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A Day in the Life: Catherine Ruane


MEETING OF MINDS Interior designer Catherine Ruane is pictured with RTÉ’s Dermot Bannon.

Name: Catherine Ruane
From: Foxford
Occupation: Interior Designer

I started off in this business over 20 years ago when I was managing a furniture store in Balla. I realised I had a flare for decorating as I got many requests from customers to choose their fabrics for their furniture and help them decorate their homes. I learned all about furniture manufacturing fabric types and quality while training in Navan (the home of furniture!). I was lucky enough to travel to all the furniture exhibitions throughout Europe.
In 2005 we opened our own hardware and household shop. Again I gained great experience with both materials for building and working with all the different paint companies. During this period I advised my customers on colour schemes and styling their homes.
When our business closed due to the recession I decided to follow my dream so I went back to college to study Interior Design. Since that I have been steadily building up a reputation with private and commercial clients.
I also do colour consultations for Fleetwood paints in Albany Claremorris, Albany Castlebar, Albany Westport and many other stores throughout the West.
I had the pleasure of working with Francis Brennan on At Your Service on two occasions. I worked on Ted Lavelle’s in Achill and Lough Lannagh Village in Castlebar. It was a brilliant experience for me and also great publicity.
Since Covid-19, most of my work is online. This is working out very well as people are spending a lot of time in their homes and feel a need for change. It also gives people something to look forward to while we are in this situation. While I really enjoy online, I do miss the face to face interaction with people.
The industry has grown a lot in the last decade. People are using their homes for social gatherings. There are many home improvement programmes and social media has a big part to play in interior design. At the moment the kitchen would be the main area money is spent as the kitchen is the heart of the home. The functionality of the kitchen is the most important when planning the layout.

Colour trends this year are definitely warmer tones such as beige, taupe and greige while our bolder accent colours are greens, rusts and blush pinks. There will be a lot more textures and artwork throughout the home – people are looking for warmer homely feel.
It is often thought that interior designers are expensive but getting it right from the beginning can save you money. When I am working with a client I advise them on factors such as space, planning, layout and use of furniture. My main objective is to remodel the space to make it functional and attractive while taking into consideration what the clients wants , their needs and budget. I will take an ordinary room and make it extraordinary.
I absolutely love what I do. I meet loads of people and have become friends with these people.
It’s a huge honour for me to be invited into somebody’s home and work with them to develop it into a dream home. You get to know your clients personally because you want the design of their home to include their personality. Also, with a husband and three kids I don’t have much time for winding down but when I do we like to watch a movie together.
A question I get asked a lot: “When should I get an interior designer?” The answer is before you start anything.
For example, in a renovation if you buy something you have to work around that item whereas it’s much better if you have a blank canvas to start. On a new build it’s much easier to change something on a plan than to have to do structural work in the middle of a build. Forward planning is so important from electrical points to plumbing to furniture arrangement and window treatments.
I give clients an image of the finished product. Anyone that knows me will know I describe designing like a jigsaw; if you know what the final picture it’s easier to put the pieces together.

In conversation with Ger Flanagan

Quickfire questions

If money was no object, what would you do all day?

Tell us something about yourself we don’t know?
I don’t like fish

First hero?
My parents

Where’s your favourite place in the world?
New York

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?
Not adventurous with food at all

What makes you angry?

Name three things that are always in your fridge?
Milk, yogurt and cheese

What makes you nervous?
Frosty roads

What do you miss most about being a kid?
The simple way of life

Favourite TV show?
Naturally, Room to Improve

Who’s the most famous person you’ve met?
Dermot Bannon and Francis Brennan

Best Holiday?
New York

What’s your most prized possession?
My engagement ring

Best advice you ever got?
Don’t dwell on the past

How do you unwind?
Watch a movie

Describe yourself in three words?
Honest hardworking and dependable