Home makeover: ‘Buying meant we could get creative’

Ediana transformed her ex-rental property with hundreds of original touches - take a look inside...

‘Kevin made the table out of planks from a hardware store – which we stained and varnished – and finished with legs from IKEA. We found the chairs in an antique warehouse and the drinks cabinet was found in a charity shop. For the finishing touches I hung central lights from IKEA and frames which I sprayed black’

Owning her first home gave Ediana Dolan the opportunity to pack her ex-rental with personality. Here, she talks us through her home makeover…

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My story…

We were drawn to this house as it was within our budget; it had a good-sized south-facing garden – which made it very bright and sunny – and it had the added bonus of being walking distance of the local school.

The IKEA alcoves either side of the fireplace provide the perfect spot for some practical storage
The IKEA alcoves either side of the fireplace provide the perfect spot for some practical storage

The house didn’t need any structural work, although the décor was in a bit of a time warp, but I loved the location and could see its potential.

Welcome to my home…

A bit about me I’m Ediana Dolan and I’m studying interior design. I live with my husband, Kevin, and our two children Oisin Mateuss, eight, and Caoimhe Maria, five, and our kitten Amber. 

Where I live My home is a three-bedroom detached house in Killucan, Westmeath.It was built in 2008 and we moved here in 2017. 

Ediana Dolan

I have always been into interior design but as I had only previously rented, I was limited in what I could do. So, owning my first home meant I could – at last – give my creative juices free rein and use my talent for interiors and Kevin’s practical skills to put our own stamp on the house.

’I try to recycle and use natural greenery as much as possible – it brings in that lovely Christmas smell,’ says Ediana. ‘This was the first wall I ever wallpapered and it’s my greatest DIY achievement. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought and it sits well with my glass cabinet I found in a charity shop’
’I try to recycle and use natural greenery as much as possible – it brings in that lovely Christmas smell,’ says Ediana. ‘This was the first wall I ever wallpapered and it’s my greatest DIY achievement. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought and it sits well with my glass cabinet I found in a charity shop’

When we moved in, we painted the walls, ceilings, stairs and doors white to give us a blank canvas to build on. We also changed all the light fittings, sockets and switches which is a little touch that makes a big difference. In the kitchen, we fitted a new oven, hob and island unit.

Ediana created a gallery wall using frames from IKEA. She spray-painted the plant pots copper and found a coordinating wreath in HomeSense. The chair hangers are from IKEA
Ediana created a gallery wall using frames from IKEA. She spray-painted the plant pots copper and found a coordinating wreath in HomeSense. The chair hangers are from IKEA

Then I started finding my style, which I gradually introduced in ways that complemented the space, getting braver with colour and pattern and putting our own unique character into the rooms.

A bit more about my home…

What I wanted to change The house had been rented for nine years and the interior was a sea of magnolia and pine – the whole house needed a revamp.

How I made it my own Over a period of time we’ve added lots of colour and filled the rooms with a mix of bargain finds and practical furnishings to suit our lifestyle. 

My favourite part The dining room, with our handmade table, wallpapered feature wall, the chalkboard and the drinks cabinet. 

Ediana Dolan

When it comes to decorating for Christmas, I don’t like tinsel or glitzy baubles – I like the less-is-more approach which I think I’ve achieved. We’re now considering a loft conversion and I’m going to renovate the bathroom.

The plain white walls are a great backdrop for a gallery display – a showcase for family photos. Ediana used the space under the stairs to fit storage with handy units from IKEA
The plain white walls are a great backdrop for a gallery display – a showcase for family photos. Ediana used the space under the stairs to fit storage with handy units from IKEA

I’m also planning a hall makeover that includes panelling and I want to change the floor downstairs. So, there’s still masses to do, and the house is ever-evolving, but that’s all part of the fun!

Dining space

‘At one stage this space was all white with plants. Getting braver with the décor and keen to introduce some pattern, I decided to wallpaper one of the walls with this Linden Black and Copper wallpaper from Graham & Brown I found in the B&Q sale.

‘Kevin made the table out of planks from a hardware store – which we stained and varnished – and finished with legs from IKEA. We found the chairs in an antique warehouse and the drinks cabinet was found in a charity shop. For the finishing touches I hung central lights from IKEA and frames which I sprayed black’
‘Kevin made the table out of planks from a hardware store – which we stained and varnished – and finished with legs from IKEA. We found the chairs in an antique warehouse and the drinks cabinet was found in a charity shop. For the finishing touches I hung central lights from IKEA and frames which I sprayed black’

‘As this space opens up onto the garden, it’s lovely and bright, so I knew I could go with a dark, dramatic palette. I decided to paint one of the walls in Rust-Oleum Chalkboard paint and the opposite wall in Parisian Ink by Fleetwood Paints.’

