds, golds, blues and greens.” Below the wall décor, sits a wide mahogany dresser which also hails from Scarva Auctions and cost just £40. Upon it is an assortment of items which Maggie bought at various flea markets while living in America. Maggie is also a fan of toile, which appears throughout the interior of the house in various guises – sometimes on plates, as in the kitchen, or on curtains, as per the living room. “Toile depicts old country scenes, usually of women and men,” she says. “I particularly like pastoral toile and I’ve used it throughout the house in different ways and in different colours. I went onto to find it and discovered this American linen which I made the curtains and cushions from. It’s full of colours and has palm trees on it as well. There’s sort of an Asian vibe to it.” The curtains are fringed in pink, with creamy tie-backs holding them away from the window. Both the fringing and tie-backs are from Mad About Fabrics in Belfast. Adding light to the room is a chandelier with large teardrop crystals and bronze candle lights, arranged around a central bulb. This was bought new from McAllisters Interiors in Culloville and has an antique bronze finish, creating the classier look Maggie prefers, while complementing that French country vibe from the toile.

Thrifted items add style to family bathroom

With a large family bathroom, Maggie decided to fill this space with an upcycled double vanity unit, complete with two separate enamel basins. Converting a sizable mahogany sideboard with inbuilt oval mirror, which she’d actually kept in the hallway of her last home, she added storage by getting a joiner to cut drawers into the unit. A wall-mounted lampshade light on either side of the vanity area completes the look, with both lights bought new back in America and rewired to suit Maggie’s Newry home. Opposite the vanity unit is the toilet with a high cistern and chain-pull, adding to the overall vintage look of the room, while a large roll-top bath sits to its right. “I was searching for a fireplace for a client and saw this claw-foot tub,” says Maggie. “It was grey and there was a tiny bit of rust around the drain. I told the owner I didn’t need a bathtub but then called him back later and bought it for £200. “I painted the outside myself in a Rich Copper shade from Porter Paints. There’s actually copper in the paint. I went with a dark colour because I knew I had that picture


(hanging above it) – which was £17 from Scarva Auctions – and I wanted them to tie in with each other. It’s all about knowing how to put looks together.” The picture hangs on a section of wall painted in the Colourtrend shade, Sweet Caper, which is also used behind the vanity unit, while the ‘railing’ between it and the tiles is actually an old picture rail, painted in Dressage – the same blue-black shade used in the kitchen. The remainder of the bathroom walls are tiled in rectangular white gloss tiles, while the floor comprises black and white Carrera Hexagon Marble tiles arranged in a mosaic pattern. “I knew I wanted mosaic tiles so I searched and found this tile supplier,” says Maggie. “I usually ask these places if they have anything leftover in the back rooms. They had boxes of this white mosaic in Carrera Marble and some in solid black. I paid £700 for all the tiles – wall and floor. I then got the tiler to cut

the black ones in half to make my main floor look like a rug.” On the other side of the toilet, opposite the bath, is the shower, with a balloon-back antique chair with original black leather seat beside it, which Maggie sourced from auction. The chair was treated for woodworm but is otherwise as she found it. “I teach upcycling workshops as well,” says Maggie. “When you buy old things you get the quality but it’s all about knowing how to reuse things to show them at their best. I would be known for sourcing items – I go to the auctions and charity shops and I have a lot of contacts, so people often come to ask me to find certain things for them.” With her own house now suitably filled with original, upcycled pieces and the interior transformed on a budget, Maggie is more than happy with the end result. She adds: “Good design really doesn’t have to cost a fortune.”






WARNING: YOUR HOME IS AT RISK IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP PAYMENTS ON A MORTGAGE OR ANY OTHER LOAN SECURED ON IT. Warning: If you do not keep up your repayments you may lose your home. Warning: If you do not meet the repayments on your loan, your account will go into arrears. This may affect your credit rating, which may limit your ability to access credit in the future. Warning: You may have to pay charges if you pay off a fixed-rate loan early. Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is an authorised agent and servicer of AIB Mortgage Bank u.c. in relation to the origination and servicing of mortgage loans and mortgages. Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. and AIB Mortgage Bank u.c. are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

A typical €100,000, 20 year mortgage for an Owner Occupier Residential Property with a ‘Green’ Fixed rate of 2.25% and Annual Percentage Rate of Charge (APRC) 2.57%, this includes 60 monthly fixed repayments of €517.61 and 180 variable payments of €536.13. If the interest rate does not vary (based on today’s equivalent variable Rate of 2.75%) during the term of the mortgage, the total cost of credit i.e. the total amount repayable less than the amount of the loan would be €27,560 (inclusive of €215.00 valuation report fees and security release fee of €60.00). The total amount repayable would be €127,560. The effect of a 1% increase in the prevailing variable rate (2.75%) will add €38.19 to the 180 monthly variable repayments. Available to new and existing customers. Breakage fees may apply in the case of existing customers. Lending criteria, terms and conditions apply.

Finding Your Kitchen Style The choice is between traditional and modern


itchen showrooms can be an overwhelming place to be – what style of kitchen is the right one for your home? Do you choose from the current trends or opt for what you consider to be a timeless classic? The choice is a personal one but research goes a long way towards helping you make up your mind. You will no doubt end up visiting at least three or four showrooms, and all of this legwork will pay off in the end. Because the cliché that the kitchen is at the heart of the home holds true, the common approach is to have it fit in with the overall style of your house. Whether your project is a new build or a refurbishment, in terms of kitchen style the building itself will dictate the mood. Striking contemporary house designs will often benefit from a more minimalist kitchen than period properties.

Therefore a classical panelled door might suit a period Georgian house (traditional); a Shaker style might suit a cottage (traditional); or a plain wood panelled style with integrated handles would suit a 1970s bungalow (recent-modern) and so on. But there are exceptions to every rule whereby classical homes can marry well with contemporary kitchen designs and vice versa. The general rule of the thumb is to use design features or accessories as a visual cue linking the two styles. If you are in the lucky position to be building new, finalise your kitchen design before you submit for planning permission. This is important because knowing what layout you really want, and how much counterspace you need, dictates where the walls will go. You don’t want to end up with a room that’s half a meter too small to fit in your dream kitchen. Think of the amount of time you will end up spending in this room. You will be

Because the cliché that the kitchen is at the heart of the home holds true, the common approach is to have it fit in with the overall style of your house.


kicking yourself if you can’t fit everything you need in it. Choosing on the style early on will help you lay it out fully. For a new build it’s vital to know where you really want that sink (and all the other pipework the plumber needs to know about early on) and lights, oven and any other electrical requirements. Professional advice in the form of an interior designer, architectural designer or kitchen supplier will go a long way towards helping you nail down the specifics. They will also be able to help in terms of the style that’s right for the shape of the room and the house characteristics. There are many terms people will use to describe kitchen styles, from ‘eclectic’ which denotes a mix of styles to ‘country’ which denotes a rustic feel. What it all boils down to is a contrast of two types, ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’. What kitchen suppliers tend to refer to as traditional usually means pre-twentieth century design versus the contemporary styles emerging from the post-war period. Traditional styles can hark back to nostalgia for kitchens past; the warm fuzzy feeling of a grandmother’s kitchen that may or may not ever have existed. They might also suggest feelings of country or rural living as opposed to urban. Popular materials for traditional doors styles, from Shaker and tongue and groove to in-frame and large square panel doors, are solid timber (pine, oak, maple) sometimes with hand painted finishes (often from a palette of warm creams and greys). Traditional kitchen styles embrace decorative elements such as ornamental plate racks, fretwork, dresser shelves and pilasters.

