Slicker in wicker
Wicker is back, but not as you remember it. Now, it's sleek, chic - and in every room in the house, writes Kirstie McDermott
Back in the mists of time - or the 1980s - a glazing craze swept middle Ireland. Conservatories were banged on to homes, regardless of aspect or suitability and you were no one if you didn't have a small glass box with faux stained-glass panels wedged at the end of your dining room or kitchen.
Soon, it became apparent that conservatories had two temperatures: sub-zero or akin to the burning core of the sun, so they became dumping grounds for the washing and that exercise bike you promised yourself to use three times a week.
The other defining feature of the Irish conservatory was cane furniture with patterned upholstery that promised comfort but didn't quite deliver.
Nowadays, if the conservatory hasn't been quietly demolished, it's been remodelled in favour of an open plan kitchen. The cane furniture fared badly too, and was banished into decor darkness.
But like all trends, it has boomeranged. Cane, bamboo, wicker and rattan are now mainstream once more, and not just for conservatories - this look is for everywhere. The revival has been helped by the fact we go abroad so much, reckons interior designer Jill L'Estrange. "I think the trend of travel to boho-chic locations such as Bali and Tulum has brought the style and design back to our shores."
L'Estrange is well versed. She designed the interiors for Dublin's healthy eating spot Nutbutter, as feted for its interiors as its food. "We wanted to create a rustic, boho, beachy environment that would transport customers from east coast Ireland to west coast California," she says. The focus was on "using a lot of raw, natural and sustainable materials, such as cane, rattan and reclaimed timber".
Nutbutter's interiors are now some of the most Instagrammed in the city and it's not an accident: on trend, they have eco-credentials too. Bamboo, in particular, is an environmentally-friendly material. "Sustainability is an issue on people's minds, and I think we're gaining more consciousness into where materials are sourced and their impact on the environment, which I think has had an impact on the rising interest in cane and rattan," L'Estrange says.
Second-hand is also a sustainable option for pieces such as the sought-after Peacock chair. "Check for any fraying on second-hand items, and test out the products if possible when shopping in vintage markets. Most of all, just trust your eye and your gut," she says - but the new breed of cane-style decor offers far wider choice.
"What I love about this trend is how flexible it is. We're seeing amazing pieces such as headboards, dining chairs, feature lighting, cabinet doors, mirrors, side tables, and so much more being incorporated into home design," says L'Estrange.
You want a light touch to integrate it into your existing pieces. "Just one or two pieces are all you need, and your room will have an instant lift," she says.
- Kirstie McDermott is editorial director of 'House and Home' magazine