Interior Style, Lifestyle, Nature & the Coast

In to the West

Last week we embarked on an unexpected adventure. I have been on the lookout for a little dawg for a very long time. There is a fantastic dog rescue centre, Madra located on the West Coast of Ireland, and a little fella arrived there last week and when I saw him  and heard about what he was like, I knew he was the one. After lengthy phone calls & to-ing & fro-ing texts and an accommodating emergency home check to make sure the house and gardens were suitable, we decided to make the trip in the hope that everything would fall into place. When I managed to book a room in one of my favourite hotels, I had a feeling karma was on our side. So we packed the car with lots of picnic stuff and began the long journey feeling apprehensive yet excited.

After Galway City, we were done with motorways and stone walls had begun appearing for a while now and the scenery  was becoming spectacular…..

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Travelling on the Coast road to Án Spidéal, we were nearly there, so we found a gorgeous beach with the Aran Islands in the distance ,so parked up and had the first warm & sunny picnic of the year. My mum always used to say that food tastes nicer when eaten outside how true her words were. Back on the road and we eventually found our destination down a boreen and with my heart in my mouth I was brought to the kennels where all the dogs were wagging their tails saying with their eyes pick me! pick me!!

My little fella was carried out to see me and the lead handed to me and we were encouraged to go and get to know each other so we brought him to a field and sat down on a stone wall and have a chat & a pet .

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He seemed very sad but offered his chin for a tickle and leaned against our knees delighted the affection. Everyone in Madra seemed a little in love with him as he is a gentle little chap just looking for love. My mind was made up and he would come home with us tomorrow.  The adoption papers were signed and I tried to explain to him that I would be back tomorrow to take him. We then headed off to Clifden to take time out and be sure about the decision and to rest after the long journey. We stayed in the very special Quay House in the Harbour. A two hundred year old building that was originally the Harbour Master’s house.

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It is owned and run by Paddy & Julia (also proud owners of two very stylish pugs).

They were there to welcome us when we arrived and had arranged a harbour view room for us.

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The view from the window was spectacular and really made us feel we were on our holidays – all be it a short stay!

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The reason I am telling you about the Quay House is because its interiors are just fabulous, and like my style, it does not have the appearance of having been ‘interior designed’ which for me is too contrived. It is far more relaxed and has stories to tell in ever corner.  There is a mix of Colonial style – with worldly finds dotted about,

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The Nautical influence is apparent also, but in the right way, no twee-ness!

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There are also classic details  – like chequered floors and beautiful original old paintings in crumbly gold frames.

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Then there are the quirky displays dotted about.

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The key with these interiors, as with my own style,  are that although they are stylish & ambient, they do invite you to flop in to a chair and take up a good book.

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Or my favourite – standing by the mantlepiece with a glass of fizz in your hand!

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So we had a gas night out up in the town with the locals and after a walkabout the next morning we headed off back to south Connemara, this time cross country on the narrowest bog roads with all the sheep hanging about in the middle of those very roads.

We pulled up at the dog refuge and my little fella was signed off and his jaunty new colour and lead attached. Into the car and we headed home.

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He was introduced to the front garden first, a bit dazed but very calm and interested.

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Its been intense these last few days, and when he is trying to be independent, every few moments he has to come back to check and see if I am still there. But I think he is beginning to realise he has come home.

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As I sit at my desk and type, he is asleep at my feet snoring away, content. Mission accomplished.

 

 

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Antiques & Antiquing, Art, Inspiration, Interior Style

A restoration of colour

I am sitting in the sunshine writing this, casting my mind back to the Winter months when I began consulting on an early Victorian house restoration in Dublin. The new owners had a fab sense of style but really wanted to do justice to this, their forever home. It had been broken in to flats in its previous existence and now needed to be brought back to life in a new chapter of becoming a home for a young family.

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I came in at the stage where paint colours were being chosen and decorative details were being considered

I remember we were numb with the cold, walking around trying to imagine how it was all going to look  as all the windows had been taken out.

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The owners were great, they wanted to push the boundaries with their choices of colour and be brave. They understood that how they painted their walls was going to dictate the atmosphere of each room. This was their chance to put their own mark on the house.

Spring has come and the house is now a home….

The outer entrance hall is a fresh pale green echoing the vert de gris in the reclaimed coach lantern.

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The entrance hall is a deep and dramatic colour.

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…. with the owner’s quirky papier maché deer head to greet visitors with his tongue firmly in his cheek.

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This leads to a lighter hall, stairs and landing with all the architraves becoming features by being painted in a darker hue to the walls. The owners fell in love with this painting  a few years ago after seeing it in a bidding raffle. I think they were destined to have it.

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A mirror with gorgeous mercuried glass waits to be hung

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The newly built boot room fulfills its function but is also a nice place to sit. The graphic poster advertising a sheep auction dating back to 1919 is a favourite of the owners and sits well in the ‘downstairs’ space.

