Sunday 11 December 2016

Space for daydreamers

Blanaid Hennessy hears how Anne Barber's mish-mash of trinkets at home inspired her to open a shop

Blanaid Hennessy

Published 30/10/2010 | 05:00

Anne Barber in her
spacious, light-filled home
Anne Barber in her spacious, light-filled home

Anne Barber has become adept at creating stylish places from tired old properties. She transformed an old angling store in Kilkenny into Butterslip, a shop that has become something of a destination for those seeking beautiful trinkets and objects for the home and wardrobe.

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She also gave her home -- a "perfectly proportioned mini-house", as Anne describes it-- a makeover. Once a simple, terraced council house, the 1960s property is now a vintage haven of style. The colourful mish-mash of furniture and accessories creates a feeling of comfort, antiquity and delicate sophistication.

Anne's eclectic home reflects her love of travel and picking up items of interest along the way. Her collection of pottery in the kitchen, for example, is a mix of pieces by Castlecomer-based potter Rosemary Durr, Fair Trade bowls from Oxfam, pieces purchased on trips to Morocco, and a few bits and bobs from the Real Olive Company in Co Cork.

The way she found the home is just as unconventional. "I was locked out of work on a rainy morning and ended up looking at the auctioneer's window. It was the only thing I could vaguely afford, so I cycled up to have a look and bought it pretty much on the spot."

The house was also one of the incentives for opening Butterslip. Owning her own house and having somewhere to put years of accumulated 'stuff' made her realise how much she liked arranging all her possessions. A shop filled with even more delightful 'stuff' felt like a natural progression.

Now her home is repaying that favour, providing her with a quiet, restful place to unwind after a day spent in the store.

"A private space to think and daydream is probably even more important now. At work, my brain is whirring and I'm chatting non-stop, so when I come home I almost need total silence as an antidote. I can't even listen to the radio for the first hour.

"I end up spending most of my time in the kitchen, eating or thinking about eating, cooking or thinking about cooking, or just generally daydreaming. I spend a lot of time here staring into space," she explains.

"There is gorgeous evening light at the back of house, so the kitchen is lovely to come home to and watch sunsets."

Butterslip, 31 Rose Inn Street, Kilkenny. Tel: 056 770 2502; www.butterslip.com; info@butterslip.com; facebook/butterslip

Irish Independent

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