Wednesday 21 March 2018

Designer notes from Virendra Rana

Keep your walls neutral and go crazy with colourful accessories, says boutique owner Virendra Rana.

Boutique owner Virendra Rana. Photo by Brendan Lyon
Boutique owner Virendra Rana. Photo by Brendan Lyon

Meadhbh MCGrath

Hailing from Nepal, Virendra is the owner of Ginger Brown, a home and lifestyle boutique that opened earlier this year on Dublin's Clarendon Street. He designs most of the homeware himself, drawing inspiration from Eastern styles and adapting them to suit his Irish customers. As well as upcycled furniture and brightly coloured ­cushions (his most popular item), the store also stocks a range of jewellery and accessories.

East meets West

Our style is boho eclectic. I'm inspired by the colours, textures and styles of Eastern culture. If we see a really nice Eastern fabric, then we'll adapt it to a Western silhouette of a chair, or we'll use a really cool traditional technique in an unconventional way. We'll get handwoven cotton dhurries, but instead of using them as a rug we'll upholster bedroom benches with the fabric. It's about using familiar shapes but with very unfamiliar fabrics and designs.

Experiment with colour

The safest way to introduce colour into a room is with throw cushions. They have the most impact - if you add a couple of colourful cushions to a couch, it changes the whole ambience in the room. You can't go wrong with them! It's the same thing with accessories. Start slowly with one bold cushion or a really bright photo frame, and that will pop out and bring a fun element to the room. If after a while you feel that you don't like it, just take it out.

Keep walls neutral

People can go really wrong when they go for a strong colour on the walls without carefully thinking it through. There's only so much you can do with it, and if you don't like it, it's difficult to change. I always believe in doing neutral walls and then going crazy with accessories and colours. If you start with a blank canvas, you can do so much more.

Make an entrance

The best way to enliven a narrow hallway or corridor is to fill it with loads of mirrors. Mirrors are always great for making a room look much bigger than it is, so I'd create a collage of mirrors of all different shapes, sizes and colours on the walls - it makes the space look more interesting, as well as creating the illusion of space.

Upcycle your style

There are so many upcycling projects you can do at home, you've just got to be a little creative. You could colour wash a wooden window and use it as artwork on a wall, or take an old chair and put a really cool, colourful fabric on it. Our upcycled pieces are usually one-offs: a door that's been turned into a cabinet, a really old bannister that's been turned into a console table, or a window turned into a mirror.

Summer lasts all year long

In our store, there are no trends. The collections aren't seasonal - it's more about eclecticism. Our style is all about bright colours and a feeling of summer all year round, so we won't be going any darker for the winter. We wanted to bring that different atmosphere to our store, and it's definitely something we need here, with all the grey weather we have! Black is the last thing we need.

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