Exquisite boutique styling with backlit mirrors, shamelessly modern freestanding furniture and would you believe — black basins, sinks and loos, were on show throughout this year at trade shows including London’s Design week and Milan’s Salone de Mobile, in Italy.
If we are going to plunge into high design, we seem less afraid to express ourselves in the contained area of the bathroom than anywhere else in the house.
Look out for that single sculptural piece, such as a fabulous wall-mounted sink with integrated counter, match it to luxurious flooring and keep the clutter out of its way with seamless storage. Angled or organic, choose sanitary ware made to be noticed. Wood in tight, dark, gorgeous grains continues to relax the colder character of tile, porcelain and sealed plaster.
Take timber up the wall in dramatic feature panels or use it to personalise cabinetry and pare off those handles for recessed pulls or push-action fronts and drawers. You can safely take this woody relief to the floor with laminate products including Quick-Step Levyn with its synthetic core and durable top face.
Shower rooms will step off the substitute bench as the water charge controversy is finally becalmed. Irish shower manufacturers Merlyn Showering offer contemporary designs with virtually frameless beauties riding on a slender 30mm frame floated over a low level tray. Ask for the Series 8 launched this autumn.( www.merlynshowering.com).
Traditional kitchens with painted finishes are holding the twee end of the market, but to get excited, we need to look at the progressive kitchen.
The minimalist, blocky system kitchen is holding its own with a sophisticated, amenable character that suits so many homes and tastes. Entry level systems at IKEA remain committed to the principle of simplicity of line with Metod replacing their Faktum range beloved by buyers for over 20 years. In other ranges, mixing up white or dark blocks as the anchor for the room is a key look and also, consider shuffles with colour and/ or wood cabinets to cosy up a strong monochromatic look. (Express Kitchens, Kitchen World, In House and Qube have very good examples on show).
Higher up the kitchen class (say €30k plus), Siematic’s Floating Spaces uses panels in wood, matt or glossy resins on cabinets and doors. They climb the wall as integrated storage and also serves as plain panelling providing hanging points for Seimatic’s celebrated floating shelving.
Clean, crisp, functional, the Siematic look and similar modular systems are discreet enough to flow directly into living spaces already wearing a 1970s built-in symmetry of beech or white media units, room dividers and panelled walls and storage with no abrupt edge between one functional area and the next. This creates a complete look — what the pros call total design, and you’ll either love it or run screaming from the showroom.
You really shouldn’t live without these two elements combined, but expect to see more sophisticated surroundings — though brought to heel with a soft, yielding edge. Ugg, the maker of those comfy boots has launched a range of furniture and even John Rocha has got in on the act with a stunning new range of RJR Element and Eclipse upholstery from Debenhams (from €500 for two Eclipse dining chairs).
Warm up those hardwood floors and metallic surfaces with warm signature rugs, throws and cushions, now available in eccentric, confections for every taste. As an investment piece, artist Andrew Ludick’s gorgeous designs for Ceadogan Rugs start at €820 for 1.2m rugs in meltingly soft 100% wool.
From retro revivals to Italian upscale gorgeous, the furnishings on offer everywhere are determined by statement style. You don’t have to break the bank to pick up a single piece of furniture that can make a whole room. Explore the eras and looks that make you feel good and follow one unashamed look in at least one room. If you love vintage but can’t afford say, a mid-century original or something nudged to life in its honour — cheat, but cry out for quality. We love the iconic interpretations of CA Design in Dublin for just this reason. (Cadesign.ie.) Don’t think you can pull off posh looks with your meagre disposable income? Then check out zinzan.ie; bluesuntree.co.uk; made.com and voga.com.
Interior trends sashay down directly from the catwalks of the fashion world —that’s high couture for you and me. This autumn/winter sees an obsession with geometric prints and bold monochromes in faded out graphic lines applied to dresses, coats and separates. Pick up something like Jenny Walsh’s geometric lighting in recycled cardboard, or just stick to angular prints on textiles to shake up your rooms.
Take this look up the walls in applied painted decoration or wallpaper. If you go for a paint-job, try a feature wall in a geometric mural in blue/grey/soft black or even copper/orange free-hand with a slightly dry brush, in softly blurred, reasonably straight lines.
Liza Jones of Porter & Jones, Irish bespoke furniture and kitchen specialists advise “hardware can refresh the entire look of any kitchen. Chrome, nickel and stainless steel are no longer the go-to for kitchen metals anymore”.
Very much leaning towards the timeless traditional kitchen, shades of iron, graphite, brass, and copper are becoming increasingly more popular. They also look great against big slabs of natural stone. (www.porterandjones.com)