The Cottage – Living Room

The Living Room. This has been the bane of my life! It’s a dark room. Even on the brightest of days. This wasn’t its worst trait. It was always intended as an evening time room. Even if it had masses of natural daylight, we never use it during the day. In saying that, I tried to keep in mind that we would still lounge around in there, on a Sunday afternoon.

We’ve come so far…

(Am I the only one singing ‘Never Forget’ after that line?!)

This was the starting point. It was in fairly good nick, if you ignore the cracked plaster, chewed skirting boards, the mantelpiece, damp walls and smelly carpet. Other than that it was grand!


It then moved on to this.

In the second photo, the blocked up door to the left used to lead out to the kitchen and the blocked up door to the right was a tiny bedroom. The roof was taken down, the door frames and skirting boards scrapped, the floor taken up, the fireplace opened up and we salvaged the doors.

The Doors

 Oh, the doors! We lost track of how many hours it took to strip, prep and paint the doors.

Most of the handles couldn’t be salvaged. Himself popped to the local shop to get tea bags. It’s the kind of shop where the bread sits along side a wooden mallet. And beside that is shampoo, propped on top of the dog food. Best shop EVER! Anyhoo, while shopping for teabags he came across the perfect handle. Himself asked Jim (the shopkeeper) if there was anymore. There wasn’t but Jim was able to source them for us and had them there within the week.

The Floor

The flooring in the living room is the same throughout each room, in the old part of the cottage. It’s a Kaindl Hickory Chelsea laminate floor from Bolands of Gorey. It’s scratch resistant, with a 30 year guarantee. So far, so good! I’ll get back to you again in 2047 😉

We chose the rug from Ikea. I can’t remember the name of it and I can’t find it on the website, so I presume it’s now out of stock. We both loved the colours and pattern on the rug. However we didn’t consider the small areas of white. It’s not white anymore! Even after a steam clean, I couldn’t revive it. It’s in front of the stove, so I’m sure soot settles on it, making it difficult to clean. But I do regret buying it. I’ll replace it when we’ve finished everything else.


The Walls

Given that this room is so dark, the walls needed to be pretty light. We chose Dulux Country White. It’s a soft white, that’s an easy backdrop to most colours. The room is quite neutral so I needed to bring in some texture to add interest. We (he) panelled the fireplace wall. I painted it in a white emulsion and then sanded it back slightly. It adds interest to walls that could have fallen a little flat. I’ve already explained the stone cladding process here.

Rees Design Wall Cladding

The Furniture

Himself made the coffee table. Surprise, surprise! I couldn’t find what I wanted and when I did, I couldn’t afford it. Story of my life…

A very kind person gave us our suite of furniture. Thanks Elaine 😉 To make it even better, we had both decided years ago we wanted a buttoned chesterfield and that’s what we got.  Most couples talk about potential baby names. We talk about potential sofas! I reupholstered the sofa and armchair in a medium grey linen look fabric. It was a  perfect fabric to compliment the buttoning. I upholstered the Queen Anne chair in the same fabric in a dark grey colourway. As an element of surprise the back of the chair is in a coordinating check. My Mam bought the floor lamp, from an interiors shop I used to work in, many moons ago. At this point the shade had seen better days. So Mam recovered it in this amazing velvet fabric. With the floor lamp and the Queen Anne chair it makes a cosy little reading corner.

This little cabinet was in the house, when we got the keys. It moved to the shed for the last few years. I had intended on using it in the bathroom, to store towels. Then I remembered the bathroom isn’t that big! I replaced the back of the cabinet and painted it in Annie Sloan Paloma and added small graphics with various Dulux tester pots. I’ve yet to add new shelves. In the meantime, it has some very attractive occupants 😉


I bought the sideboard years ago. Possibly at a car boot sale. I had upcycled it, to sell. It was damaged on the way home from a market, so it too lived in the shed for a long time! It was too big to fit the space so himself chopped off the door section, with a chainsaw. Yep, a chainsaw. He re-positioned the legs and trimmed the top. I used the Annie Sloan Paloma again on the sides and legs and painted the drawers and details in Dulux Gatsby Blue. I fell in love with Gatsby Blue. I’m very tempted to use it somewhere else in the cottage now. The handles are a belt I picked up in Heatons for €3. There’s a similar one here, also on sale. I cut them into strips and drilled them on.


The Extras

When choosing window treatments, I knew straight away we’d use a roman blind. The window is tiny and using curtains would have drowned it. The roman blind adds soft texture and I love the Ikat pattern fabric.


I wanted to get a picture ledge from Ikea, to put above the sofa. After many failed trips to get there, I made one from timber we had lying in the garden. I love that I can change the pictures on it and I don’t have to worry about their position on the wall.

The hot water tank needed to be placed in the corner beside the fire. Both for efficiency and because we had nowhere else to put it! I had thought I’d like to use some louvre doors on the hot-press. I’ve always loved their classic design and they would allow the air to circulate. How handy that my neighbour was throwing out teak louvre doors, that were in perfect nick? Fate! All they needed was a lick of paint. I had bought a tin of grey chalk paint in Aldi. The colour was far too dark and the consistency was a little watery. I added some white emulsion to the chalk paint and it was perfect! I got serious mileage from the belt, as I used it for the handles on the hot-press too.

Rees Design Louvre Doors

If you managed to get to the end of this extremely long post, thank you! *High Five*

Now, time for tea 🙂



7 thoughts on “The Cottage – Living Room

  1. Well done Ciara! The room is completely unrecognisable from before. I can’t imagine the time you spent on the doors – I stripped one table and never again! Creating texture on the walls was a great idea, and I *love* your belt handles – very clever.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s