MOM! This post is for you!
As you may know by now, Nick and I recently moved in with each other. We are currently living in a new apartment in Dalkey and we could not be more thrilled. Dalkey is a beautiful and friendly place to live. The location is right by the sea and the village is a pleasant place to walk around, go out to eat, have some pints, and meet new people. Now that I live here, I will definitely do a post about Dalkey in the future, just not today because it's pissing rain outside.
Anyways, I love our new place and so does Nick. It was really important to me that when we moved in, we made the efforts to make this apartment feel like ours. In my opinion, I think it is so important to make wherever you live feel like home. I don't know how much research there is about making rentals 'feel like home' but I DO know the environments we live in can impact our mental health.
I thought that perhaps in this post I would display some of my favourite items in our new place. Maybe this will inspire you to make your rental feel like your own! Also, I would like to note that none of the companies that I purchased products from are paying me to post! Perhaps in the future I will be able to do that, but for now that isn't the case.
Firstly, I just HAD to take a picture of this beautiful window that is in our kitchen and living area. Our landlord had this custom made when he first built the extension (our apartment is like a granny flat). It's so colourful and fits in with location of our apartment as our big window offers a huge view of Dublin Bay. I didn't include a picture of that in this post because as I said, it's rainy and very misty outside so you can see anything of the bay today.
While Nick and I didn't pick out this window design, we used it as a piece to inspire the colours and tones of the rest of the apartment. Remember, if you want to see the items bigger, just click on the pictures!
Our landlord, Seamus, selected this couch. I LOVE the neutral greys and blacks, but it seemed dull. So, I picked out this cushion from Primark (known in Ireland as Penneys). I like that it really emphasizes that this is our home. I'll probably pick up another two cushions later on, but for now this one will do on its own! For anyone moving homes or looking to spruce up a space, Primark offers really cute and affordable decor options.
Probably my FAVOURITE thing we have in our place is my record player. When I moved to Ireland, I didn't bring my record player from home with me. This is because even with adapters, I feared that the differing electricity voltages would break my one from America. I had heard/read about this happening to other expats who brought over sound systems so I didn't want to take the risk. Instead, I gave my old record player to a good friend. Then, for Christmas last year, Nick bought me a new one because he knew how special it was to me! Now we both get to enjoy listening to records together in our new place. I strolled in the other day and found myself giggling because he was listening to a Mastadon record so loudly.
Also, on the shelf underneath we have a jumbo sized deck of cards. Nick picked these out from Flying Tiger which is a quirky and affordable place to buy the most random selection of things. It's one of my favourite stores. They have cheap stationary, kitchenware, body things and so much more.
As someone who LOVES interior design, it could have been really easy for me to have gotten carried away and decorate everything in our apartment without even talking to Nick about what he likes. However, I told him right away that it was important to me for our apartment to feel like ours and not just mine. Simply because I love design isn't a reason to just trample on everything he might like. I think that all the items in our home are truly a reflection of us not just pieces that I liked and came home with.
The Star Wars related frame is something I made for Nick a long time ago. He is the one who got me into Star Wars. I tried to make the picture and the frame silly. You might notice that all the pictures of Leia are so pretty and composed and the ones of Hans Solo are so silly. The picture inside somewhat reflects that.
I found the pineapple frame in Flying Tiger AGES ago and I absolutely love it! Once I unearth all my photos from wherever they are hiding, I will probably put this adorable picture of my mom and I inside.
This wooden sign is about the size of license plate in America and it's meant to look like one too. I have it hanging above the sink in our kitchen. For those who don't know, New Hampshire's state motto is "Live Free or Die". Also for my Irish friends who don't know, in the States you can have your license plate have words and letters of your choosing on them, unlike here in Ireland where it's all just a bunch of numbers and letters about your registrations. My mom gave Nick this license plate sign for Easter of last year I think? My mom is so sweet. Even as adults she still makes us Easter baskets, and Nick was around for Easter last year so she made him one too.