Traditional kitchens are often the realm of Belfast sinks and free standing range cookers. On the other hand modern style kitchens are chiefly concerned with function: with no decorative elements or dust collectors included. Doors are usually plain which aim to complement the high-tech appliances. For doors premium manmade composite materials are popular with either high gloss lacquered or heavy matt finishes. Flush doors with no panel mean they are practical and easier to clean than ornamental, traditional styles. However glossier styles can be demanding in terms of how often you have to wipe them down. An emphasis on manmade materials for

worktops and panels, with glass and metal effects on doors and appliances, look more towards an industrial aesthetic as seen in the commercial kitchens of restaurants and hotels. During the Celtic Tiger period the kitchen industry in Ireland boomed. In a country not renowned for its hot weather American style fridge freezers with their built-in ice dispensers are now commonplace, while expensive granite became more associated with countertops than headstones. Irish kitchens moved to modernity with great speed; today contemporary styles focused on function and low maintenance are now the most prized.


VISIT: 14 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2 | SHOP: CONTACT: |0862258162 / 0872165468 | FOLLOW: OPENING HOURS: Monday - Saturday - 11am-7pm, Sunday 12 noon - 5pm FEATURED: Merrion 3 seater sofa €1,199 , Vase lamp €120, Cushions from €30, Wool throw €65

Optional Design Services

Love your home MICHAEL O’REILLY MGLDA Civil Engineer & Garden Designer Design your garden! +44 7730 032018 (UK) | |

+44 7730 032018 |



Leading industry expert, Aine Mulvey, gives us an overview of the latest bathroom products, how they could work in your bathroom and how to incorporate them into your design.

Aine Mulvey Retail Director at Lacey’s @laceysshowroom

Kingsbury Cloakroom Henley Blue: Short on space? HiB Novum’s Kingsbury Cloakroom range offers classic styling and ample storage ideal for smaller bathroom spaces. Available in Classic White, Dove Grey and Henley Blue, you can enjoy a timeless and luxurious finish in even the most compact of spaces.

SONAS signature Matt Black 16

We all love the warmth and character of wooden floors but hate the hassle of care and maintenance. Wood effect tiles are the perfect solution! Offering a unique opportunity to incorporate natural textiles into your bathroom – something that would be impossible with natural wood flooring, that is susceptible to water damage. Available at Branches in Dublin and Naas.

Peppermint Grove is a luxurious collection of candles, diffusers and bath & body products which are hand poured in a highly polished custom-designed vessel that is unique to their brand. Treat yourself!



Bathrooms SONAS Aspect Black Trellis Wet Room Panels offer a chic and stylish look to your bathroom. This panel works beautifully with a slim-line shower tray or directly onto your tiled wet room floor

Tiles with the appearance of marble are ideal for creating a space full of elegance. Using porcelain or ceramic as the alternative also means low maintenance, and low cost. Available in large format through


Characterised by simplicity, minimalism, and simple accents, the SONAS Bathrooms Scandinavian range of furniture combines design and functionality to create a luxurious ambient space for your bathroom. The range – consisting of three models, featured here is the Fjord - designed with a palette of contemporary matt finishes and a range of coloured handle options which add the perfect finishing touch to help create a uniquely pure and personal space for you to indulge in.

The Sunset Collection from A porcelain tile, in 4 different shades are supplied around the country through Tileanna. A dĂŠcor tile to match can be used to create a stunning feature wall for contrast. Contact Tileanna for stockists nationwide


A Tropical Hideaway With a busy work and family life, the owners of this rather quirky garden in south Dublin wanted to create a space where they could relax and unwind amongst nature. Having previously worked with Damien Keane Garden Design on transforming the larger part of garden, the team was invited back to work their magic on this smaller, triangular side space.


e were given a budget of €30,000 to create a semiprivate space, which would be very laidback and tranquil, within an established larger garden,” says Damien. “The space needed to be free-flowing and informal but also contemporary and usable throughout the year for entertaining friends and for relaxing amongst the plants.” The brief also asked that the garden have three access points and the client was keen for the design to include a lot detail when it came to the planting. As one of Ireland’s leading landscape and garden designers, Damien has years of experience in creating bespoke outside spaces for a wide range of clients. While one half of the business focusses on larger landscaping projects, the other side is dedicated to cultivating smaller yards and city spaces like this one – or as Damien calls them, ‘Keanespaces’.

Creating the concept

After visiting the plot, Damien returned to the client with a concept plan, including a sketch plan for his team, who complete all aspects of their projects, from start to finish. “The client already knew our style – very soft and laidback,” he says. “It was all very lush and tropical so there was no lavender or hydrangea included in the plans.” What they did include, however, were


The space needed to be free-flowing and informal but also contemporary and usable throughout the year for entertaining friends and for relaxing amongst the plants. designs for a serpentine-shaped grassy path, an elliptical pool with space for a glass art installation behind it, and a secret hideaway area for relaxing with a quiet coffee. The plans also featured a patio, along with ornamental urns and brickwork hidden amongst the plants and a rich mix of shrubbery, grasses, Bamboo and tropical species to fill out the triangular space. “We designed and built this garden specifically for this space and its climate,” says Damien. “Each client is different and getting to know them is also a really big part of my job as we pride ourselves on creating gardens that are individual to each client and their brief. “The planting was very detailed, with lots of architectural specimens included, such as Tree Ferns, Trachycarpus Palms, Gnarled Olives and Bananas. Fleshy Canna and Hostas are also contrasted nicely with drifts of ornamental grasses, Fennel and Salvias. One of the trickier aspects to the project was in merging the existing garden with the new, taking into account the shape and varying temperatures of the plot – approximately 450sqm. “Some of this patch of garden is in deep, deep shade and some is in the blistering sun,” says Damien. “So it was all about melding that together. Lots of rooms in the house look out onto it as well, so making the design look seamless was the really hard part. “We used an exuberant style of planting, which is really our signature style. This allowed for the perfect melding of the older mature planting into the new scheme along the walls, as well as helping to soften the house and patio. The free-flowing style of the planting along with the installation of serpentine lawn paths helped to counteract the triangular site and harsh lines of the house.”

Sumptuous borders and secret hideaways

Entering the garden via the first side entrance,


It’s really important to use white properly within a design. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount - just enough to break up the more dominant colours. the grassy path is bordered by a rich variety of plants, including delicate Salvias with their glossy oval leaves and cheerful flowers. These long-lasting blooms are complemented by a mixture of grasses, along with Agapanthus (African Lily), whose trumpet-shaped dusky blue flowers and bright green leaves give a graceful appearance to the garden. The species planted in and around the pool are those which grow best in the damp and shade, says Damien, again, tailored to this specific slice of garden. Meanwhile, the colour is calmed by the cool white of Cow Parsley, which grows just back a little from the path and towards a secluded spot behind the pool, complete with swinging seat. Nestled amongst the plants, this extra-special space is ideal for relaxing, with access through the foliage itself. The idea, says Damien, was to create an immersive effect within the garden and to get people into nature without the need for manmade paths. “We created a cool mini hideaway by the edge of the pool with a swinging seat nestled amongst aromatic Umbelliferae and beside a large gnarled Olive, framed between two Bananas – a great spot for a coffee,” he says.

Quirky water feature

Looking out from the house towards the elliptical pool, whose small gusher feature brings an element of drama to the space, vibrant colours add further depth in the form of tall Red Hot Pokers. Their spicy orange colour appears throughout this section to “build things up and give that vibrancy,” says Damien, while being suitably “cooled down with the whites.” “It’s really important to use white properly within a design,” he adds. “It doesn’t have to be a huge amount – just enough to break up the more dominant colours.” The pool itself, meanwhile, was installed to break up those straight lines of the garden. The design for this is again bespoke for the space. “This part of the garden was also designed


so the double doors from the kitchen would be centred over the grass path which leads away from the pool,” says Damien. “It also doubles as a great reflection pool when the gusher is turned off and has been designed so that a glass or piece of sculpture can stand behind it.”

