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Casper’s castle

5 Sep

My very cute and fun toddler friend, Casper, is living with me at the moment (also with his parents) because his mom & daddy decided to take on a big construction project.  Jessica (Caspie’s mom) and I were talking about what her renovation project should be called given that I decided to call mine “Tilly’s Cottage”. We decided that “Casper’s Castle” was appropriate — just because of the alliteration, not because it’s an actual castle.

By Dublin city-living standards, theirs is a good-sized house.  It’s currently three-bedroom/one bath but will be officially four bedroom/2.5 bathrooms when they finish (plus, a nice sized office that could also be a fifth bedroom).

Mick the builder officially started their project back in June while we were waiting on my windows to come in.  They live just down the road so it was handy that he could pop between the two projects.  They finished the new exterior walls for the extension and on August 15th, started wave two of their renovation.

It’s been fun working on our “projects” together as Jess and I have taken on these two renovations.  We’ve been able to problem solve together and, of course, bounce decorating ideas off one another.  She’s a photographer (check out her Comfy Photography photos) and very creative – that helps!  I highly recommend a renovation friend if you’re taking on a project of your own.

Here are some shots some Casper’s Castle.  More to come… And, by the way, happy birthday, Jessica! x

Move-in day?

14 Aug

We’re moved in today (or technically, yesterday). And when I say “we”, I mean me, Tilly and the Ryan family. Mick the Builder is starting Jessica’s house just up the road, today, so she and her husband and baby are coming to live with me at Tilly’s Cottage for a couple of months.

It’s been 351 days since I moved out of my apartment in anticipation of doing this renovation. And roughly 540 days since I put a note through the door of Tilly’s Cottage inquiring about purchase. Now I know why my word of the year was “patience”.

There’s a lot of work still left to do but as long as the appliances are hooked up, kitchen is in and appliances are running, I’m sure we can make it work. Note that it’s a SUNDAY and not a Saturday so no “short sitting” for me, I hope.

More stair improvements

13 Aug

The stairs still have a bit more work to be done but I like posting progress because it reminds me (particularly when I’m anxious to finish) just how far it’s come.  Here’s a little “before” and “in progress” on the stairs.  I debated about all kinds of stair carpets or decorative painting when I started this journey.  I’ve gone for something a lot more straightforward for now both because of my ever-increasing expenses on the house and because I want the house to evolve over time as I grow into it!  Wallpaper is going up on the wall sometime next week so more to come…

Big honkin’ fridge

12 Aug

My dear American friends, please take no offense when I tell you that we “yanks” can be pretty annoying when we come over here to Ireland and laugh at how small everything is!  I’m guilty of doing it myself but I’ve learned to appreciate how Europeans economize on space more than we do in the U.S. with one notable exception… refrigerators

I lived in an apartment for over five years that had a very tiny oven, no pantries and, what I would have considered to be a very small fridge before I moved to Ireland.  But in fact, the fridge that I had in that last place was actually a good size for what one would typically see — particularly for a rented apartment.  The standard-sized apartment refrigerator is about the size of a standard dishwasher and it fits under counter.

So, while my Irish friends might not be entirely in favor of my decision, I got a B.H.F. (Big Honkin’ Fridge) for Tilly’s Cottage.  I may end up having to store my clothes, my books and other things in the fridge because it takes up such a large portion of the space but I’m really excited about it.  It just arrived yesterday and is still in the packaging but you can see the difference in size already!


It’s starting to come together

8 Aug

It’s hard to believe I’m actually planning to sleep in Tilly’s Cottage for the very first time in just a few days.  While we’re still a bit off from being ready for the big party, things are starting to come together.

The kitchen is installed but I have custom shelving that still needs to be completed, appliances are on their way and handles have to go on the cabinetry. Most of the carpentry work is complete which means built-in shelving and wardrobes are in (with exception of one room still to go…).  Painting is very nearly done with all the major work like ceilings and bookcases painted and hopefully, the walls will go quickly!  My stained glass transom window above the door in the guest bedroom also arrived and was installed recently and the floorboards in the guest room were painted white to hide a multitude of sins but keep the character of the house.

