Posted by: christinelaennec | October 6, 2013

An taigh ùr

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:

Hallway and front door.

Hallway and front 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!

Living room:  reproduction fireplace and bay window

Living room: reproduction fireplace and bay window

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!

LIving room:  some of the bookshelves!

LIving room: some of the bookshelves!

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!

Living room:  books and piano.

Living room: books, piano and wheelchair.

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:

Dining room, with a smaller reproduction fireplace.

Dining room, with a smaller reproduction fireplace.

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:

Open shelves in the dining room.

Open shelves in the dining room.

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.

Looking into the kitchen from the dining room.

Looking into the kitchen from the dining room.

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 Harry Potter cupboard.

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:

View from the kitchen window.

View from the kitchen window.

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:

Back porch

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.

Upper landing and skylight.

Upper landing and skylight.

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:

The landing, looking through to Michael's study

The landing, looking through to Michael’s study

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:

Fairy lights by the Dafter's bed.

Fairy lights and glow-in-the-dark stars by the Dafter’s bed, with evening supper on a tray.

She particularly enjoyed arranging her own bookshelves:

The Dafter's bookshelves.

The Dafter’s 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:

Our bedroom

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!



  1. Putting out books and family treasures is a good way to make a ‘new’ home feel welcoming. Most of our moves over the decades have been into houses we were in the process of building. I always tried to create a civilized corner with a comfortable chair and books–to see me through the weeks or months of finishing the interior work and really settling. Thank you for the ‘tour.’

  2. Christine, your new home is absolutely perfect! I love it! So many good things and it’s so cosy and you have a pulley for clothes! I am quite envious. When we lived in Scotland for a short while, the house we stayed in was a farmhouse with an aga cooker and the clothes lines up on the ceiling in the kitchen. So magical and i would love to have a kitchen like that some day. You have made a wonderful home there and it’s a truly beautiful place. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  3. You’ve achieved so much in such a short time, Christine. Such a feeling of ‘home’ comes through from these pictures.
    A pulley is essential, isn’t it? We don’t have a tumble dryer, but we do have a pulley – in the garage. Takes a bit longer for things to dry in the winter than they would do in the house, but better than using electricity on hot air!
    It will be so interesting for you to discover how the light falls as you go through your first year in your new home.

  4. Thank you for sharing your new home with us, I hope you all spend many happy years there 😊 Silly question, but did I spy a knitted throw in your lounge? 😉

  5. Oh Christine, it’s perfect! 🙂 It looks as if you have lived there for years, it’s so cosy and inviting! Thank you for sharing your home with us, xxx

  6. Just love your new place! Even more in shape than when you showed it to me earlier on Skype. I can see you sitting in the living room knitting away…

    John looked over my shoulder, too (he can’t talk about it, he’s jealous).

    Love you!

  7. What a delightful visit and tour! I loved the pics of your house. It is so bright, cheerful and cozy. I especially loved the dafter’s wonderful room. Maybe I should put twinkling lights in my condo to cheer me! Will look forward to hearing more about your home there. Hope all is well.


  8. You’ve made it lovely. And I’m so pleased to see that you have the Nicholson painting – I love that picture.

  9. Beautiful, what a lovely cosy home. Books are important, they make a house a home, if anything you need more, I could see lots of spaces where you could pop a little bookcase or two! (my mother is adept at squeezing extra book cases into improbable spaces, three of us all collecting books…). Glad Tilly’s stopped exploring silly places! Those drying racks are great, I’ve always wanted one. I’m reading a book on English houses from earliest times onwards and apparently many houses from 15th/16th century would have a drying space in the first floor chimney space above the fire, which I thought was very practical.

  10. I love it, Christine – it looks well-loved and cozy. I especially like the built in cabinets.

    And books as clutter? Never! ❤

  11. I loved taking the little tour of your new home! It is warm and cozy and filled with wonderful bookcases, cozy throws and pillows, not to mention beautiful light from all the windows. I particularly love your fireplaces and the view from your kitchen sink – so important when you spend so much time there. The Dafter’s room looks magical with all the twinkles and personal art. Is that a lovely Willie Fulton hanging in your dining room? Already your home looks very loved and I wish you many happy years there. xoxo

  12. Love the new house and all you have done. I also think that it is good to downsize when possible and to re-evaluate all the possessions. Thank you for sharing your new home with us.

  13. I love your home. It looks so cozy and so inviting. It looks lived in and that is the best sort of home to have. I dislike those “staged” things you see in the magazines. I also loved the tour, I could swear I heard the rain on the roof as I read it. Give your daughter a hug for me, her room is super special!!

  14. What a lovely new home! Love the photos, and the idea of evening sun. Dafter’s room looks cozy and inviting. The quilts in the master bedroom are beautiful and make me want to run to my sewing machine:)

  15. Super post, Christine. How kind of you to offer the guided tour. You’ve got the place looking so homely and welcoming. You can never have too many books.

