Deep in the heart of rural County Laois, Ireland there is a very busy woman running a very cool website. Launched by Lorna Sixsmith-James in 2008 to allow her to indulge her love of interiors and shopping while looking after her children and working on the family farm, Garrendenny Lane is a hidden treasure and definitely one to add to your favourites.
We spoke to Lorna to find out more:
Lorna, you run Garrendenny Lane from the family farm in Ireland. You also work on the farm and look after your two children. What inspired you to set up the business – and do you ever get a minute just to sit and do nothing?!
The short answer is 'No!' I'm afraid I'm an avid multi-tasker, even when watching TV in the evenings, I'm either on the laptop or crocheting or perhaps reading a book. I live on a dairy farm in beautiful rural Co. Laois and my morning starts with getting the children ready for school, then I feed the calves and sort out our three goats and then it's time to pack orders and work on the website.
I set up the business as an interior design consultancy three years ago and added the online shop to my website when we eventually managed to get broadband. In 2010, I decided to concentrate on the online shop and launched a new website last October, with the intention of selling to people abroad as well as in Ireland.
What would you say is special about Garrendenny Lane Interiors?
Personal service; fast, trackable competitively priced delivery; beautiful products - some of which are exclusive to Garrendenny Lane (Love Ireland, as well as Yukari Sweeney and Paperboy are exclusive to us within Ireland); a beautiful easy-to-navigate site to browse; competitive prices; a blog brimful of tips, beautiful images, makeovers, guest posts and snippets about life on an Irish dairy farm.
Which other homeware sites do you admire?
Do you travel a lot to source new brands/products for the shop? If so, where have you found the best pieces?
I usually travel to Maison D'Objet and occasionally to Decorex and 100% Design. I love Scandinavian design and my favourite suppliers are Greengate (beautiful tableware and soft furnishings) and Scandinavian Surface (which do panel pieces inspired by the Norwegian climate and scenery). I also stock some fabulous Irish brands and my favourites have to be the Father Ted inspired 'Aw go on' poster by Love Ireland and the eco-friendly Palm and Light Tin lights by Dublin company Klickity.
What homeware trends are you seeing for spring/summer 2011?
A feminine retro 50s trend is very apparent as is a boho 70s revival, with lots of pretty florals, fringing and crochet. Cornflower blue, tan and cream are going to be popular colours. Mismatched crockery too is proving popular, for example, floral plates mixed with polka dot bowls in a similar colourway. Flora and fauna is still very apparent in design and there are many beautiful bird, owl and animal inspired prints, wallpaper and cushions available.
There's also a Garrendenny Lane blog. Can you tell us a little about that?
Our blog started three years ago and we were honoured and delighted recently to be amongst the five finalists of 'Best Blog of a Business' in the Irish Blog Awards. It has some weekly regulars such as 'Monday Makeovers' where I reveal a little of my own home and my attempts to get some decorating done (along with everything else I try to achieve), Wednesday Wallpapers, Thursday guest posts which offer a wonderful variety, and posts on the other days can vary from tips on decorating a child's bedroom to examples of how to accessorise with a particular colour to showcasing new products in our online store.
I have a budget of £50 for each and want to buy great gifts for: i) my dad for Father's Day; ii) my best friend's birthday; and iii) my friend's housewarming. What would you recommend from the site?
For your dad: I love this Family Tree Print by Famille Summerbelle – it takes 12 small photos and would be even more special if you insert some photos before you give it to him. £45
For your best friend: A Sammy the Sausage dog cushion by Yukari Sweeney – each one is different and truly individual. He is perfect company whether he is placed on an armchair in the bedroom or the living room sofa and really adds a finishing and personal touch. £30
For a housewarming gift: These Set of 3 prints by Love Ireland are traditional Irish blessings in modern typographical prints and really bestow good wishes to a new home. They come as £24 for a set of 3 prints 7 x 5 in or £54 for a set of 3 mounted prints 10 x 8 in (all unframed but fit into standard Ikea frames.
If you could have only one item from the shop for your own home, which would it be and why?
Oooh, that's a difficult one. I am passionately in love with a new wallpaper by an Irish designer, Jill Phillips of Elegantly Deviant and I adore her 'Tea Anyone' wallpaper. It's available by the metre and the roll (is 130 cm wide) and I am thinking of getting enough to do two wallpanels in my bedroom.
What next for Garrendenny Lane?
Although the website was launched last October, it is very much a work in progress with a 'birthday reminder', press page, media page, fabric pages, information centre and more still requiring installation and completion, hence it will probably be July before everything is completely finished. The intention is also to stock many more brands, both from abroad and from Ireland and become the website to check out when one is looking for gifts, wallpapers and homewares.
Click here to see everything that Garrendenny Lane has to offer.