Gardening from the comfort of your home


Clarinbridge Garden Centre


Clarinbridge Gardn Centre

Clarinbridge Garden Centre, have an online shopping website, to help you choose your plants, shrubs and trees from the comfort of your home. Check out their seasonal special offers.


Interior Design Course

Interior design course @ La Maison Chic.


Successful Interior Design Course with Joy O Keefe

Big congratulations to the La Maison Chic Interior Design night class who graduated this week with flying colours (pun intended!)

Jokes aside, we are proud as punch here at La Maison Chic to have our first in-store course be such a great success!

When we first decided to run a night course from the our gorgeous store we didn’t really know what to expect as it has never been done before, but here at La Maison Chic we like to lead the way when it comes to design, so it was obvious that we needed to lead the way in educating our customers about Interior Design also. Having being a tutor of Interior Design for 12 years myself, I have always been passionate about educating people when it comes to design.

The format of the course was to give our loyal customers the opportunity to design a room of their choice in their own home in the La Maison Chic style which we did using the format of mood boards.


Sample Mood Board – Natural Greens

Students had access to a range of expert speakers from our own fit-out team who covered a whole range of topics.

The team included our new La Maison Chic architect, Juan Sotoparra, (who will be available to do our brand new “architects clinic” service which is free of charge and can be booked instore) our resident curtain maker, furniture restorer and upholsterer James Maguire, and even the tres chic director of La Maison Chic himself Laurent Billiet who gave an inspiring and very informative talk on French style, and yours truly, who covered a range of weekly topics including concept development, colour schemes, soft furnishings, lighting, flooring, kitchen and bathroom design.  A special thanks to Mark Ryan of Universal Kitchens, Limerick who drove all the way up to Galway after a hard days work to give a brilliant talk on kitchen design!


Juan Sotoparra

As well as having access to the widest range of fabrics and wallpapers this side of the country and expert talks and demonstrations, they also benefitted from receiving the newly launched customer VIP card which entitles them to a 10% discount all year round on any of their purchases in-store as well as on fabrics, wallpapers and curtain making services etc. As if all of that wasn’t enough, all of their materials were included in the course fee and all samples needed to complete their mood boards where ordered directly from our suppliers. We concluded with our students receiving their specially designed La Maison Chic Certificate of attendance  (insert pic 2 of certificate please!) and as a parting gift our La Maison Chic candle.


Sample Mood Board – Strong Colours

The feedback from our students was extremely positive and included comments.

Joy O’ Keeffe and the team at La Maison Chic guided us through the world of Interior Design with the relaxed aplomb of those who know their subject intimately. Their 8 week interior design course is a must for anyone interested in adding style to their surroundings or gaining knowledge on how to pull a moodboard together for a design project. Delving into their vast library of fabrics and furnishings every week opened my eyes to a world of interior design possibilities that I didn’t know existed. A thoroughly enjoyable experience overall – highly recommended!

The new course starts –  Tuesday 10th February for 8 weeks.


Student’s Mood Board

Places are limited so call –  La Maison Chic to reserve your place – Tel: 091 530694

We look forward to welcoming our next bunch of eager students!

Joy O’Keeffe, Manager, Interior Designer, La Maison Chic.

A Maker Worth Meeting – Louise De Vignoles

Meet the Maker – Louise De Vignoles


Louise De Vignoles – Atelier

The wheels for De Vignoles Atelier were set in motion many moons ago, born out of a hobby for craft & a love of floral fragrances. Michael Vignoles was a young  man and worked very hard to support his wife & 5 children. Michael’s own original family came from an area in France near Provence and he remembered fondly many summer afternoons traipsing through fields of lavender on his grandparent’s land and the aromas that filled the air. This he claims set him sail on his passion for fragrance. Curious and capable Michael set about making a homemade wax candle. He melted his wax among other components in a slow old fashioned double boiler on the cooker in his wife’s kitchen, much to her amusement. The candles were poured with the use of a solid copper pitcher which the Vignoles family still have to this day and is still in use!! Michael used old oil lamp wick to get a flame for his candles & even though the scent was beautiful he only ever made five different candle fragrances lavender, rosa-geranium, geranium, patchouli and plain rose. He liked to stick to the floral base and he made a unique formula to ensure that each candle burned equally. Even though highly scented candles back in 1927 were somewhat a rarity, Michael loved creating his aromas & blends from a make shift shed in the back garden. He had rose bushes in abundance and made a really beautiful geranium and rose blend from cold pressing his own home grown flowers. Unfortunately for Michael his candles never took off. Money was tighter in those days & small mouths had to be fed. This however did not stop Michael experimenting & passing his experience down to his children. His son Michael Junior is a highly skilled and sought after instrument maker, making  bodhran & uillean pipes. Michael is also a very talented musician. Craft is simply in the blood.

