Country Class


Eoin LyonsShop around for wood flooring suppliers and cabinet makers

Solid wood flooring can be one of the most expensive aspects of a renovation, so it pays to shop around. Cork-based interior designer Marion Ormond, who recently appeared on RTÉ's Showhouse, recommends Woodlands Flooring in Douglas (South Link Business Park, Frankfield, Cork,; 021-4840000). "Their sales team is very good if you're not sure what would be best in your home," she says. "I've just finished a house in Dublin in which they laid the floors, so they will travel. Apart from a wide selection of woods, some with unusual stains, they always make sure the details are perfect, such as where the boards meet the skirting, or run around a fireplace. Things like that really matter. Some of what they do is very high-end, but they understand if you're working on a budget, and will come up with something."

Martina Collins of the Satina boutique in Tramore, Co Waterford used a local company, Woodpecker (The Glenville Centre, Dunmore Road, Waterford; 051-852808) to lay the floors when she was renovating a house in Dublin. "This is a brilliant showroom that also does tiling, and the service is second to none. They take a very practical approach and won't lead you astray or suggest anything that's not going to work, just to make a sale. There's usually a lot in stock, so delivery times aren't too long." At the moment, Woodpecker has wonderful black-stain parquet flooring, a very fashionable material.

Rare Earth in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, (052-37960) is a very unusual wood flooring company. It offers reclaimed wood that is shipped from around the world to Clonmel, where it is re-sawn, kiln-dried, milled and graded.

Some of the best salvage can be found at Kilkenny Architectural Salvage & Antiques (The Old Woollen Mills, Bleach Road, Kilkenny, 056-7764434). This is a good place for old (or at least old-looking) wood fireplaces that cost from about €100 and look transformed when painted.

Architectural World in Sligo (; 071-9147262) has a fantastic range of internal doors that are top-quality, with architraves and so on to match. They also do very attractive, classic garage sliders, which can be difficult to find.

Kitchens are another expensive part of any renovation. If you want a traditional look, but one that has a clean-line, New England-style, Shannonside Kitchens (Nessans Road, Dooradoyle, Limerick, 061-228937) will create the look at a much lower price than what it might cost from some companies in Dublin. Units have old-fashioned metal handles and look fresh when painted white.

Domino Design (Oldcourt Industrial Estate, Boghall Road, Bray, Co Wicklow;; 01-2866094) is a very good bespoke maker of kitchen cabinetry. Some of its designs (which can be seen on the website) are a little twee but they have craftspeople who can create something more contemporary.

For something very contemporary, interior designer Philippa Buckley sometimes uses Surreal Designs (Briarhill Business Park, Galway,; 091-764682). What they do isn't too far removed from what is produced by big name Italian and German companies.

"I worked with them on two houses in Dublin - they will fit around the country - and they were excellent. The owner, John Blaine, offers a great choice of modern, elegant styles that are very good quality," Buckley says.