Why Northern Ireland Should Be Your Next Interiors Shopping Destination

Don’t cross the border without these KEY NAMES and ADDRESSES, says PENNY McCORMICK 

Winner of the “Best Architectural Salvage Yard UK & Ireland 2016”, (Sustainable Building Awards) Wilsons Yard should be your first port of call across the border. Half an hour from Newry, this is a magnet for bounty hunters, especially if you are incorporating a raw, industrial vibe to your home. Reclaimed brick and flooring are a forte but so too are garden gems. Last year, Wilsons Yard worked with Diarmuid Gavin on his RHS Harrods Garden, providing him with Yorkstone paving. Design enthusiasts can ask Nigel Wilson and his team to source items (from whatever era) for projects; much of their success is down to their unflappable and irreproachable customer service. (Wilsons Yard, 123 Hillsborough Road, Dromore, Co Down; www.wilsonsyard.com).


If you’re only able to manage a day trip, then make Lisburn Road, Belfast your destination. It is home to a quartet of leading interior designers: Ian Thompson Interiors, Jenny Bond Interiors, Kris Turnbull Studio (who has projects in Paris, London and Dubai) and Herbert Gould. The latter sources décor items from Maison & Objets and also displays a revolving selection of Irish art. For minimalists, Maven, owned by sisters Catherine and Patricia McGinnis, have curated a collection of Scandinavian and Irish furniture. Alongside brands such as Hay and Muuto, you’ll find pared-back jewellery from Tokyo/Belfast-based Isle, Irish linens from Bricolage and thoughtful stationery from School of Life. (Reid Memorial Hall, 4a Maryville Avenue; www.wearemaven.co.uk). Then pop into Oliver Bonas for home accessories and a good edit of gifts.

Looking for tiles? Fired Earth (180 – 182 Lisburn Road) is a favourite, though Boucher Road Industrial Estate is home to Soaks Bathrooms and numerous other wholesalers, where value and design are guaranteed. If visiting on a Saturday be warned: many close at 1pm. You may need lunch after all of this browsing; restaurateur Michael Deane’s local Italian emporium Deane and Decano is always a crowd pleaser. For lovely tableware, find the designs of Magheralin design studio, Murmur, at Bedeck. Perfectly suited to the idea of “slow living” the local homeware brand designs everything from ceramics to cushions with an understated natural charm. New colourways for autumn include indigo and grey, with Japanese motifs used on bedlinen and textiles. (Bedeck, 465 Lisburn Road, www.murmur.co.uk)

If layering art and collectibles is your interior goal then you will love Thompson Clarke Interiors’ aesthetic. A reflection of  joint owners Sara Thompson and Lindy Clarke’s style – they are working on projects at manor houses in the Northern Irish hills and modern townhouses in central Dublin. They have recently collaborated with one of Ireland’s only remaining hand weavers – Jude Cassidy – to produce a limited edition collection of eight cushions in a range of yarns including cashmere and silk. (B1 08 Portview, 310 Newtownards Road, Belfast; www.thompsonclarke.com). One of their neighbours is ceramicist Derek Wilson, whose work is sold in concept stores from London to Japan. His work is available from The Bureau in Belfast (www.derekwilsonceramics.com).

Outside Belfast, in Rory McIroy’s hometown of Holywood, is The Cape Table. Owner Rose Wilson has South African roots and this is reflected in her edit of tableware, ceramics and cushions. Priding herself on beautiful yet affordable interior design, her team have also created a skirt made from Osborne & Little’s Sorrento fabric they’ve named “The Skirtain.” (60b, High Street, Holywood, Co Down, www.thecapetable.com).

Staying over? The quirky No 33 Coachhouse is recommended – a Georgian  self-catering property a stone’s throw from Hillsborough Castle on the Main Street, in the village of Hillsborough. The Merchant Hotel provides a more central location, close to the rejuvenated Cathedral quarter and the celebrated Ox restaurant. If you like the interiors at the hotel then Beaufort Interiors, who supplied some of the soft furnishings, will appeal. Their maximalist aesthetic and luxe brands include Poliform, Fendi and Matthew Williamson; (104 – 106 Main Street, Moira). Online, Katty Patterson’s Hunter’s Bohemia stocks interiors products, handmade by Patterson in her Belfast studio. “Block-printing features heavily across our textile and print collection. Our goal is to create beautiful, artisanal products with an effortless style that really lasts.”? (www.huntersbohemia.com).
Finally, a new antiques store David Flynn Antiques in Saintfield may be a source for that finishing touch. Flynn has an eye for detail and works as a stylist and interior designer with Jenny Bond. I loved his vast selection of green cabbage plates on my last visit – enough to make Aerin Lauder swoon. (90 Main Street, Saintfield, Co Down).

Penny McCormick

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