Home Front: Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud’s makeover; interiors, crafts, people, events

From floral art to stylish pottery, the holiday season is awash with colour and comfort

 

Flower power at Powerscourt

You know how it goes: You see a picture in a magazine. You assemble the prescribed bits and bobs – twigs, wire-cutters, glue-gun, angels – and set to work on a spot of Christmas DIY, only to end up with a straggly, hairy monstrosity that looks like it escaped from last month’s recycling bin.

Happily, help is at hand from Powerscourt Garden Pavilion, where celebrity flower-arrangers are giving talks on floral art for the festive season.

On November 30th at 11am, Camelia Austen will put those quirky bits and bobs to bold, innovative use . And on December 3rd at 2pm, Christopher White will do deft things with dahlias and lots more besides. Sessions are €5 each; book online on powerscourtgardenpavilion.com/events.

Guilbaud’s classy conversion

If you are lucky enough to be heading into Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud at the Merrion Hotel any time soon for dinner, the surprises start before you reach your table. The restaurant has recently reopened after a major renovation, and the result is classy, playful and very striking.

Interior designer Laura Farrell worked on the refurbishment of the lovely rooms, which are hung with original Irish artwork. For the bar area, she chose an astonishing sparkly grey carpet, which creates an atmosphere of pure glamour, and is already a talking point among guests. I don’t know how a carpet can sparkle without being fibre-optic, but this amazing one glints and very nearly twinkles. It’s called Night Sky, and was sourced from Dublin’s Natural Floor Company .

The curved art-deco-style bar features beautiful black-and-white marquetry by furniture makers Zelouf + Bell, based in Co Laois (zeloufandbell). The martinis are made by Guilbaud’s own bar staff.

Well-travelled pottery

From her Knocklyon-based studio, Ruth Power of Danu Ceramics has created a new range of finely crafted bowls and dishes inspired by her travels. Light, wavy edged bowls, plates and chargers are tinted with pink and gold, creating a look that is pretty and luxurious at the same time.

“There is a whole Parisian feel to it,” says Power. “The watercolour glaze I use comes from what I saw visiting the artists square in Montmartre. The colours are inspired by the macaroons in the city’s cafe culture, and I’ve edged pieces in the range in 22-carat gold as a homage to the opulence of Paris.”

You can find them in Dublin at the upcoming National Crafts & Design Fair at the RDS from November 30th-December 4th, alongside Danu bowls and dishes from €12-€45.

Architect’s Christmas market

If you’re around Merrion Square today (November 26th), head for the Irish Architectural Archive at No 45, where a Christmas market with a difference is taking place as 25 contemporary designers and food producers showcasing their work. They include Chupi, A Box for My Treasure, Maria Parson, Ekotree, ELKS, Liadain Aiken, Hens Teeth Prints, The Bearded Candle Makers and The Dublin Honey Project. All day.

Finest fuel for fireplace

For those with an open fireplace or a stove, it’s time to get in a stash of firewood to last the winter. But don’t just buy any old wood. The latest edition of Country Life magazine offers this guide.

Ash: famously good for burning because of its low moisture content. Beech: a first-class timber, burns with a steady flame. Birch: fast-burning. Cherry: dense and burns with a smell of cherries. Conifer: resins tend to form deposits in chimneys, low density and prone to spitting. Lime: awful stuff that burns poorly, smells of post-marathon trainers. Oak: one of the best, dense and slow burning.

Based in Barberstown, near Straffan, Co Kildare, logsforsale.ie offers bags of the kiln-dried oak, birch and ash logs. A large bag of is €110, a full pallet of birch is €220, and a crate of oak logs is €350. Prices include VAT and delivery nationwide.

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