Month: March 2014

Decoration is the veneer of life

Morning everyone.  What a lovely week we have had here in Northern Ireland, happy to report bright skies and little or no rain! The kids have been outside playing every afternoon which is such a great feeling.  Below is a little photo of the girls and I at the Argory   my favourite national trust property in Co. Armagh where we live.


Today I want to explain our strap line “Decoration is the veneer of life” and what it means to me. The definition of veneer – A thin decorative covering of fine wood applied to a coarser wood or other material. Or – An attractive appearance that covers or disguises something’s true nature.  This is quite a statement! I could elaborate on this in so many ways, but today I want to explain it in its context within the decoration of home interiors.

In current times home design and styling has become intrinsic to this expression of self, almost becoming a story told through design. The home space is being passionately converted into an ‘object’ or possession reflecting the social status of the owner and his personality. No matter the size, shape, quality or style of home you reside in, one thing remains… It is YOUR home. A place you welcome family and friends. A place you laugh in and share precious memories, but also a place you cry and find comfort during the more difficult times in life… No matter what, home is where your heart lives, and remains to most a place of safety and solace.

Decorating our homes is one of the most personal expressions of self we will complete in our lifetime. We love to find inspiration from friends, TV shows and places we visit.  In my case National trust properties with glorious period Interiors.  Or the cool airiness of the Scandinavian style of living.  Interiors speak volumes of the inhabitants taste and style.  I don’t know about you, but I love visiting peoples homes! We can very quickly get an impression of a person simply by seeing wallpaper choice, decoration, curtains or ornaments on display.  Some are conservative and safe very telling of a traditional, quite serious personality.  Others are bright, colourful and expressive of a bolder, artistic personality. Some are calm, quiet and more telling of a softer nature.  Next time any of my friend invite me to their home beware lol. But in almost all cases my friends and families interior decor is always representative of them as a person.

Who lives in a house like this?

Below is one of the bedrooms in Annie Sloan’s farmhouse in Normandy, france. How very telling that an Artist lives in this house!  The use of clashing colours on the bed works beautifully against the neutral calmness of the walls, floor and soft furnishings.


This gorgeous blog by Janice Issitt sums up exactly how personality determines interior styling.  Chalk it up – I adore the use of colour by Janice, she is truly inspiring. Her use of Chalk Paint™ is just beautiful.

Chalk Paint™ veneer 

The line “Decoration is the veneer of life” can also be linked to painting and up-cycling pieces of furniture within the home. Pieces we’ve had for years that are now out of place within our ever changing interior design styling.  Often people who come into our shop tell the same story. “I have old orange pine, its good quality, solid, really well made and it seems a shame to throw it away.” This is the perfect paint project for all the Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan enthusiasts. Giving this old orange pine a new “Veneer” with a lick of paint is effectively  breathing new life into a piece that may have ended up on the dump. We are giving these pieces  “An attractive appearance that covers or disguises something’s true nature.” In doing so we are expressing our style and taste in creating something new from something old.  Isn’t this just the BEST thing about Chalk Paint™,  the fact that we are replacing our throw away society. Becoming more aware of the importance of  reusing, recycling and reducing waste, is in effect reducing our own carbon footprint on the planet we all inhabit.

Below is a before and after of a dressing table I transformed using a multitude of Chalk Paint™ colours. The main colour is Antoinette trimmed with Old White.


So I hope this gives you an insight into our ethos and our motivation at Dandelion Lane Interiors. We are always on hand to guide you with  your colour and Interior Design choices.  As a team we have many years experience within the fields of Interior design, upholstery and home making etc. We are only too happy to impart this knowledge to our customers.  Our fabric and wallpaper library is extensive, including well known brands such as Sanderson, Morris & Co, Clarke & Clarke and Voyage Decoration.  We also stock fabric on the roll by Annie Sloan™ and Clarke & Clarke.  We have gorgeous soft furnishings by Voyage Maison and Avoca to dress your home in style. We offer Decorative painting workshops, sewing workshops, lampshade workshops and much much more.  So why not pay us a visit, and let us inspire you, guide you, teach you and most importantly help you create the beautifully veneered home you aspire to.


