Tinder for tradespeople, Pippa’s planners; Monart’s new look

Homefront: What’s new in interiors

Divide and wow

These mid-20th century plywood panels would make an elegant room divider or screen, could even work as bookshelves and could be fixed in position or left leaning against a wall as a piece of art. Dating from the 1950s, they were designed by Ludvik Volak and made by Drevopodnik Holesav in Czechoslovakia using bent beech ply featuring wonderful geometric patterns.

Originally made for a hotel in central Prague, the panels have now fetched up at Mosa Studio in Dublin, run by Siobhan Burke, which specialises in modern salvage for interior design projects.

Burke sourced them in Holland, where she goes regularly to restock her collection of vintage pieces.

“I know my source acquired them from a famous hotel in Prague that had been closed down for quite a few years but was recently bought and is being revamped to fit in with the modern-day look, which is ironic given how popular the mid-century look is right now.”


Burke has 12 panels in all, each measuring 226cm(H) x 90cm(W). They cost €1,200 each and can be found at Mosastudio, South Circular Road, or contact Siobhan at siobhan@mosastudio.ie

Monart makeover

The comfort level has just gone up a couple of notches at Monart Spa near Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, with the plush renovation of the Garden

Lounge, which now features deep-pile wool carpeting with art-deco motifs, whimsical tree trunk details and golden floor and reading lamps. The new scheme, which is the work of interior designer Patricia Carr and her architect husband Stephen Carr, is an elegant take on the traditional green and gold, though to that one has to add white – the dress code at Monart where guests sit around in robes at all hours, waiting for their spa slots. monart.ie; scarchitects.ie

Pippa’s plans

Pink Peppercorn and Ruby, Warming Winter Pine and Sultry Privé and Mandarin and Mint are the scents you can expect from a new range of luxury candles created by Pippa O'Connor Ormond. The model-turned-designer, who has a successful range of jeans to her name, is jumping into the home accessories and gift market, with opulently sized candles and a range of 12-month planners chockful of inspiring photographs, messages and diary dates. The boxed planners have been "flying" since their quiet launch just before Christmas. The candles are beautifully packaged and have a burn time of about 45 hours. They cost €42, while the boxed planners cost €45. pippacollection.com

Tinder for tradespeople

Finding the right tradesperson to do a job can be a challenge, and Irish web entrepreneur Mick Dillon describes his new site TrustedPeople.ie as "Tinder for tradespeople and homeowners in Ireland". It's an attention-grabbing concept.

The site aims to be a one-stop shop to match homeowners' needs with high-quality tradespeople and home professionals. The site will offer an alternative to existing options such as tradesmen.ie.

TrustedPeople is searchable for about 40 trades or services, from attic conversions and carpenters to landscapers and tilers, and by type of job, location, and so on. The listed tradespeople have a star rating, that it’s worth bearing in mind is based on TrustedPeople.ie’s algorithm, not reviews, which Dillon is suspicious of.

The aim is to provide a curated collection of the best services, and the algorithm assigns a score based on more than 80 variables, including legal status (sole trader/company etc), years in business, qualifications, memberships, number of photos, project descriptions.

“This site is particularly suited to those with visual work portfolios such as architects, builders, landscapers, carpenters and interior designers,” says Dillon. His team of three reviews portfolios of work and business information and then extends invitations to those tradespeople they believe to be the best in each trade.

Demand is high and some homeowners are having trouble finding reliable tradespeople. "However, while many tradespeople report they are run off their feet, they say that many homeowners still have recessionary mindsets. This is where a website matching more discerning homeowners with the best tradespeople in Ireland makes sense from everyone's perspective," says Dillon. "We see this as a site for professional tradespeople who work to the highest standards, and for discerning homeowners who are more interested in quality work than the lowest possible quotation."

There is no fee for invited tradespeople to be included in TrustedPeople.ie, and Dillon says he is funding the service himself. He sold the web-based business CarsIreland.ie in May 2016, so “I’m happy to fund my newborn and hopefully turn it into something really useful”. While it may sell third-party banner ads down the line, “we won’t ruin the integrity of the site by charging invited tradespeople”.

The project appears to be driven by a mission, and Dillon's bad experiences in the past. "I was really frustrated with the process of finding reliable tradespeople to work on my own home, and with the quality of their work," he says. "This is my attempt at a 'revenge' website." trustedpeople.ie

Cut-price classics

If you've been hankering after some Charles & Ray Eames chairs to arrange around your (Saarenin) kitchen table, then it could be worth making a trip to London from February 8th where Vitra, the Swiss suppliers of classic home and office furniture, will hold a three-day pop-up sale next week. Located close to Kings Cross Station, and running over three days, the sale will include more than 700 pieces, with prices starting from £39 (€44.50). Each day, selected pieces will be sold at a heavy discount, on a first-come, first-served basis. On the first day, for instance, plastic side chairs by Charles & Ray Eames will be discounted from £365 to £49. Other offers include a plywood chair by Charles & Ray Eames upholstered in cowhide down from £745 to £249; a set of four green Vegetal chairs by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec down from £1,596 to £499; Heart Cone chairs by Verner Panton down from £2,660 to £799.

The sale will take place on February 8th, 9th and 10th at Unit 2, Kings Boulevard, Kings Cross.

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey

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

Orna Mulcahy

Orna Mulcahy

Orna Mulcahy, a former Irish Times journalist, was Home & Design, Magazine and property editor, among other roles