This Global Home | Day 26: Ireland


Hiya, I’m Karen: a freelance writer and graphic designer, wife to a missional woodworking artist, and the mum to three extroverted TCKs. Originally from Kansas City, we’ve lived in Dublin, Ireland for the better part of a decade. When I’m not working from home, you can find me writing in libraries, laughing too loud in coffeeshops, or falling down some gorgeous 500-year-old staircase. It’s a long story. Connect with me:     Blog    Twitter    Instagram    Facebook

Welcome to our semi-d in the suburbs! Our lovely little rental is what Americans would call a duplex, but we just call it home. Most houses in Ireland are like this: semi-detached and one-half or third (or sixth!) of a larger unit. The layouts are all similar, with a reception (sitting) room in the front, a loo under the stairs and 3-4 bedroom upstairs. If you’re lucky, you have a converted attic for extra beds or storage, but that’ll have to wait while we dream about (someday!) buying our house.Compared to American standards, Irish houses are smaller and contained into different rooms divided by (often closed) doors (to keep the heat in). We love that our doors have large windows to let the light reflect throughout the house. Our sitting room is on the right, and this hallway leads to the eat-in kitchen and an office/guestroom in the back.We just returned from furlough in the US and this baby made the journey with us! My husband built this mirror for me over 10 years ago and his parents lovingly kept it for us lo these many years. When we arrived to their Wisconsin home in June, I knew I wanted to try and take it back to Ireland with us, and they made it happen! I’m so thankful that we’ve been able to slowly add to this house from memories and mementos of our shared past.On dark and windy days, we light candles in our non-functioning fireplace and cozy up on the sofa for Wii games and movies. Most rental homes in Ireland come fully furnished, so nearly all of our furniture is from our landlord or Ikea. We’ll browse Facebook Marketplace or local charity shops to personalise it when we can.Family pictures and handmade birthday cards litter nearly every surface in our house. Not pictured: nearly-dead plant.Behind the glass doors of our living room lies a dining room-turned-office-slash-guest room. The first thing we did when we moved in was painted this room “seahorse blue” and it made a world of difference in a buttercream-coloured house (an Irish staple, to make up for the lack of sunshine, I suppose). When we’re expecting guests, it looks like the photo above.But right now, it looks like this… #realtalkMy husband is a woodworker and is often bringing home projects to refinish or repurpose. This is the waiting area. And we may have yet to fully unpack from our summer in the States! The only thing missing us our 9-year-old listening to Adventures in Odyssey on the computer while not really doing homework. Most refrigerators in Irish homes are integrated, meaning they sit behind a cupboard door and are about half the size of an American fridge. Ours was on its last legs near Christmas, so we went halfsies with the landlord to buy this beauty! Even better: our old fridge cupboard is now a pantry! Now we can buy more than a couple of days’ worth of bachelor beans and bread and there’s always plenty of milk in the fridge for our 15, 11 and 9-year-old.Behold, our dining table on a rare snow day. This is another project Matt brought home one day. A freebie from some friends at church, Matt refinished it into this gorgeous mid-century beauty. Though it takes longer to furnish this house how we want (and we rarely have the funds to do exactly what we want), I love that we’re slowly filling it with passion projects and repurposed goodies. Restoration is a big part of our family purpose and we want our kids to see the fruits of that in our hearts as well as in our home.It hardly snows in Ireland, and if it does, it usually melts within a few hours. So this week-long European Beast from the East was a bit of a beauty to behold.But usually, our postage-stamp back garden looks like this: green and leafy and shaded by neighbouring trees. We love this little place and the floral bounty it gives us:Thanks for visiting our little oasis outside the city. Feel free to pop in someday for a cuppa. We’d love to have ya! 
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