Wednesday 26 October 2016

Gilty pleasure - a classic design feature for your home

All that's gold doesn't have to glitter

Nikki Cummins Black

Published 17/07/2016 | 02:30

'Marrakech Palm' wallpaper, by Barnaby Gates, available at Dust, Dublin 8.
'Marrakech Palm' wallpaper, by Barnaby Gates, available at Dust, Dublin 8.
Deco pineapple, House of Fraser.
New Vintage Mirrored Bedside Chest.
Francesca 3-light Chandelier, Marks and Spencer.
Geometric candle holder from Marks and Spencer.
'Senora Emanuela' canvas, Young and Battaglia.
A clock from Gilded Hound.

Metallics are all the rage right now, but gilt is more than a passing trend. A classic design feature, subtle gilt finishes break up the harshness that you can get with modern, industrial styles.

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Original gilt-work involved applying a thin layer of gold leaf or powder to an object to give it a golden glow. Thankfully, these days you can get the effect without needing a princely budget to match.

The trick of course is not to overdo it. You don't want to cross the line into, heaven forbid, looking tacky!

Gilt is a sassy finish, so don't crowd too much of it into any one space. If you have a beautiful gilt piece, give it some space and let it speak for itself.

The prince and the paper

Gilt-embossed wallpaper is the ultimate luxe finish. It may be a bit dramatic for a whole room, but cover a feature wall or the inside of a cabinet for a less-is-more feel.

Buy it: 'Marrakech Palm' wallpaper, by Barnaby Gates, €145 per roll, Dust, Dublin 8,


The frame game


Who among us hasn't watched some faded painting become a missing masterpiece on Antiques Roadshow and wondered about what we have in our own attics? Even if you don't have a lost Van Gogh stashed away, re-use old gilt-edged frames to give your contemporary prints some serious weight. If serious isn't your thing, you could always choose something more fun - but, be warned, it takes some neck to pull it off!

Buy it: 'Senora Emanuela' canvas, €280, Young and Battaglia, Dust,

French fancy


Turn your bedroom into a boudoir with the addition of a gilt-edged mirrored chest of drawers or a dressing table. This French-style bedside locker is fancy and feminine, and the mottled vintage-look glass will render those pesky fingerprints unnoticeable.

Buy it: New Vintage Mirrored Bedside Chest, €78,

Feeling fruity


Tropical touches have been a decor trend in the past few seasons, but the golden pineapple seems to have more staying power - there's even one on the top of the Wimbldeon trophy! Two either end of a sideboard would look great in a lounge or dining room.

Buy it: Deco pineapple, €41, Living by Christiane Lemieux, House of Fraser

Light up


Interior design goes from floor to ceiling, so take a new interpretation of the term "mood lighting" from this wonderful chandelier. The gilt leaves bring in the modern metallic look, but their draped shape softens it and brings a warmth to the room before you even flick the switch.

Buy it: Francesca 3-light Chandelier, €245, Marks & Spencer

Line out


It's a case of form over finish when it comes to keeping gilt decor on the right side of classy. As a general rule, the duller the metal itself, the more intricate the pattern it makes can be. Moroccan lamps are an easy addition to almost any room in the house, but if you like cleaner lines, try something like this geometric candle holder which would work equally well against jewel tones or a clean white setting.

Buy it: Marks & Spencer, available in stores A/W 16

In the nick of time


If it's possible, I think I actually prefer to give than to receive, so I'm always on the lookout for something a bit different for my next purchase for someone I love. Siobhan Sacker is just the woman for me. Through her company Gilded Hound she creates the most beautiful clocks - each one made from solid, locally-sourced copper, hand cut and engraved with a carefully prepared design, then fitted with luxury large solid brass hands. You can really feel the quality when you pick them up, but the real magic is in the engraving, where each piece tells a unique story.

"I wanted to resurrect the ancient art of copper craft," Siobhan says. "I want to make sure that each clock is good enough to be a gift, and good enough to be something that someone will treasure and pass down through the generations."

With Siobhan's passion for high-calibre craftsmanship and meaningful designs - including an eye-catching replica of an old Irish penny - her creations are sure to stand the test of time.

Available at ARTICLE, Powerscourt Town House, Dublin 2, or visit

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