Aerial aspects

Also factored into the overall garden design is the effect of the space when observed from the house. Indeed, in days gone by, says Damien, gardens were more especially designed for homeowners to look down upon, so layout

and the aerial view were key when creating them. With this in mind and, considering the Irish weather means we often spend more time inside than we’d prefer, this space can be fully appreciated both inside and out. Another trick of the trade which Damien likes to deploy where possible – with permission from his clients, of course – is planting right up against a house’s windows to create a ‘landscape window’. People inside can still see out, but their vision is filtered by whatever species is growing up against the panes. It’s also important, he adds, to ensure that the space looks good all-year-round. With so many

species planted, aftercare is also crucial and this is something his team takes care of for this particular client (and many others), ensuring the Keanespaces retain their vibrancy.

Lush planting for sun-soaked space

While the side of garden furthest from the house is generally in shade, the section closest to this Dublin property is a sun spot and can grow incredibly hot in the summer. Damien subsequently planted a variety of herbs and Fennel in this area and sought out plants which “thrive in those dry conditions.” In amongst these there are vibrant Aster Novi-belgii, also known as New York Asters or Michaelmas Daisies. Very tolerant to dry conditions, these are versatile and fast-growing flowers, with rich purple petals and orange centres. The Echinops Ritro or Veitch’s Blue, an ornamental globe thistle with distinctive spiky leaves and metallic-blue globe-shaped flowers also appears in this slice of garden. Melianthus is another addition to the sunny house-side border, bringing a further dash of colour with its reddish-brown flowers and greygreen leaves, complemented by those Red Hot Pokers, which also like lots of sun.

“You can just see the Canna plants from the house side, too,” says Damien. “Looking across to the far side there’s also Banana, Fennel and Stipa Grasses to the back, as well as Olive, Bamboo and Pine.”

Neutral patio area

Moving past the pool, the serpentine path curves around into a comfortable patio area in earthy tones, which contrasts with the more secluded swinging chair space across the way. “The patio is fairly large and open,” says Damien. “We installed an amazing modular sofa system from Bridgeman which adds a nice

laidback feel to the space. A Bonsai Olive and large fruiting Lemons in pots complete the look and add a very continental vibe.” “This space is part of a much larger garden and really exemplifies the basis of my ethos, as I love to create ‘rooms’ in the garden wherever possible which can be enjoyed from different rooms within the house,” says Damien. As for the clients, delighted with the newlook, they describe the revitalised space as “the ultimate dream garden space.”

Words By: Damien Keane,


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Queen Of Creative DIY On Restyling Her Home The Thrifty Way

Whether you call it thrifting, upcycling, repurposing or simply buying second-hand, finding and restoring pre-loved furniture and accessories has never been more popular – and Dublin’s Katrina Carroll is a veritable expert in all of it.


ith more than 36K+ people following her design adventures on Instagram, Katrina has cast her magic on numerous projects, including her own home. Indeed, she has lovingly transformed her city dwelling into a stylish haven which combines the old with the new and nearly new, putting her own unique stamp onto vintage pieces. “I always say to people that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a nice house,” she says. “You can have a lovely house on a budget. Initially, I always try to reclaim stuff and repurpose and give things a new lease of life, before buying new.”

Wow factor for downstairs WC

Having gutted her entire house after purchasing, Katrina decorated it room by room, beginning with a small space with a big personality in what is the downstairs loo. “We only have a small toilet downstairs but I always say that those little rooms are a great opportunity to really go wild and show your personality,” she says. “My uncle is a painter and decorator so he painted the whole house for me and then I gradually put my own stamp on things.” A keen supporter of local businesses, all of the paint used in Katrina’s home design project comes from family-run company, The Paint Hub, in Carlow. “I can ring them up and tell them what shades I want and then they deliver them,” she says. Dressed in a vintage style, the downstairs loo wallpaper has a decadent wine label print and decorates the top half of the walls. The lower sections comprise navy panelling and feature a variety of vintage posters, while a similar style of picture hangs elsewhere on one of the walls. Meanwhile, intricate gold stencilling – all done by Katrina – adorns the ceiling, so the room mixes a range of styles to create a quirky look.


“I knew I wanted to go a bit ‘out there’ with this room,” she says. “I love the vintage style and I don’t follow trends – I just get what I like. I love this room.” The downstairs loo also features a variety of large vintage mirrors on one wall, with a decadent light adding extra drama and glamour to the space.

Art Deco living space

Moving into the living room, for this, Katrina was keen to showcase an Art Deco style, as well as making the space cosy. Blues and golds feature throughout the room, with a paler forget-me-not shade on the walls contrasting with a darker navy ‘leather-look’ wallpaper in leopard print on a feature wall located behind the TV cabinet. Katrina sourced this solid wood cabinet on eBay while living in London and, like various items in her house, it has a story attached to it. Indeed, its previous owner shipped it over from San Francisco to London before it went on to Dublin with Katrina, so it’s journeyed around the world quite a bit. Now painted in grey, Katrina also upcycled it by adding new handles to the drawers. To the left of the TV cabinet Katrina has decorated the next wall with a series of mostly gold vintage-style picture frames which she made herself. Inside are a variety of old black and white photographs showing generations within her family. Underneath, sits a yellowgold side table with an assortment of tapered candles in similarly vintage candleholders on top. “That wall of frames was one of the first things I did,” she says. “I really love it. I also always

display candles – I found these ones in charity shops and the table online.” The next wall along also features a display, this time of framed quotes and other vintage wall accessories, including plates belonging to her grandfather. “There’s lyrics of songs we love – sentimental things,” says Katrina. “I wanted this wall to be of memories and things that mean something to us.” A gold drinks trolley underneath – snapped up for €20 at a Dublin flea market – adds classic style to the room. Meanwhile, in front of

this is one of the few brand new elements in the house – a blue sofa from DFS – juxtaposed with more upcycled furniture in the form of a rather special coffee table. It sits in the middle of the room, with an added flourish in the greenery growing at its centre. “I made this wooden table with crates and added a brown varnish to give it that old-skool look,” says Katrina. “Anybody can do this sort of thing, if you just have a bit of patience. Nobody taught me how to do it.” Also accessorising the room are items including two old suitcases, a vintage telephone and a butter churn – again all found at flea markets – which add more quirky character and style to the space. Nature is further woven into the overall look in a chair and footstool upholstered in a matching plant print fabric. The laminate floor has a rustic appearance and runs throughout the living room and nearby play room, while the living room light – with brass fixtures and eight white globes – was gifted from UK brand, Iconic Lights.

Cottage-style kitchen

Mixing a variety of different styles throughout her home’s interior, Katrina has opted for a cosy cottage look for the kitchen, which features a range of farmhouse-style accessories. “I always wanted a cottage-style kitchen and a Smeg fridge,” she says. “I ended up with a Smeg fridge, toaster and kettle! I also always wanted a stable door, so my kitchen door now opens halfway across at the top.” With a keen eye for sourcing pre-loved items in various locations, Katrina’s kitchen table is another flea market find which she’s sanded down to instil a farmhouse vibe in the room. With some of the old paint still intact, it gives the table an authentic, distressed look, in keeping with her overall theme.


Artistic Art Deco-style master bedroom

Upstairs, are three bedrooms – including the master – along with a family bathroom. Again, Katrina’s own bedroom has that Art Deco look she favours and, while she’s still adding some finishing touches to it, the décor is now more or less complete. “We bought the bed new from EZ Living Furniture when we moved in,” she says. “I always advise people that if you’re going to invest in furniture, invest in a good bed. I’ve painted it from white to gold and I got a new light fitting too, in the Art Deco style.” The golden headboard extends onto the wall in paint form, as Katrina has put her own design onto this statement wall in pink and gold, with a forest green background. The bedside tables are also in gold and pink, with one repurposed and now filled with Katrina’s dress jewellery and accessories. Artificial gold-leaf plants further tie the colour palette together, while Art Decostyle golden side lights adorn the wall on either side of the headboard, with pink and green scatter cushions upon the bed. “I bought a dresser for the bedroom on as well,” says Katrina, “and I found an Art Deco wardrobe in a charity shop last week for €20. I also have a burlap rug which I’m going to repurpose by painting an Art Deco design onto it.”

