Thursday, 23 February 2017

plans for a fixer-upper

Some of you might already know this, but I've been writing for a local paper here in Limerick for the past 9 months. I share my old projects in the home section and I've really loved it! Recently though the editor approached me with a really interesting proposition...would I be interested in viewing a "fixer-upper" house currently for sale and give my opinion on what could be done with it? And as it involved two of my most favourite pastimes (being nosy and telling people what to do) of course I said yes!

So, it's a bit different from my usual style as it was written for a completely different audience, but I thought I'd share it here anyway. If any of you are in the process of looking for your first home it might encourage you to give the ones that need some work a chance!

Property makeover

House hunting is tough. I know. It took us a year to go from making a first offer to actually having the keys to the house we’re in now, and along the way we had three (yes THREE!!) other houses fall through. And I’m not talking “made an offer, had it refused”, no, I’m talking “had invested months, paid a deposit and signed our side of the contracts”. So yes, I know it’s hard. I also know that when you’re looking for a home it can be hard to see past how it is, to how it could be.

Well, that’s where I come in, because there are so many houses with amazing potential out there that you might not even bother viewing because they seem like they just need too much doing to them. But what if I told you that with a bit of imagination and some hard work you could step right onto the property ladder….and into your forever home? This week I viewed such a property, and I have a few ideas how you could make it yours without breaking the bank.

The property I visited was 23 Shelbourne Park, on the Ennis Road. With an excellent location, generous internal space as it stands and an amazing garden with plenty of room to create a huge extension in the future, this house has the makings of a forever home, something first time buyers don’t often find within their reach. So, the problem? The photos are a little….uninspiring to say the least. They show a house in need of major beautifying on the inside. But I think it could be made very attractive with just some basic diy, leaving you free to save your pennies for a couple of years and eventually end up with the property of your dreams!

In general the place is in decent nick (and now, disclaimer, I’m not a surveyor, I’m just someone with a bit of experience nosing around houses and had a right good nose around this one) and there didn’t appear to me to be anything that would stop you moving in straight away. Yes, you would need to do a lot of wallpaper stripping and carpet-ripping, but that’s what friends are for right?! The ceilings are high, there are solid wood floorboards in all of the rooms that would be beautiful with a bit of TLC, and the garden is amazing, huge, south facing, mature and private. So, I think it could be an amazing home, and I took a couple of rooms to create very do-able design plans for in the hopes of inspiring you!

Living room

We have found the holy grail of flooring in this room, genuine solid wood parquet flooring, in the beautiful herringbone pattern that so many people are trying to imitate with laminate and tile these days, but you could have the real deal! These could be sanded, stained and varnished to make them look new again, but I personally love the rough and ready, industrial vibe they give off at the moment.

Pardon my amateurish mood board skills!!!             

I would replace the fire with an inset stove (which would help with the BER as well as looking great) and white wash the stone surround. You would probably want to replace the whole thing later on, but for now white-washing the brick would make a huge difference. Ripping out the built-ins in the alcoves and replacing them with Ikea floating shelves and cupboards which can be trimmed out to look like a more modern built-in unit would go a long way towards modernising the space.
Then it’s just a matter of new paint and some funky furniture and you’ve got an amazing new room!

Master Bedroom

This room is huge, and as it looks out over the garden it gets both lovely views and lots of light. I’d start in here by stripping and sanding the floorboards. You could of course just lay a neutral carpet, and I know a lot of people aren’t sold on the idea of wood floors in a bedroom, but I think they are just beautiful, and with a large rug to keep your feet warm in the mornings you’d get the best of both worlds.

Add some built-in floor to ceiling wardrobes in the alcoves, paint the lovely original fireplace (yes, there’s a fireplace!), add some dramatic lighting and a beautiful bed and you’d have a bedroom to die for. The proportions in this room are so generous that you could really let your imagination run wild in here. I would personally go for a dark, glam look, as I think it would really suit the space, and a dark bedroom is always so glam and cosy.

So there you have it, just a little inspiration to hopefully get you thinking about the possibilities. This lovely house deserves a lovely family to live in it, and maybe that family is yours.


Friday, 3 February 2017

what a to-do

It's already February and I'm only just getting around to putting together a to-do list for the year, that bodes well!

So, it's a new year, there's a bit more money coming in, and we have an energy-sucking, time-consuming little bundle of hard work arriving in July so our time to get shit done is limited! With that in mind, these are the jobs I would love to get done before that happens....