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In fact all the artwork already owned by the family has found a place that seems right for it – throughout the house, the family’s personality shines through.

The dining room, which is mostly used in the evenings, is richly atmospheric with the artful details popping out of the rich clay colour of the walls.

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The chandelier has unexpected copper shades.

When viewing the house at its skeletal phase, the doorway from the hall was being closed off, I suggested creating a butlers alcove in the dining room keeping the bricks of the doorway exposed and using reclaimed planks as shelves, the terracotta adding warmth to the room, but also the feature is reminder of how far the house has come. This now houses a gorgeous copper & silver cloche bought by the owner for a song!

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The dining room leads to a sunny kitchen with airy high ceilings

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This fine gentleman observes life from above, he was sourced from Enniskerry Antiques through my Emporium of Decorative Detail  The ladder was sourced by the owners from Drew Pritchard architectural antiques

 

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Upstairs in one of the bedrooms, a beautiful little oil is the star.

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The new greys from Lilttle Greene work fabulously with the textures of the wooden mirror and the concrete tiles.

 

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When considering paint colours there was always a thought to how rooms would look as they lead to the next

 

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The guest room is pale and fresh – a haven for visitors to feel spoiled with a very thoughtful peg rail for their overnight things.

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The round mirror came from the previous home and fits in with the style of the new.

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A pale pink echoes plaster in the children’s room.

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When it came to moving in stage, I came back for the fun bit – to curate where the decorative pieces and artworks would go, the final piece of the jigsaw. It is these details that set off the carefully considered hues.

The house feels fresh and very now, while it has an awareness of it’s past. It is grand yet homely and quirky, therefore very much a home to relax and entertain while a young family have room to grow and enjoy it with friends.

A colour consultation is very worthwhile in making sure you really make the most of a space and the atmosphere there is the possibility to create.

For your own consultation focusing on either paint colours or decorative details, I can be contacted on niamhtheprintmaker@gmail.com or tel: + 353 (0) 87 911 8236

 

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Ham House from The East Garden

‘Ham House from The East Garden’
Etching & Aquatint
printed on Rosapina Avorio Bianco
plate size: H18.5cm x W17.5cm
paper size: H35.5cm x W33.5cm
It is the same size as ‘The View with Cow Parsley’
Available to pre-order directly from me now and will be in stock in my English gallery outlets from the beginning of May.

Art, Floral & Gardens

Ham House from The East Garden

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Art, Floral & Gardens, Nature & the Coast

The View from Richmond Hill

I am in the middle of working on a series of new etchings based on both here and my second home of Richmond.

Here is the first one

from the sketchbook ……

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to the plate…

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‘The View with Cow Parsley’

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It is everyone’s favourite view from Richmond Hill looking down on the Thames where I love to row.

This view is famous as it is the only view in England that is protected by an Act of Parliament which was passed in 1902  “to protect the land on and below Richmond Hill and thus preserve the fine foreground views to the west and south”

it is available to pre-order directly from me now: niamhtheprintmaker@gmail.com

and will be in stock in my English gallery outlets from the beginning of May. Its quite big for me!

It is an etching & aquatint

Plate size: H18.5cm x W17.5cm

Paper size: H35.5cm x W33.5cm

printed on Rosapina Avorio bianco

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Antiques & Antiquing, Delicious, Inspiration, Lifestyle

The easiest recipe in the land

These days I am concentrating (quite) hard on abstaining in an effort to look ‘fabulous at forty’ which is on the horizon. It ain’t easy and I am alway looking for shortcuts while trying to enjoy those simple pleasures in life (like, for example, a cheeky glass of chardonnay in the sunshine )

So I heard rumours about this bread and decided to give it a go last night. It could. not. be. easier.

 

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I took a 500gr tub of low fat natural yoghurt and emptied in a bowl, then filled it twice with organic porridge oats and poured them in, a teaspoon of bread soda and I grated some cinnamon (optional). mixed it all together, poured it into a greased loaf tin and chucked it in the oven at 180 for an hour.

and that is it

have just had a slice with my sister’s gooseberry & elderflower jam and a cup of tea

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Deelish!

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Photographs & Styling by me

Spring blossoms from down the road

butter dish from Industry Design

teaspoon from an antiques shop in the mountains

knife from my Granny

plate by Judith Rowe at Made in Hastings

napkin from Cabbages & Roses

jam dish by Hilary Jenkinson at Crannmor Pottery

metal tray from Avoca Mount Usher

bud vase from Petersham Nurseries

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Setting Plaster by Farrow & Ball

Have just painted a test patch of Setting Plaster by Farrow & Ball, it is beautiful as a backdrop for natural finds don’t you think?

Inspiration, Interior Style, Nature & the Coast

Setting Plaster by Farrow & Ball

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DIY, Inspiration, Nature & the Coast

from the seashore

As anyone who has taken a walk with me on the beach will tell you, I can’t resist picking up a good shell. They then end up collecting in a bowl or accumulated in a still life on a cabinet. I was at client’s house yesterday touching up some old gold mirrors and an idea came to me.

