• A garden retreat

    by  • July 22, 2014 • 0 Comments


    Wouldn’t you just love a little garden hideaway like this? I know I would. Somewhere I could while away a lazy summer’s afternoon with a good book and a cool drink.

    This octagonal room, with its small-paned windows, tiled roof and weathervane, would create a picturesque focal point in my garden. The pastel colours, wicker chair and bunting, all add to the summery, country feel.

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    Follower of fashion

    by  • July 17, 2014 • 0 Comments

    ethnic-pillowsEthnic gone mad…

    Trends pervade every aspect of our lives: in what we eat, where we go for our holidays, our clothes and, not least, in the home. I like to think that being ‘in the business’, I’ve become inured to the influence of the marketing men – and women. Well that’s what I’d like to think… I was looking at a Freshome.com feature on Trends for 2014 and this is its Top 10 – (my comments in brackets):
    1. Merging indoors and out (I suspect this is the future)

    2. Ethnic prints  (but we’re not ready for the Aztec print revival)

    3. The demise of beige (and good riddance…)

    4. Brass is back (Bet Lynch was brassy – and that wasn’t classy)

    5. Corduroy (still reminds me of my maths teachers pants,  but it adds up)

    6. Fibre art & macramé (at its best when Tarzan’s swinging on it)

    7. Floral textiles (let’s face it, this is NEVER going to go away)

    8. Glamour (I’m from oop north – prefer a down-to-earth look)

    9. Hair on hide (a bit itchy as seat covers but fine on rugs!)

    10. Compatible colours and accents (but avoiding over-coordination)


    Am I right or am I wrong – let me know!


    Seán O



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    Summer dining

    by  • July 15, 2014 • 0 Comments


    It was my Dad’s birthday last week, so we all gathered at my parents’ house on Saturday, for lunch – and for the second year running, we ate in the dining room, as a July birthday is no guarantee that you’ll be dining al fresco.

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    Al fresco perfection

    by  • July 13, 2014 • 0 Comments


    You don’t need a garden to enjoy a bit of al fresco dining. A little patch of patio, or even a balcony can often suffice – you just need the right furniture and ideas to pull it off. So, how to do it. Fold-up furniture is a must if you’re tight for space, and there’s a lot of choice out there from rustic wooden designs, shabby chic vintage to über modern. Once you have your furniture in place, a tablecloth will create the perfect centrepiece. Go for inexpensive outdoor crockery for practicality but choose something pretty – jewel shades will add a lovely touch of colour. Meanwhile a small pot of flowers, hurricane lamp or even jam jars with tea lights for an evening event will add the finishing touch. http://bit.ly/1swYp1M

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    Summery bedroom

    by  • July 8, 2014 • 0 Comments


    This pretty floral bedroom, with its matching feature wall and curtains just shouts Summer!

    The zingy lime green and pretty pink in the wallpaper and curtains is reflected in the quirky cushions and the throw, while the pattern on the crisp, white duvet cover adds even more colour and interest.

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    25 Beautiful Homes, August 2014 issue – on sale today

    by  • July 3, 2014 • 1 Comment


    Our brilliant August issue goes on sale today – and you really won’t want to miss it.

    It’s bursting with 25 sensational homes, including a beautifully restored beach house in West Sussex, a cliff top villa in Cornwall with amazing sea views and a quirky London semi.

    My favourite rooms include Blair and Gordon’s stunning bathroom, with its freestanding bath and lovely view, Pauline Bingham’s calm white and grey bedroom scheme and Caroline Bond’s beautiful outdoor entertaining area, with its subtle, colour co-ordinated soft furnishings.

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    Bathroom beauty

    by  • July 2, 2014 • 1 Comment


    On first glance, this bathroom has a vintage feel, but it has been given a contemporary edge with super-cool tiles on all three walls, and up to the minute brass sanitaryware. Also, the colour black is repeated in the bath, marble seams and grouting for continuity. Meanwhile voile at the window maximises the amount of natural light coming in to the room, plus it prevents the neighbours from possibly receiving a nasty visual shock. http://bit.ly/TP22Uz

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    Wall to wall beauty

    by  • June 30, 2014 • 0 Comments

    What creates the biggest transformation when reviving a room? The wallpaper, flooring, furniture or fabrics? Well, there’s a less-often-used device that I believe makes a bigger, more profound effect on a room and

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