“I also turned an old suitcase into a shelf and put that on the wall,” she says. “I have an old coffee maker and I found an old radio from the 1940s too. The bread bin is from eBay and was found in an abandoned farmhouse in the English countryside. It was lovely because the seller told me the story when I was buying it. Even though the kitchen itself is new, I filled it with old farmhouse things.” Some of the newer elements in the kitchen include Laura Ashley floor tiles, along with the striking chandelier-style light, which was gifted from Stillorgan Décor in Dublin. The walls, meanwhile, are painted in a sage green shade, while the kitchen cabinetry complements this in similar tones.

Colourful kids’ playroom

The other downstairs room is the children’s playroom, which Katrina wanted to have a fun and colourful look. She’s achieved this by painting it in pink and yellow tones, carrying the colours over onto two second-hand lockers sourced from “The two lockers were originally yellow and peach,” she says. “I treated them for rust and then primed and painted them and now they’re like new. Lockers seems to be ‘in’ at the moment but I only paid about €40 for the pair.” Katrina’s free-drawing decorates the walls,


including hand-painted giant pencils and geometric shapes. She also made a blackboard and whiteboard for her girls and converted the fireplace into a den-like space, complete with homemade curtains which were formerly tablecloths. “My little girls love it,” she says. “There’s also an original Singer Sewing Table beside the lockers which I found for €50 in a flea market. It still works, though I can’t sew!”

Relaxing vibes for family bathroom

In the family bathroom there are more dusky pink tones, with the previously white roll-top bath repainted to add colour and warmth to the space. Complete with silver clawed feet, it’s a statement piece of furniture which complements the vintage look toilet with its high cistern and chain pull, achieving that oldskool vibe Katrina was keen to have. “It was really white and clinical in the bathroom when we moved in,” she says. “I

painted the bath pink and then I decided to wallpaper one of the walls, which has really brought the bathroom to life. I then painted the door black, which just finished it all off.” Adding a touch of opulence, the Crane Floral ‘Coral’ wallpaper from Divine Savages depicts Grey Crowned Cranes and palm trees against a soft coral backdrop, adding warmth and elegance to the room. It covers the top half of the wall nearest the door, while the lower half of the wall is tiled in white, as per the rest of the bathroom, with tiling in a vintage-style pattern from Showhouse Tiles on the floor.

Rainbow bright bedroom

The first of the girls’ bedrooms is a cheerful space literally filled with all the colours of the rainbow, as Rainbow Spot wallpaper from the Eleanor Bowmer range features on two facing walls. A larger rainbow, painted by Katrina, dominates a wall with a pale pink background opposite the cot, the pink tones also featuring on the wall opposite, which has a painted orange border. The cot itself is new, although a wardrobe was sourced from a charity shop and a dresser from, both upcycled to suit the room. “I wanted to make the room fun and colourful and dreamy,” says Katrina. The door has been painted a vibrant sunshine yellow – as has the radiator and wardrobe – while Katrina has also fitted a childsized coat-rail to one wall and a shelf for trinkets above. A fun leopard print rug adorns the floor, while that sunshine yellow continues above the bed in the form of a fairy-tale canopy and lights. (NB For practical reasons in a small child’s bedroom the canopy has since been removed.) The result is a fabulously fun-filled room that Katrina’s little girl loves.

another colourful space, thought more muted than the rainbow room. On the walls, Katrina has hand-painted a series of geometric shapes, while the bedroom door also features a triangle of pink, painted over one corner of the white, with the patterns continuing on the bedside tables. “I got some old VCRs from charity shops and stuck photos on them and hung them up on the walls,” she says. “I always wanted a room like Saved by the Bell, so this is it! I found an old phone from the 80s too and painted that. My daughter loves it. Every kid wanted a phone in their room growing up, didn’t they? It’s a really fun bedroom. “I painted all the shapes on the walls myself, freehand, and the dresser is second-hand furniture as well.” Accessories including an Eighties-style radio, a Rubiks cube tissue holder and an ice cream cone-shaped fluorescent table light add the final finishing touches to a room which resonates tranquillity. All in all, it’s the perfect space for a

good night’s sleep.

Award-winning interior designer

Having received widespread recognition for her interior design work, Katrina is a former winner at the House & Home Awards as well as a Finalist in the UK Interior Awards and a Home of the Year Contestant.

The final word from Kat

“I love that upcycling gives all of us the opportunity to create something special at lowcost,” she says. “We don’t need to be limited by budget – only by our imagination. This article was written pre-lockdown and Katrina has been busy updating and adding to her décor throughout Follow Kat on Instagram to keep up to date and to be inspired.

Words By: Katrina Carroll,

Eighties-style boudoir

For her second daughter, Katrina indulged her own Eighties obsession by recreating the decade with a variety of pre-loved accessories and handmade items. Again, there are dusky pink tones throughout this room, which is

You can have a lovely house on a budget. Initially, I always try to reclaim stuff and repurpose and give things a new lease of life, before buying new 29

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House plants inspiration

When choosing house plants consider their use, aloe vera has medicinal properties for example Mister Monsteras,


Mister Monsteras,

Mister Monsteras,

s all design i ents c i l i h p o Bi em ucing el that d o r t n i t ome abou nd the h u o r a d n to boost , e in a r u t a n ou of is remind y . Adding plants g wellbein straightforward t is. the mos chieve th a o t y a w

Mister Monsteras,

Succulents lik e cacti require little maintenance but watch out for fallen spines 22

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Porcini Mushroom Risotto Ingredients


• 225g (8oz) risotto rice such as Arborio or Carnaroli


Preheat oven to 180C/Gas4/Aga Baking oven.


Put the porcini in a jug and cover with 500 mls boiling water and allow to soak.


Place a saucepan on the hob and add the oil, onion then garlic. Stir until heated through then cover to soften, but not brown, the onions for approximately 5 minutes.


Add the rice and stir to ensure all the rice is coated. Now add the wine and boil quickly to evaporate the alcohol. Drain, (reserving the stock) and chop the porcini mushrooms and add to the rice stirring all the time. Quickly add the stock, salt and pepper and thyme, cover and place in the oven for 15 minutes.


Now add the peas, stir and check there is sufficient stock as you want it to be creamy, and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes or until the rice is soft. If your risotto is too dry at this stage add more stock or boiling water to a runny consistency.


When cooked, stir through the Parmesan. Taste and adjust the seasonings.


Meanwhile slice the fresh mushroom and lightly sauté and add to the cooked rice or serve sprinkled on top. Sprinkle over some fresh herbs.

• 2 tbsp sunflower oil • 1 onion finely chopped • 2 cloves garlic crushed • 25g (1 oz) dried porcini mushrooms • 225g (8oz) mixed fresh mushrooms of your choice • 125 mls (4fl oz) white wine • 100g (3 ½ oz) frozen peas (defrosted) • 500 mls mushroom stock (from soaking porcini) (can add a stock cube) • 2 tsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried • Salt and pepper • 100 gm (3 ½ oz) Parmesan • Fresh herbs to sprinkle over the top


Little Oaks Cookery School Recipes

What better way to Love Your Home than filling it with the hustle, bustle and aromas of home cooking. Here are some impressive recipes that you can easily follow, brought to you from Little Oaks Cookery School

Little Oaks Cookery School Recipes

Teriyaki Beef Ingredients

Method To make the Teriyaki Sauce:

• 2 tbsp sunflower oil • 1 large onion, chopped • 1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped


Combine all ingredients, except for the water and cornflour in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.


