Lots of reasons to love Ireland

When life gets into a routine, I can forget that I’m actually living in Ireland — something I wanted to do for a very long time. 

It’s times when people come to visit that I remember where I am and why I’m here!  My sister and her family where here visiting last summer and we had a great time out in the west of Ireland.

Here are some of the photos I took when they were visiting.

This is my niece, Caiti, holding a jellyfish we found (one of hundreds) on Keem Beach, Achill Island.

 Here’s a harpist at the Cliffs of Moher.

And a friendly cow on what I like to call “bovine beach” in Northern Ireland close to the Giant’s Causeway.


MV Island Cottages

My friend, Toni, has spent the last week vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard and she reminded me of the cottages at the campgrounds in Oak Bluffs.  Tilly’s Cottage isn’t nearly so quaint and doesn’t have all the beautiful gingerbread woodwork that these cottages do but I’m sure there are a few pointers to pick up from these little gems.  I’m particularly fond of the  lanterns — they’re not only beautiful by night when lit but also a charming addition by day.  And notice the pink rocking chair on the porch below – precious.

Just a bit of eye candy today of these sweet homes.

Creative closet doors

After seeing Sunday’s post on re-purposed screen doors, Christiana sent in this photo of the screen doors she backed with fabric to use for the sliding doors in her closet – how smart is she?

Which got me thinking about closet doors in most homes in the US (closets aren’t quite as popular here in Ireland…) many of which are those awful hollow wood doors on sliders.  I thought I’d post a few more pieces of inspiration if you’re looking to do something a bit out of the norm with your closet (or wardrobe!). 

Admiration for Anthropologie

I work with a lot of companies in retail and I can tell you, there’s a lot to be learned from Anthropologie.  Their window displays are second to none and their store design  is inspiring.  They design team at Anthropologie are constantly pushing boundaries to avoid the me-too look of every other home / clothing store. 

While I find them a bit pricey, I always love going into their store when I’m in Boston just to get inspired and I have lots of grainy mobile phone photos taken of their stores over the years to prove it. So, if you’re looking for inspiration, why don’t you go do  some window shopping at Anthropologie…

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

I’ve always liked Charles Rennie Mackintosh — an agency I worked in years ago had a Hill House Chair in the reception area.  We weren’t allowed to sit on it but I still loved it.  I was in Scotland a few years ago with friends and had the pleasure of seeing more Mackintosh design and architecture first-hand and was only more impressed. 

I didn’t realize until looking up more information about the Hill House chair that it was actually only ever meant to be decorative and  not actually sat on — okay Woody, you’re off the hook! It’s hard to believe it was designed more than 100 years ago — hats off to CRM.

Vintage screen doors

I’ve seen a number of articles over the years about using screen doors internally for a pantry or other ways to create separation without completely closing off the room.  I had been saving the image to the right from an old magazine but I did a bit of a trawl on the interweb and found some other good examples…

Good examples of how either adding an accent color can really add to the room or, alternatively, painting the screen door to match cabinets, walls, etc. to create a more unified look.  If you see one of these at Brimfield, grab it for me?

Outdoor decor

We spend so much time thinking about how we’re going to decorate the inside of homes that, beyond landscaping, the outside of our homes are often forgotten. 

One of these days when I own my big, stately home in the country (ahem), I wold love to have a garden shed.  Wouldn’t this be the perfect accent to give a little pizzaz to a shed or an exterior garden wall? Fun, eh?

Cleaning house

It’s a good time of year to be thinking about cleaning house, getting rid of old junk and tidying what you’re keeping. I thought this was a clever idea for keeping your gardening supplies neat and tidy.  I think I need to set up some shelves like these in the basement in Boston as we have lots of tins of screws and nails lying about.

I’ve also always wanted a neat and organized sewing room (or craft room as Terri in Glee had to have). I have my sewing bits and bobs in storage boxes at the moment but it would be nice to have a system where they were stored and easy to find when I’m beginning a project.

Autumn underway

With Autumn now upon us, I automatically start thinking of the days getting colder.  I’m not much of a knitter but Christiana did teach me the basics before she moved back to the US and I’ve been trying to build on my skills from there.  With the help of friends I’ve managed a hat and a few scarves  (thanks, Petra!).

These coffee mug cozies are on my list of new knitting projects to try — while almost completely frivolous, I love the idea of snuggling into a mug wrapped in a bit of wool.

Happy September!

Country-style Scandinavian design

The Scandinavians get a lot of things right when it comes to design.  I’m particularly fond of country-style Scandinavian design — it’s a perfect blend of warm and cozy with clean and modern.  I also like the combination of the cool Scandinavian blues and whites with the darker woods.

It’s a lovely look — worth bookmarking for sure.