Fun stairs

I saw these fun stairs on Design*Sponge and it reminded me of lots of clever things that I’ve seen people do with Irish designer, Orla Kiely’s wallpaper and fabric.  I love these stairs and they add just the pop of color that the muted hallway in this home needs. 

This same wallpaper is used in Dublin-based children’s clothing store and maternity shop, Pearl.  The owner was really clever with the way in which she used the wallpaper to frame the till and payment area.  And she didn’t stop there…to spiffy up the industrial-looking door leading to their back-room, she papered right over it with the same wallpaper and then she added a fun gilded frame around the door — I love the look and I think it works perfectly for the environment.  www.pearl.ie

Suitcase Petbed

I don’t have a cat, nor do I want one (sorry catlovers! It’s just that I’m allergic…) but I do want this petbed for Tilly.  She loves sitting up high off the ground and this would make a fun little accessory for the room as opposed to the matted petbed that I bought for her from the homewares store.  I even have a really cool vintage suitcase in my basement in Boston that would do just the trick…just have to figure out when I can get it here to Dublin to start my project…  I especially love the fun, bright green legs on this bed.  Tilly would be the envy of all the other pets in the neighborhood!

Scrabble anyone?

How about these fun little scrabble pillows? I think they’d be a lot of fun in the right setting (for example, see the pic below of the heart and ampersand pillows below).  I have a lot of friends and family who are huge scrabble enthusiasts so these would be a fun gift item. Speaking of which, if you’re an iPhone owner who likes Scrabble, Words with Friends is a great little free app that lets you play at a distance…

The Dublin Wheel

Yeah, yeah, I know – the London Eye it ain’t but Dublin just opened a new attraction – The Wheel – last weekend.  

It’s a 60 meter tall observation wheel  and from it you can see the Dublin Mountains, Howth Head and the Four Courts.   

I haven’t been on it yet myself but I did manage a drive down through Ringsend to snap a few pics.  The Wheel is one of the attractions at the Point Village Market which opened this summer.  There’s lots happening now down at the Dublin Docklands and I think in a few years’ time, if the economy cooperates a little, that this will be a bustling area of the city center.  

Right next door to The Wheel is the O2 venue.  Tickets are n €9 per person for the 13 minute spin and it operates every day from 10am to 10pm.  There’s also the lovely new Samuel Beckett Bridge (designed by Calatrava) which takes you across the Hanover Quay, the new Grand Canal Theatre and a host of restaurants.   

And another amazing piece of Calatrava architecture — the Ysios Winery in the Rioja region of Spain.  The reflection of the building in the little channel of water that surrounds the building is supposed to look like a wine cask – love it.  

Salvage finds

I will never bash IKEA. I love IKEA and I think it’s done so much to give everyone access to great design.  With that said, one of the worst things I could think of is a house full of furniture and decor  that could be lifted directly out of the IKEA catalog.  In fact, I think it’s probably one of the worst things that even the IKEA designers could imagine.

The best way to use IKEA furniture is to save money so that you can add your own personality and touches with other, perhaps slightly more expensive, accessories.  One of the greatest sources for unique looking things is the local salvage yard. While I’ve yet to find my local salvage yard here in Dubln, I have friends in Massachusetts who’ve found lots of great finds at their local “dump”.  I particularly like the idea of a real focal point piece like the clock in the image above.   This particular piece is from a website in the UK called Trainspotters which specializes in vintage transit pieces.  I’m not sure if I can afford it yet, but with the help of IKEA savings, I’m hoping I might be able to snatch up a piece or two:  http://www.trainspotters.uk.com/

Happy 49th Anniversary M&D!

Today is my mom & dad’s 49th wedding anniversary.  I can’t imagine being with the same person for that long let alone still talking to them :-) 

Over the years, I’ve given my mother such grief about her home decorating choices.  For example, the green glass lamps in our living room that she threatened to assign to me in her will (but later sold at a garage sale). Of course, those lamps would be hot items for all those retro ’60s decor lovers (of which, over the years, I’ve become…). 

We always had tons of green in the house — especially cheery apple greens like the color of this acrylic tablecloth.  When I saw this, I got to thinking that it’s very like something my mother would have used in our house.  Maybe she shouldn’t have gotten so much grief from me afterall…

Transit rolls on Etsy

I think these Transit Rolls from TransitDesign on Etsy are to die for.  You can create your own to list all your favorite places in the world.  I think it’s a great look and a nice way to create very personalized art for your home (of course, showing this adjacent to that beautiful Barcelona chair certainly doesn’t hurt one bit). 

Check them out on Etsy or Facebook: www.facebook.com/TransitDesign

Wild dogs and blackberries

I went walking over the weekend down at the beach with Tilly and her BFF, Jake.  While the dogs chased each other in the sand, I rambled on the outskirts to pick wild blackberries while listening to NPR (I’m truly addicted to “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me”). It was such a relaxing way to spend a couple of hours and a win/win for all — the dogs were “dog tired” afterward, I got in a good bit of exercise while being entertained and caught up on the week’s news in the US and best of all, I managed to pick a huge bowl full of blackberries which would have cost at least 5 euro at the supermarket. 

I came home and made a blackberry crumble (good thing I took that walk before…).  Here’s a pic of Tilly and Jake at the beach — looking vicious but the two of them couldn’t be happier…

Yummy mini chandelier

I saw this in a magazine recently and thought that it looked really sweet.  I know it’s no big new thing to introduce a little bit of bling into your home — afterall, the decorating rags have been highlighting this fact for a long time.   I just had to clip this piece, however, to remind myself.  My tendency in a renovation project would be to go for recessed lighting on dimmer switches throughout the house but there’s a lot to be said for a nice pendant chandelier — especially when you can pair it with a sexy little cover up as this image proves.  I’m thinking it would be perfect for a guest bedroom…whaddya’ think?

Clean your plate

How great is this?  I have been known to hang a few plates on my walls in the past but it never would have occurred to me to do it in such a random but fluid way as they’ve done here.   Mixing and matching is such a love of mine and this is such a great example of how to do it with style and panache (now how many chances do you get to use that word!) I particularly love the tiny little plate on the right-hand side.  Adorable. 

This got me thinking how much I love painting pottery and that it would be really fun to create and paint plates of all sizes with kids for an arrangement like this — the randomness of style really lends itself to the inevitable mix of looks that kids will create.