Fast forward to 2014 and De Vignoles Atelier has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Louise who is the owner of De Vignoles Atelier, in keeping with tradition has penned a poem for each candle fragrance. The De Vignoles family grew up on a healthy diet of poetry & music, so it seemed fitting to keep this theme going through the candle line. Each poem is unique to each candle scent. Every candle is personal from start to finish. No mass production. All hand poured and finished. Old fashioned methods mixed with some new romantic poetry. Perfect.

1 Pouring the wax

Pouring the wax


Great care & attention

2-Attention to detail

Attention to detai

The Christmas Eve in Galway candle was undeniably one of the must have gifts this Christmas.

Fill your surroundings with the undeniable echos of aroma, all in exclusivity at La Maison Chic, 11 Lower Abbeygate street, Galway City 091530694

Christmas Eve in Galway

Christmas Eve in Galway

Interior Design (and other) Blogs to bookmark – edition 2015

Our Upstairs Downstairs Magazine is filled with great ideas about interior design, gardening and nifty things. But we’re not the only ones, like we showed you last year. So we went browsing again in the great sea of weblogs to find things you might like. We definetely do!

Foxy Glove Lane

Who: Catherine Drea, a photographer with heartfelt passion

Foxyglove Lane Logo

What: Catherine is a winner two years in a row: The Blog Awards Ireland 2013 and 2014 are well deserved. If you want to get totally distracted from everything go ahead and enjoy this beautiful photography blog.


Herbi & Carni

Who: Marian („Herbi“) and Tony („Carni“) Hearne, a happy Irish couple with two opposite diets

What: Herbi & Carni follow two different food-lifestyles with loads of recipes for vegetarians as well as meat-lovers. This blog is gorgeous, has a lot of delicious food photography and some step-by-step videos. We already found something to try out right now (butternut squash soup – yumm)!


April and the Bear

Who: April and the Bear, an online lyfestyle and homewear blog/shop, based in Dublin.
April and the Bear

What: This blog has a couple of DIY ideas. Very nicely done website and Blog. Since it is also a shop you can order loads of nifty things!


fennel & fern

Who: Louisa Armstrong featuring many eager organic gardeners who happen to like blogging about their greens.

fennel & fern

What: f&f has a very modern design that works on your computer as well as on tablets and smartphones. It is plain inspiring to touch any of the pictures that will lead you to crazy things like moss graffiti or practical advise like growing broad beans.


Moon to Moon

Who: A young woman with a keen eye for ecclectic design.

Moon to Moon

What: Moon to Moon has a lovely collection of many different homestyles. Every post is shouting individuality and creativity! How about old unused books for displaying your decor instead of using a table? And which idea are you going to adapt?


Words by Katja Rohde

Whats New Issue 91

Upstairs Downstairs – New Issue


Styled by Home Gallery Interiors

We have some beautiful homes to show you and some wonderful decorating ideas too. I particularly enjoyed my visit to Galway Golf Academy and I would like to wish Michael best wishes in his new venture.  Thanks to Tony & Caroline for going to the trouble of putting up their decorations a tad early for us – check out their home on page 10. All the regular features are there and we also have a four page Holiday Gift Guide. I hope you enjoy this edition as much as I did putting it together

High & Beautiful


Calm sitting room

High on a hill in Menlo, overlooking Lough Corrib, Co. Galway, is the beautiful home of Caroline and Tony. Having jumped and stumbled for two years with planning restrictions, they eventually got the permission to build this stunning home with panoramic views of Galway City and Lough Corrib.

