Under the Floorboards

2015-08-19 10.44.51This morning the linoleum in the hall came up. Yet again, the case of the lazy (or frugal?) painters! There must have been a carpet runner at some point, and the floor is painted around it. Same as in the bedroom. And the sitting room window trim is only painted up to where the valance/cornice would hang!!! It doesn’t really matter as every single one of these spots will be repainted or replaced, but it drives me a bit mad meanwhile.

Our wonderful electrician, Colm Quinn, and his team have started the rewire of the kitchen, dining room, bedroom and master bath today. Floorboards are coming up and new wires are being run. Under the floorboard s is where the spiders live. Fortunately, Irish spiders aren’t poisonous.

2015-08-19 09.18.292015-08-19 09.18.49

The best news we’ve received this week is that we fully own our house! In Ireland, the last step of purchasing a home is registering with the Property Registration Authority. We got a letter from our solicitor, Eoin Joyce, telling us this is now complete! If you are in Cork and need a solicitor, I would not hesitate to recommend Joyce & Co. Both Michael & Eoin are a pleasure to deal with and are extremely reliable. (For my Americans, Eoin is the Irish for Owen, and is pronounced the same)

Here are some things I learned about buying property in Ireland (feel free to skip this section):

  1. It can take a long time. And not necessarily for any good reason. We put an offer on the house at the end of January, but didn’t close until early May. This timing actually worked out really well for us in the end though, so no complaints.
  2. Auctioneers (real estate agents) are dodgy. The one we delt with, especially.
  3. If you are buying a property abroad it is essential you have a lawyer you trust.
  4. Engineers are your one stop shop for assistance. In the US, your pre-purchase property surveyor only tells you what’s wrong. Officially, they aren’t supposed to estimate what it might cost to fix it. And generally, once you have their report it’s the last you see them. But in Ireland, a building engineer sees out the whole process with you – from initial building survey, boundary check, and map revisions before buying to planning, design, and project management on after purchase renovations. It makes a lot of sense. I’m certain you’ll hear more about our engineer, Anthony Kenneally, soon enough!
  5. There is a 1% fee called Stamp Duty that you pay when you buy a house. I’m not exactly sure what it’s for, but I had to get a PPS (social security) number in order to pay it.
  6. Property taxes in Ireland are pretty new – only about 3 years old – and the amount would make anyone in the tri-state area of the US green with jealousy!

Sorry if that bit was dull.

We’ve been doing a bit of gardening. It’s a daily battle of Jess vs. Slugs & Snails in the window boxes, but the roses are in bloom and healthy. The orange & yellow one was a welcome gift from Killeagh’s Tidy Towns.

2015-08-19 10.44.07 2015-08-19 10.44.28

Just for fun, here’s a snap of our favorite barman dressed to impress (the kiddies) at a fundraiser a week ago. It makes me giggle. Happy Wednesday!

2015-08-09 19.42.32

A Place to Rest Our Heads

The general rule of thumb around here is: if it heats up, don’t plug it in. The only exceptions are the kettle and the hot water heater. Our electrician, Colm, nearly has a heart attack every time he visits, so we’ve agreed to install a new fuse box and re-wire the three rooms we use most: Kitchen, Master Bedroom & Bath. All three are comfortable enough for now. If only we had a proper cooker instead of our gas camping stove – but we’re making progress.

38 Master Bed 10We are working with the engineer to determine our short term and long term priorities. Up soon is getting the chimneys looked at to make sure they are safe to use. They definitely need a cleaning. Most likely, it will be fires and space heaters  to keep us warm this winter (after the new wiring, of course.) Fortunately the weather has been decent more days than not. Irish summer is a lot colder than I’m used to though, and I probably should have packed more warm things.

Spare RmLast week we got our first guest room set up, with two double beds. So if you don’t mind rustic and do like pulling plaster off the walls, you are welcome to come and stay. In order to dry-line and insulate, we need to strip the ground floor walls down to the stone. It’s a messy process, but also gratifying to reveal the raw materials of our walls.

Today we thought we’d share some before and after photos of our bedroom. And some inspiration for the future, too.

When we saw that house there was a massive crucifix above the bed. We had no idea what we were going to do with it, but were spared that daunting decision as the previous owner took it with her.

33 Master Bed 239 Master Bed34 Master Bed 3

So far, we removed the carpet and took down all of the wallpaper. Most of the paper came down easily, but the bits that didn’t were tedious! We scrubbed the walls with a bleach solution to kill any mold or mildew and get rid of the damp odor. All of the furniture was cleaned, too.

2015-06-22 16.53.392015-06-22 16.53.15

Whoever painted the wood floor didn’t bother with a 7ft square in the center, so I got a rug from Ikea, though it doesn’t quite cover it all. We’ve also set up a work space, purchased a printer, and scored a free sofa from Done Deal (Irish craigslist). It’s a pretty cozy place to hang out, and the light is gorgeous. It doesn’t get dark until nearly 10pm right now, so it has been easy to keep working without realizing just how late is.

Today it looks more like this:

2015-07-20 18.07.33 2015-07-20 18.08.26 2015-07-20 18.11.442015-07-20 18.09.19

From Casasugar.com

Someday: The plan for the bedroom is a funky/luxurious/vintage combination. I am torn between trying for a calm space and going over the top with fabric and pattern. I’d love to have fabulous wallpaper and a chandelier. I’ve been thinking white and gold wallpaper (maybe just on an accent wall?) but love some of the bolder patterns I’m finding.

In the meantime, we bought a new light fixture for the dining room and will bring the antique fixture there currently up to the bedroom. I think a dark painted floor would be nice, and maybe some velvety curtains. When we move our furniture over, we’ll put up our antique iron bed frame. I may swap in some marble top pieces, too. No idea what to do for bedding, but probably something bright. Eventually, we’d like to have a separate office, but I think the bedroom will continue as our workspace for the foreseeable future.

What do you think – white & gold or bright and bold?

ae252dba44c291339bc934cc00cc7752 3c00f2e40cb677ab424a61a289963eae ecb745c48ba31e60fbef2103e5414d4eb25e6fa3481603b7a7c122c8dad23a5c

969c1c4a2c83ce62b2e11c30415f6d02 8caaff41cda479148f4097ebebde4637  a9da084d0b9358dfee139595c3734b927ea12bf3992782bb4f7138bb6d9e2b07

What would you do with the room? Let us know in the comments.

If you’d like to see more of our inspiration, I avidly collect images to two boards on Pinterest: Interior and Exterior

Image Credits: Calico Wallpaper, Apartment Therapy, Flckr, Domaine Home,
Marie Claire Maison,Marie Claire Maison, Harlequin Amazilia Wallpaper,
Schumacher Wallpaper – Birds and Butterflies