Have a fabulous St. Patricks weekend everyone!!! May the luck of the Irish be with you all… We will be closed on Monday, hopefully enjoying the well earned rest at home with our loved ones…

Jill xoxox

Dandelions are Yellow

Afternoon everyone…  This week the kids and myself have been busy busy… We’ve been building our guinea pigs their new home. Had our 1st site meeting about our own new home. Ella was sick during the week, and today we are baking orange fairy cakes. It has been quite a week! I just love this time of year though and the emergence of Spring. It most definitely puts a spring in ones step.

I mentioned in my first blog post how I came to the name ‘Dandelion Lane’ Just to refresh for those of you who may not have read it.  I asked my  daughter Naomi what her favourite flower was, and she told me “Dandelions mummy!  Because they are yellow and yellow is a happy colour!” It also happens to be her very favourite colour!!!  So todays blog is about…. Yellow…

As a result of feeling the joys of spring this week I have been using “English Yellow” Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan.  This colour always makes me feel happy! I was so thrilled when it was introduced back into the colour range over a year ago now. Yellow is a primary colour and one people are often scared to use, so I thought I would try to inspire you to give it a go and fall in love with it as I have.


Yellow is the colour of sunshine. It’s associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy.  Yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity, and generates energy.”


Use yellow to evoke pleasant, cheerful feelings. Light yellow tends to disappear into white, so it usually needs a dark color to highlight it. So if primrose yellow is as bold as you want to go right now, use a dark grey on the walls to make it pop.  Shades of yellow are visually unappealing because they loose cheerfulness and become dingy. So using bright yellow sparingly, for example on a statement piece brings clarity of colour and places the object more distinctly within its environment.

Which rooms in the house particularly lend themselves to yellow, and are there any where it should be avoided?

The most suitable rooms to use yellow are hallways as they are often the darkest room in the house. Yellow is a welcoming colour, so it will brighten and add cheerfulness. The kitchen/breakfast room will also benefit from yellow as it helps create a sunny, happy atmosphere when starting a new day.


I would suggest avoiding the use of yellow on bedroom walls. Yellow is a psychological primary which relates to emotions. Sleeping in a room that is decorated with yellow will over time lead you will wake up irritable and annoyed. However a single chair painted in yellow, as a statement can live comfortably within a bedroom scheme. (Photos above & below from Pinterest.)


Lots of photos this week to inspire!!! I hope this gives you a little idea on how to use yellow successfully within your own interior! Use the Annie Sloan™ Colour card to help you choose complementaries that will work well with English Yellow.


For those of you who are new to Chalk Paint™ let me introduce the colour card. Annie has very cleverly designed it into the colour wheel. It is a great aid when choosing colour as it works on the same basis as the regular colour wheel. Anything opposite is a complimentary. So for instance, opposite “English Yellow” is “Burgundy” this means these two colours will sit comfortably together and compliment each other, they don’t argue…


So I hope this incoming week you will give “English Yellow” a try. You can even use the empty can when you have finished! They make excellent flower pots. I used this weeks can and planted some daffodils and it now has pride of place in our window display.


As I mentioned at the start we also bought the Guinea pigs a new house, now that the weather is set to improve they can live outside. At Naomi’s request it was, of course, Yellow… Happy guinea pigs.



Follow my “Colour” board on Pinterest for more inspiration.

Have a great week everyone! 


Jill x

Heart & Home

Morning everyone!  I have been really looking forward to sharing another blog post with you, and today I want to share about influence and inspiration in my life.  I guess this post must begin from my “Heart & Home”

“Heart & Home” is the modern translation of the “Household and its inhabitants”. I mentioned last week that my dad has been the major influence on my career path so far. I guess this is normal progression in most households, as children tend to learn through imitation, what they are surrounded by and immersed in during those young formative years.  For me at my stage in life it is about nurturing my own children and creating a loving and warm environment for them to grow within our hearts and home.  We are just about to start building our forever home out on my parents farm.  I cant tell you how excited we all are to be moving home. The photo’s below are of my dad, Naomi, Ella and Jessie the dog on our site, I cant wait to blog as the build gets underway!

Image Image

I also mentioned last week my passion for Design History, well one of those passions was writing on the subject.   The person I want to tell you about today is Charles Francis Ansley Voysey, he is one of my favourite Arts & Crafts architect/ designers. He is also someone I feel akin to in that we share so many similarities in family life, and passions in professional life.  Today I want to give you a glimpse of him as a person and a designer, and how upbringing can influence on each one of our career’s and home life.

