Makeover of grandmother’s home sparks interiors passion

Aisling Morley and her husband Shane created their forever home when they decided to renovate Aisling’s grandmother’s house, conveniently located next door to her parents’ residence in Co Mayo.

They share their living space with their two boys, Noah and Luca.

Shane had spent 10 years working for a local building company so he took charge of construction – “everything from insulating to slabbing to painting”, says Aisling.

This left Aisling to focus on the interiors.

And it opened a world of possibility.

While researching ideas, Aisling was inspired by helpful self-build pages online which led her to begin documenting their own home DIY journey. She loves being part of the online DIY community not only for the support she has received but also because it helped her to discover a passion for home décor.

Special features that Aisling adores in her own interiors?

The kitchen in Aisling Morley's forever home in County Mayo.
The kitchen in Aisling Morley’s forever home in County Mayo.

“We love the double-sided stove which breaks up the open-plan area enough to give it a cozy feel when you just want to relax on the couch, but we finished it with an exposed flue and low wall which means you can see over it, so it’s still an ideal area for entertaining, ”she says.

Aisling and Shane were hands-on in the project, and it was an incredibly busy few months. “Shane has just qualified as a physio,” she says. “He went back to full-time education shortly before we started the house. It was pretty full-on! ”

Q&A with Aisling

When did you acquire your property?

It was my grandmother’s, so it has always been in the family.

Where is it located?

Right beside my parents’ house on a beautiful lake in Co. Mayo.

How would you describe it when you first moved in?

Unfinished! But it was home.

What was your vision for the renovation / design inside and out?

We were on a very tight budget so we just wanted a place to call our own and to suit our family needs. Our main want was to create an open-plan living space and to take in the views of the lake we’re so lucky to have.

How would you describe the finished result?

It’s far from finished! We are taking our time in finishing the project, doing rooms as we need them and can afford to tackle them. But I would say what we have done is cozy and warm.

What was the original vision? Did it happen?

The main goal was to create an open-plan living space taking in the views of the lake. I think we achieved this as best we could within our budget.

Where is your favorite space?

Without a doubt the open-plan kitchen-living-dining area. It has windows letting in lots of light framing the views we have. It’s the heart of our home and busy family life with two under three!

Aisling Morley's home in County Mayo which has an abundance of light to frame their views.
Aisling Morley’s home in County Mayo which has an abundance of light to frame their views.

It homes the main features we have in the house like the herringbone floor by Canadia flooring, which runs all the way from the front door through to the back of the house where the kitchen is creating a ‘flowy’ feel, and our double-sided stove.

What do you know now that you wish you knew starting out?

It was hugely time-consuming. Shane did the majority of the work himself with help from members of our family and he spent every spare minute he could on the project. I feel like we did not see him for the guts of a year! All worth it of course – but definitely a challenge.

Do you have any advice for others undertaking a similar project?

Pick your priorities and invest in things that will never be changed such as your heating system. Do not feel pressured to have a finished home to move into. And as stressful as it can be, try and enjoy the process!

What was the timescale?

It took 10 months. We started in August 2018 – two months after the arrival of our first baby – and we moved in the weekend after he turned one in June 2019.

Significant suppliers?

We really kept things as local as possible using small local business, like Delaney’s hardware Ballyhaunis who supplied everything from the materials we needed to our sanitary ware, our white goods, and our flooring. We chose to go with laminate flooring all over.

Delaney’s stock Canadia Flooring who were very helpful and sent out samples to Delaney’s for us to view. It’s amazing what you can find in your locality, small businesses can provide a one-stop-shop which you might not even be aware of.

Gurteen kitchens supplied our kitchen. Family and friends helped with the labor.

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