Insider Secrets - Interiors & Style Masterclass
Image from House Edit Website: House Edit’s Interiors Insiders Elaine & Claire alongside Interior Architect Roisin Lafferty (Photo: Shane O’Neill)

On Saturday I attended the Galway Insiders Secrets Masterclass with House Edit. I had mentioned it before here and it was fantastic. It is the first of its kind in Ireland – an event to fuse interior design and fashion. The roadshow was organised by Claire & Elaine, the two Interior Architects behind the interiors brand House Edit and there were some amazing guest speakers. The speakers at our event included Roisin Lafferty from Kingston Lafferty Design, Carol Anne Leyden from CA Design and Galway stylist Orla Sheridan.

Insiders Secrets - Interiors & Design Masterclass | House Edit

The event was held in the glamorous G Hotel in Galway and it was the perfect location for the stylish event. I have been to events in this hotel before and it never fails to impress – the staff are always super helpful and the food just delicious. And speaking of food – we had the most amazing Afternoon Tea as part of the event. And I don’t think that any table finished all of their treats – there was so much delicious food – the hotel really did out-do themselves. Throughout the event, there were amazing prizes including a beautiful Original Artwork by Lola Donoghue. And for those who didn’t win – well we all had amazing goodie bags that certainly made us all feel like we won 🙂

Insiders Secrets - Interiors & Design Masterclass | House Edit

Roisin Lafferty from Kingston Lafferty Design

I thoroughly enjoyed Roisin’s talk on interior design and also the role of an interior designer when you are building a house. She really focused on the power of space and design and the impact that it can have on your life. If you love your home and surroundings then it will have a positive impact on your happiness. She also discussed how your personal style and personality should translate and inspire your home surroundings – such a key point but one that can be forgotten.


I love mood boards – both on paper and on Pinterest. There is something so fun about pulling togeather all your inspirations and see how your ideas grow and change – and then gain inspiration for the project that you want to do. Roisin spoke about mood boards but about making them not just paper based – but with textiles and to feel the fabrics you want to use or the texture – make the mood board jump from the page. And remember your style should translate into your home.

Architect & Interior Designer Relationship

When choosing an interior designer, Roisin thinks that it is so important to not just go by recommendations from friends but also to like the work of the designer. This may sound obvious but ask to see their previous work. You need to have a connection with your interior designer or else your home may not turn out how your heart envisioned.

I always had thought that when building a house, that you would get an architect at the start and then and interior designer later in the process to help you colour and design the interior. However, Roisin made the most excellent point – if you want for example certain light fittings in a certain area – the electrics need to be done to support that. It makes more sense that the architect and interior designer come on at the same time, in the beginning, so that they can create a relationship also and each know their place in the process as well.

Joinery & Craftsmanship

Well considered joinery can really create an atmosphere in the home. It can create a personality in a room and also add texture to a room to add more depth. And storage! It can add more storage – Roisin showed us an amazing image of a room where it looked like it had four normal walls but then the back wall moved and there were hidden shelves behind it. Such an amazing idea and so simple but really took the clutter out of the room. But make sure that the design that you choose is you and not someone else’s idea of how your home should look – you will have to live there and you want to be comfortable.


Lighting is all about natural lighting. It is fundamental to your entire house and there are so many different types of lighting that you can choose. Roisin recommends thinking first about your fundamental lighting which is necessary if you need to light up the room. She suggested being discreet with this lighting – you could have discreet spotlights. Then think about your atmospheric and decorative lighting. This is where you can really create the mood of your home.

Roisin suggested LED strips under the kickers in your kitchen – such a smart way fo lighting up the room and you could do the same with the counters. A key point was to have different light circuits within the house so that they can be managed separately. This goes back to her above point with having the architect and interior designer on the same page when planning your home. And while we are on kitchens – what about using tiles on a table to transform it? Sometimes it is just about thinking outside the box to create a truly unique piece.


I found this such an interesting part of Roisin’s talk. We all know that putting a lick of paint on a room can transform it – but what about using it to frame a canvas print? I loved this idea – by using frog (not masking) tape to create a border you can create a beautiful feature around the canvas to make it pop. And remember to use a spirit level 🙂


I had expected that it many high-end brands would be mentioned – but it was not the case at all. I enjoyed how practical the workshops were and how you could take nuggets of information home and apply them. Roisin suggested going to flea markets, second-hand stores etc. and upcycle. Can you repaint it? Repurpose it? Rehome it into yours?

If you are in need of an interior designer then I would say to check out Kingston Lafferty Design – Roisin has such an extensive knowledge of the industry and would no doubt make your house your home.

Insiders Secrets - Interiors & Design Masterclass | House Edit

Carol Anne Leyden from CA Design

Carol shared the inspirational story of how she started CA Design and that it grew from her gut feeling that the market needed what she wanted to do. Carol decided that there was a gap in the market for high quality, well-designed furniture that was available for the general public to buy. She went to Hong Kong and China and decided to try and find a high end supplier to create the furniture to her high expectations.

