Design and Decor

An example of fine late 19th century Satsuma Moriage work. Meiji Period, below: Japanese slapstick fantasies for a western taste, 1940s. Ensure you are not buying late vintage or even brand new Satsuma rather than antique (Ebay).

Vintage view: the attractions of Japanese Satsuma ware

IN MY first years of collecting I felt a yawning cultural chasm open wide when confronted with Japanese or Chinese ceramics. 


It’s important to get your interior lighting just right

Two months ago the timer on my kitchen lamp was set to come on at 10.45pm.


Boudoir buddy

During the clutter-clearing frenzy of the ‘90s, out went the centuries’ old staple of ladies’ boudoir furniture - the dressing table, all because we wanted streamlined, soulless, space efficient storage.


Vintage view: Coffers

Kya deLongchamps gives a quick run down on the precursor to the ATM — the family coffer — an item which is now an investment in itself.


Nana nicities

Willow pattern, with its Chinese love story playing out on bowls and plates, brings a hint of granny’s table-top style back in fashion (€82.95 for 20-piece set, from Anvil Home).


Wish list

Esther N McCarthy goes hunting for some extra-special products this week, from an over-sized homage to 1950s pop culture to a fun way to keep the children’s toys tidy.


This autumn’s palette is going soft on green

THERE’S a nip in the air, but can we complain when we’ve had yet another beautiful summer? We do, however, have to start thinking about battening down the hatches and what needs to be done to the house before fire-lighting season begins.


Vintage View: The affordable work of Eileen Gray

IRISH women designers are often promoted for their essential qualities of firstly, being Irish and secondly, for being women.


Wish list: Betty Jackson candles

This week is back-to-school time so Esther N McCarthy has picked up a few bits— big and small —to cheer us all up.


Grey neutrals form the perfect background for copper and blush

DECIDED to tackle my spare bedroom, which, with its dreary northern light and an accompanying chill in winter suggests it belongs to a different weather system altogether.

Mary Reynolds was the first Irish designer to win a Chelsea Gold Medal in 2002 and is now the subject of a new bio-pic by Vivienne DeCourcy.

Mary is quite contrary

Mary Reynolds caused a stir when she became Ireland’s first gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2002 in a category which included Britain’s Prince Charles.

Group of Drop chairs courtesy of Republic of Fritz Hansen, re-launched this week. The tear-shaped beauty of mid-century design was a big hit throughout the world for 50 years.

Vintage View: Jacobsen drop chair

If you’re wondering about that repetitive piercing squeal audible from some distant south Dublin suburb — relax — it’s simply the nails of rain-soaked Arne Jacobsen fans clawing at the front windows of ‘Lost Weekend’ in Dun Laoghaire.

A painted tin and little felted spheres become holders for herbs and flowers in Mette's Farm Kitchen at 100% Design 2013.

Mette magic in the kitchen

Carol O’Callaghan talks to the duo behind this year’s Design Week hub.

Mountain Redstart, withdrawn from production 2005, Oiva Toikka for Iitalla at Nuutajärvi (Finland)

Vintage view: Iitalla at Nuutajärvi

Kya deLongchamps is a bit bird-brained this week following a Finnish find.


Garden designer’s book helps keep the kids busy outdoors

Want to hold a snail race in the back garden? No, it’s not an Alice in Wonderland fantasy, but a real possibility. Draw two chalk circles, one within the other.


Vintage view: How to clear your stall at a car-boot sale

You can’t judge a vintage book by its cover, nor a darling old lady by her benign, moist-eyed charm.


Glad to be plaid

Carol O’Callaghan suggests going independent with colour and pattern in your interior look.

Fish sculptures by Monica Fergus are witty, endearing and colourful, and designed to be wall-mounted to catch the eye(

Cork Craft Month designed to get you buying

FOR the inevitable rainy days that speckle our otherwise sunny summer, Cork Craft Month kicks off on Tuesday next and runs through to September 5 at venues throughout the city and county.


Vintage view: Selling goods at auction and online

It’s really handy to sell old furniture yourself from home or online, but beware the pitfalls. Selling through a dealer or though auction can put you at a safer remove for a small commission.

The Wein acrylic chair is an elegant and modern take on a Victorian design. The amber tint echoes the wooden construction of the original (€249 at Casey's Furniture)

Creating the mould

Carol O’Callaghan finds that there there’s nothing so natural as plastic.

Consider the option of a green-wall to maximise green impact and reduce the clutter pots create.

Ask The Gardener

Modern living in Ireland dictates that many of us will live in high-density urban situations, featuring balconies, terraces and communal rooftop open space. Here are some useful ways we can optimise this style of outdoor living.

The tale of the sideboard goes on. Elizabeth cabinet by Young & Battaglia. €3,356. Mineheart.

Vintage view: The dining room sideboard

It’S fascinating to see a line reaching through centuries past, right into our living spaces. In some cases there’s a clue in the very name of the object and the sideboard is just such a piece.

