What makes a house home?

door matI have wanted to write a blog for ages. But what to write about? I am passionate about so many different things. I am a designer. I am a mother. I am a foodie. I am a serial house mover. I am a historian. (to my x factor generation children please note that this list is in no particular order). I am unapologetic in my opinions about anything to do with interiors/style/ food and cannot not comment when out and about about what is (in my opinion) right and wrong. I am aware that people may be nervous about having me visit them. However a home is different. So don’t worry. What makes home home is the people and the, well the stuff that’s in it: the books, the pictures, the furniture, and the collective stories they all tell. The meals that have been eaten there and the memories created by occasions from the mundane to the spectacular. I hope this blog will show how an interest in design can translate to all aspects of life from the planning of a cupboard to a kids birthday party.

Fifteen years ago my first child was born. At the time I was living in what’s known in Dublin terminology as a “two up two down” in a historic area of the City. The “down” was basically a large open space (knocked from the original two into one): and the up had two bedrooms (knocked from the original 3). On the night of our house warming some guests were in a nearby pub beforehand and were quizzed as to their reason for being there, not being familiar to the locals. When they said where they were going, the response they got was “ah yes the house that that was turned from a perfectly good family home into one room.” An exaggeration of course but clearly they weren’t impressed by the structural work done by the previous owners which was what had attracted us to the house. Finances were limited but we wanted to make our own mark on the interior nevertheless. We steamed off the wood chip wallpaper, painted the place white (with the exception of the bedroom which was Georgian red, yes very dubious, I agree), then splashed out on some (very fashionable then) blue pendant lights over the dining table which we had made with steel legs and a door which we varnished. (it later went on to become our office meeting table). Other items included a cardboard chair and a coffee table which my husband lovingly made me as a Christmas present using a suspended ceiling tile. (more on upcycling later)

lauderdale

The result of the entire ensemble was a white walled fairly minimalist house but (and this is my point even if I’m taking a long time to get to it) each and every item in it meant something. William Morris said “have nothing in your house that is neither useful nor beautiful” and I think I have stuck pretty much to this mantra. My fifteen year old has now lived in 6 different houses (two of these were rentals while we were on site with future homes) and I won’t even dare to say we are done yet. I might just be quoted on it.

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