I make the sauce and store in a jam jar in the fridge for easy marinades or to add to sauces. Makes about 300 ml teriyaki sauce and can be used as a marinade for chicken, beef, pork, vegetables etc.

• 500g quick fry beef strips (sirloin) • 100g green beans, fresh or frozen • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper For the Teriyaki Sauce • 100 ml soy sauce • 2 tbsp brown sugar

For the Beef:


Start by placing the beef in a dish and pour over enough of the cold teriyaki sauce to just coat the beef. Leave for at least 30 minutes.


When ready to cook, heat a large pan and drain the beef from any fluids in the dish while waiting on the pan to heat.


When heated, add 2 tbsp sunflower oil to the pan and add the chopped onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until transparent then add the garlic and then the beef. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, adding the green beans for the last 2 minutes. Add any of the marinade remaining from your marinated beef and any additional amount of teriyaki sauce you think necessary.


Bring to a simmer and taste. Adjust the seasoning before serving. If you require a thicker sauce just mix the cornflour with the water then add to the sauce at the end to achieve your desired sauce. Delicious served with gnocchi, rice, noodles, flat bread etc…….

• thumb nail fresh ginger, minced or grated • 1-2 cloves garlic ,minced • 1 tablespoon honey • 1 teaspoon sesame oil • 3 tablespoons mirin or rice vinegar • 60 ml water mixed with 3 teaspoons corn flour




For the dough


Oil a small roast tin with 3 tbsp olive oil by pouring over the base generously and set aside.


First prepare the topping; mix the onions and olive oil together in a dish and set aside.

• Extra –virgin olive oil for greasing • 450g (1lb) plain flour, plus extra for dusting • ½ tsp salt • 1 tsp baking powder • 400mls (14fl oz) milk


• Fresh herbs, finely chopped or 1-2tsp dried herbs of your choice For the topping • 1 red onion, peeled and sliced into small wedges • small bunch fresh herbs of your choice • 115g (4 oz) feta cheese, broken into odd chunks or any cheese you have in your fridge • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil • Good pinch sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Next prepare the bread; in a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients for the dough including the chopped herbs, leaving just a tbsp. to sprinkle over the top. Make a well in the centre then pour in almost all the milk, leaving approximately 25 ml (1fl oz). Bring the dough together either with a knife or your hand shaped like a claw. Add the remaining milk if necessary - you don’t want the bread to be too sticky, but you do want it moist. Turn out the dough and bring together but DO NOT knead, as it will become tough and heavy.


Transfer the dough to the greased tin, and with floury fingers push the dough out to the edges of the tin to level the bread. If your tin is large you may not want to stretch it out as the bread might be too thin. Then poke little indents into the top of the dough to hold the olive oil.


Now sprinkle over the olive oil and gently press the onion mixture, then the cheese and some sea salt flakes and fresh black pepper, finishing off with your reserved herbs.


Bake in the oven: AGA roasting second runner, or electric 200 oC, Gas 6 for 30-40 minutes. Take out of the oven and cool slightly, but serve while still warm. Drizzle over a little olive oil just before serving. This is a delicious bread for sharing.


Little Oaks Cookery School Recipes

Red Onion, Feta & White Soda Focaccia

Where To Start With Your Extension Project As with any major building project, you will need to match up your budget to the design. This initial phase will take a while to get right. Even though the space you have might seem small in comparison to the rest of the house, the design will need to pack a punch to make a real difference to the way you live.



For example if you’re adding a kitchen would you like it to be exposed to the morning sun? Then it needs to face the eastern elevation. And don’t forget to take into account the context of the site, including prevailing winds (which will help position vents to avoid them), and connection to existing house. To help you design the extension and put it to paper, you’ll therefore need an architectural designer. Check references and insurance, and make sure you like their style and speak to previous clients to make up your mind which architectural designer is the right one for you. The architectural designer can stay on during the construction phase and this is a wise decision because they will be able to check progress on site and act as a liaison with your builder. Some self-builders hire an engineer to carry out this technical role instead. You may need a structural engineer at the design stage too for things like specifying steel. In all likelihood you will also need to hire a building energy assessor. You may or may not need to get planning permission but in all cases, let your neighbours know what you’re up to as early as you can – ideally at the dreaming stage. It’s common courtesy and they may have information about your house or site that could be interesting to know.


The design will be developed in parallel with your budget; the best place to start is to get an idea of how much you have to spend by checking finances are in place and assessing how much you will realistically need with design fees, planning fees, insurance and warranties. At this stage check whether your house insurance is still valid during construction and whether it can be extended to site insurance during the works. Bear in mind if you hire a contractor to take on the project management, check that their insurance covers all the necessary for your site, most importantly public liability but also employer’s liability. After that you will need to consider if the extension will require an upgrade to the existing house, e.g. you may need to upgrade your heating system if it’s already working at full capacity, floors in the existing house may need to be replaced to match and line up with the extension, etc. The site itself may present challenges and added costs. For example if access is difficult (imagine having to transport concrete in wheel barrows through the front of the house instead of having it all delivered where it needs to be) or if you need to upgrade your onsite wastewater treatment system as a likely condition of planning permission. To save on costs have a look at which windows, doors, kitchen, tiles or other relevant products you will need to source yourself. It takes a long time to find what you want and at the right price – knowing this in advance will help the design process immensely, and will assist in the costings. By getting detailed construction drawings done you’ll be able to accurately price your project – you need a


detailed specification otherwise costs are likely to creep up. Also very important to bear in mind are the changes to the building regulations in ROI. If you renovate 25 per cent or more of your home you will have to upgrade the entire house to bring it up to a B2 Building Energy Rating which will in all likelihood mean, at the minimum, adding a considerable amount of insulation. How much you have for the actual extension will then become clear and the design will have to be tailored to it. If you can, set aside some money not only for a contingency but also for the landscaping. Once the extension is built, making the garden look nice will fast become a priority.

Statutory requirements

You don’t necessarily have to get planning permission to extend your home but you need to tick all the boxes to qualify for an exemption. There are restrictions on floor area (in ROI less than 40sqm), eaves height (in NI no more than 3m high), etc. If you have any doubt, ask for a Section 5 Declaration from your local authority (ROI) or a Certificate of Lawful Development (NI) to make sure your plans don’t require planning permission. After that, there are the building regulations which include building control. The building regulations have to be followed for renovations; check the technical guidance documents and


technical booklets, and consult with your building professional for advice. If you secured planning permission you will need to go through the building control process by filing a commencement notice (ROI) on the Building Control Management System as you would for a new build. In NI even if the work is exempt from planning permission you still need to advise Building Control, e.g. in the case of a roof space conversion or to install a wc under the stairs. All structural work must be filed with Building Control, also insulation work. Exemptions include porches of 5sqm or less at ground level that protect an external access (but the glazing must comply with Part V of the Regulations), conservatories 30 sqm or less that have at least 75 per cent of the roof and 50 per cent of the external wall made of translucent material, and detached garages that are 30sqm or less and are either built substantially of noncombustible material or are not less than one metre from a dwelling or boundary of the site or a road. If the project lasts more than 30 days or poses a significant risk, you must advise the health and safety authority (HSA in ROI and HSENI in NI) and appoint health and safety supervisors for both the design and construction stages. This work involves keeping a health and safety ledger on site. Health and safety includes your builder checking in advance if digging is safe, checking for buried utility lines, and erecting scaffolding to best practice standards.


