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'We set up a play area under the stairs': Inside this toddler-tailored family home in north Dublin

Civil servant and mum-of-one Claire Nolan takes us through a day behind her front door.

Source: Claire Nolan

About the home

Where? Kilmore, Dublin 5
What type of home? Terraced house built in the late 1960s
How many bedrooms and bathrooms? 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom
When did you move in? We moved into the house in September 2018. We got the keys in July 2018 and took a couple of months getting it ready.

About you

Name: Claire Nolan
Age: 33
Occupation: Civil Servant
Who else lives there? My husband Andy and our three-year-old, Saoirse. And we share a dog Ruby with my Mam.

What made you choose this home over others?

This was definitely not the house I originally thought we would go for, it was more the location. We always wanted to stay close to family and our daughter’s creche. I needed a good bus service to town because of work and I wanted to be in a walkable distance to a local shopping centre too.

This house stood out for us because it was a complete blank canvas but in incredibly good condition. The people selling it had put a huge amount of work into it and had done a massive refurbishment. However, there was still work to be done that would allow us to make our own mark on the house.

From the first viewing, it honestly felt like it was ours, and because of that we only viewed one other house while we were bidding on this one.

Source: Claire Nolan

Which place in your home do you love the most?

I have two favourite places in the house. I love our hall, it is a lovely bright space and is nice and large compared to many others I have been in. There is also a lovely space under our stairs which we have set up as a play area for our daughter and when she is older, I will hopefully turn it into a little study area.

The second place I love is our garden. We put a huge amount of work into it – we had to rip out a massively overgrown garden, put in fences and put down astroturf. It just makes me smile looking out at it and knowing that, regardless of the weather, we can let our daughter out to play is brilliant.

Which place in your home do you love the least?

It sounds odd, but honestly, the bathroom is the place I love the least. Where the toilet is I feel is quite impractical. We actually had to get the direction the door opens changed to make the bathroom a room that works.

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

6:15am: Monday to Friday my alarm goes off at 6.15am. I head to the bathroom to wash my face etc. I then usually wake my daughter around 6.25am and let her adjust for a few minutes.

6:35am: By 6.35am she is up and getting dressed. By 6.45am we are all downstairs, I head to the kitchen first to pack my bag for the day and then head back to the sitting room for some cuddles with Saoirse.

7am: I leave for work. Andy and Saoirse normally move between the sitting room and kitchen. They leave the house at 7.25 for creche and work.

5pm: Most days I get home at 5pm, at the moment I open windows and head straight to the kitchen to get dinner started and get some jobs done which can be putting on a wash (our washing machine is outside the house) or playing with my daughter in the garden or front room.

Source: Claire Nolan

6pm: We eat dinner in the dining room end of our kitchen. After that there is playtime and around 6.45pm we head upstairs to get Saoirse ready for bed. This can also be time for sorting clothes in our spare room.

7:30pm: Saoirse goes to bed, and until around 8pm I am usually pottering finishing little jobs in the kitchen or upstairs. The rest of the evening is normally spent watching TV in the sitting room or upstairs in our bedroom if we are not watching the same thing.

Our weekends follow the same pattern except with a later wake time and we do a big clean of the house and I usually do a big batch cook. We also probably relax more too!

Source: Claire Nolan

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

I would definitely prefer a differently laid out bathroom and would like a bigger kitchen than we currently have. Ours is absolutely perfect for us, but when we have people over it can get a bit cramped.

I would also love the joy that is a proper utility room! Otherwise there is not much that I would change.

More: ‘I love looking at the clouds roll past’: Inside this revamped 200-year-old cottage in Donegal>

About the author:

Emily Westbrooks

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