When we bought our house back in November 2014, we thought we knew what we were getting ourselves into. Sure, we knew there would be hard work and we knew it was going to take us time to get it looking the way we wanted. What we probably weren’t prepared for, were all the old problems that come with old houses. Looking back I had such unrealistic expectations of how quickly things were going to come together, given that we were doing most of work ourselves and I was almost 6 months pregnant at the time with Luke.
Fast forward almost 3 years and looking around it’s so hard to believe how far we’ve come. Our house was built in the early 1800’s and the basement hadn’t been in use or inhabited for as long as the previous owner had lived there. This space was a blank canvas when we bought the house or so we thought. When we finally got the keys and started to investigate we uncovered a pretty significant rising damp problem which took the wind out of our sails and slowed us down a lot. The next few months entailed chipping off old damp plaster from the walls, digging the floor out and carrying rubble in buckets up flights of stairs. It felt like it would never end.
Preparing The Space
Michael and his Dad worked tirelessly preparing the space before insulating and laying the floor. His Dad then studded the whole space and we insulated even further. Finally we had to get a plasterer and electrician in to sort the walls and electrics before we got to work on the kitchen. We bought our kitchen from Woodies. Michael’s Dad fitted the kitchen for us and cleverly used some of the left over wood to build a window seat with storage which makes up one side of our dining table.
Lighting & Appliances
This is now one of the most used spaces in our home, obviously as it’s where we keep the food! Despite the kitchen being in our basement it’s surprisingly bright and we have steps to the front giving us access to street level. In the kitchen I opted for greys, blacks and reds. I have a Belling range style cooker teamed with all Kenwood appliances. Before I had kids to spend all my money on I used to buy appliances! I just love the whole Kenwood KMix range which I have in red on my counter to give the kitchen a colour accent. Our under cabinet lights are an LED strip which is remote controlled, changes colour and even has a colour changing fader. This is a really great value and effective option for under counter light as opposed to traditional spotlights.
In terms of furniture, I bought our kitchen table and chairs from Arnotts, Dublin. When choosing a table I opted for a distressed farmhouse finish as opposed to a polished table. I am so glad I did now, because Luke went through a phase of enjoying hammering furniture with ample enthusiasm. Looking back, if we had bought a highly polished it would have been destroyed. In all honesty, you need to be realistic when furniture shopping with kids in tow. Buying furniture that you’re going to have to be overly precious about is no fun for anyone, so best to be practical about it and remember who is going to use it.
All in all we are delighted with the end result of our basement kitchen renovation. It has been a slow and sometimes stressful journey, but we now have a beautiful family living space which is bright, spacious and perfect for our day to day comings and goings. Looking back it’s incredible to think that this space sat idol for so long. Looking forward to making as much mess and as many memories as possible down here in the years to come!
Keen to see more? See the transformation of our living room here.