Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Before and after: Living room gets a new lease of life

They say that when you first move into a house you should do nothing but familiarise yourself with the space and consider its best use. It's very easy to rush into decisions and purchases that you might later regret. We failed to heed this advice and bought a sofa too big and bulky for our sitting room. I also had shelves put up. The shelves were perfect, but they were in the wrong place, diverting attention away from the antique fireplace we later installed in the gap where one once sat.

While Eoghan was away on a worktrip, I finally decorated the bedroom. It was also the week where I had a few jobs done on the living room too. With the help of Painter Dublin, I took down the shelves and repainted the floor and walls in the same colours we had painted ourselves a few years ago; Dulux Light and Space Moonlight White on the walls (turned out a little yellower than I had predicted when contrasted with the new Dulux Brilliant White on the ceiling and woodwork) and Farrow and Ball's Downpipe on the floorboards.

AFTER: The Eames rocker by Vitra (purchased at Arnotts) perches on the floor freshly painted in Farrow and Ball's Downpipe. The painting is from Decor, Camden Street, Dublin 8.

Another job was to have period-style cornicing reinstated. Our house was built in the 1860s but other than the lovely wide floorboards no period details remained in the living room when we moved in. We had previously put in a Victorian-style four panel door from Victorian Salvage (especially important as we didn't notice the lack of a door until we sat down in the room for first time) and an antique fireplace (a design common to the area) from the brilliant Sugan Antiques. I had plaster cornicing made by the excellent Dublin Mouldings on Parnell Street and it has made the room complete.

Other than wall shelves and book-ends from IKEA, I didn't buy anything else for the room. Instead I moved things and changed around artwork by bringing some pieces that were hanging elsewhere in the house into the living room.

AFTER: New storage comes in the form of four white Lack wall shelves from IKEA, featuring nerdy colour-coordinated books. The period-style door came from Victorian Salvage. The space to the right of the door originally featured my two Panoramic Dublin prints by Andy Mac Manus which have now moved to the right of the fireplace
AFTER: The Billy bookends are also from IKEA, while the Flower Blossom lampshade is by Orla Kiely while the brown glass lamp is from Hicken Lighting, Lower Bridge Street, Dublin 8.
AFTER: Soppy 'E' and 'S' letters from Urban Outfitters. The S keeps falling off the shelf and scraping the floor whenever I bang the door!
AFTER: These were made by the father of a very good friend mine, Aoife, who is a wood-turner extraordinaire
AFTER: This curvaceous retro-style sofa was bought in Belfast (in Dekko, which sadly is no longer operating) a few years ago. Eoghan still mourns after the bigger yet bulkier sofa we originally purchased, which we now visit in Conamara. The grey cushion is by Donna Wilson, a lovely gift last Christmas.

AFTER: The G-plan coffee table makes the room seem bigger and came from the treasure trove Table Lighting Chair, located on Pleasant's Place (behind Camden Street near Cake Café), Dublin 8.
AFTER: The red cushion is by Ben de Lisi for Debenham's is inspired by the designer's own French bulldog Ella (not sure if it's still in stock) and the Multi Stem square lampshade is by Orla Kiely.
AFTER: I got this little side table for a song in TK Maxx about two years ago. It matches the floor. The clear glass ball lamp is from Hicken Lighting, Lower Bridge Street, Dublin 8.
AFTER: A close-up of one of our two Panoramic Dublin prints by Andy Mac Manus, featuring views of O'Connell Bridge

BEFORE: Too much to distract the eye with the shelves on either side of the fireplace. We put the mirror in our bedroom where the ceiling is higher.

AFTER: The removal of the shelves and mirror results in the less visual clutter, allowing the eye to focus on fireplace.  The new plaster cornicing by Dublin Mouldings helps the room to look its age.
AFTER: The antique fireplace from Sugan Antiques is simply adorned with just a pair of candlestick holders, which were a present. Having a working fireplace reinstated back in the room is a real privilege, especially on the cold winter nights. I was delighted when a friend mentioned that her parents' house in nearby Inchicore has the same fireplace surround.

BEFORE: No plaster cornicing. Another job I would like to get done in the future is to have the window shutters reinstated as per the other houses in our terrace.
AFTER: The view from the sofa. Waffles the cat is at his television - he spends hours looking out the window.
AFTER: Waffles on guard cat duty. If you like the owl cushion resting on the Eames rocker, check out my previous post.


  1. Sorcha, well done!!! It looks absolutely brilliant... Waffles must be feeling like king of a new castle!!! Love it xx

  2. Thanks a million, it's amazing what a few simple changes can achieve. I can report that Waffles is now spending more time than ever on the sofa in the living room, if that's even possible!