I wanted to tell you what to expect from the upcoming Insiders Secrets in Dublin (Saturday 1st April), hosted by House Edit. There was so much to write about that I had to revisit this post several times… I planned getting it to you sooner.
I attended the Sligo leg of the tour and it was really fantastic. It was the first masterclass of its kind fusing interiors and style. Guest speakers included Roisin Lafferty of Kingston Lafferty Design, Elaine Regan and Claire Price of House Edit, Sarah and Lisa of Dust and stylist Orla Sheridan.
The event took place at Radisson Blu Sligo, where we were treated to afternoon tea, goodie bags and prizes, which were incredible and included a piece of artwork from visual artist Lola Donoghue and print from local artist Andrea Flanagan.
Their Galway workshop at G Hotel was also a sell-out this weekend.
Pictured here is artist Andrea Flanagan.
All images by Donál Hackett.
First to take to the stage was interior designer Roisin Lafferty. She was amazing: captivating, with a wealth of knowledge in her field. She spoke about the importance of your sacred space – your home – and how it makes you feel. I think there is a lot of truth in what she had to say. I know that when my house gets messy or if something structural is bothering me, it can really affect my mood… So much so that I’ll knock a wall!
Her favourite projects to work on are residential. She establishes a relationship with clients and explores what’s working for you in your home and what’s not. Here are some of the guidelines she discussed for giving your home a facelift.
Identify Your Style
The way you dress (your personal style) does not necessarily transfer to your home. Roisin recommends creating a mood board and sketching the room you wish to transform. Ask yourself: What is it that I want my house to do? How do I want it to make me feel? What are your pet hates? Sure, you can you use Pinterest, but she recommends printing images to add to your mood board and collecting materials to attach too – so you have those physical and tactile elements.
Regarding the architect, do you like them on a personal level? Do they ‘get you?’ You are letting them into your life, so you need to like the person and get along.
Craftsmanship & Joinery
She showed us examples of clever hidden storage units and hidden office desks. She recommended using shelving and display cabinets to showcase your favourite things. Choose elements of trends you like – not all one trend as this will date. Remember: it’s not just about how your home looks, it’s about how it feels and makes you feel. It’s your home – it must be comfortable.
You want as much natural light as possible in your home. There are different types of lighting: task lighting (dramatic) and ambient lighting (discreet). See recommends zone lighting so all light isn’t dramatic and on at once. With different switches and dimmers, you have more control of the atmosphere. She suggested that LEDs under the kicker in bathrooms and under counters in kitchen work well. We have lighting under our kitchen units and they really transform the ambiance and are actually much better than the main task light.
She explained that if you have a neutral base colour in a living room e.g. grey, you can add interest with a pop of colour on a feature wall or even paint a frame around artwork. She showed us how to do this ourselves using ‘frog tape’ (not masking tape) to achieve clean lines. Frog tape is available at any paint shop. Choose a colour from the artwork and use that colour to frame the painting.
As regards tiling, she said tiled tabletops give new life to a table, without getting rid of it
Look at key piece you have. Add warmth and depth. Have fun mixing and matching old with new. Roisin recommended websites such as Nkuku, Zara Home and DUST. You’re just going to want everything on these sites! To add an eclectic feel to your home, source unique furniture at flea markets.
She summarised by saying that well considered design provides you with a happier life. Your home is a place you can be yourself and you start the day happier when you feel serene in your home. Find out more here.
Pictured below is the full panel of style savvy speakers.
Both Claire and Elaine of House Edit spoke about their shoppable interiors platform. I’ve written about House Edit many times, so you if you’ve missed it, catch up here. You can browse some of the beautiful furniture, artwork and homeware that they’ve sourced, and buy here.
The girls explained that when choosing colours for our home, start with your personality. If you are an outgoing person, you may love bold colours, but understand the function of each space. If you love red, perhaps choose varying tones of this colour, like a dusty pink for a bedroom, as this shade is conducive to sleep. Pastel tones are known for giving that feeling of serenity. For North-facing rooms, choose warmer tones. With neutral backgrounds colour through art, furniture and accessories.
Artwork, scale & arrangements
Claire and Elaine are huge advocates of artwork in the home. They support the work of Lola Donoghue, Andrea Flanagan, Kady Berry and Rebecca Loftus. Use artwork as a focal point and style your space around it. Don’t be afraid to mix multiple styles of work, from oil paintings, sketches, photographs, and graphic typography to more abstract pieces. The style of work you choose will often add your personality to the space. Play with scale too – mix artwork sizes and layer. A symmetrical layout is more formal, while asymmetrical layouts are very on trend. Try to create a balanced feel. Move your layout around until you are happy with the composition.
Next up were Sarah and Lisa of Dust, an interior design consultancy based in Dublin 8 and established in 2014. They set out to demystify styling your home. They came around to each table and I showed them some images of a room in my home that I’d like to transform. They gave lots of suggestions – things I would never have thought of myself and I’m going to take all on board. It’s really good when someone seems a space with fresh eyes.
Here are some of their useful tips.
When examining a piece of furniture or home accessories ask: is it
If it is not 2 of these, get rid of it! Or try it in a different room first.
Prepare by using Pinterest: pin, pin…. and edit! Only choose things you really love and pieces that reflect your personality. A drinks trolley is a quite popular addition to homes today – it’s an extra table in the room too. Place a lamp, nice glasses and greenery on top.
Choose 3 main colours and 2 accents in a room.
Their presentation was really visual and interesting. They showed us an empty stack of shelves and step by step showed us how to create a visually interesting space by adding depth and texture. What you display in your home tells a story about the person living there. Stack books and magazines at varying heights – horizontally and vertically, don’t make your display overly symmetrical. I loved what they showed us – nothing in our home is symmetrical. Texture and contrasts provide balance in your home e.g. soft cushions against a leather couch, the rough edges of a vintage table.
Rule of 3s
I love this rule. I’ve always believed that arranging things in odd numbers is visually more appealing. The girls stated that 2 is a couple, 3 is a collection. They arrange in 3s and 5s.
Play with scale
Inject humour into your home and create an element of surprise by playing with scale.
Greenery, plants and & flowers
Flowers and greenery add a sense of freshness to your home. I never used to bother in the past, but I’ve started buying fresh flowers every couple of weeks to add more life and colour to our home. Display plants and flowers on your shelves too.
Galway-based stylist, Orla Sheridan is not only one of the most stylish ladies you’ll ever see, she really knows her stuff and is very helpful. I first spotted Orla on Shop Street in Galway a few years ago and just had to stop and asked her where she got her gorgeous shoes! The funny thing was, she told me that she and her friend where just admiring my outfit! I had no idea who she was. We met again at other fashion events and it was nice to catch up with her and interact during the Insider Style event in Sligo.
She spoke about wardrobe essentials, organising your wardrobe and shopping tips. I took 3 pages of notes when on Orla alone… so I’m sure you’ll forgive me – I’m not going to include it here. This will need a blog all to itself! My wardrobe is due a spring clean and I’m sure many of you are planning a clear-out too, so I’ll try get her tips up soon. In the meantime, visit her site here.
All in all, it was a really brilliant event and something that bit different as opposed to your regular fashion and beauty roadshow. I think everybody took something from the day and each speaker brought something fresh. You may not be in a position to hire a stylist, interior design or architect so these interiors events are a great idea as they are value for money. You learn a lot! I highly recommend you attend one if your surroundings are having an affect on your daily mood. Your home is your haven and it should feel that way.
I hope you picked up lots of tips too.
Thanks for reading,