CA Design now has two factories in China that supply them. One factory looks after fabrics and wood and the other is leather. They got their first big break when they were featured in the Irish Times in 2013, and from that, they created a Pop Up Store. They had queues out the door and actually sold out of everything in the store! They started selling only via a website but due to the demand and the want of people to touch the items in real life now have a store in Ranelagh. Carol really saw a gap in the market and the business is going from strength to strength. It is such a great success story of someone who had drive and determination and worked to make their business a success.  You can read more about CA Design here.

Insiders Secrets - Interiors & Design Masterclass | House Edit

Elaine Regan and Claire Price of House

Elaine and Claire gave a fantastic talk on colour. It is such a key influence on the atmosphere and tone of your home so it was great to learn more about it and how to plan properly. And again – the strong theme that your style should influence your home and the colour that is key.

If you think about the colour on your walls – if there was a vivid red then your probably wouldn’t put that on your bedroom walls – but could work in a softer tone of the red, perhaps a pink blush colour could work. If you would like a calm bedroom – then a muted pallet could work for you. People like those tones as they are calming.

There are so many places to get inspiration from – both your surrounding and from the online/magazine world. They suggested pulling out images that you find in magazines – both interior shots that you like but also colour mixes that you enjoy. It will help you build a picture of the colours that you like to see beside each other. And don’t forget to look to art for inspiration as well.

An interesting point was that you should think of having one main colour in your room and then two acent colours that compliment it. This can really bring life to a room and the colour accents can make the main colour pop more.

There were two key tips that I took away from their talk;

  1. How to properly see if a colour suited your walls. Take two A4 pages perhaps in different or the same colour – paint them completely and leave them on the wall for at least two weeks. It will give you a chance to get used to it and you will know if that is a colour that you want to live with. Don’t make an impulse decision, take your time and enjoy the process as well.
  2. If you are building from scratch and have the plans to the house – take the colour squares off your paint sample books and place them on top of the rooms that you are thinking of painting each colour. Then you will be able to see very easily which colours work well and flow well room to room and which do not.

Insiders Secrets - Interiors & Design Masterclass | House Edit

Stylist Orla Sheridan

Orla Sheridan is an amazing stylist based here in Galway and is also a lecturer in fashion and business in GMIT. I have admired her style for many years and have heard her talk before so was looking forward to her fashion masterclass.

In this post I wanted to share the basis of her fashion philosophy – there are no hard and fast rules for fashion and these are subjective but I certainly think some of her points made sense.

Quality over Quantity 

I loved that Orla’s thoughts on this are shared with my own – that fast fashion is not good for the environment and that you end up with a wardrobe of SO many clothes but nothing to wear. In some homes that she has visited someone will say they have a wardrobe bursting at the seams – but then when she looks there are 30 pairs of Pennys pajamas 🙂 But on a  more serious note, you should invest more in your clothes. Don’t rush to buy things – think about it. Is this item right for me? Will this benefit my wardrobe?

There is something so enjoyable about listening to Orla talk about fashion – she clearly loves the subject and I always pick up tips! An interesting point that she made was if you needed 10 pairs of the same type of say black trousers – or would 1-2 pairs of quality trousers that will last longer and fit your body shape better.

But on a  more serious note, you should invest more in your clothes. Don’t rush to buy things – think about it. Is this item right for me? Will this benefit my wardrobe?

Insiders Secrets - Interiors & Design Masterclass | House Edit
Image from

Cost per Wear 

Break it down – how often will you wear the item? How much will it cost per time I wear it? Or will I only wear it once or twice? It is a shift in paradigms – the more I wear it, the more I should invest in the piece.

I have used this to justify some purchases in the past when I have not been able to decide whether or not to purchase a bigger item. For example, I needed a simple black crossbody bag (that could also be carried in the crook of my elbow) that would suit any outfit. It was something I was lacking and when I saw one in Kate Spade – it was the right shape, size and would last for years. It was more expensive than I had planned to spend but I worked it out and since I have brought it has probably cost less than a €1 per wear and is one of my most used handbags. Well worth the investment.

Wardrobe Essentials

For this one – I think you should pop over to Orla’s website as she has some great posts on wardrobe essentials such as the perfect camel coat, the blue shirt etc.

30 Wear Rule

This was hands down the biggest thing I took away. Will you wear the item at least 30 times? When you are shopping for items – think will you wear the item at least 30 times or will I just wear it a few times – therefore is it worth the investment. This is such a great shopping point – it is too easy to get hung up on impulse buying – by just applying this I think my wardrobe will become more functional.

There will be two follow-up posts on what I took from Orla’s talk as it was so helpful that I think you will enjoy hearing more about what she talked about. I will be sharing wardrobe organisation tips/planning to make a more functional and enjoyable wardrobe, and also some tips with regards denim care (a fabric that I know I certainly don’t pay enough attention to!).

Insiders Secrets - Interiors & Design Masterclass | House Edit

A big thank you to Elaine and Claire for the invite to attend the event, I thoroughly enjoyed it and took so much away to try. There is still one more event in Dublin coming up and I would highly advise to pick up a ticket here, as it was a standout event and I will certainly be popping along to any future events as well. If you are looking for interior inspiration then your first stop should be the House Edit website – there are so many wonderfully curated inspirations to explore. They are also on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and of course Pinterest.



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