Inspiration, Interior Style, Lifestyle

an Autumnal day at Ham House

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Having lived many years in Richmond, Southwest London, I was lucky enough to have a myriad of stunning buildings on my doorstep, one of them being the ever intriguing Jacobean Ham House on the river opposite Twickenham. I revisited the house the other day just as the Season was turning from late Summer to hints of Autumn and somehow the hues in the interior, as well as in the gardens, echoed this for me.

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Rusts and burnt sienna colours were in the bricks…

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soft green greys in the lavender

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the blue-purples of the damsons in the Kitchen Garden

As we went inside we passed the trompe l’oeils on either side of the entrance which now look like faded memory

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As I went around the rooms, the colours that had sung at me outside were evident in the fabrics and silk wallpapers in the darkened rooms. some have been restored – like this one. Glorious…

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I loved the warm gold details in the panelling

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I especially loved the picture lights

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detail of silk wall hanging

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Greys setting off golds and rich reds…Drama!

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One of my favourite rooms is the Green Closet with the finest collection of miniatures

you can see them all in detail on the National Trust’s website. I love the green silk backdrop. It wouldn’t be the same if it was just painted white would it?

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The flock wallpaper in the Duke’s Closet really caught my eye. What a colour! very now!

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why I love darkened dining rooms… the table covered in white linen looks very inviting.

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a detail of the leather wallpaper

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the view of the front from the window

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Evidence of how inspired I was by these Autumnal colours can be seen in this rug made from recycled wool that I bought in the National Trust shop outside.Image

Autumn bring it on!

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Antiques & Antiquing, DIY, Interior Style, Lifestyle

Granny’s chair

I inherited a couple of choice pieces of furniture from my lovely Granny after she passed away. One was a sweet bentwood chair. I am always drawn to these as my house is quite ‘compact’ so their neatness is ideal for me and I love that they can be grabbed and brought out to the garden or more added around the table when there are visitors. Anyway the chair was painted in a thick white gloss paint – probably by one of my Aunties giving it a then new lease of life in the seventies! It turns out it originally came from my Grandfather’s hairdressers which was above his chemist in Dun Laoghaire in the Sixties and Seventies. I spent HOURS scraping it back with a blade, there are still a few glimpses of white but thats ok for me. I finished off with a bit of beeswax for the wood and so now the chair has had its latest ‘new lease of life’, I bought a round seat cushion locally in Strawbridge in Ashford et voila!

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Art, Lifestyle

Coliemore Harbour

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I love that this tiny little harbour located in County Dublin. It has remained untouched by the bustling world around it. It is a favourite place of mine to stop and look out over Dublin Bay and Dalkey Island – preferably with an ice cream! The sea in the harbour is always translucent  but the hues change – sometimes turquoise sometimes teal, sometimes a deep indigo…. such inspirational colours….

 

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Lifestyle

A grand day out

I have been planning to make a visit to Burtown House & Gardens near Athy in County Kildare since it opened last year. Myself and some of my family finally made it there this weekend, in glorious weather.

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I was surprised to note that the gardens, based in the midlands, were a couple of weeks ahead of mine here on the coast. They are so lovely –  informal with a backdrop of stunning views of surrounding countryside.

The tulips were coming to an end but the paeonies were coming out and in the woodland areas the bluebells and cadleabra primulas were in full swing.

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The house sits so beautifully in its setting

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some more pics of the gardens…..

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Burtown House is family home to the Fennells, there are two of the family members whose work I have long admired. Wendy Walsh who is now 99 years old is a renowned botanical painter and her grandson James Fennell is the talented photographer behind the fabulous Vanishing Ireland series of books, his speciality being Interiors photography and portraiture.

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When not travelling around the country capturing the people of our Island in their humble abodes, he can be found behind the counter in the charming courtyard cafe at the side of the house. Copies of his books can be perused while enjoying your cup of coffee and homemade cake.

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We were lucky enough to be able to enjoy our hot chocolates in the sunshine listening to Fats Waller  – fine chillax after our strenuous strolling around the grounds ….. you know how it is.

