Cottage charm, country elegance and rustic beauty come together with the stunning kitchen and dining room decorating ideas in Essentially Irish.
Garner kitchen-decorating ideas from a faraway land—without actually traveling there—in Essentially Irish. Author Josephine Ryan acts as a tour guide for readers as they travel through lovely kitchens and dining rooms dripping with the charm o’ the Irish. From a cozy County Kerry kitchen to an elegant dining room in north County Cork to a well-preserved historic mansion in County Kildare, Ryan touches on styles that are no doubt unique to Ireland.
In her introduction, she acknowledges that because of Ireland’s tumultuous history, Irish style is somewhat hard to define. Several historical and social factors play into Irish design aesthetic: “All these factors, combined with the country’s architectural history, make it hard to define exactly what is Irish style, and the houses featured in this book, which are all very different, bear witness to that.”
Thus, what follows are pages filled with varied kitchen ideas that are sure to inspire readers of all design tastes and preferences. What’s more, each featured kitchen not only includes beautiful photography and styling, but also historical facts and tidbits, which add to the lure and appeal of Ryan’s book. Whether readers desire to add Old-World charm or simple elegance to their kitchens, Ryan’s exceptional knowledge of Ireland, her people and her culture provides a wealth of useful information in this lovely book.
Here’s how you can get the look:
1. Statement flooring: Notice that each of these rooms features eye-catching floor coverings, whether antique hardwood draped with a pink-and-orange ikat rug, a rainbow-colored Persian carpet or turquoise-and-white checkered tile. Make your floor pop with bright but worn colors–like rust-orange or Provence blue.
2. No built-in uppers: These kitchens utilize three storage strategies: below-the-counter built-in cabinets, floating shelves and free-standing hutches. Hide your unsightly modern tools in easy-to-reach under-counter cabinets, but air your utensils in the open for a practical, pretty display. Choose natural wood cabinets or vintage metal shelves with a distressed finish to complete the rustic ambiance.
3. Simple, geometric backsplash: Forget the 4-inch factory-standard backsplash. Lay several feet of dual-colored glass tile behind your stovetop to enhance the vintage vibe and reflect light around the space.
4. Practical, rustic furnishings: Keep furniture to a minimum. Instead of an island, opt for a round wooden table that can serve as both a prep zone and an eating station. Select moveable seating moveable to foster easy traffic flow, especially in a small kitchen. Free-standing wood furniture–especially primitive antiques–also add extra charm.
5. Bold color: Kick Victorian jewel tones up a notch. Infuse your kitchen with an electric royal blue, vibrant emerald green or shiny fuchsia centerpiece backed by white walls for a crisp, quirky look.
Book review by Lindsay Horvath
Decor tips by Elaine K. Phillips
Photography by James Fennell