PJ Mara’s chandeliers at auction and how a small sofa looks grand

Home Front: Interiors news and inspiration

Matthew Williamson wallpaper

Matthew Williamson wallpaper

 

Scaled back period style

All of the tiny abodes featured in our cover story this week are unashamedly modern, but it is possible to combine small-scale living with more traditional furnishings. Most period furniture, particularly bulky pieces dating from the Victorian era, will be difficult to accommodate in a small house, but a few period-style pieces that have been scaled back can work well. Chairs and couches on raised legs create the impression of more space in a room, for example. This two seater buttoned sofa (€1,150) from Goat in the Boat in Skerries, Co Dublin is unashamedly feminine and sturdy at the same time. Its pale colour and raised seat add to the illusion of space and it would fit just as well in a modern apartment or a period parlour. Located by the harbour in Skerries, Goat in the Boat sells a mix of furniture, soft furnishings and quirky lighting as well as ceramics and accessories. Tel (01) 8105687, goatintheboat.ie

Wall flowers

Frances Ryan’s botanic art
Frances Ryan’s botanic art

Plants have long been an inspiration for poets and painters and visits to the botanic gardens at Dublin and Kew in London led the Co Down-based painter Frances Ryan to create a series of works which celebrate the wonder of plant life. Combining her own observational studies with spontaneous mark-making, the oil paintings are an intuitive response to encounters with a variety of botanical specimens from different parts of the world. Ryan’s use of vivid colours, abstracted forms and repeated patterns mark an exciting new direction for this artist and capture an almost childlike sense of curiosity and awe. The paintings are on show at the Catherine Hammond Gallery, Skibbereen, Co Cork until October 30th. hammondgallery.com

Lots of light fantastic

Cute little sofa from Goat in a Boat
Cute little sofa from Goat in a Boat

There’s nothing quite like a chandelier to add twinkle and shine to a room and the catalogue for the forthcoming Fine Art and Interiors Auction at Adam’s Blackrock, Co Dublin features a selection of them. And with a political provenance too: lots 116 and 117 come from the home of the late PJ Mara, adviser to Charles J Haughey – a man well versed in luxury – and carry an estimate of €2,000-€3,000 each.

Lots 185 and 186, 10-light Waterford Crystal chandeliers, are estimated at €1,200-€1,800 and €2,000-€3,000 respectively while a five-light Waterford Crystal piece (Lot 187, €500-€900) and some eight-branch Tara Crystal chandeliers (Lot 118 and 119, €300-€500) are at the more affordable end of the spectrum. The sale, which features everything from a pair of on-trend walnut needlepoint footstools (Lot 70, €100-€200) to a bronze statue of a sparrowhawk by John Coll (Lot 178, €500-€800), is on Tuesday, September 5th. See listings.

Fashionable walls

Matthew Williamson, the Manchester-born fashion designer known for his vibrant colours, rich embellishment and print, has been applying his aesthetic to Osborne & Little fabrics and wallpapers for the past four years. New this autumn is a collection called “Belvoir” named after Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Rutland and very much in the English country-house style. One wallpaper design, for example, began with a number of plates sourced from the Portobello and Kempton markets in London, each photographed and customised in Williamson’s studio to bring out colours or adding hand-drawn motifs. Belvoir is famous for its porcelain collection and many aspects of the castle’s interior decor inspired other fabrics and wallpapers. The wallpapers start at €85-€200 a roll; “Ceramic” (featured here) is €245 per roll, the table runner and cushion in “Folklore” fabric is €102 per metre. osborneandlittle.com

Bees knees

We all know that a lethal cocktail of climate change, habitat loss and agricultural pesticides has wrought havoc among honey bee populations – but we might not know what we can do to help. A visit to the Phoenix Park Honey Show on Sunday, September 10th, is a great place to start. A programme of lectures, tours and family fun at the Dublin park’s visitor centre will offer lots of ideas on how you can make your garden more bee friendly. Take a biodiversity and horticultural tour of the walled garden (11am, noon and 2pm), learn how to attract all sorts of pollinators into your garden (lecture theatre, 3pm) or listen to Paraic Horkan of Horkan’s garden centres talk about the plants bees love. The show opens at 11am and admission is free. phoenixpark.ie

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