One of the (many) benefits of living in Ireland is the ease of renting a home. In America, whether you are moving out of your parents’ house for the first time or just starting out in a new town, whatever the circumstance in which you find yourself looking for a place to rent, you almost always have to furnish it yourself. This can be a huge expense if you do it all at once unless, like the rest of us, you find yourself sleeping on a mattress on the floor for what you and your back wish was a much shorter length of time, using boxes as nightstands, and going through one too many paper plates. Furnishing a house is no small thing-especially when you’re picky and you have a certain look you’re going for. Renting in Ireland solves all but one of those problems for you. Why? Because the rental properties come furnished. This fact is usually awesome in its practicality but, in regard to style, you never know what you’re going to get. We have lived in 4 rental properties since we moved here nearly two years ago (I know, a lot of moving!) and each of them have had their nice and not-so-nice furnishings. It has been amazing to have beds, couches, tables, chairs and a refrigerator in each place, plus a few perks like a washer and dryer, deep freeze, and some gorgeous wardrobes, (one house even came with a chicken coop! We got 6 chickens and that great idea lasted about seven months.) One challenge this brings to me personally, is to find a way to adapt what is available to my own taste in décor. And with some things, I just deal with it and chalk it up to the fact that it’s a rental and ‘it came with the place.’
In our first home on our own, there was some gorgeous wallpaper in the large sitting room and throughout the hallway, that went beautifully with the plain carpet, as you can easily see. Before we moved in and committed, we asked the landlord if we could take down the wallpaper and paint (because I couldn’t move into a place that looked like that. I just couldn’t.) They were amazing landlords and they let us and paid for it. Score.
One thing we’ve learned, in looking for a rental, is that it’s okay to ask them to upgrade before you move in. Along with asking if we could paint, we asked if they would buy a new fridge/freezer, because the only thing there was a mini-fridge, hardly suitable for a bachelor, let alone a family of 5. And they said, ‘no problem,’ and sent us to the store to pick one out. In the house we are in now, before we moved in, one of the bathrooms had carpet. Ewwww. I told him that I loved a carpeted bathroom, but that having young boys, I would never ever know if the carpet was clean. He said, “Well, you may as well get new carpet in the sitting room as well.” So we got to pick out vinyl for the bathroom and new carpet!
This was our blue bathroom that I grew to love. (The house we now live in has an avocado green bathroom…I like it too.) Before we moved in there was no shower, just a bath, so we asked if they would install an electric shower (topic for another post)…and they did!
This was our sofa set. There aren’t words to explain it so I had to attach a photo. At least we had couches to sit on! The wood stove was amazing for heat. Ben built that pallet coffee table, and has finished it since this photo 😉
One of those items that came with our current house is a huge eye sore cabinet in our family room. I had been dreaming of a toy solution for months as, at our other places, the kids’ toys were in clear tubs (bigger eye sore), making it impossible to stay organized, let alone look presentable. Well, this huge cabinet is that solution! It is full of perfectly sized cubbies to keep all their things nicely organized. I find the benefits two fold when toys are kept this way: the children are more likely to play with them and they are more likely to tidy up efficiently, instead of just throwing everything in there haphazardly. Plus, I’m more sane when I look at it. As a friend of mine, Sally Durr, always used to say, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”