Archive | January, 2011

In the frame

31 Jan

I written before about empty frames and how they can be a nice design feature. If you’ve got a blank wall just begging for attention, there aren’t many easier ways to adorn it than simply by using a grouping of interesting frames which can often be found on the cheap in bulk at yard sales and auction houses.

Here are two great examples — the first, white frames on a white wall — honestly something I would have never thought of doing myself but I love the effect.  I think this could be a really funky way to decorate at an office building which can often be pretty soul-less.

The second takes a completely different approach – more color, less uniformity and a combination of frames and mirrors.  And of course, I love the addition of the furry companion.

Thinking bathrooms

30 Jan

I’ve been thinking a lot about all the bigger spaces in Tilly’s Cottage (not big, because there is no such think in this house…) and how I want them to look.  For the most part, I’ve had them designed in my head for a year now.

What I haven’t thought much about are the bathrooms.  I have been to a couple of shops and looked at the show home last year at the Ideal Home Show in Dublin for inspiration but so far, I’m just not feeling it. Here are a couple of bathrooms I like – the first is a serious power shower but not at all practical for the cottage.

The second is from West Elm – lovely, simple and inviting.  A possibility to try to replicate but sadly, no West Elm here in Ireland so I’ll have to be resourceful. 

If you’ve got a link for a bathroom you’re lusting after, please share!


Polka Dots

29 Jan

A few days ago in a comment on the post about my stairs, Molly mentioned that she thought it would be cool if the risers were done in over-sized polka-dots.  And then I kept running across fun polka dots — so I thought I’d share them here as it seems the whimsy of polka dots ain’t just for lil’ girls anymore…

Ranch Re-Do

28 Jan

Check out the black and white “before” photo – there are lots (and I mean LOTS) of these types of houses all over Massachusetts.  You don’t see many ranches in Ireland but if I were still living in Boston, this renovation would inspire me to buy and re-do a ranch. The renovation gives this house a lot more curb appeal not to mention the light that must have transformed the interior of this house.  Whereas before, it looks drab and depressing, I think the re-do is very inviting. So if you’re in the market to buy a house and have been put off by ranches, I hope this provides a bit of inspiration for the possibilities.

The Nester

28 Jan

Lora, via Christiana, has introduced me to this site. There’s so much charm to this woman’s home.  And I like her philosophy that it “doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” It’s a great approach for someone like me to take since I’m going to have to use a lot of pre-loved furniture in the new pad until I can afford the fancy stuff. (Let’s face it, that day won’t likely come and I’m not much of a fancy stuff kinda’ gal anyway).

In the first image, I love the way she’s used painted shutters above her fireplace.  I don’t know if the wreath is just for the holidays or a year-round look (I think it’s the latter) but it’s lovely and soft looking. 

Her wall of mixed art is fun and the room looks really comfy cozy.



And slip-covered sofas throughout makes me want to just kick back with a cup of coffee and my book.


This is one of those clippings…

27 Jan

…that I’ve been hanging on to forever.  I really love the color combinations, all the different textures and the design of this room.  On one hand, there’s lots in the room but it still feels very simple and streamlined to me. Very inviting.

Double-duty tiles

26 Jan

Molly brings this suggestion for some handy tiles that not only look cool but can hold all yer small schtuff. I don’t know about you but I think these would be great for a bathroom, in particular. You can find them at Uncommon Goods.

Gold rush

25 Jan

I was helping my friend, Kathy, clear out the family home in New York several years ago after her aunt had passed away.  As we were sorting through what to keep, donate and throw away, we came across a set of gold-rimmed china that had belonged to Kathy’s grandmother on the McGlone side of the clan.  While it wasn’t particularly my style nor Kathy’s, it seemed a shame to let it go so I convinced her we should bring it back to Boston with us.

Not long after this, my good friend, Brent (whose birthday is today), came to visit Boston from Austin, Texas.  Kathy lamented over my reluctance to donate the china when we were in New York and Brent offered to take them off her hands.  Shortly thereafter the dishes were shipped to Austin much to Brent and his partner, Jimmy’s delight.  While I no longer have the copies of the photos, Brent and Jimmy literally used “Mama McGlone’s” plates as the centerpiece of their Thanksgiving feast — and they really played up the gold theme.  I tend to be more of a silver person myself but their photos made me appreciate how nice gold can look when “dressed” the right way.   Happy birthday, Brent!

The King’s Speech set design

24 Jan

I finally got to see The King’s Speech a couple of weeks ago and I was SO glad I didn’t wait for the DVD the way I normally would.  I have a requirement for movies that I’m willing to pay over 10 euros for — they have to have big screen presence.  Otherwise, I’m quite happy to watch them at home on the small screen.  The exception:  anything featuring Colin Firth.  He is so dishy — it’s hard to believe he’s 50. But I digress…

Colin Firth was just one of the benefits of seeing this fabulous film on the big screen — the other was feeling like I stepped into the incredible set design.  I love vintage, rustic, distressed — all that stuff.  So Lionel Logue’s speech therapy studio was right up my street. The kitchen in the cottage won’t have windows — so the main source of natural light will be the roof lantern above — albeit differently from this set but still nice to see the look. 

A little bit of cottage history

24 Jan

How many times have you been somewhere you know is rich in history and thought, “if only these walls could talk”.   I was thrilled, therefore, to have a copy of this letter from the house. I don’t yet have the original but I’m told it’s in safekeeping with the neighbor.  I’m only the third owner of the cottage in more than 100 years which is pretty amazing in this day in age.  The house was originally subsidized by the Dublin town council and I’m told by one of the neighbors that she purchased hers from the council in the ’60s for 300 punts — not more than $600.  So, the reference to the penny rent is probably accurate for 1916.

The letter makes reference to April of that year which is a pretty historic date in Irish history to those who are familiar with it or who have seen the movie “Michael Collins”.   April 1916 was when the Easter Rising occurred from Easter Monday 24 April to 30 April 1916.  Members of the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army seized locations around Dublin and proclaimed Irish independence from Britain. The Rising ended in an Irish surrender but it helped to garner the sympathies of the Irish public as 15 of the participants in the siege were executed by firing squad.  I’m not suggesting Joseph Armstrong was killed in the Easter Rising – but it is an amazing parallel to a lot of upheaval in the country at that time.

The letter says:

“Sir, I beg to inform you that my husband, Joseph Armstrong, is dead since last April 1916 and I am trying to earn a livelihood for myself and my five children – none of them able to earn for themselves. My husband left us very poor without any means.  As it was his savings that bought the house, it is not in my power to give a penny. I only wish I could.
I remain respectively, Mrs. A Armstrong”

Thanks, Mrs. A., for talking to me just a little bit.