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21 Feb 19

Welcome to Series 2, episode 4,  of the fortnightly interiors podcast The Great Indoors. This week Kate and I were treated to a jolly to Dublin courtesy of our sponsor DFS. We were put up in The Dean, Dublin which is a very swish hotel in the heart of the city and we had a lovely short stay in this vibrant and hospitable city. The top floor restaurant is amazing with rooftop views of the city, and the perfect place to watch the sun go down with a pint of Guinness. If you get to visit I highly recommend it.

The Great Indoors podcast is a fortnightly podcast that discusses interior design hosted by design experts Sophie Robinson and Kate Watson-Smyth

Introducing our fabulous, usually behind the scenes producer, Kate Taylor, introducing us! Photograph by Paul Sherwood

So it made total sense that we would kick off the live event, in front of an amazing audience of Ireland’s top influencers and media. They were an enthusiastic, passionate crowd and we couldn’t have wished for a warmer welcome. A big massive thank you for having us!

My room at The Dean looked like this. Lovely dark gentleman’s club style bedrooms but a nightmare to do your makeup in

Hotel design inspiration

First up Kate and I discussed, most fittingly, that we like to get a lot of our own design inspiration from hotels. Leading hotels (I’m not talking Holiday Inn here) go to a lot of trouble to create amazing interiors in which to delight their guests. We talked about the Soho House hotel group who have a very distinct style, so much so that their previous Design director Vicki Charles has gone to set up her own design studio, Charles and Co, in New York with Julia Corden (wife of James- Kate W-S knows all the gossip). They are reportedly doing the new home of Prince Harry and Megan, so watch that space!

Will Harry and Megan be opting for the luxe country house look that the Soho Farmhouse is famous for?

Fabrics and furnishings

Next up we talked about one of my most favourite topics, cushions! I’m a maximalist so love to jostle lots of patterns and styles together. How to mix pattern is something I get asked a lot, and Kate and I shared our different approaches. Mine is for as many cushions in different patterns as you can fit on the sofa, and Kate would prefer a patterned sofa with plain cushions. So its all up for grabs. A few guidelines though; if you are mixing monochrome cushions make sure you have plenty of texture to keep things interesting and if you are mixing prints, switch up the scales and make sure you use a cohesive palette to make it all make sense. I did a YouTube tutorial on just that here, so do check it out.

Interior designer and self confessed colour queen Sophie Robinson discusses

I love to clash patterns and the more disparate the better. A strong colour palette helps it to all hang together, as shown in a picture of my old flat in Brighton

We also talked about how to save money when buying fabrics as soft furnishings are a large part of any room budget. I like to push the boat out and splurge on a designer fabric for roman blinds as you can be economical with the meterage. And then I have Chambray stripe ready-mades in my own living room that I picked up in the sale from Habitat. I got the must-have luxurious feel by sewing two pairs together and changing the eyelet header for a pencil pleat to they look full and plentiful. You can have a gander over on my Instagram account here.

My habitat ready made curtains were sewn togther to make them wide and luxurious enough for my window

How to plan the dining room

In a recent interview, Mary Berry declared that the dining room was dead, and she was knocking down walls in her new house, to bring the dining table into the kitchen. When we polled our live audience in Dublin it was massively in favour of having the dining room within the kitchen. My recent project at home has been to convert our dining room into an office but I’ve done it in such a way that it can be switched back again for when we have big family get-togethers like Christmas and Easter. Kate is more conventional and has her dining table in the kitchen, which also doubles up as her place of work. And what a lovely space it is too!

Kate’s Instagram famous dining table which is in the open plan kitchen with large glass doors that look out to the garden

We had such a wonderful time recording the podcast in Dublin and sharing the interior design love that this city really has. We have also had a lovely write up in the Irish Independent that you can read here. We particularly love the review

“…like two peas in a podcast. They’re rowdy, funny, and extremely well-informed, their casts are a unique mixture of lively banter and practical advice, and they don’t always agree. Especially about cushions, a topic of conversation that often ends up as the verbal equivalent of a pillow fight. What more could you ask from a podcast?”

Sophie Robinson and Kate Watson-Smyth discuss The Great Indoors podcast on Ireland AM Morning show #sophierobinson #interiordesign #podcast #thegreatindoors

Kate and I were even invited onto Ireland AM the live breakfast show. I demonstrated how not to place a cushion.

I’d like to thank our sponsor DFS for supporting this series and Kate Taylor for producing the podcast and coming on the road with us to manage a rowdy Irish crowd! Hope they didn’t blow your headphones! For more podcasts, you can catch up on my podcast page here or better still subscribe so you never miss an episode.

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