Delicious, DIY, Floral & Gardens, Inspiration, Interior Style, Lifestyle, Nature & the Coast

A Country Christmas at Hunter’s

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I’m so excited about next months two Inspiration Masterclasses.  The events are a fine opportunity to get in the mood, with friends, for the festive season while gleaning tips and ideas on how to decorate your own home with an emphasis on using Nature & the Garden as your resource.

The afternoon will be filled with creative ideas for decorative detail around your home from myself and this will be followed by a demonstration of creating your own seasonal harvest and tonic drinks with Glenealy based local Courtney Tyler of Hips & Haws Wildcrafts. Courtney will show us how to create our own healthy wildcrafted tonic drinks using foraged wild berries such as elderberries, blackberries and rose hips. She will concentrate on cordials, shrubs, sodas and fruit wines.

The event which is now an annual tradition for many regular attendees, takes place in the cosy, atmospheric surroundings of Ireland’s oldest coaching inn, Hunter’s Hotel, County Wicklow.

My aim is for everyone to leave with a warm glow and full of inspiration for decorating your own home for the festive season and through the Winter until Spring. Ticket price includes Hunter’s renowned homemade afternoon tea (complete with deelish sambos, scones & cake) and a glass of fizz by the fire.

The events take place on Saturday 3rd October & Saturday 10th October

Places are limited so early booking is advisable. You can book on either of the dates here

Niamh Mac Gowan Interior Stylist  http://niamhmacgowan.com/

Courtney Tyler http://www.hipsandhaws.com/

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Antiques & Antiquing, Art, Inspiration, Interior Style, Nature & the Coast

The Natural Showhome – part 2

On we go upstairs – a large scale antique patchwork wall hanging in the stairwell is contemporary while also bringing texture and gravitas to the space.

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The stairway leads up to one of my favourite places in the house – the spacious landing.

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I commissioned fellow Wicklow based craftsman James Carroll to make a bench for this particular space. The seat has been made from Elm, the legs from Ash with inset details in Walnut – all grown in Wicklow.

Glimpse in to one of the rooms leading off here and we see a gorgeous little etching / aquatint called ‘Cloud: Half formed’ by Niamh Flanagan.

 

In to the first bedroom which has a balcony looking out to the hills.

There is crisp white linen, a felt wool upholstered headboard, a quilted cotton bedspread and herringbone throw all set off by the restful blue of the walls. Loving the seagulls flying above the bed.

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Next we have the family bathroom – the wall tiles here remind me of distressed metal. They are warmed up by the solid oak bathroom accessories. It is all very simple in here. As with all the bathrooms in the house, there are lots of clean lines and plenty of places to put everything, be it decorative or functional.

There are charcoal linen blinds and concrete floor tiles setting off the paler grey of the tile. 2016-04-09 10.45.10

 

Down the passageway to two more bedrooms..

 

 

We are now in the guest bedroom with en-suite, a room that I think could easily be an alternative master bedroom.

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Across the hallway a door leads in to the twin room.

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I think twin beds are really versatile in a home. I spent a lot of time in other peoples’ homes and I am increasingly finding that children love sharing a room with their siblings – creating a lifelong bond. I was also thinking of the house being full of visitors and twin beds in a guest room is so much more versatile for overnight guests.

 

Right, off in to the master bedroom

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This is a very serene and opulent room with dusty pink velvets and linens, inspired by the botanic etching on the wall by Marta Wakula-Mac.

 

 

There is a walk thru wardrobe in a fantastic finish resembling the tones in wet cement. Here there is a dramatic mirror reflecting the light from the bedroom window

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A stunning etching by Maev Lenaghan ‘La Vie en Rose’ sits beautifully in the dressing room.

All the artworks in the house were acquired through my Home Curation Service and were intrinsic to the colours and feel of every room.

 

This atmospheric vestibule leads through to the most fabulous en-suite, it feels like this room goes on forever. Here the porcelain tiles resemble slate, creating a rich contrast with the oak and white. LOVE it.

 

Thus concludes the tour of Cluain Mara nestled in the hill above the beautiful harbour town of Kinsale. I have hugely enjoyed being given free reign to create a home that is rich in atmosphere and decorative detail, inspired by the colours and textures of its surrounds.

 

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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, Nature & the Coast

cosy & festive

I have had a number of requests to see my own house at Christmas so I am obliging. It is a dark stormy day so there is nowhere I would rather be at the moment!