Although an unfamiliar name to many today, C.F.A Voysey, was one of the most influential and independent architects and designers in Great Britain at the turn of the 20th century. His work was less decorative in comparison to his predecessors, simplicity and functionality where of greater importance to him.  His childhood and formative years were steeped in an inherent and long line of family tradition and strong religious beliefs. His upbringing, like mine was the foremost influence in his life and work.

Charles’ father was a Methodist Minister.  A typically Victorian man with strong moral and religious views on life and the up bringing of family. I have to say my Father was very similar, he would have made an excellent victorian lol. I, like Voysey had a Methodist upbringing, and quite a strict one at that.  I was always donned the “mischievous one” but I like to think I was just expressing my creativity and individuality lol.


Voysey’s Dining chair of 1898

This chair was used extensively throughout his interiors, it has a high back, and rush seat. It incorporates the heart motif, which was to become a trademark of Voysey designs.

I want to tell you about the symbolism of the heart motif in Voysey’s work.  The heart symbolises the core of one’s life, or the centre of feelings. All dreams come from the heart and Christianity tells us God conceived the world in his heart before creating it through spoken word. I believe this is how Voysey interpreted his work by first conceiving it in his heart, and then incorporating this into his designs. It is the Christian belief that the spirit and the heart are intertwined, and at the moment of salvation one receives a new heart and spirit, “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you.” Voyseys faith was fundamental to his work and this shows profoundly in the symbolism of the heart. The wood used is oak which was also a consistent material used during Voyseys career. He like myself championed “supporting local” He believed in using local materials and leaving them in a natural state when finished. “Simplicity of thought and perfection of proportion.” This was the rule Voysey fervently adhered to throughout his life.  Voysey was always led when designing, by human emotions and his beliefs gained through his Faith. He considered these of foremost importance during the design process.

We must ever depend more and more on the human faculties of reason, conscience and love. Let us apply these faculties to all that is done in the name of art. Let every man judge furniture from the point of view of reason. Let us ask, is it fit and thoroughly suited to the purpose for which it is intended? Does it express qualities and feelings consistent with its owners and its surroundings? Is it faithful work? And for love’s sake ask, is it proportioned, coloured, and disposed as the natural beauties in creation? Are its lines and masses graceful and pleasing? Do any of its parts quarrel? Does it express sobriety, restraint, and purity? From the emotional point of view there are countless questions to ask.

Comfort, friendship, warmth, welcome and the security of family life, are all human needs, which Voysey embraced in every part of his working life. To achieve this, furniture and interiors were always to be comfortable and reserved. All his efforts and works were directed in particular to this end.  A sense of simplicity was seen as the base on which to build towards these ideals. Simplicity didn’t mean plainness; simplicity meant true richness and honesty to the materials.  


He also enjoyed a little bit of decorative painting (like myself) Im sure he would have just loved Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan™  for its incredible versatility and environmental friendliness. The motto in the photo above ‘Head Hand and Heart’ is taken from an inscription used by Charles Voysey, which became the motto for the Society of Designers in 1896. These three words are the keys to understanding Arts and Crafts: ‘Head’ for creativity and imagination, ‘Hand’ for skill and craft, ‘Heart’ for honesty and for love.

I guess the current day term “Less is more” might be Voyseys modern term of phrase if he lived today.  I have to agree, too often we over think our interior decoration or as I term it our “veneer of life” (I will blog that meaning another time).  I believe we should keep things simple, thus creating an uncluttered environment within which we can simply relax and enjoy being in the presence of those we love…

Voysey would be happy today with the current trend in the use of hearts in the home. I placed quite a few orders this week with my suppliers, (including Christmas ALREADY) and hearts are EVERYWHERE!!! We love to include them as decoration in our homes, and we sell lots of them in our shop daily.  Maybe next time you look at your own decorative hearts hanging on the door, or on the kitchen dresser, remember the connection to family, friendship and love. We are all simply trying to create a place of warmth and happiness for those who occupy  our own “Hearts & Home.”

Follow my “Interior Design” board on Pinterest to gain inspiration for simple homely interior ideas.

Thank you for reading again today, see you back here next week…


Jill xo