  16. That was a delightful tour, thank you. The Dafter’s bedroom looks like a place where magic will happen, and there are so many nice features in the rest of the house. Your deep cupboards are wonderful, and pulleys are such a marvellous invention for houses with high ceilings. It looks as if you’re already settling in very nicely, and I’m looking forward to more on the ornate plasterwork. Happy new home! 🙂

  17. The person who wrote that it looked like you had been there for years was absolutely right – it looks like “home” already!
    It amazes me that you brought furniture over from the States. I baulk at the idea of moving more than a few boxes within Scotland never mind halfway across the planet!
    The throws and cushions are so absolutely “you”. For a moment there I thought you had knitted them all 🙂

  18. Many thanks to everyone for your kind comments! I suppose it does seem as if we’ve lived here for ages, though we’ve only been here a month. I think a lot of that is due to the fact that I am an inveterate planner, and so thought out (with input from the others) exactly where everything would go. That was necessary in order to know what we could fit here, and what we needed to shed. I “lived” in the house for quite a while before we got the keys!

    I’m glad that in blogland I am amongst book-, pulley- and cushion-lovers!

    Lottieknits, the throw in the living room is “Skye” by Kim Hargreaves. I used it as a shawl under my raincoat in Aberdeen, but I wonder if I will get more use from it as a blanket here in Glasgow? It’s very warm.

    Karen, yes that is a Willie Fulton painting over the dining room fireplace. We have a print by him on the other wall, and one by Moira Fulton as well. So the dining room is a Fulton gallery at the moment!

    Roobeedoo, I suppose it is surprising, but as I knew I would never be returning to live in my country of birth, and as Michael’s employer was paying moving expenses, we took the opportunity. And as you see, I haven’t regretted it. The magic of Stuff With History…

  19. Christine, I loved the tour. There are so many things I like about your new home, and many are the things you mentioned especially: the sound of the rain on the roof, the light coming in, the view of the back garden from your kitchen sink (that was a MUSt for me; many houses here in our area have interior kitchens — blech!), the Dafter’s twinkly room (my daughters may steal her decor ideas for their new rooms!), the coziness of your room and the living room, the Harry Potter closet (cupboard), the skylight, the woodwork and plaster details. . . And of course the piano! Most of all, I love that you are getting settled in and creating a new home with beloved things for yourself and your family. Blessings!

  20. Love your new home. Thanks for showing us round. Love to all and a cosy, peaceful winter.

  21. Your new home looks very comfortable and looks like a very happy house. I wish you all many happy years in it. x

  22. Thanks from me as well, Christine, for inviting me into your home 🙂 Amidst all your wonderful bookshelves, TWO fireplaces, a teapot and treasured items I feel welcome! I share Dafter’s fondness of twinkle lights and Winnie the Pooh, also. I have a little flat screen TV rigged up on the lower mantel of my fireplace and when I am not watching TV I have it covered by leaning a painting against it 🙂 I am so glad your church family from Aberdeen sent you a cheering, housewarming gift of flowers!
    Continued blessings,
    Gracie xx

  23. I love getting peaks into my blogging friends home. It’s great fun to be able to picture them in their own environment. I love the mirror at the top of your stairs.

  24. Thanks for letting us visit your new house. Hope it is becoming more of a home each day.

  25. Lovely pics! There is a Glasgow group on Ravelry and also on MeetUp and regular meetings in Glasgow on Tuesday nights, Wednesday lunchtimes and Sundays. If you want details let me know! Remember you can always find me through Ravelry as Purlpower. Peace!

  26. So fun to see the pictures of your flat and remember each room. What a treat it was to actually visit you in person!!!! I will treasure that memory. Just getting things back together over here and must start school with the boys tomorrow. I’m still oohing and aahing over the tweed scraps and can’t wait to get creative.

  27. Hello Christine
    Late to the party but thank you for keeping the door open and allowing me to visit.
    Smallish but big in love is how I would describe your new home
    Take care Cathy

  28. Your new home is just beautiful! Thank you for sharing it with us x

  29. Thanks for the tour! You’ve found (and made) a bright, cheerful house! Do both fireplaces work? I’m doubly jealous!

  30. Dear Ellen, Jill, Marksgran, Gracie, Relyn, Constance Ann, Helen, Heather, Cathy, Laura and Kelly,

    Thanks so very much for your kind comments and good wishes.

    Helen, I will be in touch via Ravelry and I hope to see you at a knitting event in the not-too-distant future.

    Cathy, “smallish but big in love” is a good description of our house and our family too for that matter!

    Kelly, the fireplaces “work” in the sense that you press and turn a button, and with the other hand the ignition switch, and the gas lights up behind the pretend coals! It is surprisingly warm. Kind of like one of the burners on the stove, really. The reason for the “living flame” fires is that we now live in a smokeless zone, so can’t burn coal, wood, peats, etc.

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