Home files: Five minutes with Ann Marie O'Leary
Ann Marie's floral design company specialises in weddings, but this year she was chosen as interior stylist for the Fitzwilliam Hotel (fitzwilliamhoteldublin.com), where she created the Christmas decorations. In 2016, she hopes to offer classes in flower arranging at her studio in Kerry.
GO WILD WITH A FESTIVE WREATH
People don't realise the beautiful things you can make with foraged foliage. Cut the bendy twigs off a tree and shape them into a circle, then tie with chicken wire or twine. You can hang it on your front door, or make an amazing centrepiece with a hurricane vase and a pillar candle. You get a gorgeous scent if you add crushed up cinnamon sticks by the candle.
Rather than racing around the stores or having a perfect designer tree, wouldn't it be lovely if it was a family tradition to gather snippings in the garden, and sit around the fire making things together? If children are involved, you can put a nametag on it, and when relatives visit, they're so proud.
PLAY WITH A VARIETY OF TEXTURES
Christmas is all about texture. This year, I want to do origami. You can find YouTube tutorials on how to make star decorations. I love to sit by the fire with a glass of wine and make these origami decorations with just paper and string.
DRESS A CLASSIC CHRISTMAS TABLE
I love sparkle and spray-painting. Find a spray that doesn't have a strong scent, and you must spray outside. Buy some cheap charger plates and spray them gold, then, while the paint is still wet, add some glitter. For placecard holders, use lightly-sprayed pinecones. Make little brown paper tags strung with ribbon. That makes a super-quick, unique and beautifully-dressed table.
This month we're...
Be it Christmas Day or New Year's Eve you can't wait for, keep an eye on the seconds with this retro-feel wall-clock. Hand-crafted in Wexford by woodworker Donal Murphy, and available in saffron or cream, each piece is truly a one of a kind.
Wall-clock, €55, Urban by Beveledge, beveledge.ie
Feeling the force
With the new Star Wars movie in cinemas there's no better time to connect with your inner nerd. However, joining the Jedi doesn't have to mean sacrificing on style. This print from graphic artist Ale Giorgini is a movie collectible for grown-ups.
Monde mosaic print, €86, amara.com
Clever lighting is the key to good interior design, and this cheery red lamp is perfect for creating a focal point in a room. Use it to shine a spotlight on the plate of carrots and cookies left out for Santa - or, indeed, that item circled in a catalogue you're hoping he'll be inspired to bring.
Retro task lamp, €40, Carolyn Donnelly Eclectic, Dunnes Stores
Bye bye baubles
Give the gift of style with this festive collaboration between designer Jenny Walsh and Dublin's Marker hotel. Each box contains two hand-made alder wood on brass Christmas decorations - and three chocolates! €15, themarker.ie