Home Front: Interiors, design, people, events

Sean Scully at the White House, copper cookware at Aldi, a home show in Mayo and pottery on the coast

Sean Scully for president

As we head ito the last days of one of the most talked-about American election campaigns, the drama has reached soap-opera levels. Even the reserved world of interiors has got in on the act. Last weekend the Financial Times covered the election in its Home section by looking at how candidates might decorate the White House according to their perceived personal tastes.

The December edition of Architectural Digest leads with a peek inside the White House under the current president. When Barack Obama was elected, Los Angeles-based interior designer Michael S Smith was appointed White House decorator. He studied interior design at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles andat the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, further extending his knowledge of antiques with a stint with American antiques dealer Gep Durenberger.

This all helped him bring America’s first address into the 21st century in a very discreet fashion, fusing European classicism with American modernism. Smith reimagined the Oval Office in 2010 and he has revealed to the world what changes he made to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave under the 44th presidency.

The rooms, which are filled with historic pieces of furniture, remain classic in style. Where changes are most apparent is on the walls, which feature a collection of 20th and 21st-century works. Hanging on the wall of the living room is Oneonezeroine Red, a 2009 oil on linen by Dublin-born painter Sean Scully, which is on loan from the public collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington.


Scully has been represented by the Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, since 1994 and the gallery has hosted seven exhibitions so far, the most recent held last year when all 10 works that showed were snapped up.

Will such a high-profile hanging affect the value of the artist’s work? The Kerlin’s Rosa Abbott doesn’t think so. “Scully is already very well represented in so many important public collections including the Smithsonian in Washington, Moma, the Met and the Whitney in New York that it won’t have any immediate impact on his values.”

Abbott won't discuss prices, but Christies is selling three works by the artist in a forthcoming auction at Rockefeller Plaza in New York. Lot 465 Elder is guiding US$100,000 to US$150,000 while the other two works, lot 466 Passenger Black Red Red and lot 467 Masai both have guide prices of US$400,000-US$600,000. kerlingallery.com; architecturaldigest.com

Copper-fasten a chic kitchen at Aldi

Copper cookware can cut your energy bills and is prized by chefs thanks to its ability to heat food quickly and evenly. More to the point, it looks seriously cool in the kitchen. Now you can bring that mellow metallic feeling to your home without breaking the bank: Aldi is introducing a collection of Tri-Ply pans, utensils and gadgets which combine professional quality cookware with good looks and affordable prices.

A large copper pan – mirror polished on the outside, satin finished on the inside – costs €44.99; a five-litre roaster with stainless-steel handles weighs in at €49.99; a four-slice toaster is €44.99; and a traditional whistling stove-top kettle, suitable for all types of cooktops including induction hobs, is just €22.99.

Complete the copper look with a range of co-ordinating bits and bobs – can opener, ice cream spade, garlic press, nutcracker, peeler and corkscrew – at €2.99 each. All products will be available at Aldi’s 126 shops nationwide from Thursday November 10th.


Home show in Castlebar

Whether you want to spice up your menus, tidy up your living space or glam up your garden, you’ll find an autumnal abundance of ideas at the Castlebar Home Improvement Show. Over the weekend of November 12th and 13th the home-build, design and interiors show will see designers, craftspeople and fit-out specialists come together at the Events Arena at Breaffy House Hotel to show off the latest trends and offer practical advice on a wide range of products and services, from heating and insulation to lighting and security.

Book a "Room Junkie" consultation with Anne Tuohy of Dermot Bannon's Room to Improve or pick up some top tips from Laura Ruane of La Ru Interior Design. Check out the cookery demonstrations in the run-up to Christmas.

Bring your landscaping, planting and maintenance queries to Michael O’Reilly and the team from The Garden Design Shop. Or just potter around and soak up the ambience of energy and creativity. The entrance fee for adults is €7: children go free.


Capturing the Atlantic coast in a bowl

The seascapes of Ireland's Atlantic coast, with their ever-changing colour palette and the intricate patterns created by wind, sand and rock, are the inspiration for the hand-crafted pottery and ceramic-based jewellery of mooarte.com. This small Irish company is run by husband-and-wife team Mark and Denise Reid. "Our stories and our landscapes are known all across the world for their magic and beauty," says Denise. "We're hoping to capture this with our products and bring it to customers direct on their desktop or mobile device."

“My background is interior design, where I found my love for vibrant colours and textures,” Mark adds. From colourful bowls to quizzical cats, funky earrings to adorable angels, the range is designed to emphasise individuality and diversity – no two pieces are exactly the same – and prices are modest, with cats and angels costing €17 and bowls from €24 to €52. And let’s face it, who could resist an angel called Muriel?