1) Finish en-suite 

   This has been dragging on forever, it needs to be finished, like yesterday. The    only actual job left to do is to make the cupboard I want (you listening              Gavin?) and then it's just a matter of putting up some shelves, lighting and a      few finishing touches. I anticipate this being done in the next week or two.

2) Flooring in kitchen/living room

    The paint on the kitchen floor is on its last legs, and we can finally afford to       replace the tiles. This is happening, hopefully in the next few weeks, we're         just waiting on quotes for the labour.

3) Utility room makeover

    It's ugly, it's a waste of space, it needs to be sorted out so I don't want to         stab myself in the eyeballs every time I have to walk past it. There are               several possibilities, but we essentially have to choose between putting up a       wall to make a little room out of it, or trying to install some cabinets. The wall     idea is more appealing cos it would mean everything would be totally hidden,     plus I'd have loads of room to basically make a kind of pantry/indoor shed in     there, but I'm not sure how easy that would be. The cabinet idea would be         easier but we wouldn't get the same storage and a lot of stuff would still be       on show. I think whatever ends up being the easiest and cheapest will win         out. I need storage dammit! 

4) Flooring on stairs/upstairs?

    You know how there are things you never notice, but then when you do you       can't un-notice them? The carpet on our stairs is like that. It's worn out, dirty     and disgusting, and I only recently noticed it. I'd love painted wooden stairs children are not careful and their skulls are pretty breakable so           that won't be happening! New carpet is not very expensive and it's a quick         job so this will be happening soon.

5) Storage in spare room and get rid of bed in favour of sofa bed so the space is     more usable

    Pretty self explanatory. The spare room is rarely used as a guest room so a       sofa-bed would be more than adequate in here, freeing up lots more space         for extra storage. I'd love to add built in wardrobes in the eves but I think         that's a bit ambitious for this year! I already have my mood board for in             there ready to go, and I could really see it being a great office/craft                   room/dressing room. Currently it's a dumping ground, which is such a total       waste.

6) Freshen up kitchen cabinets

    The paint on the kitchen cabinets is peeling in some of the corners (I suspect     I didn't do a thorough enough cleaning before applying the paint) so they           need to be re-done. It's not super urgent, but I'm hoping to get the                   backsplash re-tiled when I'm getting the floor done (it seems silly to have a       tiler in the house and not get him to do this small job too, the materials will       cost less than €80 for this small area) and this would seem like a great time       to give the whole thing a refresh. I'm going for a light tile on the floor and         white subway tile on the I'm very tempted to go black or           very dark grey on the bottom cabinets this time, keeping the white on top.         What do you think?

7) Paint hall

    It's brown. it needs to go. But it's a big area with lots of cutting in and some       really awkward to reach places so I don't know. I'd love to hire someone to       do it but paying someone to do something I'm perfectly capable of just goes       against my basic nature! This one might not get done, it's definitely low on         the list.

8) Paint all skirting and doors

Ugh, so boring. Painting woodwork has to be one of my least favourite things to do. I'm not patient enough or precise enough to make a great job of it, but unfortunately it needs to be done. Nothing matches at the moment, and we have a hodge-podge of white, black, cream and wood tones on the skirting and doors in this house. Again, not something I'm looking forward to. This will definitely get pushed to the bottom of the list.

So there you have it. If I get even the main things off this list done then I'll be happy. The way I feel at the moment the only thing I'll be working on is the butt shaped groove in the couch and a mild case of parental neglect, but I did have a day last week where I voluntarily cleaned the whole house, without feeling like I was going to be sick or pass out at any point, so maybe that mythical "second trimester energy" is about to kick in?! It's a real thing right? Right?!!

Friday, 20 January 2017

new years resolutions...and an announcement!

Happy new year people! It may be a bit late, but I put together a list of a few of the resolutions I've made to myself this year.

1- Put a lock on the bathroom door-I'm tired of having to referee fights and answer urgent questions about which shopkin is my favourite while in the middle of doing my business.

2- Spend less time searching for the source of vague, but disgusting smells. (It's usually on me. It's usually poo.)

3- Stop murdering plants! 

4- Spend less time arguing with people who think calling me a "poo head" is a witty retort.

5- Related: Never again resort to using "I know you are, but what am I?" when faced with the aforementioned "poo-head". I'm 33. And I have a degree. In English. 

6- Actually be dressed for montessorri drop off at least 4 days out of 5, my current go-to of zipping a long coat over the leggings and top I slept in is not cutting it.

