Master Bedroom from Drab to Fab

You spend a lot of time in your bedroom over a lifetime, it needs to be somewhere you can relax and switch off from the world. And that’s what I set out to achieve.

We moved into our house over eight years ago, we were only 23 when we bought it. So as you can imagine we didn’t have our life’s savings behind us. Everything was done on a budget and we were happy that way as we had our own house, independence and we were standing on our own two feet (more like four feet). Over the last number of years we’ve got engaged and married, had two beautiful kids and all the other things that come with owning a house and running two cars to contend with. Now was the time to spend a little money on us and start to update the house room by room. Over the next few posts I will show you what we’ve done and hopefully give you some tips. But for now let’s start with the master bedroom.

First to go was the old, worn, stinky carpet. From those of you that have kids you will know how often you are on your hands and knees cleaning up mess from the carpets after little people. Spilt drinks, baby puke, toddler puke, big child puke, too much puke. It was time to go. Grey was my colour of choice and as you will see from the pics of the rest of my house, this colour carried through. I love it, it’s neutral but has depth and warmth, depending on the tone of grey you choose. I like to go with the greys with a hint of purple in them, makes it warmer. The carpet I chose was carried into all three bedrooms and on the stairs and landing so that there would be a continuous flow throughout the first floor. I bought it from Denis McGinley’s carpets in Portlaoise. He’s on the Mountrath road and can be found on Facebook. He is very reasonably priced and I have bought all my carpets from him since moving in to our own house and my Mam has bought all her carpets from him as long as I can remember.

But before the carpet could go in I wanted to get paneling done on my bedroom walls. I just love how it changes the look of a room or hallway. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune but when finished it looks expensive. I approached a childhood friend of mine who is a carpenter to see if he would do the job. Alan Kirwan Carpentry Ltd (he can also be found on Facebook). He sent one of his guys into do the job. I’m quite handy with a measuring tape so already knew what timber I needed to get, but for those of you who wouldn’t know where to start your carpenter is the one to ask. I ordered sheets of MDF in two different thicknesses to create the box paneled effect and I also ordered beading to finish off the edges of each box. I tried to find a dado to finish off the top but I couldn’t find any I liked, so the carpenter, “Murty” suggested using the cut offs of MDF and rounding the edges on them, creating a layered effect.

The headboard was also designed from the MDF using the box panel effect, I wanted it to look grand so decided to bring it up very high on the wall and I used a large dado to finish the top of it, giving it a wide flat top. And to finish the room off nicely I asked him to make me a radiator cover. I just bought a sheet of patterned wooden MDF trellis and he inserted it into a frame. The top was then left open so as not to block the heat in the room. This was all messy work as there was a lot of sawing and trimming causing a lot of sawdust and mess. And then it had to be painted. Oh the drama. 

First I bought an oil based undercoat and gloss which was a nightmare to apply. Three coats later I couldn’t see the finish line. I called the hardware and explained the trouble I was having and they suggested a water based satin wood. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this in the first place. I had to buy another undercoat, which was to counteract the oil base and then the water based top coat. I forgot to mention that before I started to paint I also had to fill all the nail holes and joins in the timber, sand it down and refill again where necessary. Although all of this sounds like tedious work, it was worth it in the end and the finished product looks amazing.

I chose a grey colour for the walls in the room, I thought with the white paneling a crispy grey would be nice. It was Dulux “Moderism”. It turned out really well and I was able to get the two coats done in a few hours as there was very little wall left in the room. The carpet was now safe to go in, no more messy work to do, only accessorizing. All the furniture was brought downstairs from the three bedrooms and when I got home from work the carpets were finished. A thorough Hoover and it was time to enjoy the sponginess under my feet. We want this carpet to last a good few years so made sure we chose a good thick underlay to help it last and give the feel of luxury as you walk on it.