The cactus chalkboard is also something I got at Flying Tiger last year and brought over to our new place. I love that it's in the shape of a cactus. Right now it's hanging in our kitchen area so we can leave notes to each other. I love it because Nick often works late and very stressful nights and it's nice to be able to leave him notes for when he comes home.
I actually didn't realize how much New Hampshire stuff we had around until taking photos of our place! The mug came from North Conway. The first time Nick visited me in America, I took him to there and he absolutely loved it.
The swan mug I got in Penneys. I just HAD to. I love swans so much and they're also the theme of this blog as well so it was just meant to be that I had that mug. You can't really tell in the picture, but the mug is really shiny and has different hues of sparkly pink as you move it in the light.
The third cup is from the company Keep Cup. Available in both America, the UK and Ireland; these cups are awesome. Barista's love them because they come in the standard coffee shop sizes. A lot of cafes in Dublin are selling branded ones (like mine, which I got in the Butler's Pantry by my work). If you purchase one online, they can be customised with all different colours and and designs. I'm a big fan of these because it's good for the environment to use reusable cups instead of styrofoam or paper ones over and over again.
Some of my other favourite pieces are the dishware that Nick picked out. We were roaming around TKMaxx (TJMaxx in America, don't ask, no one knows why they're different) and he found these cool bowls in the Halloween decor section. They fit in with Halloween, but we liked them so much that we thought we would pick them up for all year round. The small bowls have skeletons tipping their top hats to you, while the bigger ones (which we use for curries) have just a skull in the centre with crooked crowns on them. I thought these plates were so unique and funky that I was onboard with him buying them for the apartment.
These gorgeous coasters come from Portugal, thanks to Nick's mum. She was on holidays there last week and picked them up for us. I love them and they fit in perfectly with our space. I feel like such an adult when I use a coaster so I like having them around. They also match the blue tones in our stained glass window.
These trinkets are all near another one of our windows and are probably my favourite things in our kitchen area. The bear is actually a coin bank and Nick inherited that from his grandmother. The same goes for the three wise monkeys. These monkeys are said to represent the proverb "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". I believe this proverb originated in Japan, but I'm not fully sure on that. The monkeys are all doing the actions representing the proverb. One is covering it's eyes, the other is covering an ear, and the third is making the ssshhhh gesture. Draped over the monkey covering its eyes is a watch that belong to Nick's grandfather, Jack.
The small dish with an electric tea light in it is another thing I picked up from Primark. I love candles, but I don't trust my forgetful memory to blow them out before we leave the house.
In the corner of our stairs is an actual lighthouse light. Our landlord is a sailor and you may have noticed by now that many things in our living space are sea themed. The accent wall by our stairs is a sunny but not overpowering yellow, picked out by me. Nick and I are so fortunate to have been able to pick out paint colours and such for our place as we are the first people to be renting it.
In our living space is also a breakfast bar area. I love this spot because there is storage underneath and it's so filled with natural light from all angles. This is where I like to do work, draw, and do crafty things. The small plant in the corner is again from Penneys, and the glass bottle holding some paintbrushes is filled with glow in the dark pebbles from Flying Tiger. The other jars holding pens and such are repurposed Nutella jars decorated with nail polish by me.
Anyways, overall, we are so happy to be living here. The apartment is tiny, but everything is new and it definitely feels like home. We are lucky to ave found somewhere affordable in a place like Dalkey/Killiney.
You may have noticed that I didn't include items from the bedroom, that's because Nick had American football gear all over the place and it's not nearly as finished and decorated as the upstairs is.
Despite that, I think you've gotten a good idea at how we've made our place feel like home. Everything we bought was purchased on a budget and very affordable. I worked hard to include elements of both our personalities and interests in the decor and design. Hopefully this post may inspire you to amp up your rental space and will get my mom to stop asking me for pictures (just kidding mum, I love you).
If anyone has any questions for me about finding a place to live in Dublin, home design, feel free to contact me via the 'contact Mckenzie' tab.