Relaxing in the back garden. 1Instagram/catherinedaly711
how we live

'The sun hits this spot at around 11am': Catherine's Dublin home with a transformed back garden

Catherine Daly and her husband have put eleven years of work into their suburban bungalow.

About you

Name: Catherine Daly
Age: 43
Occupation: Occupational therapist
Where is your home located? Dublin

About your home

What type of house is it?  A semi-detached bungalow
How many bedrooms and bathrooms? 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
When did you move in? 2009
Who lives there? Myself and Tim, plus Martha (7) and our dog Lucca.

What made you choose this home over others?

Put simply, it had a left and a right when you walked in the door! We loved that it was a bungalow, the garden was huge and even though we’re in the suburbs of Dublin, it feels like the countryside in our garden. I loved that it was an old home with lots of work to do to it. Neither of us were afraid of hard work. 

What is your favourite place in your home?

My favourite spot is probably the doorstep of our Shomera, a separate room down at the end of the garden. It used to be a home office but with a change in Tim’s work, we’ve now turned it into a garden room and craft room. The sun starts to hit the doorstep at 11am and stays until 3.30 and there is nowhere nicer to be in the summertime.

I open out the doors, let in all the light, put on the radio, and from here I can see our bee wildlife garden and there’s a view right up to the back of the house. When we first moved in, the whole place was so overgrown that you couldn’t see a thing. Standing there reminds me of how far we’ve come and how content I am to be here.

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

If I had to choose I’d say the box room. It’s our third bedroom, mostly used as an office, and lacking the decorating stamp I’ve tried to put on other rooms. Tim is the one who uses this room most often so fancy cushions are not welcome!

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

I think the interior décor makes our home stand out. We never had a budget to do up the house, so we’ve created new spaces as we’ve lived here by upcycling old furniture, and adding charity shop finds.

Every part of our house tells a story – be that the printer’s tray at the front door that houses all of our unique treasures, or the decoupaged magazine doors in the kitchen because we didn’t have the budget for new cupboard doors, or the gallery walls that were made from bits and pieces in the craft shed. Even our toilet roll storage in the bathroom is a vintage suitcase. 

How does an average day go in your home?

We both start work at the usual time: Our days are more varied right now due to COVID-19 restrictions. But I’m still working part-time as I work in the health service and my husband is working full time from home. On the days when we’re both working, Martha has a dream day, which is more time on a tablet/screen watching Squishy makeovers! She does watch the school at 11 on television.

I’m generally home after lunchtime: We then go cycling or get out to the garden. Martha is lucky to have a great imagination and so far she has created a new imaginary friend named Lillian who creates mischief in the house, she’s also set up shops in her bedroom, a smoothie making cafe outside, and daily up-ends all the cushions off the couch to make a den in the living room. It’s a very different day to her usual school days but like most of the nation, we’re adapting and trying to take the good from it.

How does an average day end in your home?

Martha winds down around 8pm: Then Tim and I usually watch something in the living room. I write a gratitude journal every evening at this time, and since COVID-19 began, I’m writing an additional diary to track the changes in our lives since the pandemic began. It’s usually a case then of negotiating who’s turn it is to “get the snacks” and “put the dog to bed”. A pretty simple evening but then that’s the way we like it.

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

We had really old single pane windows and no insulation in the house when we first moved in. It’s a 1947 build! We saved up enough money to change the windows at the front and side, but never replaced the two windows at the back of the house because we always assumed we’d be doing an extension!

We’re 11 years here and there’s no extension – nor do we even need one as we have more than enough space for the three of us. We love it as it is and we’re lucky to live here.

More: ‘We moved in just before the shutdown’: Emma Clair’s DIY home renovation project>

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