Tag Archives: design

A little slice of Heaven










Sometimes in life you find a place where all your worries and woes evaporate and a sense of calm envelopes you.

We are privileged to have great friends Frank and Donna who have created one such place in Ireland in the beautiful home they have built with their own hands immersed in their awe-inspiring garden that they have built upon over the years.

From the large glazed kitchen window a row of silver birch trees has become a sanctuary for an array of birds, their riotous dipping and diving through the branches becomes a natural backdrop while you sip an early morning coffee.

Both great cooks, Frank and Donna bring edible flowers in from their garden to adorn a Summer salad which we got to enjoy on the front wooden deck, where French enamel lights kick into action to illuminate the deck as daylight  fades.

The back wooden deck over looks a pond that Frank has installed now rich with lily pads and a lovely place to perch with a cuppa with a few of the family cats for company.

All natural materials have been used to create the wonderfully paired back interior that includes Frank’s art studio, which is swathed in light, perfect for work.

The importance of nature within the design of the house is palpable, the spaces are designed to straddle both the interior and exterior equally.

In the evening the chesterfield is placed outside around a roaring fire from the brazier and wine is sipped while chatting into the wee hours of the morning, truly a magical place to experience.

Delightful De Gournay

Foreign Bear Studio have been in love with the company De Gournay for years.

Master artisans in incredible and vibrant hand painted wallpaper that packs a PUNCH!

Just seeing these covetable walls makes me dream of having such a wall…one day.

Giz me shades

The hidden door in the wall is definitely worth nabbing for our next interior design project!

Crazy and perfect

What a colour combination, the fresh flowers are almost part of the wallpaper.

One day perhaps…

Donegal Cottage

This beautiful cottage is hidden away in a place called Edergole just outside Ardara in Co.Donegal. The path up to it is straight out of a fairytale and on entering the living room through the half door at the front you enter into a uniquely Irish dwelling with very low ceilings and stone floors. The cottage has been lovingly restored and sympathetically extended at the rear by its owner Helen McHugh.


The cottage is full of beautiful art and design pieces collected over the years. There is a wonderful spirit at work here with the collection ranging from old lace, old lasts and farmyard tools to Middle Eastern objet d’arts.



The cosy livingroom leads to a bright bathroom with beautiful black and white tiles.

This iron bed sits perfectly with the beautiful fireplace.

The Eastern influence is clear in this mosaic mirror.


This corridor(see above) serves as a walkway from the old cottage to the new extension.

But what is the great achievement at this remarkable building is how well the new extension sits with the old structure. Faced with the task of enlarging the space to suit modern living (not to mention modern stature!) the owner has added on a delightful kitchen/livingroom at the back. As a nod to the dwellings history however she has included many beautiful pieces such as the stained glass window salvaged from a local church as well as re-using some of the original windows ensuring the home doesn’t lose its integrity.


A stained glass piece and Victorian portrait sit comfortably beside this wood burner

Old meets new with excellent use of iron windows with more modern feature furniture


The country cottage is complete with eclectic chair choices and all is stunningly lit by natural light through the new skylight.

Designersblock 2011


As part of London Design Week we visited the Designersblock at the wonderful Farmiloe Building in Clerkenwell.

Highlights from the displays included JAIL MAKE’s reseeding brick (see above).The brick is a witty project bringing greeness to the city by inspiring people to become ‘arbortectural’ growers. Each brick has been loaded with seeds which will grow once the brick is positioned outside. We’re not sure what we’ll do with our brick yet but we’ll be sure to keep you posted!!

The Brick machine in action

For more info visit jail-make.co.uk


Another winning design at Designersblock came from Edward Taylor with his ‘Show-Off’ clothing storage unit which has a very useful clothes hanger. Function and style? What more could a you want?!

For more info have a look at the designers website Edward Taylor

Ed’s Shed

As part of Open House London 2011 we visited Ed’s Shed, which is just around the corner from us on DeBeauvoir Road. It’s a really beautiful home which fits surprisingly well into the surrounding area, which is made up of predominantly Victorian structures. For me the most interesting part of the building was the small glassless windows which are dotted around the north and south walls. Like little hatches they allow peeks of the neighbouring buildings without intruding on the neighbours privacy.

To complement these hatches the east and west walls are filled with large windows which serve to frame the views of the foliage in the garden as well as allowing buckets of light to stream into the building.

Full marks to the architects Adjaye Associates for creating this unique building and thanks to Ed Reeve for welcoming us into his home. For more details visit www.edsshed.co.uk