Woody browns and grey, stone-like whites are an ultra modern adaptation of the organic modern look (Plana wardrobe from €1,200 at LOMI)

Going modern organic will give your home a light and relaxing look

ANOTHER week, another trend. This time it’s modern organic, and before you start thinking this means ditching your poly cotton linens and upholstery for 100% organic cottons and all the ensuing ironing, wait a minute.

A stark contemporary room is softened by the warm Xsmall sofa (LOMI €2,975), while the eye is drawn downwards from the double height ceiling by a prominent canvas and tree branches with a sculptural aesthetic.

Find a harmony between old and modern objects

Mixing antique and contemporary elements is an enduring look and helps to pull together different styles in furniture and objects you have and which don’t seem to get along.

Madame Mystery, c.1780. Zwischengoldglas salt, a tasty collectable picked up while browsing in Bygone Times in Dungarvan, Co Waterford.

Vintage view: Tasty collectable

Kya deLongchamps believes browsing through smaller collectables can bring its own rewards.


Vintage View: Eames’ chairs

The achievement of an unqualified architect, Charles Eames (1907-1978) and his remarkable wife Ray (1912-1988) — the Eames’ collection holds a unique place in the history of art and design.



FOR some women it’s chocolate and shoes.

The Canada rug features clerical grey and charcoal detailing set against a white background. Flat hues of blue and teal add colour and interest (from €395 at LOMI)

Monochrome, with lighter versions of black, is an alternative to bright white and dull magnolia

I confess to having magnolia walls in my house, even though the colour has been out of fashion since its monumental popularity in the ‘80s.

Detail of mi-century Danish buffet showing the much coveted finish of solid rosewood, but is it legal?

Vintage view: Antique rosewood

Kya deLongchamps says resilient vintage or antique rosewood retains strong appeal.

This sexy little number knocks the stuffing out of upholstery. Called the Love Love, it's perfectly large enough to accommodate two sitters comfortably, surrounded by a tactile pink mohair velvet finish.

Aiveen’s art

Carol O’Callaghan meets Cork-born, Aiveen Daly whose furniture and interior design is in international demand.

Lucite handbag with carved clear top to a trunk style, probably made in Miami. Clear Lucite pieces are generally less expensive than a searing colour

Vintage View: Auction fever

Lucite handbag with carved clear top to a trunk style, probably made in Miami. Clear Lucite pieces are generally less expensive than a searing colour.

Message in a Bottle by Siobhán Steele would make a lovely wedding gift for design-conscious friends. (€36 at Cork Craft and Design Gallery, Douglas)

Buy items you love when creating a new look in your home

WE all do it when we visit a friend’s house for the first time. Our eyes rapidly scan the space to get our bearings, but also to see how their style matches our impression of their personalities and the expectations of their home we developed before arriving.

Meissen 18th century group with bronze mounts

Vintage view: Meissen 18th century group with bronze mounts

Kya deLongchamps takes a look at the very collectible and very beautiful Meissen porcelain.



Carol O’Callaghan says a new exhibition explores the relationship between craft and mathematics.

Italian brand Jesse's Frame sideboard appears to hang from the wall but is supported by finely wrought metallic legs for a contemporary finish. (€1,694 at LOMI)

Sideboards make a spectacular return

I NEVER fail to be excited by the sight of a new sideboard design. It’s the legacy of a childhood fascination with my aunt’s G-Plan version and its cutlery drawers hidden behind solid teak doors.

Keeping everything pale will give the illusion of space. Here the wall tint is carried into a dresser and skirting board, with a white compact table giving lightness and texture (paint by Dulux 10GY 58/105 €56.99 for 5ltrs at Woodies and B&Q)

Organisation goes a long way when entertaining in confined settings

ARE you an aspiring hostess yearning to entertain regularly, but trapped in a tiny space, with unfulfilled dreams of place settings for 10 and breakfast buffets for overnight guests?

Victorian glass epergne in cranberry and clear glass with trailed and pinched decoration, c.1890.

Vintage view: Victorian glass

CRANBERRY, ruby or gold ruby glass will not be ignored. You can set a single piece on a mantle, or crowd it at the back of a glazed cabinet.


It’s easier than you think to make your house immaculate

IN achieving an immaculate house we tend to focus on the kitchen and bathroom — perhaps because they have the most obvious hygiene issues and are the two rooms used by everyone in the house.

Make a style statement with the eye-catching Amanda crockery, and use the range together or with the addition of plain wares in white, red, blue or black (from approx. (€11.50 for individual pieces by Danish brand Super Living at

Wedding gifts with a difference

Carol O’Callaghan extols the gift list as the most sensible approach to present-giving in this, the nuptial season.

Stickers allow an opportunity to play with bathroom decoration. Theme a wall or create your own mural (from Dotty Frog Interiors €16.79).

Introduce the fish look to your home

A nautical theme can lift the look of any room, from textiles to shower curtains, writes Carol O’Callaghan.