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It’s the thought that counts

Christmas gift inspiration This year when you are considering your Christmas Gifts why not look for something locally made, unique, high quality and long lasting. Here, we have showcased just a small selection of locally sourced gifts that any of us would be lucky to find in our stocking on Christmas morning. There is something for every budget and all tastes. Born & Bred, A wee cup of tea - £8.90

Born & Bred, Make your own - Home Macrame Kit - £20 Landscape #3 by Galway artist Rine Philbin – art to suit all tastes and budgets

Mud Ireland, Aquamarine Large Mug - £16,

Mud Ireland, Nimbus Pasta Bowl - £22

Rachel Julca, Moonlight Range - £48.50 Lorraine Fletcher, Large Framed Giraffes – Limited Edition Print - €120


Jennifer Hart, Original Irish paintings TwoSpoons Personalised Butter Knife - £23

Mud Ireland, Aquamarine Large Mug - £16,

Born & Bred, Plastic Free Christmas Craic’ers - £19.90

Rachel Julca, Classic Range - £48.50, A Red Moon Rises yet Again by by Wicklow artist Niki Purcell – art to suit all tastes and budgets


Glam Doll, Hollywood Mirror ‘The Gigi’, 159 or 199 with Bluetooth Speakers. Available on or 01 629 3791.

Born & Bred, There’s no place like home wooden print - £22

TwoSpoons,Personalised Soup Spoon - £23 Fire Aged Furniture, Decorative Hanging Bracket

Lorraine Fletcher, Spike Mug - €12, irish-wildlife-mugs

Belfast Candle Company, Tayto Gift Hamper - £20


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Contemporary Update For Dublin Kitchen

Full of light, this large modern kitchen in Lucan embraces open-plan design to create a homely yet fully modern space, with a dining area to the left and a comfortable living room to the right.



riginally built in the late Fifties/ early Sixties, the property came with a kitchen very much rooted within that period. Located at the front of the dwelling, it was small and never quite worked for Peter Bourke and his wife, Anne, who have lived in the bungalow for the past 15 years. As such, this renovation project subsequently involved more than just a simple refit, requiring a complete restructuring. With more than 20 years’ experience in manufacturing and fitting kitchens with his business, The Kitchen Shop, Peter subsequently applied this wealth of expertise and professional know-how to his own kitchen in January 2019. “We did most of the work ourselves,” he says. “This was a moderate kitchen that really needed more space. Having spent a long time thinking about it, once we knew exactly what we were going to do, we just got on with it.”

Restructuring the layout

Previously, entering what is now the main kitchen area brought the couple into the dining room area first, with the kitchen located further on in. There was also a fireplace where the kitchen now stands, which had to be removed, with a bathroom and hot-press also formerly protruding into the space. “We moved that division to allow for a bigger space,” says Peter. “The issue was that the old kitchen didn’t work for us and it wasn’t really functional. The layout was the opposite of what


we have now, with the dining table where the kitchen is at the moment. There was also a back door where the tall units are and the shutter used to be a window into a small pantry. So, there was a lot of restructuring before we got down to work.” As part of the redesign a Velux roof window was installed above the central kitchen area, immediately bringing more natural light into the space, which “made a huge difference,” says Peter. Once the plumbing and electrics were installed, fitted lighting was next on the agenda. These include spotlights, along with two pendant lights from Hicken Lighting & Interiors in Dublin, which are spray-painted white to match the overall colour scheme. The pendant lights have a modern design and combine a sharp end with concave lines at the top, flowing down into a cylinder shape. “We wanted to keep a simple style throughout,” says Peter. “We don’t really like clutter either.”

Practical style

As such, the colour palette for the kitchen, dining and living areas embodies a minimal look, combining a mixture of white, grey and midnight blue tones. The main cabinetry, which was all manufactured and fitted by The Kitchen Shop, is an In-frame Shaker-style painted in Cornforth White from the Farrow and Ball range. The central island, however, contrasts with these more neutral tones with its

The colour palette for the kitchen, dining and living areas embodies a minimal look.

deeper midnight blue shade. White stool seating complements this and ties in with the kitchen’s lighter shades. “We didn’t have an island before but have found that to be an absolutely fantastic addition to the kitchen, even though Anne, my wife, was reluctant at first to have the sink there,” says Peter. “She’s now delighted with it. It’s at the heart of the home and is a great place for the grandchildren to come and sit to talk to their nan while she’s cooking.” The island has a microwave, dishwasher and warming drawer all conveniently and neatly built in underneath, while up on top is the sink with Quooker Boiling Water Tap. Meanwhile, the countertops throughout the kitchen are Silestone in Eternal Calacatta Gold, so are highly durable and practical. “Silestone is amongst one of the best quartz materials,” says Peter. “It’s sealed against staining and is very hardwearing.” The kitchen cabinetry itself is made from solid oak, with the majority of the cabinets fashioned in a pull-out design for added convenience, so there’s no need to kneel down to access their contents. The appliances, meanwhile, including the oven and induction hob, are all from NEFF, apart from the fridge-freezer, which is by the German brand Liebherr and is also fitted with an ice-maker.

A tall drinks cabinet with quartz top and three storage drawers underneath sits at the entrance to the kitchen, opposite the island – perfectly situated, says Peter, for enjoying welcoming drinks for guests. On the wall beside this is some abstract artwork picked up by Peter and Anne locally which further complements the neutral colour scheme, while the radiator below is also painted to match this.

Following the same colour scheme as before, with the display unit echoing the midnight blue tone of the kitchen island.

Relaxed dining and living spaces

To the left of the main kitchen area, a roomy dining space includes a table and chairs upholstered in a darker grey tone, which provides a contrast to the lighter shades elsewhere. A large window to the left lets in ample light, while the table sits in front of a wall newly panelled as part of the renovation. “We had the table already but the panelling is new,” says Peter. “It’s not something we do very often at The Kitchen Shop but it ties everything together and is a nice way to finish the wall without needing to put anything on it.” To the right of the kitchen the open-plan space extends into the living area, which was also redone as part of the project. The Kitchen Shop once again made the units in this space bespoke, following the same colour scheme as before, with the display unit echoing the midnight blue tone of the kitchen island. The TV unit is rendered in a lighter shade, while the back of the large unit is painted once again in Cornforth White. The flooring throughout these connected spaces is a solid wood beech variation from Europe’s leading manufacturer, Junckers. “We had the floor before the renovation and were able to get the rest of the pieces that we needed to make it all the same throughout the open-plan space,” says Peter. “Some sections are nearly 20 years old, which just shows how long-lasting it is.” With a modern new look, lots of natural (and stylishly fitted) lighting and a change in location, this contemporary Dublin kitchen and dining/ living space has been transformed into the ideal family space. Functional yet elegant, its up-todate design now suits Peter and Anne’s lifestyle much better and they worked hard to complete the project within a month. “We’re delighted with the end result,” says Peter. “We really just brought the kitchen back to the heart of the home.”

Words By: The Kitchen Shop,



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Kitchens Solid wood gives a beautiful natural look to a kitchen and choices can include iroko, oak, and beech. But when used with solid wood doors it may not provide much of a visual contrast and works best with painted kitchens. It should be noted that wood worktops will naturally darken over time and will require periodic maintenance such as regular oiling.

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Laid-Back Style For City Dwelling

Easy living is at the heart of this spacious city property owned by Belfast interior designer Gary Dobbin who, with a keen for detail, prefers casual style over more polished showroom-type properties.


aving recently redesigned his interior, he shows how you can combine vintage finds with fresh new décor to create a fabulous space which is both homely and stylish. “I have two Yorkshire Terriers, so I do need it to be easy living,” he says. “It’s important the dogs can jump onto the furniture. For me, it’s all about layering – linens and wools and velvets and leathers.” A fan of the New England colonial look, which has a more pared-back traditional feel to it and celebrates space, this is reflected in the overall style of Dobbin’s home. Downstairs, classic French parquet flooring runs throughout the living/kitchen areas and into the hallway, adding a sense of grandeur to the space, while also being inherently practical.