The biggest missing piece now is the downstairs flooring which isn’t in yet but hopefully will be soon!

Progress on the bathroom

16 Jul

I was never really that motivated about designing the bathroom (bathrooms don’t generally excite me much) but I’m really liking the way things are shaping up.  Okay, so it has a lot of the same elements as the bathroom does in Boston but I always liked that bathroom, so why not? It’s a teensy-eensy space (so small I think it would be impossible to ever actually get a proper photo of it).  But the ceiling is very high and the skylight makes it feel even higher so I decided to go with all light colored tiles and fixtures and I think I’ll paint the wall above the wainscoting a nice, rich French Grey. I think it will be a nice palette for clean fluffy towels. 

These are the in-progress photos — wainscoting installed (but not painted) floor tiles in and tiles for the shower surround are in.  I’m thrilled with my white subway tiles and dark grout.  I was already planning to use this for the backsplash in the kitchen but just decided to go with it in the bathroom as well and I’m happy with the result so far.

And a quick hello and happy birthday to Christine!  Looking forward to seeing you soon!

This weekend’s progress

11 Jul

Mick, the builder,  told me that he’s going to start installing the kitchen today so he said last week that I could paint the areas on the walls where my L-shaped kitchen is going to go — he told me to save paint and don’t bother doing any of the areas where the cabinets and tiles are going to go which made it a lot easier.   I could only reach one side of the kitchen because my lovely flat-packed kitchen is on the other wall but I mostly concerned about getting all the areas painted which might be harder to get once the kitchen is in.  I continued with the blue on all the main walls in the new extension.  I’m still trying to figure out a good color for the master bedroom…hmmm.

I’ve been tracking down the blue on the walls of the coffee shop by my office for a while — finally, I just asked my favorite employee there and he found out the color for me (by the by, already one that I had flagged on the sample sheet as a contender– that’s always a good sign).  It’s Little Greene’s “Bone China Blue” and I’m loving it (Lindsay, I went whole hog for the original instead of the mid!).  The pink-y parts in the photos are the plaster.  I haven’t painted the living room yet so that’s just the bare walls but the fireplace is nearly finished and all the recessed lighting is in.  Mick also kindly replaced the glass in the window above the front door.    I know there’s still so much that needs to be done but it’s actually starting to feel like a home now…

Naked fireplaces

8 Jul

Mick and team are almost there – all the plastering is finally done and the kitchen cabinets, which were delivered today, go in next week (sans knobs because they are on back order).  So Mick tells me I need to get busy and get over there and paint!  It’s funny that I’ve been itching to paint the house for months now and I finally have the opportunity just before I’m about to go out-of-town so it will be interesting to see how much I can get done in the two days I have.

Anyway, just wanted to feature these beautiful fireplaces that are original with the house. I had them dipped a couple of months ago to get off years of layers of paint that were hiding all the little features. They’ve been stored in a closet all this time but now they’re back to their rightful spot. 


Plasterboard really does make a difference

24 Jun

I mentioned on Tuesday that the skylights were in and the light in the space was vastly improved.  Well, the plasterboard is now also up and it really does make a huge difference.  The pics don’t do it justice because the room is full of building material but I thought I would share this shot that I took this evening after work and since the sun was shining — a second shot of the beautiful blue sky!  (It’s going to be hard to wash dishes when I’m always looking up!)

Bringing in the light

21 Jun

I was so tempted to call this post “Let there be light” but I resisted (obviously not enough to let it go unmentioned!). I think this is a very appropriate post for the longest day of the year.  The glass came in this week for the main skylight in the kitchen, small skylight in the bathroom and the glass and sliding doors for the two courtyards − pouring light into the center of the house (which my photos don’t demonstrate too well as it was a pretty overcast day).

I remember someone telling me that the house would be so much lighter and brighter when the plasterboard goes up over the brick walls and that was before the glass and skylights went in − so I can’t wait to see how bright things will be in combination with the plasterboard.

There’s more work to be done on the roof but things are really taking shape.