Tuesday, 17 March 2009


Operation Transformation, as I am now calling the works on Daisy Cottage (with apologies to the fabulous RTE presenter, Gerry Ryan, for borrowing his phrase), is nearing it's completion I am so happy to report!

Yesterday he and me went to Daisy Cottage to meet some guys who are going to finish off certain works. But the main reason for the trip over was for us to finish off the livingroom.

It took us about 2 hours to load up the car and leaving Letterkenny we could have been mistaken for the Beverly Hill Billies sans granny on top. He kindly pointed out that as I was a gran, I could sit atop the car in my rocking chair. Well, he didn't but poetic licence and all that. Plus we don't have a rocking chair.

I had being doing extensive lists all week of what we needed to take. I'm a great believer in lists. And more lists. And new lists when half of one list ticked off. The list had such things as bucket & mop, ornaments (I took 6 boxes of these because I couldn't decide which ones I'd use), paintings, prints, tealights, cleaning materials, window washers, and on and on.

We arrived after lunch, imagining it would take 5 hours top to finish but as it turned out we finally packed our weary bodies into the car at 1.30 am. I am not kidding, I was so sore and tired I moaned at least half the way home. Himself was so sweet though, even though he had worked ten times harder than me, he didn't point that out at all.

Anyway, the best laid plans ...

I wanted to take pictures when it was all done and had thought we would have the work completed in time for a daytime shot. Not a chance! But that wasn't a major problem as I'd thought I'd manage a pretty nice night time shot with the fire lit.

Himself went off to McMonagles (where we bought the granite worktop) in nearby Mountcharles to purchase a new fire front ~ the old one was horrid. So whilst he was away I thought I'd get busy and lift all the debris left behind by the builders in the fireplace. I cleaned out all the ashes and other stuff and then, never being able to leave well alone, decided I'd just check to see if there was any soot in the lower chimney. Up went the shovel ~ down came a black avalanche! I'd forgotten to have the chimney cleaned.

So obviously no fire could be lit. After a few polite words to myself, I remembered I'd bought candles the previous week in Donegal Town. Out to the kitchen to find the bag. Yes, there they were. Perfect. So when himself came back I put in the new firefront and nest and arranged my candles (after way too much wrapping was removed) in the grate for lighting later.

The fireplace. We both hated the 'dirty dishwater' colour someone working on the house had decided to paint it and agreed it had to go. But what colour? We had been debating about it all week and had decided to go with cream. The bricks around the opening are oldish red, the railway sleeper as a mantle, brown so cream seemed the best option. So after he sanded it down and wiped it with white spirit, I stained it a dark oak colour. It worked very well. I then went on to paint the brace in cream and that too worked very well. The new (black) fire front, which incidentally has a clever little enclosed box beneath the nest for easy removal of ashes, matches perfectly with the newly painted and stained fireplace.

We hoisted my Edwardian cabinet into the room as I had wanted it to the left of the fireplace but horror of horrors it was too big! Luckily, I had another cabinet I could use. This was one I bought in one of my hunts for old furniture for Daisy Cottage some time back and I had intended it to fit in the soon to be alcove in the kitchen.

Himself pointed out that my 'bread & butter' cabinet (the one I will be painting red) would go perfectly in the new alcove and the other in the living room. I really had no option but to agree given my Edwardian one didn't fit. We measured it, measured the side of the fireplace and bingo! Perfect. Note to self: should have done that with the Edwardian one before I had it hoisted all the way to Daisy Cottage.

Moving on. I then had to clean the flipping thing from top to bottom and that was no mean feat as there are umpteen glass panels and they were filthy. Beyond filthy actually. It took ages to get them sparkling inside and out.

Himself was busy making up the tables for the living room and I have to say, they turned out perfectly. One thing, the tv cabinet to match the coffee table and side table was way too huge for the living room. Furniture always looks so small in showrooms!

At this stage the living room was still pretty much a tip. Wet paint, wet stain, packaging all over the place, you get the scene.

Himself then had to put up the lovely metal curtain rail I'd chosen. This was a riot. There he is teatering on a chair, measuring, marking the wall and drilling. Until me, poised on one of our red sofas, pointed out that the right side hole was further over than the left. Not at all said he, but yes said I. And it was ~ 2cm out! Yay! More drilling. (Polyfilla on shopping list). At last perfect.

So I got out the new voile I had bought, hooked up one and (after making himself wash his hands lest he dirty my nice white voile) he hung it for me. Lovely. Opened the second pack of voile. 'Ready to Hang' it said, as did the first pack. I searched one end for the hooks part. Nope. Ok, other end. Nope. Must have made a mistake I thought. Checked again. No blooming hook tape! Not impressed. Another run to the shops to replace it. We then had to abandon the idea of taking pics of the window. And me after spending half an hour earlier cleaning the window inside and out to within an inch of it's life!

He got the painting we'd chosen for the livingroom hung perfectly and it goes so well. It is a painting by a Donegal artist, Martin Gallagher, and I think it looks great in our Daisy Cottage livingroom. I'd taken a print of a poppy which I'd had in a room here at home. I love the print with it's single poppy and crackled gold type frame but I decided it would be so perfect for the livingroom I had to give it up. He hung it to the right of the fireplace and it's great there.

It's funny, writing up about the livingroom finishing off, I wonder what the heck took so long? It's weird really ~ we worked all day with no break, luckily our new kettle is there so we had teas and coffees but no meal break.

Anyway, I was seriously flagging I can tell you. We had no idea of the time having no working clock and neither of us wearing watches. Yes, we could have checked our phones but it didn't really occur. The first notion I got that it was late was when I saw the lights in houses across the road going off in their livingroom and on upstairs. But we still had the final clean to do ...

I swear, I cleaned faster than I've ever done in my life so desparate was I to get home and put my feet up! Floor brushed and washed, cabinet (painfully) lugged from the kitchen into the livingroom, sofas dusted and cleaned, my groovy new checked mat rolled out, tables installed and polished, ornaments polished and placed, new flat screen tv in place, and the cream lamps I'd bought for one of the bedrooms stolen for the livingroom (where they go very well I think), my lovely red 'chandelier' hung, new bulbs in all lights.

Then a quick whiz around to light all the tealights and candles in the grate and after sitting a while on the sofas (which I have to say are very comfortable!) to admire our hard work, it was out with the tripod and camera. As readers of this blog will know, I absolutely love taking pics but I was so tired at this stage I nearly couldn't do it but I forced myself and took a number of pics.

So, 'operation transformation' on the livingroom complete, here's the comparison pics:



I am so happy with the way it turned out!

And I'm also happy that I think the bedrooms will all be so easy after the hard work in the livingroom. Well, I'm cheerfully optimistic anyway!


Cattitude216 said...

Just beautiful! Love it!

Catherine McGlynn said...

Thank you ~ I love it too :-) It's very cosy sitting there with the fire lit in the evening.