A Lesson In Home Décor From Ireland's Best Interiors Blogger

Madam Stoltz, AW16
Madam Stoltz, AW16 | Courtesy of Madam Stoltz
Kate Phelan

Ireland-based blogger Diana Valentine has blended her editorial and social media skills with a passion for interiors to create not one but two award-winning design websites. The owner of online design store Home Lust was a double winner at this month’s Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016, bringing home the gold award for Best Arts, Crafts and Interiors Blog in both the personal and company categories. Here, we talk all things home décor with this talented entrepreneur.
How would you describe your personal home style?
It’s been quite a journey to find my personal interiors style, but I have owned my home for some years now so I can experiment more. What I am most fond of is what I call ‘eclectic minimalism’, which for me entails a neutral, bright Scandinavian-type space, a minimal amount of furniture, built-in storage and lots of colourful, bohemian-style accessories, which I change around depending on the season. I also have quite a large collection of vintage décor accessories – flea markets are an addiction.

What’s your favourite room in your house and why?
In my current home, it has to be the living room. It’s quite a large, open, living-cum-dining-cum-kitchen space, where we, my family and I, spend most of our time. We eat here, cook, watch TV, have dinner parties, read the Sunday papers, play football, have pillow fights – we have a huge modular sofa and its layout changes depending on what we’re doing. It’s the item I like most out of all our furniture; I arrange it into a U-shape around our coffee table when we have people over, it turns into a six-person bed for our guests and is a great seating/lounging area for our movie nights.

Living room items from the Broste Copenhangen A/W16 collection

Where do you look for inspiration when decorating your home?
My background and style are quite international, and I look for inspiration everywhere from Scandinavian blogs to French décor magazines to Japanese wabi-sabi lookbooks. I love the boho-minimalist Australian aesthetic, and ‘fading-beauty’, retro-style Italian interiors, too. More recently, I’ve been following the décor tips of Hans Blomqvist – a great interiors stylist and author from Sweden, whose books I thoroughly recommend – as well as the colour aesthetic of Heather Nette King.

What do you find is the easiest way to transform a room?
I like changing the décor in all of our rooms every season at least – sometimes even more often – and because I like to do it in one afternoon or less, I find the easiest way to redecorate is by changing the accessories. I have a few sets of home textiles, art prints and décor accessories which I play around with depending on my mood, the season or the quality of light. Plants can also massively impact on the atmosphere of a room: for a bright and cheery corner, I recommend an indoor citrus tree. I prefer a fig leaf or monstera for a reading corner, and I find suspended pots of trailing or hanging plants add a dramatic touch. Wall colour and feature walls are also great ways to radically change your décor, but these tend to be more permanent features.

What have been your favourite interiors trends for 2016?
I love the fact that warm, gold metallics have stayed with us for more than a few years now, and have really dominated the accessories industry this year. I also favour the rise of a more romantic kind of Scandi-inspired minimalism, which entails more colour and warmth, as well as organic and rustic textures.

What products do you have your eye on right now?
I am currently redesigning our dining area for the third time. We’ve ‘hosted’ a few dining tables over the last few years, and have not yet found our perfect one. I’m now looking for a concrete-top table and bench dining set and some great brass chairs. We’ve had the same difficulty in finding the perfect coffee table, so the search is still on for a low, Japanese-inspired, dark wood table.

Any must-have items for autumn/winter 2016?
Home textiles in lush dark green and burgundy, paired with warm gold-toned décor accessories, such as brushed brass. I’m also looking forward to matte concrete and artisanal items with a natural, wanderlust-y feel this season.

Who are your favourite homewares brands?
I’ve edited a collection of my favourite homeware and furniture brands in my shop, and I naturally gravitate towards the clean, crisp lines of Scandinavian brands such as House Doctor, Gubi, Nordal, Broste Copenhagen, Marimekko and Hubsch, among others. I also like the philosophy and aesthetic of Nkuku, which produce unique fairtrade collections every year, as well as TineK and Madam Stoltz. And I have a major weakness for modern rustic, so HK Living and White Label are very much on my radar.

Madam Stoltz, AW16

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