To add some character to the room I painted a cut off of the MDF in the same colour as the wall and stuck a wall decal to it. It is an inspirational quote reminding us to take the good with the bad. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, It’s about learning to Dance in the Rain”. I bought a cheap extendable curtain rail from Heaton’s which I mounted at the top of the wall and from this I draped four white voile curtains from Ikea. Such good value and they look voluptuous. I added some icicle battery operated lights to each side to create some mood lighting. I also bought these in Heaton’s in the New Year sale. A bargain at €4.00 per set.

The bedside lockers are from Homestore and More. I had my heart set on French boutique lockers and was searching Done Deal for a set I could upscale. I couldn’t believe my luck when Sean and I came across the ones in the pictures attached in Homestore and More. They were exactly what I wanted and weren’t too expensive at €70.00 each. After securing that find we went into Homebase for a noisy. They had a sale on in their lighting department upstairs and we were thrilled to come across bedside lamps. The base and the lampshades were separate but I think they make a good combination together. The bases are really heavy and the glass globe helps disperse the light around the room. The lamp shade on the ceiling was bought in Dunnes Stores for €20.00 and blends in with the grey and white colour scheme. The bed linen was also bought in Dunnes Stores. I chose a light purple duvet and matching pillow cases to add some contrast to the room and then a deeper purple sheet and matching pillow cases for underneath. 

I recently picked up the heart shaped mirror in Homestore and More reduced to €4.99 and the small grey heart shaped clips used to tie back the voile curtains are also from there at €4.00 each. It’s the small touches that give the room character. These heart shaped clips are hung up on the wall using command strip hooks, no holes, no screws and easy to move if you ever change your design. 

You might also notice the shutters in our room at the windows, these were made for us years ago by a very talented carpenter friend of ours, Brian. I told him what I wanted, gave him a quick design brief and I couldn’t be happier with the finished product. These block all the light from the room, you can sleep in pitch darkness. They are sealed all around the edges, which keeps the heat in the room, which was the main reason for getting them. There are two latches on one door on the inside, securing it at the top and bottom and then a lock on the outside to keep them closed. They actually help retain so much heat in the room that we usually sleep with ours open, as I said in a previous post I am always warm. They proved really beneficial in the boys rooms and eliminated any draughts you might get from the windows. They are made from solid pine and have been varnished once to maintain them. They were reasonably priced but asthe  MasterCard ads would say the benefits were “Priceless”.

Moving onto the wardrobes. I’m a divil for trying to optimize storage. In a small three bed house there are not too many opportune places to steel a bit of storage but I was all over it in our bedroom. There was a chimney breast in the centre of the back wall dividing two alcoves. Originally when we bought our house there was a small double door wardrobe in one of the alcoves that barely held all my clothes. Poor Sean had to go to another room to get his. When we saved up a few pound we decided to up scale. We contacted John from Robe Design in Kildare and he designed the finished piece. We asked if he could incorporate the tv into the unit somehow and he definitely did not disappoint. The chimney breast was covered in white timber and the tv was then mounted to it. The distance from the tv to the doors was carefully calculated to allow the sliding doors pass safely. We bought got double height hanging room, a selection of drawers and shelves and I even got a long area for dresses and two pull out shoe shelves. Very fancy pancy! It was amazing to have all that wardrobe space and sean was allowed bring his clothes back into our room 😂. The colors I chose a few years back for the doors would probably not be what I would pick now but they are neutral enough to get away with it and I won’t be rushing out in the morning to change them for aesthetic reasons.

Finally, to the famous “Wall of Love”. This was something I was really passionate about doing. The bedroom is Sean’s and my room and our relationship should be celebrated. I think sometimes we got lost in the small things, bickering and fighting and we don’t look at the bigger picture. With these pictures of the happiest moments in our relationship displayed on the wall, at least every morning we wake up and every night we go to bed we get reminded of these times together and it grounds you and reminds you of the love we both share ❤️. Corny I know, but with all that is going on in our lives it’s nice to have something just for us. I bought the frames in dealz for €1.49 each. I arranged them on the floor first, getting the sizes right and the layout I wanted and then I stuck them onto the wall using Velcro Command Strips. I carefully chose the best pictures from our wedding day and made sure to include our 21st kisses to each other. How nice is it to say we are together that long and we were both each other’s 21st kiss. Seems so long ago now, but it was very important back then. 