Picking the perfect palette

As someone who likes to seek out new treasures for his home while travelling, Dobbin favours a more neutral palette, so he can easily add accessories to his interior along the way. “My house is a mixture of things,” he says. “It’s all made up of bits I’ve collected over the years.” As he tells his clients at Gary Dobbin Interior Design, it’s important to find a strong base colour palette and then “feed different tones from it.” In Dobbin’s own home, the walls are all a warm grey tone, with accents of tapestry blue and lime green also picked out in the various rooms. “That thread of colour goes right through – from the blue front door throughout the whole house,” he says. “The walls are all that warm grey and everything else sits on top of that. I like a very neutral palette.”

Multi-layered living room

In the main living room area, which opens out into the kitchen, Dobbin mixes his fabrics to achieve that sought-after casual living


experience. Bespoke Irish linen curtains in a dove-grey shade hang at the large bay windows, which flood the space with natural light. These complement the light grey chequered tones of the sofas’ cushion seating, while the sofa frames are in chestnut leather. A tall blue armoire sits to the right of the window, concealing the TV inside, which feeds into Dobbin’s love of minimal style and neatness. It is, however, something which he has found to be equally important to his clients, who generally prefer to have their televisions “hidden away” when not in use. “A big part of my business is making TVs disappear!” he says. Two large black urns sit on top of the armoire, with similar accessories popping up elsewhere, as Dobbin is a fan of ginger jars. He also likes oversize art and a recent addition to the room is a large picture in the corner of the room, on the same wall as the armoire. In between the two is a wood-burning stove, which adds to the cosy, homey feel of the living area. “When I bought it most people thought it might be too big for the wall,” he says. “But I like pieces that are oversize. I really love the big statement piece in the kitchen too, at the end of island. “Another key thing in my living room is all of my books, which I just love. I spend a big part of my time rearranging them. They cover everything from luxury hotels to street art from all over the world.” These somewhat hefty tomes sit neatly on top of a large rectangular coffee table in the centre of the room, also filling a shelf beneath, adding character and a personal touch to the room.

Kitchen brings the outside in

Moving into the kitchen space, this is again full of natural light, thanks to a newly installed glass roof and to French doors which open onto a tiled decking area outside. This gives the space a relaxed vibe and one of indoor-outdoor living. The decking area continues that thread of blue from inside with blue patterned tiling which covers most of the floor, with the same tones picked out on the cushions and seating. The variety of fabrics and patterns again creates that layered look which Dobbin favours and there is plenty of room for a table and additional seating, as well as plants. “We knocked a wall down and extended the garage so the glass roof could go through to the back of that,” he says. “It meant that the kitchen and dining area could be one big space, which is fantastic.” With a 3m-long central island, the kitchen also easily accommodates that oversize piece of artwork previously referred to – a large picture in neutral tones which fills the height of the far wall. The island unit, meanwhile, has ample storage as well as a sink, with a breakfast bar area and stool seating at one end. The stool seats are made from a wicker material, while the legs are painted in those warming grey tones,


Juxtaposing the old with the new and layering different textures has created a homely space which is also chic and elegant the perfect space for an interior designer and his dogs to kick back and relax. style to the space, with white panelling beneath it a recent addition to the room. “The lighting works well for me because the big horn bedside lamps are black, so it tones in with that,” says Dobbin. “If I was doing a normal storyboard for a client, it wouldn’t necessarily work, but it does here. “It’s that mixture of bits together that I quite like – for example, the sideboard of ebony wood with an old oil painting hanging above it and a blue and white ginger jar on top.”

Plush bathroom tying in with the rest of the kitchen cabinetry and the walls. To the left of the island is the cooker and oven, along with a special ‘memory shelf’ filled with “fun things” Dobbin has collected or been gifted over the years. This keeps all such knickknacks contained in one place, avoiding clutter elsewhere.

nothing in my house that doesn’t have a memory or a function.” The monochrome paisley print wallpaper in this room is also from Ralph Lauren, while the open fireplace is black with a white mantelpiece and has an antique-style cream mirror hanging overhead. The room also has a large velvet sofa and a plush grey carpet.

Elegant ‘winter living room’

Classic vintage boudoir

In the hallway, the blue tones continue in the form of large lamps, which are “way bigger than they should be because I like those big statement pieces,” says Dobbin. Meanwhile, on the other side of the hall, just opposite the day-to-day living room, is a more formal monochrome living space, which Dobbin has dubbed the ‘winter living room.’ He also uses this space as a study and it subsequently boasts a neat little black-painted wooden writing desk – a vintage piece paired perfectly with a designer chair from Ralph Lauren. This is upholstered in black and cream vertical striped fabric, with a black wooden frame. “It’s all about mixing the second-hand with the designer look,” says Dobbin. “That desk is loaded with old antique silver. Friends buy me these because they know I like them. There’s

In the master bedroom, more of those beautiful bay windows let in the light, framed with Roman blinds in both neutral and blue tones. The wallpaper here is the same paisley print Ralph Lauren wallpaper from the winter living room, this time in a blue shade, to complement the room’s colour scheme. “It’s very fresh and bright,” says Dobbin. “There’s a console, two lamps and a bed, that’s all. There’s no wardrobe. It’s very simple.” The bedding is in blue and white, with a buttonhole soft fabric headboard in pale blue. Above the bed hangs a dramatic eight-light black candle chandelier with glass teardrop accessories which, together with another of those oversize artworks on the nearby wall, adds opulence to the room. This portrait piece also brings character and a touch of classic vintage

In the bathroom, which Dobbin describes as feeling “more like a plush space” than a stereotypical bathroom, Zoffany flying ducks wallpaper adorns the walls, again carrying those blue tones. There is also more new panelling in this room, which has a built-in bath and concealed shower, while the modern is once more mixed with the vintage in terms of cabinetry. “I have an old piece of furniture in here from my grandmother, with a three-foot tall ginger jar on top,” says Dobbin. This tall unit boasts seven drawers and sits between the bath and vanity area, which is in a similar style of weathered wood and has a freestanding basin atop a polished black surface. Above the unit, which has a storage drawer and a shelf beneath the sink for toiletries, hangs a vertical rectangular mirror which adds gloss to the room with its frameless surround.

Comfort is key

While everyone has their own preferred style – with Dobbin designing all sorts of interiors for his clients – in his home it is the casual look that wins out. Juxtaposing the old with the new and layering different textures has created a homely space which is also chic and elegant the perfect space for an interior designer and his dogs to kick back and relax.


Simple Elegance For Blackrock Sitting Room The perfect place to relax with a good book or enjoy a coffee, this stylish space has a subtle sense of luxury while also retaining a homely ambience.



art of a new-build property in Blackrock, the brief was to create a room which combined a contemporary, modern look with a hint of opulence, which is exactly what Lana Dullaghan Designs has achieved. As well as providing full interior design services, Lana also offers colour/design consultations, working closely with clients to create their dream space, as was the case for this particular project. “When you get to know the client you get a feel for what they would like,” she says. “My client told me about her preferred style and I then suggested furniture designs and other elements for the room. “This consultation was more about cosmetic finishes rather than structural work, focusing on things such as soft furnishings, art and mirrors. Sometimes people struggle most when it comes to finishing a room, as it can be difficult to connect everything together.”

Statement sofas

The stand-out feature in this sitting room is undoubtedly the furniture, with a pair of custom-made sofas specially designed to suit the space immediately drawing the eye. Embodying that luxury look each is upholstered in soft velvet, one in a bold orange shade and the other in a calmer teal, their colours complemented by bespoke cushions in similar hues. “The sofas are the focal point so I wanted to highlight them, that’s why I chose two vibrant

colours, to contrast against the neutral walls,” says Lana. “I wanted to balance the bolder orange tones with something more peaceful, however, so teal was ideal as it’s a very relaxing and peaceful colour.” While both sofas have a similar style, the design for each differs slightly, with the right side of the orange settee open-ended – perfect for reclining with a book. Indeed, a floor lamp is strategically positioned above the opposite end of the sofa for just this reason. However, the lack of armrest on this side of the sofa also serves to facilitate traffic flow, giving it a more practical purpose, as one of the room’s two entrances is located beside it. “The teal sofa is in a similar style to the orange but has arms on both sides as there’s the space for that,” says Lana. “So the style of the two is connected but isn’t exactly the same.” The velvet texture of both sofas adds comfort as well as warmth to the room and works well against the pale grey walls and neutral décor elsewhere. It’s also the perfect material, says Lana, for using in a room which perhaps isn’t quite as busy as other spaces within the home, so there’s less wear and tear on that delicate, luxury fabric. Further warmth and a touch of subtle opulence comes from the brass legs of each sofa which again, works perfectly in terms of the project brief. “The overall concept was simple elegance and I wanted to bring in that luxury look, as well as introducing a bit of art deco-inspired furniture with the curvy sofa designs,” says Lana. “Art deco is quite trendy again at the minute but it’s also a timeless style that lasts.”

