Home front: Helping the homeless, and the joy of a jukebox

Plus, candles inspired by Provençe, wordplay by Penneys and cabinets as artwork

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There's a lot of fun to be had with this letter board from Penneys which will make anything you want to say look like old-style cinema titles. The brass-framed board comes with an array of black and gold letters . Look on it as the complete opposite of instant messaging, because you'll need time to pop the letters free from their plastic frame and compose your words by sticking them into the light foamy background. The result will be surprisingly stylish. Word board and letters €9 from Penneys, nationwide.

Art in the kitchen

Furniture maker Zelouf + Bell has made a name for itself with punchy coloured lacquered cocktail cabinets and larders. They act as one-off pieces of practical art that will make a kitchen or living room fizz with personality and colour. Pictured is its Kiki larder, one of a pair of inspired by works by pop artists Andy Warhol and Takashi Murakami, the latter best-known for his long collaboration with luxury goods brand Louis Vuitton. This piece riffs on the chrysanthemum, a much-maligned flower – at least when it comes to giving it in a bouquet – but Susan Zelouf loves its fractal quality, something that is evident in the lacquered colour blocking of these pieces. The pair of larders, only one pictured, adjoin kitchen cabinets that frame an Aga, showing a creative mix of old and new. Prices for something similar will cost about €35,000. zeloufandbell.com.

Kitchen tunes

Fancy a jukebox in the corner of your kitchen? Squeezed in between the fridge and the bin, with the iron stored on top? That might not quite be the set-up for most jukeboxes that fetch up in private homes, but you can see how the notion might appeal to music lovers who have a bit of space at home, a penchant for nostalgia and who have run out of tech and collectibles to acquire.

So who buys a jukebox for their home? According to Sound Leisure – a Yorkshire-based family firm, and the only UK manufacturer of classic jukeboxes – customers include sportspeople, musicians, TV stars and royalty, with kitchens and playrooms being the most popular rooms for housing them.


The company produces custom-made vinyl, CD and digital jukeboxes, and ships them worldwide. Recent corporate custom commissions have come from Sailor Jerry, Coca-Cola, the Elvis Presley estate and The Beatles (Apple corp). There’s even a Sound Leisure jukebox in London’s St Pancras station, for passers-by to use.

Prices start at £6,000 (€6,850, but if you wait a few months, you might get a much better exchange rate), but a Sgt Peppers model will set you back £9,000 (€10,200). The popularity of vinyl led to the production of a long player vinyl jukebox (West Coast Long Player, £9,500 (€10,850)), which flips records over itself. soundleisure.com

Hints of summer

Summer scents are landing courtesy of Irish candle company Max Benjamin which launched its new Provence range at Maison & Objet in Paris last month. The range is designed to conjure up images of lavender fields, markets brimming with flowers and citrus fruits and those piles of sacking bags filled with herbes de Provence, the ultimate flavour of the Mediterranean. Bergamot, fig and oleandar are the top notes in the Sous La Mer candle, while Herbes Sauvages is a mix of nutmeg with lavender, black pepper, patchouli and gaiac wood. Festival Des Citrons has notes of lemon and orange with a hint of rose and candied fruit and all come packed in flower-strewn boxes.Candles cost €24.95, diffusers €32.95 and scented cards €4.95. The Provence range is available from Arnotts, Brown Thomas, Carraig Donn and online. maxbenjamin.ie

Furniture for a good cause

Harvey Norman is teaming up again this year with the Peter McVerry trust to raise awareness and funds to help homelessness. Last year the company raised €183,693 through bake sales, selling goods made by the staff, and collecting donations at the stores.

Now they want to beat that figure. You can help by buying a product from the chain's Making Homes collection. There are more than 800 products in the collection across furniture, bedding, homewares, appliances and technology. For every product sold from the Making Homes collection, Harvey Norman will donate €5 to the Peter McVerry Trust. If you choose to add a €1 donation to your other purchases at the checkout, Harvey Norman will match that. You can also donate directly online, or in-store through their various other fundraising efforts such as the raffle or bake sales. harveynorman.ie/makinghomes

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey is a features and arts writer at The Irish Times

Alanna Gallagher

Alanna Gallagher

Alanna Gallagher is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in property and interiors