So here are some snaps

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my paper bunting and a bunch of pine cones still on their branches

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 a tablescape!

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 love all these greens

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 my little tree

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 did I mention I am in love with copper at the moment?

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 little details

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 speaking of copper…. my oversized bauble dazzles from the ceiling

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 these jaunty baubles greet everyone who comes through the front door

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 nature imitates art

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 the mirror reflects a garland making it look twice as generous

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 another tree in this corner

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 oh look yet another little tree!

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 Deerie says Happy Christmas

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DIY, Floral & Gardens, Inspiration, Interior Style, Nature & the Coast

Styling your home for the Festive Season – part 2

Continuing my notes on styling your home using nature as your resource……

Simply place an evergreen branch in a bucket  this is great for those short on funds for a costly Christmas tree or if like me you are short on space. It looks great on a hall table so Christmas greets your guests on entering.

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Another great alternative to a tree – or something to have in another room – on the kitchen dresser perhaps –

Tie together a bunch of deciduous branches. Hold in place in a garden urn or flower pot with some large stones – cover these with moss and decorate with your favourite baubles as these are going to be seen more so than if they were on the tree.

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Handy tip – always change the cheapy string on baubles to ribbon – it looks so much more expensive! Ribbon – when ever I buy a new dress the first thing I do is cut off those annoying ribbon loops that are waiting to flop out at an inopportune moment.

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and as a person who can’t throw anything away for fear of it being useful, I have a box full of them!

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Hang baubles from shelves or anywhere you see a hook!

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 I made some bunting made from pages of an old book

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 – love this especially if you have a darker colour on your walls – it really stands out but in a very simple way

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This year I will be mostly wrapping my presents in brown paper tied up with string

with an added embellishment of decorative detail from nature.

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Wishing you a very happy & stylish Christmas!

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Floral & Gardens, Inspiration, Interior Style, Nature & the Coast

Styling your home for the Festive Season – part 1

Styling your home for Christmas using nature as your resource.

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Instead of just automatically getting out the same box of decorations every year and putting everything in the same place, mix it up!

Start by going outside

Take a look in your garden: gather greenery – lleylandii, ivy, hydrangeas, anything with berries on it, eucalyptus, bay, – any herbs

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Go for a wintery walk in the woods: gather moss, pine cones, deciduous branches, evergreen branches – there are lots on ground now following recent storms.

Perhaps followed by a hot whiskey by the fire in your local pub!

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Create an atmosphere in your home….

Cosiness: Warmth from an open turf fire and from candles about the place.

Twinkly lights: tealights & fairy lights  everywhere and anywhere

Aromas: Christmas oil – dropped on to pine cones & herbs used as greenery. Mulled wine or cider simmering on the hob. Stick cloves in oranges wrapped in velvet ribbons.

and then a feast for the eyes with these decorative details…..

I found this copper bowl in a charity shop in Brighton for £4, I have filled it with pine cones dabbed with aromatic oil – a kind of modern day pot pourri!

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Choose your colours, this year I am focusing on greens, greys and copper, keeping it wonderfully simple

Wreaths are not just for the hall door

they can be hung in front of a mirror

at end of a hallway

or in a window

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Play with scale

You can make tiny wreaths – with rosemary or buxus or any other greenery with small leaves – for backs of chairs or again hung around the house – see here how to make this one above.

I also made this HUGE Lleylandii Wreath – using just greenery – simple simple.

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I used a hula hoop bought from my local toyshop for a couple of euro and wrapped it in masking tape and added branches of lleylandii – which is great as it floppy! I love the simplicity of this – but sadly it is too big for my house!!

(all branches were scavenged from recently felled trees that greatly improved the views from upstairs)

Choose your colours, this year I am focusing on greens, greys and copper again keeping it wonderfully simple

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 Bring in your lanterns from the garden – line with moss – mini cones – grey candles

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I gathered some branches with tiny cones  and dabbed some gold paint on them

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Another idea is to get an antique plate or a tray and line with moss, place one or ideally a number of candles within this and dot a few small baubles and pine cones nestling on the moss. This would make an impressive centrepiece as it will sit low on the table.

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I dyed an old cream linen tablecloth to black – the perfect backdrop for all the coppers and moss greens and twinkly lights

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tea towels and linens for napkins – folded with string and decorated with a nature detail

all images by Niamh Mac Gowan  except the photograph of the marvellous Jerusalem Tavern

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