Soft furnishings

With a large window at one end of the room the space here is accentuated by a bespoke Roman blind rather than curtains, making it appear more open, as well as being practical. Attached

to the ceiling the blind adds drama to the sitting room with its unique style and brings in further layers of texture and colour. “The fabric from the sofa is connected with that of the blind and the cushions,” says Lana. “The blind also has a mixture of teal and orange tones throughout it and is custom-made to suit the window.” Also custom-made, the cushions are a combination of velvet and cotton fabrics – again, creating layers of textures in the room and mixing luxury materials with simpler fabrics. They also subtly weave in some additional colours and complement the abstract art hanging behind the orange sofa, which has more of those calming, peaceful tones. “I connected all the colours, with fresh tones also brought in through the artwork,” says Lana. “That, in turn, flows into the colours of the rug. The different patterns and similar colours add extra interest to the room without being overpowering. With vibrant colours I always use them in little amounts for this reason.”

Stylishly decorative lighting

Moving past the orange sofa – the perfect reading spot – a large floor lamp mirrors the curved lines of the seating as it curls up over the furniture. “Sleek, elegant, luxury and simple is how I would describe the style of this room and the lamp here represents exactly this,” says Lana. The simple white shade has a silk-like texture and is adjustable for added convenience, with a hint of art deco style. Meanwhile, in the adjacent corner sits a pair of elegant brass side tables from Mindy Brownes Interiors. These are also adjustable so can easily be folded away, or moved around the room according to need. “They’re very practical,” says Lana. “I don’t like to use coffee tables because they take up a

lot of space. With side tables you can put them in the corner out of the way. Also, this room has two doors – a set of double doors and a single door – so you couldn’t really block the way with furniture. I wanted to keep the space open.” Above the tables, brass features continue with metal mirror art in multiple teardrop shapes which again, add decorative elegance to the space as well as having a more practical purpose. Indeed, positioned opposite the large window, the mirror reflects light into the room, creating a more open, airy space. It also connects the furniture shapes, mirroring the

The stand-out feature in this sitting room is undoubtedly the furniture, with a pair of custom-made sofas specially designed to suit the space immediately drawing the eye. 61

The simple, elegant style seen throughout the room continues in a brushed brass mirror above an existing electric fire, which has a vintage vibe and again, adds warmth to the room with its golden tones. “The client was very open-minded and she loved everything afterwards,” says Lana. “It’s all her style and my ideas. It was great working with her because she was so open to everything and the end result is just what she wanted.”

Words By: Lana Dullaghan,

curvy look of the sofas. “When you work with straight lines you can create something nice and simple, but not as relaxed as with a curve,” says Lana. “Curves are more relaxing; lines are more formal. I like to bring hidden details into my designs.” The main light in the room is another elegant and eye-catching piece which once again carries a luxury art deco vibe, though in a simpler, more modern style. The fixture itself has a brushed brass finish, while the five glass globe lights are rendered in a simple white gloss. “My client really loved its curvy style and we chose to make the light a bit of a feature piece,” says Lana.

Invisible shelving

Storage is something most rooms need in some shape or form and, with a variety of ornaments and books, Lana’s client wanted somewhere to keep them without having anything built-in, to retain that spacious feel. The solution was open, glass shelving with polished chrome frames, which makes the accessories look as if they’re floating in mid-air. “We mixed the metals as we didn’t want too much brass,” says Lana. “It also makes it more homely. I always think that if all the metals are the same in a room it makes it more like a hotel. “I wanted to make the shelves ‘disappear’ so I chose metal that connected with the grey walls and glass, so they weren’t too obvious. It’s therefore the ornaments that you see first.”

Additional accessories

For those final finishing touches, Lana recommended adding some plants, which lift the room by virtue of their presence as living


things and add subtle drama to the space. Meanwhile, a brass tropic lamp shaped like a palm tree on the shelves complements this natural look while also creating mood lighting in the evenings. “The client really liked the lamp,” says Lana. “It’s both ornamental and a light. I source a lot of my products from Irish suppliers as I like to support the Irish market but sometimes I also buy things in from abroad, so items are more unique.”

5 Ways To Use Vintage In Your Kitchen By Jill O’Neill

Are you buying a new place and want to rip out the kitchen to create the kitchen of your dreams? Or are you staying put, but want to update a tired, well used kitchen/living space?



hichever, using reclaimed materials and salvage furniture has more than just budget advantages! Of course, minding the pennies will be a huge part of the choices you make when you start thinking about your dream kitchen, so incorporating some vintage elements into your scheme can indeed ease the cost a little but it can also make it so much fun! Vintage furniture or design schemes can add a warmth and character to a kitchen that is instantly inviting. Even the most modern of tastes can find a few choice items to decorate or store small items. Here’s 5 ways to bring it in to a kitchen scheme…

Mix & match

The beauty of this style is that you don’t have worry about particular furniture styles. Mix

Vintage furniture or design schemes can add a warmth and character to a kitchen that is instantly inviting. Even the more modern of tastes can find a few choice items to decorate or store small items. and match dressers from turn of the century with more rough salvaged pieces such as an old farmhouse kitchen table and mix and match chairs. Add a vintage Belfast Sink but with new copper pipe style taps. Mixing a few styles together but in-keeping with a vintage-style, then older, salvaged decorative pieces can sit really well together, against a more modern backdrop.

Key ‘show-stopping’ pieces

Make a wonderful key feature that really adds wow-factor! Vintage science desks, old retail haberdashery units or apothecary cabinets make great kitchen storage. When added to more contemporary spaces, these pieces can really shine.

Repurpose your Vintage buys

If you have collected some nice vintage pieces over the years – repurpose them! If they’ve previously stored your books – use it in the kitchen for your cookware. Paint old sets of hooks the same colour as your walls and use it to hang pots or cups.


Upcycle & recycle

If its heritage-style you’re after, then any kitchen of this sort worth its salt must include a good amount of natural wood, or salvage wood that has seen plenty of heritage! It’s hard to beat great craftsmanship and if it’s done well, it signals a certain built-to-last feel. Buy a vintage kitchen farmhouse table that has some knocks and scrapes of past families OR make your own using salvaged wood. OTSE bespoke pieces uses salvage floorboards, interior wood, old scaffolds which when sanded and recreated – make beautiful wood finishes. Also consider using salvage wood or different wood finishes on your kitchen cabinets doors, but keep the rest fairly clean and simple.


One of the simplest ways to include vintage into your kitchen scheme is lighting. There are some amazing reproductions out there but buying the real thing doesn’t compare. Old factory lights, retail lighting, old street lights or even tall standard camera style lights give a beautiful light ambience as well as adding instant heritage. IT’s a great idea to also think about the way you use your kitchen and design the lighting around that. So having layers of lighting for different moods/ events. I love a low light for evening time, once all is calm! Things like factory lights over a bartable or kitchen island is good for that. And also wall lights to highlight a nice picture or shelving area.

One of the simplest ways to include vintage into your kitchen scheme is lighting. There are some amazing reproductions out there but buying the real thing doesn’t compare.


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