Home Front : Interiors, design, events and people

Barn style in a cafe, candles in jars and houses in an archive


Go ‘Green’ in Kildare Burtown House, near Athy in Co Kildare, is one of those places where visitors can relax into a seamless blend of history and heritage, art and plant artistry. Food fresh from the kitchen gardens has always been at the heart of this country-house enterprise, and its “farm-to-plate” ethos gets a big boost with the opening of the lovely new Green Barn.

A River Cafe-style organic restaurant with retail space, the interior was inspired by the atmosphere of Scandinavian barns: it’s all high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling glass panels and pale colours.

The menus, meanwhile, feature unpretentious dishes based around vegetables and herbs from the beautifully restored 150-year-old walled garden combined with locally sourced meat, Irish cheeses and their own home-made sourdough bread.

If the very idea of it doesn’t give you an appetite all by itself, you can always stroll along the yew walk and admire the exquisite planting schemes, pausing to consider the contemplation garden, before heading to the Green Barn for lunch.

Coffee, tea and home-baked cakes are available every Wednesday to Sunday, while a dinner menu is served until 8pm on Friday evenings. burtownhouse.ie

The shape of things past What shape is your house? You probably don’t think about it very much – unless you’re struggling to put up a shelf or do some tiling and have just had that sinking realisation that not all walls are square all the time.

But houses do have shapes, and those shapes develop and evolve as they echo changes in building technology, finance, legislation and, of course, ideas about beauty and aesthetics.

A fascinating exhibition at the Irish Architectural Archive, House and Home, traces that evolution through more than 40 drawings, photographs and models for residential projects in Ireland since the mid-18th century.

Designed to celebrate the archive’s 40th anniversary, House and Home includes proposals for thatched cottages, country houses, suburban “semi-ds”, one-off bungalows and blocks of apartments. Some were built, others weren’t.

The proposals range from extremely modest through highly adventurous to unrealisable fantasy. Taken as a whole, they provide a startlingly immediate visual record of changing notions about what might make a good home for an Irish family.

The exhibition runs from October 27th at the Architecture Gallery, Irish Architectural Archive, 45 Merrion Square from 10 am to 5 pm, Tuesdays to Fridays. Admission is free. AW

Crafts at the Glucksman For three days in November, the Glucksman Gallery in Cork will be given over to all things crafty for the annual Glucksman Craft & Design Fair.

Kicking off on November 11th and and running over the weekend, the fair will show the work of more than 50 craft folk – both well-known and emerging artists – selling ceramics, jewellery, woodwork, lighting, textiles and new technologies.

Over the weekend, the creative team at the Glucksman will run art workshops in the River Room enabling parents to shop and five- to 12-year-olds to have fun making their own craft masterpieces. Hour-long workshops cost €8 per child and all materials will be provided. glucksman.org

History in a jar Max Benjamin, best known for its colourfully packaged candles and diffusers, has launched Ilum, a new upscale collection of porcelain scented candles and diffusers. The designs and fragrances of them are influenced by the family’s Belgian heritage.

Brothers Mark and David Van den Bergh and their sister Orla are the owners of Max Benjamin which is based in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow. Their father Hugo moved to Ireland from Belgium 70 years ago and the new design influences in the Ilum range come from tapestries, tiled flooring, carvings on dark oak cabinets and wallpapers remembered from their grandfather’s home near Antwerp.

One fragrance is an homage to their father’s favourite cologne which he wore each day.

“We visited our grandfather and relatives near Antwerp very regularly and we wanted to create a collection that reflected the design elements that we saw there and on those that our father introduced into our home,” says Mark Van den Bergh.

The range has three fragrances: Cologne Retro; Belgravia Lux, an opulent fragrance inspired by family visits to London; and Fig Arabesque, which has hints of the timeless fragrance of fig leaves.

Candles cost from €95-€390 diffusers from €130-€450. So far it has been snapped up by the likes of Conran in Japan and the Rinascente department store in Milan as well as Berlin’s Kadewe. maxbenjamin.ie

Bosch competition To celebrate the return of the Permanent TSB Ideal Home Show to the RDS Simmonscourt next weekend from October28th-31st, Bosch is offering readers the chance to win some top of the range Bosch Home Connect appliances worth €3,000.

The prize includes a Bosch Home Connect Single Oven, a Bosch Home Connect Compact Oven with Microwave and a Bosch five-ring Induction Hob.

Bosch will be showcasing its full range of kitchen and home appliances at the RDS show with special focus on the its Series 8 appliances. To enter, visit irishtimes.com/competitions/win-an-oven

Please note: All entrants to the competition must be over 18 and must reside in the Republic of Ireland. The prize cannot be exchanged for cash or for a different product. The prize does not include installation of products. Product codes are Induction Hob PIM875N14E; Single Oven HRG6769S6B; Compact Oven CMG656BS6B.

Nordic now Dún Laoghaire design store Nordic Makers is getting ready to launch Nordic Now, a three-week exhibition highlighting the work of famous and emerging designers from those uber cool regions.

To coincide with this, there will be a seminar called Designing Sustainably and Sustaining Design at the DLR Lexicon Library on Wednesday, October 26th, which will include a talk by Finnish designer and architect Ilkka Suppanen.

According to curator Aideen McCole, it’s a coup to get Suppanen who’s a star on his home turf and whose work has been exhibited worldwide including at the Venice Architecture Biennale and Moma.

There will be plenty of others talks too, and each Thursday night of the exhibition sees an informal presentation and conversation with a different Nordic designer, supported by their respective embassy. nordicmakers.com

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