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

Inside this new four-bed in Blarney, Cork: 'I do my work in the man cave, it's also an office'

Craft-loving sales manager Ruth Frost takes us through a typical day behind her front door.

@ruth_cado_diy @ruth_cado_diy

About the home

Where: Blarney, Co Cork
When was it built: New build in 2016
How many bedrooms and bathrooms? 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms
When did you move in: 2016

About you 

Name: Ruth Frost
Age: 35
Occupation: Sales operations manager and co-founder of Cado
Others in household: Husband and two-year-old son Harry 

What made you choose this house over others? 

My husband and I both grew up on housing estates in England and we had similar experiences of living in them. We had big groups of friends, we played outside everyday, and we felt safe. We wanted that for our future family.

This is a very family-friendly estate and it’s not very densely packed at all. It felt really safe and good for kids, so that’s why we picked it. That and the space – we lived in a two-bedroom apartment in Cork and when we worked it out, this huge house in the country was going to cost a little less than a two-bed flat in the city. 

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

I love my living room the most, and it used to be my least favourite space. It was a dark teal colour when we first moved in and it felt like the walls were collapsing in on me. It was really horrible in there.

I decided I wanted to get something to brighten the room up and I wanted proper storage, so we had a carpenter build us built-ins. I went away and designed them and he built it to my spec. In fact, I wanted the room to look like it was finished when I knew we couldn’t afford to finish it – so I also had the carpenter build a replica of the marble fireplace I want. It’ll do for the next few years! 

The room has these incredibly comfortable couches. They’re nice to look at, but they’re not elegant. They’re the couches you want to lie down on to read a book with your baby and snuggle. 

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

Our playroom is horrific. It’s the sunroom, and we still haven’t found curtains or blinds to put in. We painted it yellow, which seemed like a great idea at the time until you realise there’s very little yellow goes with! There are toys everywhere. We have a couple of the cheapest flatpacks and coffee tables. We have an Ikea pull-out couch we had five years ago. There’s nothing done to it.

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

Morning: Typically in the morning my husband wakes up before I do. He goes in to get our son up and to get him ready for the childminder’s. We change him and get him ready in the sunroom. 

We go downstairs and we eat breakfast in the kitchen as a family nearly every day. Our son wakes up long before he needs to so typically we’ll then go into the sitting room and read a book. At the moment, we’re also watching a lot of documentaries about elephants and baby animals.

Then I walk Harry down to his childminder’s who lives a few doors away. I go back to the house to load the dishwasher and washing machine. Then I go off to work.

5pm: Once I come home from work, I start cooking in the kitchen. Harry will be playing with his toys in the playroom or inside reading a book. His Dad will come home and they might go into the ‘man cave’. My husband has a couple of guitars there so they’ll sit down and bang on the guitars. We have a bay window in the ‘man cave’ and Harry likes to go behind the curtains to surprise us.

Then we go into the kitchen to eat dinner. After that, it’s back out to the sunroom to get Harry changed into his pyjamas. We go into the living room to sit down and read books with him before bedtime. He’ll have his bottle and we’ll all have a snuggle and it’s very nice.

8pm: When Harry goes to bed, I start doing the rest of my work. I am able to drop Harry off, pick him up and cook dinner, and that’s because I work another hour or two every evening. It suits me because it allows me to spend time with Harry when he’s awake.

I do my work in the ‘man cave,’ which is also an office. We had a worktop installed instead of two desks so it runs all the way along the length of the room. We have two ultra wide monitors so I will sit there and do my work. If I’m not on a conference call, my husband will probably be in there gaming.

If it’s a night when I’m not working in there, I could be upstairs in my craft room. I run a company with my sister called and we make personalised gifts. I could be up there making papercuts and baubles and all sorts of different things. Or I might be downstairs on the couch watching Netflix and working on our website. I don’t do downtime. 

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

We didn’t put our foot down all the time because we just wanted the house so badly. Don’t get me wrong, we love our house and we think our builders did a fantastic job. But we could have been more picky about things like the positioning of lights or the finish on joinery. We didn’t do enough nagging and that’s on us. 

More: Inside this Dublin 8 two-bed with an attic conversion: ‘I love hearing the floorboards creak’>

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