Welcome back to GAFF #shelfies! We are excited to bring you this Instagram series, as we explore some of the coolest nooks and crannies of cool homes in Ireland. Each week, we’ll be taking a snoop at a special shelf or space in a super stylish GAFF, examining the owner’s favourite accessories, asking about their home inspo, and taking styling and decor tips as we go. This series is designed to help YOU get excited about your own home space. It doesn’t matter if you have a single shelf or an entire room to get creative with – we want to help you kick start your own interior inspiration.
This week, we stepped inside the beautiful home of the Aisling Keenan. Aisling is a respected journalist and beauty expert. You’ll know her as host of the chart-topping Private Education podcast, and she’s about to launch a brand new beauty podcast, Into It, which we can’t wait for here at GAFF HQ. For now though we’re all about her interior expertise.
Tell us about this corner and why you chose it.
“I LOVE being in bed. It’s my favourite place. I get away from work and it’s really the only place I feel completely relaxed. All of my relaxation accoutrements are housed in this little space. It’s my bedside locker, and it has the best of things; books, candles, a reading lamp, my jewellery stand and my iPad. It’s a space that’s only for me, no shared items, and when I see it I instantly feel calmer. It is also ALWAYS tidy.”
Can you tell us about 3 of your favourite items in this space? Where you got them from, why you love them?
“The main thing really is the bedside locker itself. You wouldn’t BELIEVE the lengths I went to to try to find reasonably priced bedside tables that were wide. Literally every locker I found online was max 45cms and I wanted around 60-65. It was a JOB. I had so much Pinterest inspo (all from the US) with these whopper super-wide lockers and I couldn’t for the life of me get one in Ireland. This one (and its pair on the other side of the bed) is from Ikea, it was about €90 if I remember rightly. And I added the long brass handles myself to recreate an inspo shot I’d saved. It worked a treat and I love them.”
“The next thing I love here is the print – I designed and printed it myself at home. I love design, and often make prints as gifts for people. I have a giant printer at home that prints A3 size so I made this and backed it with pink to set off the teal of the bed. The frame is from Ikea.”
“The last thing, my favourite thing, is my picture. It’s of me, aged 3, sitting in between my two grandmothers. I lost my paternal grandmother at age 4, so there aren’t many pictures of me with her after this point. It’s just really special and I love having it there when I wake up and when I go to sleep like they’re both keeping an eye on me.”
How would you describe your home and interior style?
“Gosh, I wish there was a word for it. I would want to say ‘eclectic’, but that makes you think of bold colours and antiques mixed perfectly with modern pieces, and that’s just too nice a term for what my interior style is. I guess I’ll say overtly practical, forward-thinking (I plan for all future eventualities) and simple. Inoffensive might be a good word. And somewhere between minimalist and maximalist. I think my home has Dissociative Identity Disorder.”
How do you approach styling areas of your home?
“I approach styling my home haphazardly and with immense trepidation. I veer dangerously between entirely fluky bits of loveliness and shockingly ill-advised disasters.”
“I’m a staunch purveyor of the mantra ‘buy cheap, buy twice’, which means practically everything is an investment, but that also means everything is a fairly pricey mistake to make. So I do what I do best – I worry over an item for months, weighing up what it will look like in a space, drawing pictures, looking at similar rooms on Pinterest, before settling on a thing and just biting the bullet. It mostly works out. It very much did NOT work in my living room, where I spent €350 on an area rug that was 3.5 metres x 2.5 metres. It fit perfectly, I loved it. I dressed the room around it. Then two weeks later I walked into the room and was inexplicably repulsed by it and had to replace it. But it did work out (thank the sweet infant lord) with my gorgeous herringbone oak floors. I went over budget on them (and when I say that I mean I spent DOUBLE what the budget was) because I truly believed they were timeless. They are, to date, my favourite part of the house and the most commented on thing. I got them from Des Kelly in Swords, who are shout-out worthy – they were incredibly helpful.”
“As much as I go by the ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ mantra, my other way of interiors shopping is to just buy things I legitimately LOVE the look of. I don’t think much about what era it’s from, or whether it will ‘go’ with everything in the house. If I love looking at it and it makes me feel comfort or excitement or inspired, I’ll buy it and somehow it’ll just work. I did that with a light shade I found in The Range. It was an intricately cut-out brass dome that would look perfectly at home in a Marrakech souk – I loved it straight away and bought it even though I didn’t have a home for it. It eventually ended up in my bedroom where it doesn’t match anything but stands out and draws the eye. I love it.”
Where are some of your favourite places to shop for interiors?
“Who doesn’t love a good Ikea find? It’s my first stop for most things, although I draw the line at buying anything I have seen in someone else’s home in real life. It’s like they say in Friends about Pottery Barn – everyone really does end up with identikit living rooms, and I didn’t want that. I recently bought a gorgeous rug from Rug Vista, and was terribly impressed by the quality of the product and their extremely efficient service. I like Zara Home, Next and H&M Home for soft furnishings and decorative items, and I got most of my ‘big’ furniture from EZ Living and Michael Murphy, both Irish companies. If I’m treating myself in a big way, I’ll tip in to Meadows and Byrne. Bougie or what.”
What was the last thing you bought for your home?
“It was my new area rug for my living room from Rug Vista. They have an excellent selection and are reasonably priced too. I was nervous about the quality because obviously I bought online from Sweden, but was pleasantly surprised when it arrived. Also, on their website they have the most brilliant filter features: You can filter their rug selection down by size, price, colour and style, making it so simple to narrow down what they have to offer you immediately. There’s nothing I hate more than endless scrolling. Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
Meissa rug, €295 at Rug Vista
Where do you find your home inspo?
“Well, I bloody LOVE Architectural Digest on Youtube, ten out of ten would recommend it to a friend. I would love to have a home worthy of a visit from them – the ultimate dream. I get a lot of inspiration there, but the Explore page on Instagram is realistically where I get ideas and Pinterest of course. I also love IRL inspiration, like anytime I go to an event or someone’s home, I will spot something I like and store it away in my mind until I figure out a way to make it work in my home.”
Follow Aisling on Instagram, and check out her Patreon page more of her brilliant beauty and lifestyle content.
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