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Monday 4 December 2023 Dublin: 5°C
how we live

Inside this Dublin 8 two-bed with an attic conversion: 'I love hearing the floorboards creak'

Mum-of-two Avril White takes us through a day behind her front door.

@dublincitymum The living room of Avril White's home in Dublin 8 @dublincitymum

About the home

Where? Dublin 8
What style? A Victorian redbrick dating back to around 1890.
Beds and baths? Two bedrooms (with an attic converted into a bedroom) and one bathroom.
When did you move in? 2016.

About you

Name: Avril White
Age: 39
Occupation: Creator of Dublin City Mum, a guide to exploring and enjoying Dublin with babies, kids and teens.
Others in household: Husband and two daughters

What made you choose this house over others? 

When we bought it, I really felt like it wasn’t the right house for us. But at this stage, the four previous houses we had rented had been put up for sale. When our last landlord announced they were selling, I said, ‘That’s it. I can’t do this again. Let’s beg, borrow and steal, and throw every penny we have at a house.’ This house came up and I said, ‘Right that’s it.’ 

Which place in your home do you love the most (and why)? 

My favourite space in my home is the front room. We close the door and it’s a really nice, homely place with minimalist decor and pops of colour. 

Recently I tried to do a Marie Kondo on it because it was looking like a child’s play centre and I needed to carve out some kind of an adult space.

I shifted the toys from the front room and into the middle room. That room now looks like a bomb hit it but at least I have some space to myself in the front room and I’m not staring at nine million toys when I sit down!

Which place in your home do you love the least (and why)? 

The kitchen doesn’t work for me right now because it’s in a separate room. When I’m in there, I can’t see the girls. I’m separated from them. I don’t know what’s going on. They can’t hear me, I can’t hear them. 

We’re planning a big renovation at the end of the year. We are opening up the space and creating a big living room-kitchen area. When that’s completed, it will be a much more sociable environment and people won’t be excluded if someone is in the kitchen. 

Take us through a day, in your house, room by room.

During the day, we mostly spend time in the middle room, which is a second living room. The middle room is the dining room, playroom, everything room. The girls have their toys there. It’s totally chaotic and messy, but the kids love it. 

The girls share a bedroom upstairs with two single beds, a chest of drawers and wardrobe. When they have playdates or friends over, they usually run upstairs and play with all their toys. Sometimes they get to play up in the attic room as well and that’s a real treat. Like, ‘Ooh spiral staircase, secret room!’ There are toys, boxes and a bed up there. It’s a really nice space.

Come six o’clock, seven o’clock, the girls will have their baths and then we’ll do stories and bedtime in their room. One of the nicest parts of the house for me is when I’m up in the girls’ room and I’m singing them to sleep. I rock on the floorboards and I can hear them creak. That reminds me that this is still an old house and I really like that. When we do the refurbishments, I want to retain as much of that character as I can. 

Ideally they go to sleep at eight o’clock and then I come downstairs to close these doors and go into the front room for the rest of the evening. That’s my down time. 

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

I think I probably would have been a bit more open-minded when I was moving in. Not that it took me a while to fall in love with the house, but… If people are buying, I would advise them to be willing to make compromises.

That’s what I learned. The house does not have to be perfect. Things like location, schools, amenities, transport, your neighbours – that’s what’s important. We’re very happy in this home. 

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