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'I can make dinner while keeping an eye on the kids': Inside a renovated 1970s bungalow in Dublin

A look inside Nikki’s ‘forever home’ near Dundrum village.

About your home

Where? Dundrum

What type of house? Renovated 1970s detached bungalow

How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Four bedrooms and three bathrooms

When did you move in? We spent six months renovating and moved into the house in August 2017 

About you

Name: Nikki

Age: 38

Occupation: Financial services

Who else lives there? My husband and two daughters, aged four and six

View this post on Instagram

We haven't bought much furniture since we moved into the house. This room consists of furniture that family and friends were throwing out!! Flaws hidden with licks of paint and throws 😜. The only pieces we bought for this room are these marble side tables (Helen James Considered range from Dunnes Stores). There will eventually be a fireplace where the side table is... maybe by 2025 😂. This room has accents of gold so I'm thinking of spray painting this picture frame gold 🤔 . . . #home #homedecor #homerenovation #houseandhome #familyhome #irishhomes #roominspo #familyhomes #myhomevibe #myhomestyle #upcycle #upcycledfurniture #colourtrend #wolfhound Side tables: #dunnesstores #dunnesstoreshome

A post shared by Nikki (@hide_the_mess_style_your_nest) on

What made you choose this home over others? 

A few things really, the main thing being its location. It’s only a five minute walk to our nearest Luas station, for one. Being on the Luas line was a prerequisite for us when choosing a home as we both work in the city centre and we really dislike sitting in traffic!

It’s also in walking distance of the primary and Montessori schools that our children attend, as well as Dundrum Shopping Centre…. my bank balance may not agree that the latter is a benefit! We also fell for this house because it has a good sized garden which isn’t overlooked.   

What is your favourite place in your home?  

The open plan kitchen, dinner and living space. I can make snacks or dinner while helping my daughter do her homework at the island. Also, the playroom is hidden behind a sliding door just off this room, which is good for keeping an eye on my youngest while she pulls the playroom apart.

Is there any part of the home you don’t like?  

The outside, because it still needs to be landscaped. We’ve quite a few things still to do inside the house before we get to the outside, but we’ll get to it eventually.

Is there any part of your home that makes it unique?  

I don’t think there’s any part that makes it unique, but I suppose the exposed steel beam is a little bit different. 

We debated boxing it in or leaving it exposed, I think you either love the look or hate it.  We thought it might be cool to leave it exposed. Then we had to pick a paint colour, which was a whole other issue.

We were going to go with a pale grey or white so it would blend in with the ceiling, but then we thought we’ve exposed it now we might as well go bold! So we chose the same dark grey colour as the new windows we had fitted in this room. We also painted the old white PVC windows (that we didn’t replace) in this room the same shade of dark grey to create a more cohesive look. 

beam The exposed beam. Source: hide_the_mess_style_your_nest via Instagram

Take us through an average day in your house, room by room.

7am: We all get up. The children’s bedrooms are upstairs and we’re downstairs. During the week, we usually have to go upstairs and wake them. Magically, they wake by themselves at the weekends and usually before 7am! My husband and I help the girls dress (the rule is no brekkie until everyone is dressed), then it’s down to the kitchen to make breakfast and the lunches (probably our least favourite morning task). Then I go to my bedroom and en-suite to get ready for work.

7.30am: My husband leaves for work.

8.15am: After a frantic 30 minutes sorting out hair, teeth, shoes and schoolbags, we’re out the door and walking. First drop-off is school, then Montessori and then I walk down to get the Luas to work.

1pm: I work half days so now I’m racing to make my first pick-up from school and then Montessori.

1.45pm: We’ve walked home and homework is being done while I fix some snacks.  Then I put the TV on for half an hour while I sneak off to the front living room to have a cuppa because by then I need it. 

3pm: It’s usually time to go off to activities like ballet or swimming, to the playground, on playdates or running errands.

5pm: This is when I make dinner, sort out washing and get cleaning while the girls play in their playroom.

6pm: Dinner time – during the week we sit at the kitchen island to eat and at the weekend we sit at the dining table. My eldest eats her dinner without any fuss, while the four-year-old makes a song and dance until she is fed and I tell myself that it’s only a phase.

7pm: My husband is usually home by now and has had dinner. Some evenings this is when I make my escape for a quick jog while he gets the kids ready for bed and plays cards or board games with them in their bedrooms.

8pm: The kids go to bed and we collapse on the couch and eat the chocolate from their Halloween, Christmas or Easter treat piles, watch Netflix or read books before heading to bed a few hours later.

Is there anything you’d do differently if you were doing it again?  

I can’t think of anything we would do differently. My father-in-law is an architect and he gave us great advice throughout the renovation, and our builder was terrific and very thorough.

We spent a long time planning before we began the renovation. There’s plenty of extra things we would have done if we had a larger budget, but we did all of the major structural things that we wanted to do and we invested heavily in insulation, which was a must for me as I’m always cold. 

Everything else can be done over time, such as the cupboards in the utility room, built-in wardrobes and a shed. This is our ‘forever home’, so we’ve plenty of time to make it into our ideal house.  

More: ‘Our children have so much freedom here’: Inside this colourful rural home in Co Meath

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