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Our visit was made complete by nipping in to the adjacent gallery space – at the moment housing a collection of Wendy Walsh’s stunning paintings and sketches,

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.. together with some beautiful enlarged shots from the vanishing Ireland series. James tells me there are plans afoot for an audio visual exhibition where at the push of a button we will be able to hear the recordings made of the people in all his photos telling their stories.

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James’s ongoing project, together with historian Turtle Bunbury is, I feel, such an important gift to us as a Nation. They have literally been travelling the length and breadth of the country recording the musings and memories of our people in their own environment, and even more fascinating for me, James has photographed their homes as they sit, many of them by their fireside or in their place of work, where they are at their most comfortable to spill their lifes stories and observations and lessons learnt. In his photographs we can see a glimpse of their surroundings, mantlepieces with decorated sills and collected mementos on display, often a sacred heart statue on the wall and the all important dresser with pieces handed down and held precious through generations.

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image: ‘George Thomas with the kettle on’ in County Wicklow by James Fennell

for more about the House or the books, see:

http://burtownhouse.ie/home/

http://jamesfennell.com

http://www.turtlebunbury.com

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Antiques & Antiquing, Interior Style, Lifestyle

My London Hoard

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{photo by Alva Mac Gowan – http://lostandfoundimages.blogspot.ie}

I had a great afternoon in Spitalfields with my sister last week, shopping for treasures with a measly budget. So much so, I got in trouble with aer lingus last night with my suitcase being over the weight limit (as usual, I had to lie across it to make it close.  fact).

It began with a ginger beer at the magical Verde & Company. A tiny little coffee shop with a very big atmosphere due to its rich dark interior  – the perfect backdrop for their impressive display of jars of marmalades – cleverly backlit to create a warm light.

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{photo by Alva Mac Gowan – http://lostandfoundimages.blogspot.ie}

We then went to the antique market – which is on every Thursday, I came home with a massive, very very old rug which we think is Afghan, the colours are faded by years in a sunny place but the other side there are vibrant terracottas and teal blues, moss greens and shocking pinks – I love it!

I also came across this beautiful carved little plinth which I haggled for – we were both happy with the final price of £15! This will soon be going on the wall to display something or other from time to time…

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Then at another stand selling brocante, I picked up some really thick large linen tea towels which I may turn into a couple of cushions or keep as table covers – wish I had bought more now as I can’t decide which to do ….

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While in Spitalfields we sheltered from the rain in the ten bells pub watching the world bustle by & enjoying the beautiful tiled wall, with a glass of champagne to celebrate the bargains.

And then a visit to one of my favourite London Shops – Town House on Fournier Street  – a mix of oh so beautiful antiques and curios as well as my kind of paintings and ceramics and tableware, including the fabulous handpainted ceramic tiles by my old friend Paul Bommer – see: http://paulbommer.com for his wonderfully individual style of work.

There is the most amazing little courtyard at the back of this space, the best example you could see of how to make the most of a small enclosed outdoor space. We came away feeling very inspired..

Also on my London trip. I managed to find these GORGEOUS little glasses in a charity shop in East Twickenham for £1 each…. I feel an aperitif coming on!!

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On down to Orleans House Gallery on the Riverside at Twickenham… this has such a great little gallery shop which always has interesting and affordable arts & crafts to buy (including etchings by yours truly). There I picked up this beautiful framed tile by Charlotte Stockley for only £20  – what a beauty!

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And on a visit to the ever marvellous and inspiring Petersham Nurseries I bought a fab glass display dome – something I have had trouble finding in Ireland.

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So I am feeling excited about integrating these wonderful finds into my own interior and inspired by all the beautiful displays I have exposed myself to.

Its nice to be home.

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Aaand we're back!

Spring is finally managing to poke its head through and after months of different projects – on which I hope to report over the next few weeks – the blog now begins in earnest.

Lifestyle

Aaand we’re back!

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