I hope you have enjoyed the pictures and detail put into our bedroom and maybe it might spark some DIY or Interior Design desires in some of you. I have posted some videos and pics to Snapchat @dawnheavey, Facebook @Insidemammysworld, Instagram @insidemammysword and on Twitter @insidemamaswrld.

Sitting Room Makeover

Your couch is a very important part of your family life, from the obvious relaxing and watching tv to all its other functions such as:

  • Changing baby’s nappies
  • Eating your Saturday night takeaway
  • Kids enjoying popcorn and a movie with their friends
  • Your almost one year old pulling himself up and getting steady on his feet as he walks holding on to it.

It’s a very special piece of furniture but ours was looking old and tired. We bought it about 7 years ago, pre-children. It replaced a leather suite that Sean had picked out when we first moved in, but it annoyed me deeply and I didn’t find it comfortable. One day I decided enough was enough and I put it on Done Deal. It may have been briefly discussed at some stage, maybe when Sean was falling asleep but it definitely wasn’t agreed on, as I was later told. The ad was up with pictures and within the hour Sean received a phone call from a local man coming to collect his furniture. Oooops I should have put my number on the ad, that was an awkward conversation. He got over it!!!

The suite we replaced it with was a newer version of the couch you can see below. It was so cosy. We got a three-seater couch and a one seater. Within the first two weeks I came home one evening to find a hole chewed into the seat cushion on the three-seater couch, all the stuffing was pulled out and that was the end of the new couch. From then we covered the seat cushions with blankets.

The poor couch had threads pulled out from everywhere, the cushion was ripped as I said, the frame on the three-seater was shaky and broken as we later found out and it was time for a makeover. I contacted local upholster Quality Upholstery. I sent them pictures of my suite on Facebook messenger and they sent me back a price and the amount of material I would need. I decided that it would be great if I had a two seater to replace the one seater. Trying to expand the family and room for visitors to sit, it would definitely be more beneficial to have more seats. I scoured Done Deal and narrowed it down to a few options. I finally settled on a couch in Wexford as pictured below. It was €40 and a lot worse than mine, but who cared, all I needed was the frame. Off my husband and his friend went on a warm summers evening down to Wexford and back after work one evening. He must really love me!!!

That weekend my sister and I went to Newbridge to the Fabric Outlet to pick out fabric. I knew I wanted grey but I had so many options to choose from. You need another person with you to help choose, you have to pull out rolls of fabric and place them beside each other to make sure they match and another pair of eyes is essential. After an hour of trawling the shop we settled on the Grey and White Triangular patterned fabric. It was easy to pick the base, I needed something darker as that is where little toes first touch as they are climbing up with dirty shoes. It was harder to pick the cushion fabric, the accent colours. The staff in the Fabric Outlet were run off their feet, the place is so busy but when it came to my turn they were very helpful and full of ideas. They cut extra fabric for me as I had changed from a one-seater to a two-seater and off I went. The fabric was so reasonable only 4.95 per metre. You can find them online at www.fabricoutlet.ie or on Facebook @fabricoutlet.ie.

Phil and her husband Murt collected our furniture on a Thursday evening, including our ottoman and said they would be back in a few days. I asked for our ottoman to be converted into a storage box so that I could use it for storage of dvds. Nothing could have prepared me for the finished piece, it was amazing, out of this world. You can see from the pictures below that it was a total transformation. The frame was fixed on the three-seater. We were lucky to pick up three large cushions in a warehouse that were going to be thrown out, for the back as these are expensive to buy and they really help fill out the back of the couch and make it look so much grander. The two-seater looks great and was a bargain and they look amazing in the sitting room.

While the couches were gone, we repainted the walls with a lilac/grey colour and changed the wall paper on the chimney breast. We also previously ripped out the fire place as it was never used and placed an electric stove into the alcove for effect. Removing the hearth off the floor has given us so much more room and floor space. The new floor boards were laid and it looks like a new house.

