Lifestyle, Nature & the Coast

a sweet festival

Our local Summer festival was held in a field by the sea yesterday

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I love going to it as it an uncommercial and back to basics as you can get

Graeme, one of the gardeners from Mount Usher had a table where he was demonstrating propagating 

His wife, animal lover Barbara was judging the dog show

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All my choir ladies were popping up everywhere – selling raffle tickets, making teas, counting money in caravans!

My old friends the Mansons from Ballyrogan had the art stand and were creating masterpieces with the children. 

I had a lovely chat with the gents who run the bee keeping association for Ashford and district

They were telling me all about the hierarchy of bees and showing me the Queen holding court while all her courtiers were cleaning her (she is the one with the green mark below)

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I bought some honey from them. I look forward to it knowing that this honey was made from local oilseed rape, clover and brambles. 

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I also learnt something I never knew, that when your honey granulates, (which is a good sign by the way – it means it is pure honey) it can be brought back by gently heating it – in a saucepan of water or if you are cooling down the oven – you just have to take off the lid while doing so.

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At one stage, as they were doing the raffle I was asked to pick from the tombola (which I couldn’t reach) I was described as they were trying to get my attention – on the mic as “the lady with the little dog and glass of rosé” I thought  “that sounds like me” “oh it is me!”

 

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boys against the girls in the tug-of-war

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with a very strict ref

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the boys – just before they lost….

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Tidy up time….

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all that was left by the evening 

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Inspiration, Interior Style

A Haven

I recently created a very special master bedroom in a clients early Victorian home in County Dublin.

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The room stretches across the width of the house and the huge sash windows look out over the neighbouring houses trickling down towards Dublin Bay.

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I thought the way to make the most of this would be to make the view be the star with the use of paint colours. Using the gorgeous new greys from Little Greene we painted the walls in Grey Moss and all the woodwork was subtly brought out with Toad. Both rich dark greys with undertones of green and brown.

The ceiling was painted Down.

I sourced a unique mantlepiece in its raw form – its honey colour set against the warm dark walls is a picture.

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The clients’ artwork pops out from the dramatic background

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The result is a restful place to escape in a busy family home. 

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Architectural details sing set against the paint colours

 

 

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Art, Nature & the Coast

Wicklow Hills

For my latest etching, I went up to the nearby hills and sat in a very old graveyard, where I could get the best view and sketched away what quickly crept on to the next page of my panoramic sketchbook. I wanted to capture the gentle slopes of the hills, dotted with livestock while the farm below nestled in the dip before the undulations, while in the distance the faint hills and glimpse of the bay were a reminder of where you were.

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In order to achieve the myriad tones on the plate I spent many hours in the basement of the Graphic Studio aquatinting and etching with the acid ….

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Here is the result, a panoramic landscape complete with a tumultuous sky!

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‘Wicklow Hills’

etching & aquatint

edition of 125

plate size 70mm x 340mm

paper size 220mm x 490mm

 

Feel free to contact me if you would like to buy one.

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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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