7- Maybe occasionally finish a project? That might be asking too much though!

8- And mostly, stop letting this guy talk me into lying on the couch all night when there's blogging I promised myself I would do....

Yep, we may be crazy, but we're going again. Emilia will be old enough to basically raise this one for me right? RIGHT?! 

So while this isn't the only reason I've been missing recently, it's a big part of it! I swear, the kids will be in bed and I'll be all ready to sit down and write the post I've been thinking about all day, but then a little voice will whisper "just sit down for a minute, watch this interior design show while eating a block of cheese the size of your head, it's basically the same thing".

So yes, I'm knackered, I'm ill, and I have two small people who still expect me to you know, parent them (so selfish) and the upshot has been that the non-essentials have been taking a back seat. But.....there may be light at the end of the tunnel. I found myself making plans to finish the bathroom the other day, and I've actually gone so far as to visit flooring suppliers in order to finally get the kitchen floor done so maybe the worst is over?! Here's hoping, cos feeling like the worlds least energetic manatee is getting really old.


Saturday, 3 December 2016

adding a bit of drama to the hall

black gold gallery mirror feature wall

Have you noticed that I've been a little....distant lately? As in, I NEVER FRICKING GET AROUND TO POSTING?!

Yeah, me too. I've lost my mojo a little bit I think, and while there are plenty of things I could blog about, for the last while it's been a bit of a struggle to find the will to actually take the sodding photos and put together the posts. There have been holidays, Christmas is coming up, the kids have an annoying habit of growing out of their clothes and needing new ones several times a year, so money for diy just hasn't been a priority for the last while, and I'm fine with that, but I guess it's hard to get excited about projects when you know you aren't going to be able to finish them anytime soon, ya dig? 

Friday, 18 November 2016

finding art for your home on the cheap

finding art for your home on the cheap

Art can transform a room! What you display in your home can totally change the mood and a simple print can often be the finishing touch that really pulls a room together and makes it "yours". 

I love that I can change the paintings in my dining room and suddenly it feels completely refreshed, and I love finding meaningful little images or quotes that I can stick in a frame to add some fun to my decor. You know what I don't love? Paying good money for something when I don't have to! Yes, I have bought particular prints that I really loved, but in general I've found that when I want to jazz things up a bit there are plenty of very inexpensive ways of getting my grubby mitts on the art I'm after!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

out, damned tile!

replacing kitchen tile with laminate

The time is almost upon us friends, we are almost at the point where we can afford to replace the tiles in the kitchen. My little paint job has served me well, and it's made the tiles so much easier to live with for the past year, but it was always a stop-gap and the end is nigh people, the end is very fricking nigh.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

so I lost the run of myself and painted the shower....

painted shower grout diy

Yep, I may be crazy, but I've painted the grout in my shower. Black.

Why, you might ask? Because they were really, really, intensely, upsettingly boring white tiles, the cheapest of the cheap, and they offended me on a basic level. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

the least fun I've ever had spending ALL THE MONEY!!!!

condenser boiler zoned heating installation

Meet Neil! Neil cares about the environment and uses his expertise to improve fuel efficiency and save you money. Neil is very necessary. Neil is very boring. Neil cost €3800.

Pause for minor chest pain to subside.

Monday, 19 September 2016

thank you thank you thank you!

So I attended the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards last Thursday night, and not only did I get to put on an actual dress and makeup, eat food while it was hot and consume fizzy alcohol while talking to fellow adults (mostly about our kids, baby steps) but I actually won a frickin' award as well!! 

I'm not doing this for praise or kudos, I'm doing this because there are days, many of them, when I feel like the only thing I've used my brain for all day is to come up with inventive ways to say "no" or find new hiding places for the most irritating toys, and writing this blog makes me feel like "me" again.....but I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to be told I'm doing a decent job every now and again.

So thanks to everyone who reads my posts, everyone who took the time to vote for me, and all the bloggers who judged the final stages of the  competition. It means an awful lot that you all thought I was good enough to be up there with all the other amazing blogs that made it to the final stage, and coming home with silver was just the icing on the cake.


Saturday, 10 September 2016

it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful

So I was browsing Pinterest recently and I came across something that was so perfect that I had to share it. The idea isn't isn't new, the pictures aren't even mine, but the feeling behind it resonated so much with me that I felt like I had to show it you.

It's the Japanese tradition of Kintsugi, and it's where damaged things are repaired with gold or silver leaf, highlighting the repair rather than trying to hide it, and it looks like this......