To add some cosiness I ordered a mat from Dennis McGinley carpets in Portlaoise. I wanted a large mat to fit between the couch and the ottoman and I wanted it very high pile and cosy under your toes. The boys love to sit and watch telly on the mat and they play on the floor a lot so it was important that it was comfy and warm. It was a bargain, I chose the carpet I liked and Dennis arranged for the size I wanted to be piped around the edges from a lady in Portlaoise.

It didn’t help that I had bought a mat two weeks previous in Dunnes for the sitting room that was put down for a day and is still rolled up upstairs. Oooops again!!!!

14088403_1104274436315289_4961007315625444743_n14022293_1104274269648639_3020521235330133234_n14067501_1104274292981970_4987530675430028399_n

13934872_1104273682982031_3668110886205287547_n

So Tired and Sad – Help Me!!!

14068177_1104274096315323_2870772970025148867_n14045992_1104273789648687_6014346141172689063_n14045608_1104274356315297_8240585861524978412_n

Party Planning

I’m taking a step away from the serious stuff today and going to give you some ideas for planning a party. I love party and event planning. When my sister decided to have her 30th in my parents’ house it was all systems go to make sure everything ran smoothly. I offered to sort out all the decorations and make the cake.

Decorations

We decided on pastels and started to search all the party websites. Then I landed on Party Parlour (www.partyparlour.ie) and found amazing pieces. We had to get enough to decorate two Marquees and the garage. We are very lucky that in my parents’ house we have all the facilities to host outdoor events and I was blessed to have both boys Christening parties there after their ceremony’s.

You will see from some of the pictures I attached the decorations that we went with. Floral buntings, tissue pom poms, honeycombs, paper lanterns, hanging fans and much more. By picking a colour scheme of pastels it was easy to mix and match decorations creating an array of colours and styles. I had some old fairy lights which we used to light of the ceiling in the garage along with the DJ’s lights.

Photos

I thought it would be fun to get some photo props and decorated an old frame for taking pictures. These pictures could then be added to the album I created for my sister with photos from her childhood and all the major happenings in her life. I contacted most of her friends through social media and asked them to send me pictures for the album. This was the best gift of all as it was from everyone there. All the pictures were printed by the local pharmacy Adrian Dunne’s, the girls in there are so helpful and efficient and the photos are reasonably priced when printing in bulk. I spent most of the night with a camera around my neck making sure I captured all the fun. Documented memories forever.

Drinks

The idea was that everyone brought their own drinks and there was a bit of everything in the house too for the all-night partiers. Mam and I ordered a cocktail bar for the party as a surprise. Cocktail Mocktail from Portlaoise and they seemed to have been in festival circuit last year from their pics on Facebook. The bar is inflatable and the set up takes no time. You can find them on Facebook @cocktailmocktailirl. It was a great addition to the night and added a bit of colour to the décor with the neon lights.

The Sweet Table

So as usual when I say I am going to do something I do it times ten. I offered to make the birthday cake but thought we wold need some cupcakes too. And as there was going to be kids there it was suggested we might need some sweets. So, the birthday cake soon spiralled into a Sweet Table. You can see the pictures I attached. I made the cake and the cupcakes on the Friday night and then Saturday morning as I mentioned in my last post between meeting with the fertility advisor, decorating and beautifying myself I had to ice 60 cupcakes and decorate them. Sean was in the kitchen beside me during the mayhem and asked “why do you always do this to yourself”, I don’t know, maybe because I am crazy!!!! Someone needs to restrain me, I get so excited. There were very little cupcakes left so I don’t feel too bad.

I raided my house to decorate the table, some birdcage battery operated lights I picked up in Heaton’s on sale and a large birdcage tea light holder that I picked up in the local €2 euro shop. The jars and scoops were borrowed from a friend and I decorated the marquee in lanterns and battery operated candles to add some ambience. These were borrowed from my cousin and originally purchased from Dunnes Stores.

The night was a huge success and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. A local events caterer provided food and the music was provided by a friend of my husbands, he comes highly recommended. He had a mixture of music for all eras and genres and kept everyone on the dance floor all night.