You’ve kindly asked to see pictures of our new house (an taigh ùr) in Glasgow, and I am very happy to oblige. As long as you will “take us as you find us” – this is obviously not a home décor blog! And if you have no interest in new house stuff, please tune in again another day.
The house was built between 1895 and 1913, and we love it because it’s an older house. Before we bought it, it had been owned by the same family for 57 years, although lived in by renters for the past few years. So let me take you on a little tour. Here’s the front hallway and door:
There’s no hall closet as we had in our old flat, so here we have coat hooks and furniture for scarves, hats and mittens.
As you come in the front door, you see the hallway and the stairs:
Here you see a print of my favourite painting in the Aberdeen Art Gallery, Winifred Nicholson’s Honeysuckle and Sweet Peas. The actual painting is much smaller than this print, and is even more magical in person. It seems to beam out light, and is quite beguiling.
The living room is the first door on your right, and those who knew our double-upper in Aberdeen will notice some similarities!
It may be ridiculous, but I like to cover up the t.v. when we’re not using it. This room faces south-east so gets plenty of sunlight. I used the curtains I made for my study in Aberdeen, though covered the green fabric at the edges with yellow fabric. (The reason for these tacked-on side bits was simply that at the time I couldn’t afford to buy as much of the main fabric as I needed. The Dafter actually likes the effect, which is high praise!) I like how the wall of the room curves to the sides of the bay window. And there is some lovely plasterwork, which you can glimpse below. I will try to do a separate post about it, as it pleases me so much!
When I posted about our old flat, there was a lot of discussion in the comments about bookshelves. When we came to this house, we purchased quite a few new bookshelves, to make up for the built-in ones, so the house is reassuringly full to the gunnels with books once again. Or, as some people might think, cluttered as usual with books!
The wheelchair usually lives in the boot (trunk) of the car, in fact. We made sure we made room for the piano, as the Dafter really wants to play again once she’s a bit better. And you will notice there is even some room left on the bookshelves – for now.
Now let me take you into the other main room on the ground floor of the house, the dining room:
This room faces northwest, so gets the evening light, albeit through the porch which is beyond. I should mention that Tilly has never again attempted to go up the chimney in this fireplace, so we’ve taken the dressing-gown out. The vase of flowers on the table was sent to me by the lovely South Holburn Parish Church in Aberdeen – wasn’t that so nice of them?
In the dining room there’s a cupboard built into the wall with open shelves. The Dafter enjoyed helping me arrange vases, teapots and jugs on it, along with some decorations:
One of the interesting things about this move was having the chance to recount the history of some of our possessions to the Dafter, who was too young for such conversations the last time we moved house. My granny’s rocking chair now has a place by the dining room fire, the table was made by Michael and a friend in Illinois, we made some of our bookshelves ourselves, and a lot of our furniture we rescued from “Bulk Collection Day” when we were graduate students in Connecticut. The red chair above is one such item, but by no means the only one.
The Dafter and I had a good laugh recently when she fished a wrapped sweetie out of her bin, where it had just fallen. She apologised, to which I replied, “You needn’t apologise to me about getting things out of bins,” which sent her into peals of laughter. “I guess not! Look at all the things in the house you and Dad got out of the rubbish!”
Before we leave the dining room, let me show you two most wonderful things. Firstly, you can just see the pulley, where we dry most of our washing. It has six bars and is eight feet long, so you can fit two loads onto it. As the Dafter said, “Those Victorians knew what they were doing!” As the heat rises, the laundry dries.
Secondly, you might notice there are two built-in cupboards on this side of the room. The one that’s open in the photo is just like our “Aberdeen press,” and holds plates, cups and serving dishes. The larger door takes you into a most amazing under-stairs cupboard, which we call the Harry Potter cupboard:
The cupboard goes around the corner, diminishing under the stairs. It’s the only closet in the house and is hugely handy for keeping supplies and cleaning things. There are some very sweet touches, such as the wee wooden compartments and what I presume is an old coat-hanging-rack (above the ironing board). Note the balloon that Michael hung on the corner of the compartments, as a reminder to duck when rummaging. A young friend who came for tea commented, “You could rent that out to a university student!”
Beyond the dining room are the kitchen and the porch. The kitchen is small but bright and pleasant:
To the left of this photo are some shelves for pots and pans, and the fridge. The window looks out onto the back garden:
The garden is needing a lot of very fundamental work, as the garage has an asbestos roof, and the paving and walls in the garden are dangerously crumbling. I’ll tell you more about that in another post, though.
To the right of the sink is the door to the back porch:
This is a bright and very functional area, as you can see. On a sunny evening the light pours in, and through the window into the dining room. On a rainy day the sound of the rain on the plastic roof delights me because I feel so snug inside.
Let me take you upstairs now, if you’re still following along. You come up the stairs to the first landing – the bathroom is off it – and up more stairs to the top landing. The skylight lets in a lot of daylight, and is another way to tell if it’s raining hard.
We really love the detailed woodwork in the house, especially painted white. This is where I found Tilly sliding down the banister (thank you again Tilly for the laugh).
Another view of the landing:
We’re still needing to get a lampshade – oh well! There are two bookshelves and a wardrobe on the landing, containing puzzles, games, children’s books and craft supplies. You can see the door into Michael’s study, the smallest of three bedrooms. This room just fits a guest bed, and Michael’s desk and bookshelf.
The larger front bedroom is the Dafter’s. It took her over three weeks to unpack and arrange it, and she has loved being in it. It’s very sparkly and twinkly. Here are some evening snaps of her space:
She particularly enjoyed arranging her own bookshelves:
The letters on her wardrobe were a project she dreamt up last winter, when all she could do was very simple collages. The sequin art she also did when ill. They are also very sparkly, though it doesn’t show in this photo.
Lastly, our bedroom:
It looks out onto the garden, and so gets the evening sun. It’s a very cosy room – good for thinking and dreaming.
Our new house is quite a bit smaller than our flat in Aberdeen, but it was good for us to strip back our possessions to the most precious ones. Also, we have a loft here (as Tilly will tell you), so unlike in our previous flat, we can hide family archive items and out-of-season clothes away.
Everyone knows that moving is stressful and hard work, which I won’t deny. But I found aspects of it very beneficial. We’ve taken time to look through old photo albums, to sort through funny old family papers, to talk about the history of some of the things that we’ve taken the trouble to drag around with us for years. It’s been really good to re-evaluate the importance of things in our life. Not only the importance of objects (“Why on earth did we keep that? To the charity shop!”) but also of things like space – for ourselves, for guests, for the garden – and whether having more space and being further away from the city was what we wanted (it wasn’t).
So it’s been good. There’s an old Gaelic saying: “Taigh gun chù, gun chat, gun leanabh beag; taigh gun ghean, gun ghàire”. That means “A house without a dog, without a cat, without a little child, is a house without cheer and laughter”. Well, we don’t have a dog, and our child isn’t little anymore, but already this new house has cheer and laughter.
Thanks again for all your cheerleading on the way!