So when I got back home, I cleaned up some shells and took out my lush gold paint

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simple as

 

 

I quite fancy them as salt & pepper receptacles……..

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Inspiration, Interior Style

Who doesn’t love a before & after?

A favourite aspect of my Creative Services is giving Colour Consultations in peoples’ homes.

The words ‘safe’ & ‘neutral’ are used a lot for existing paint colours and there is usually a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the rooms as they are at the ‘before’ stage.

In the case study below, I was dealing with clients who had just bought a gorgeous Victorian terraced house close to the centre of Dublin. The house had been cleverly extended & restored but was painted, almost throughout, in tones of magnolia (my favourite!). The young couple were eager to put their own stamp on the house and make it their home. They called in my help the same week they had moved in! The couple are quite artistic themselves and wanted that to be reflected but they just needed suggestions and support in going ahead with colours, I was delighted to find they embraced all my ideas and within two weeks the house had been transformed! I selected a number of artworks from my Home Curation Service for the walls to really show off the colours as an effective backdrop to one’s own decorative details. In this post I am concentrating on the rooms where I suggested strong dramatic colours.

The bedroom was a small simple room with a nice feeling and we were working with the existing curtains which were a lovely thick oatmeal tweed with a blue ticking stripe. Image

Now the architectural details like the gorgeous little fireplace are brought to the fore. It has become a really special ‘wow’ room.

The artworks on the wall in the after shot on the right are by Jean Bardon and Grainne Cuffe.Image

The hall was like any other hall but now, using some the new greys by Little Greene, it has been transformed in to an inviting and dramatic space that draws you in from the outside world. Decorative details now pop out from the walls creating areas of interest where there was none.Image

As you can see, Lexie the dog loves the new house as she poses beneath a fabulous Springtime Still Life by Brien Vahey.Image

The hall follows down the next level to an in-between room which is used as a home office with a flip down desk.It is now cavernous and peaceful, a place to get lost in one’s work.ImageThe cabinet in the corner was going to be discarded but instead I suggested painting it Atomic Red – a lovely orange red that works with the brown greys.Image

The dining room is in a modern part right at the back of the house. It is used mainly in the evenings for entertaining, so we chose an ambient daring colour for the walls. At night the space changes its mood and already, it has been reported that many successful dinner parties have been enjoyed there. Image

If you fancy your own Colour Consultation either in Ireland or in London feel free to get in touch with me to arrange.

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DIY, Interior Style

Bedknobs and all the rest

This bedroom has a quirky layout with views of the sea in the distance.

The ‘before’ photo below was taken in the summer time but it gives an idea of the basic space.

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A salvaged bed which fits in the alcove perfectly but is brown and very varnished to start with.

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The bed is taken apart degreased and sanded. Also the legs are heightened by 17inches – this provides extra storage beneath and better views of the sea.

We painted it in French grey mid by Little Greene, this paint is so fab, chalky but resilient. I couldn’t resist copper waxing the wooden bed knobs!

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End result…

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a shelf made from driftwood provide a practical place on high for a reading lamp, books etc.

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a Pamela Leonard etching provides another picture window – a view you can get lost in.

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the dressing room area has a make shift dressing table – that was one of my granny’s hall tables in a former life, the mirror we picked up in a second hand shop. The chair was fished out of a skip by my sister!

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the chalkiness of the gorgeous little greene paint that has transformed the secondhand bed.

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The dark paint in the alcove provides a snug, atmospheric area to drift to sleep.

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While the rest of the room is calm and tranquil – full of little details to catch the eye.

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DIY, Inspiration, Interior Style, Nature & the Coast

being resourceful

So I decided recently I would like some curtains for inside the hall door – have always loved the idea, so this January, with next to no budget, I finally got around to making them.

I went to Helen Turkington’s fabric outlet and bought a lovely tweed material – it was from their lovely remnants cupboard so I bought a couple of metres for half the price.

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I already had some heavy linen so it was just a case of stitching the two lots of fabric together – making sure that the lovely herringbone went on the top where it would be seen…

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Then off to the beach to collect driftwood  – particularly in a Y shape

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Y? because I had a plan to make my own rustic curtain rail – fitting in with the textures of tweed & linen

I bought some dowelling in the local hardware shop and limed it

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I also got two wooden knobs which I also limed and we screwed them to either end of the dowelling after it was cut to size.

….not before stringing it with remnant curtain rings that I bought loose from the local haberdashery after kneeling down and rummaging in a big box full of odd rings.

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With the brackets screwed to the wall, it was just a case of placing the new curtain rail on top

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I was amazed when I closed the curtain after putting them up. It was a stormy night outside and I instantly felt cosier but not only that, the hall stopped being an entryway and became its own room.

People who are familiar with my little house are aware of how many rooms I have (not many!) so to have an extra useable space in the evening is fab. happy days!

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