Georgian Restoration & Interior Design

Exterior of Georgian Home

Restored Georgian Home

Last issue we featured this wonderful period home in Co. Mayo. As we didn’t have enough space to show you all the pictures, we decided to show you some more images. We chatted to Laurent Billet of La Maison Chic about this massive project. Here are his top tips on how to achieve an Irish interior design period look, keep in mind though that ideally your rooms should be at least 9 feet tall:

Architecturally Designed Home


Superb Architecture

This house involved the complete replacement of a small 50’s style bungalow that had fallen into disrepair. The previous house was very low lying and built with a rising outcrop of land immediately behind it, contributing to dampness. The houses on either side were on higher ground and the site had a number of large trees overshadowing evening light.

Galway Golf Academy


Cozy Cafe at Galway Golf Academy

I was delighted when Michael Mulryan invited me out to see his Golf Academy in Cregboy. Michael opened the academy one year ago.  It started with a range consisting of 10 bays and a golf professional on hand to give lessons when needed. Once the range was up and running he started work on his cafe. An eclectic mix of furniture and memorabilia gives this beautiful cafe its atmosphere and makes the clients feel relaxed and nourished before, or after, hitting a few balls on the range.

A Maker Worth Meeting

Meet The Maker – Steve Attwell


Steve Attwell

A Maker Worth Meeting

“Steve Attwell lives and works in Kilconly, County Galway.  He creates unique pieces of functional art using traditional blacksmithing techniques and various materials including iron, brass, copper and coloured glass.  Clients can choose from one of his existing designs or opt to have something individually designed to suit their own particular space.




Las Orquideas – Andalucia

He has recently completed a large project for boutique hotel ‘Las Orquideas’ in Andalucia, where he designed and made individual beds for each room, two spectacular staircases and the bar furniture, some of which can be seen in these photos.






Floor Lamp

Another of his projects has recently been featured on Channel 4’s Home Truths and is available to view on 4oD.  You can find a link to this programme on his Facebook page (Steve Attwell Ironwork).”

Inside – issue 90

Georgian Home – Back to Life

Period Residence on the River Moy

Georgian Elegance – Back to Life

  Imagine your own pier on the River Moy, your own stables and yard, and room after room in which to play hide and seek. This house, built in the early 1800’s, is any child’s (and adults!) dream come true, and it certainly was for Laurent Billet from La Maison Chic, when the owners asked him to help them decorate their original Georgian home after a complete refurbishment. Laurent’s challenge was to respect the Georgian design and layout of the rooms, while accommodating a young couple and their children, yet adhering as much as possible to the period of the house. He did not want to create a stuffy and old atmosphere in this home. Laurent achieved this by alternating period looking wallpapers with plain silk curtains while painting the rooms in neutral colours mixed with lightly patterned floral patterns.

Anne of the Taibhdhearc, Queen of the Castle

Killeen Castle

Castle For Sale

One of the hidden gems on the outskirts of Galway City is Killeen Castle, a beautifully restored medieval tower with a fine-size farmhouse attached. The Tower is listed as one of the hidden castles of Ireland and although not overtly visible, it is located just a short distance off the Tuam Road a few miles outside Galway City. It has been the home of Anne McCabe, the newly appointed Artistic Director of An Taibhdhearc, for the last twelve years. It is one of the finest examples of a medieval tower house in the county, with most of the stone work including the spiral staircase totally intact since the 1500’s. The history of Killeen Castle spans the centuries. Killeen Castle passed from the Burkes in the 1500’s to the Blakes in the 1700’s and to Alec Finn  of De Dannan in the 1990’s.

Architecturally Designed Home


Architecturally Designed Home

Upstairs Downstairs have teamed up with Sean Dockery Associates to bring you some very useful tips when it comes to engaging an Architect. Our project for this issue was an architecturally designed family home in Galway City.

Architects are highly skilled and professionally trained to turn your aspirations into reality. A registered RIAI architect is a specialist consultant qualified in the design and procurement of buildings and can advise from initial ideas, site selection through to completion of your house. Many architects are qualified Building Energy Rating Assessors and some have qualifications in conservation and historic building preservation. When choosing an architect, whether for a new house, an alteration, extension or renovation, you should see samples of their work and get their advice on the services they offer relative to your brief and budget.