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Energy efficiency, sustainability and design flair on agenda at the show in Dublin’s RDS

Joanne Mooney’s decorative pieces.

Tackling the matter of home renovations in a world of ever-increasing costs, will be on the agenda at the forthcoming Ideal Homes show, which will offer inspiration, ideas, and expert advice on every aspect of interiors.

Helping attendees get to grips with high construction costs will be architect and presenter of the RTÉ TV show, Home Rescue, Róisín Murphy, who will headline the show on Saturday and Sunday.As part of this, she wants owners to re-evaluate their homes and the fabric of these abodes.

“New is not necessarily better” is her credo, which forms part of a larger movement of slow architecture, which has the same ethos as the slow food movement. It champions just using what you need, repurposing where you can, and mixing vintage and antique furniture with the contemporary.

Architect Róisín Murphy. Photograph: Andres Poveda

Murphy is just one speaker at the upcoming show, which will take place in Dublin’s RDS on April 1st to 3rd, and as always, will be a one-stop shop for all those looking for home solutions, be they deep retrofits, to far less obtrusive superficial finishes from furniture to paint shades.


The show has been set out in hubs so that you can find your tribe fast, be it information on the engineering and costs of deep retrofits, to a whole section dedicated to working from home solutions, and another focusing on extending and new build construction projects.

One of the big draws is the show houses, where this year celebrity-favourite Arlene McIntyre of Ventura Design will be showing off her more affordable, funkier littler sister brand V2 Interiors. The large, three-bedroom property will have a city house vibe, she says. It will have a punchy, contemporary feel, a look that pledges sustainability in the use of wood, most notably in the reeded cabinet doors and drawers of the kitchen, a concept supplied by Woodies.

CAD drawing of Arlene McIntyre’s V2 Interiors.
Arlene McIntyre’s V2 Interiors dining area and kitchen.

“It will have a wall of anthracite grey-coloured units along one wall topped with faux concrete, a laminate finish in a rich dark grey. The layout too will demonstrate the fresh thinking of broken plan living, creating spaces within spaces.”

At the DFS interiors inspiration centre, there are room sets designed by different talents from textilist Joanne Mooney, who co-opts the ancient craft of needle punch to bring lots of personality into a space. Her design features cushions and pictures, including a large scale homage to that most reproduced of artists, Frieda Kahlo. She has fun with décor, as you can see in the shot featuring her shih tzu Rocky.

A more serene element of the furniture firm’s ideas hub is slumber expert Anne Marie Boyhan of the Sleep Care Company approach to bedroom decoration.

To help you sleep well, she advocates the use of warm coloured, dimmable LED bulbs from Irish company Litt, which start from about €8 per bulb; blue-light filtering glasses, €60, from another Irish brand, Ambr, if you cannot completely kick your screen habit, and a sensory element to help send your body olfactory wind-down signals through the use of essential oils.

DFS Interios designer and sleep expert Anne Marie Boyhan used a colour Dulux Heritage in waxed khacki for this design.
Joanne Mooney and her dog.
Dulux colour consultant Jane Witter.

Her room is washed in soft shades of khaki green from the eucalyptus green of her sleep journal, a bedside notebook she encourages you to use to “brain dump” before you close your eyes as a sleep aid, to the forest shade of the French Connection Zinc bed, upholstered in a sumptuous velvet.

Paint company Dulux is using the show to launch its new heritage collection of colour and you can see it for real within room sets designed by architect, Susan McGowan. The firm’s colour consultant Jane Kennefick Witter is one of the notables talks to attend at the theatre.

The fact that not everyone has a sun-filled, south-facing garden is covered in the garden and outside living area by the showhouse landscaping of Ian McGarry of Caragh Nurseries. He makes used of shade-loving ferns, ideal for those with small north-facing exteriors, as well as lush planting for those that have sun worshipping blooms.

The Simmonscourt show will also include its ever-popular Ask an Expert stand where you can sign up for free consultations with architects, designers and landscapers.

If you’re in the market for a mortgage, you can get even get your home hunting underway with approval in principal at the Permanent TSB Centre, subject to having all the necessary documentation and meeting the relevant criteria.

Alanna Gallagher

Alanna Gallagher

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