Interior Style, Nature & the Coast


Yesterday on a rainy Sunday afternoon I popped up to see my friend James Carroll to talk wood & woodlands.

James is a craftsman, designer and lover of wood in all its forms. For me, as an interiors stylist, he is an invaluable person for me to be able to call on, as wood for me is a very important component in any interior and indeed, exterior. I think it keeps us grounded, who we are and where we come from. If you think about it, it has always been used in interiors right from our beginnings. I love that in hand made pieces of furniture there is a patina and a provenance even if the piece is newly made. A few years ago, James made me this beautiful wide bench, very characteristic of his own style with the bark kept on the legs. This currently divides my dining area from a seating area housing lots of books and a big sturdy lamp. It is also often carried out to the garden when there is a load of us gathering around the garden table. Every house should have a bench!


I have designed a rustic dining room for my stand at the Ideal Home Show later this week. I have spent weeks planning every detail as I want to illustrate to people how effective decorative display can be when it is coupled with carefully chosen paint colours. I woke up one morning last week with a vision in my head of place mats which I will be needing for the table when its laid out. I didn’t want bog standard place mats, I envisaged slices of wood that would sit perfectly with the rough linens and antique cutlery I have already selected. So I gave James a call and described what I had in my head, and hey presto, he made them for me.

They are made from sequoia wood – a redwood tree that I had never heard of – you learn something new everyday! – and they have a beautiful dual tone to them.

So yesterday I visited James in his workshop in the Wicklow Mountains to collect them. They are perfick.


James in his workshop


The proud craftsman



and here they are doing their job …..


The next project is to create a large rectory table with benches, something special that would be the absolute heart of a home, where people perhaps sit working at one end and gather around the other.

James’s website is

Have a look.