Dara Flynn is the editor of House and Home magazine and has been a property journalist with The Sunday Times Ireland since 2004. In her free time, Dara has a passion for upcycling old furniture and also likes to keep a keen eye on new Irish and international product design.
Dara talks to us about her thoughts on Twitter in the interiors industry and tells us what are her favourite design locations both at home and farther a field.
We see you are a bit of a DIY fanatic. Did this come before, or after, your getting into writing about interiors? Probably before – I remember painting and papering my own bedroom when I was 13.
How did you get into interiors writing? I have a degree in journalism from DCU; I fell into interiors while writing about the property market and architecture for The Sunday Times.
How do you think the current economic climate has affected how you write about the interiors and architecture industry? I’ve found myself instinctively making more reference to recycled pieces and budget-friendly interiors ideas. Accessorising has become quite important, since people are splashing out less on big ticket items.
What is it you feel Ireland has to offer the interiors/design industry? I think we have a great name for quality abroad, and we have a distinct identity and a wit that’s particular to us. Our design industry has traditionally been one of craft, with an emphasis on high quality handmade goods and natural materials, but in the past few years new young designers have emerged with great product ideas and modernist tendencies, which is exciting and refreshing.
What are your favourite design destinations both at home and abroad? At home, Belfast, Dublin and Kilkenny. Abroad, Munich has some of the most amazing design shops I’ve ever seen, and of course, London.
You are a judge on the House and Home student design awards. What tips do you have for budding design students who want to have the edge? Know your market and know your competition; consume design news, both online and in the print press, and try to make your product easy to manufacture.
Who are your design heroes? Philippe Starck, Marcel Wanders, Terence Conran, Donna Wilson.
How important is it to you to write about what you are passionate about? It just makes it easier to do my job, to write about what interests me.
House and Home Tweets regularly. Can you tell me how important you think social media is for the interiors sector as a whole? Huge, because it’s an instant global connection for an island nation on the fringes of Europe, with only a very tiny design industry by international standards. Those involved in the industry here really need that global link to get themselves out there, and to find inspiration from abroad.
What kinds of Tweets get your followers excited? Competitions and polls, as well as any great post flagging an amazing makeover or project. Our readers are very positive and interactive.
How do you like to be approached for PR pieces? Email is best for me. The angle should be Irish, newsworthy and exclusive in some way. Interview suggestions are good. It’s nice to get a range of possible dates and times. A really good pitch is low pressure, well-researched and designed for my publication only rather than a mail shot I can tell has gone to every publication in the country. Strong images are an absolute must with Euro pricing, stockist information and a brief description.