Kitchen

‘The cabinets in here were originally all varnished wood which made the space feel dark and dated, but as our budget was quite tight, we couldn’t change them. Instead, we updated the fronts by painting them in V33 Renovation Carbon from B&Q.

‘I love copper, and these copper lights from Lampandlight.ie tie in perfectly with the copper countertop accessories,’ says Ediana. ‘I even found a copper-coloured wreath which I hung in an empty frame on the gallery wall’
‘I love copper, and these copper lights from Lampandlight.ie tie in perfectly with the copper countertop accessories,’ says Ediana. ‘I even found a copper-coloured wreath which I hung in an empty frame on the gallery wall’

‘I sprayed the handles in a Rust-Oleum metallic copper shade and painted the splashback white. We added extra storage and workspace by fitting an island unit that doubles up as a breakfast bar – we found the perfect-sized one in IKEA.’

Living room

‘When we first moved in, this room was painted in magnolia and the fireplace was pine. I wanted the room to feel really cosy and be a fun space that the whole family could enjoy.

Pops of mustard – introduced with an IKEA footstool and Primark cushions – work well against the Misty Dreams backdrop by Valspar. An oversized rug from IKEA adds texture, making the room feel snug and cosy
Pops of mustard – introduced with an IKEA footstool and Primark cushions – work well against the Misty Dreams backdrop by Valspar. An oversized rug from IKEA adds texture, making the room feel snug and cosy

‘I initially painted just the walls in Make a Splash by Valspar, but one day I looked at the fireplace and decided it would look good the same colour. It’s a stone fireplace so I primed it and applied three coats of the Valspar paint.

‘Once I started, there was no stopping me – I even painted the mirror the same colour.’

‘I look at Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration so I can find unusual decorating ideas for Christmas,’ says Ediana. ‘The large stars from IKEA are my staple decorations at this time of year and work well with my paper balls from Sostrene Grene’
‘I look at Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration so I can find unusual decorating ideas for Christmas,’ says Ediana. ‘The large stars from IKEA are my staple decorations at this time of year and work well with my paper balls from Sostrene Grene’

Master bedroom

‘I wanted this space to feel calm and relaxing, so I painted all the walls white. For a cohesive look, I also painted the floor white – it was originally varnished but had a yellow hue which I didn’t like.

‘I kept this room very neutral, for a calm, relaxing feel. I love to dress the bed with layers of cushions and throws – from Primark and Next – so it looks really warm and cosy. I picked up the curtains and side table in IKEA,’ says Ediana
‘I kept this room very neutral, for a calm, relaxing feel. I love to dress the bed with layers of cushions and throws – from Primark and Next – so it looks really warm and cosy. I picked up the curtains and side table in IKEA,’ says Ediana

‘I introduced some pattern to the space with floral bedding, while copper-coloured accessories and Primark cushions in soft pinks – plus comfy rugs from H&M Home – bring warmth to the scheme.’

Caoimhe and Oisin’s room

‘Caoimhe’s room was one of our DIY projects as we painted the mountains on the walls ourselves. Thankfully, I had Kevin’s help with this as I’m not great at drawing straight lines!

‘Caoimhe insisted her room was painted pink, so we went for Morning Blush 24 by Fleetwood Paints. To make it really magical, we added the mountain mural and balloon stickers from Lamb Design. The tent is from Etsy and the furniture is from IKEA’
‘Caoimhe insisted her room was painted pink, so we went for Morning Blush 24 by Fleetwood Paints. To make it really magical, we added the mountain mural and balloon stickers from Lamb Design. The tent is from Etsy and the furniture is from IKEA’

‘First, we cut the mountain shapes out of paper – sort of like a stencil – before taping them to the walls and painting on one side of it. We repeated the pattern the whole way round the room, to great effect.’

‘Oisin loves Batman and Lego so we carried this theme into his room. We found the batman vinyl stickers on Etsy and picked up some black and white bedding in H&M Home’
‘Oisin loves Batman and Lego so we carried this theme into his room. We found the batman vinyl stickers on Etsy and picked up some black and white bedding in H&M Home’

What I learned… 

Try to tackle as many jobs as you can yourself. I can do a lot more DIY than I thought I could. Most jobs aren’t as difficult as they look and if you go wrong, you can always start again!

Don’t give up on an idea because it’s different – just take time to develop it. Go with your gut instinct – it usually ends up exactly how you pictured it.

Make sure you shop around for the best bargains. I take time to look around the shops or online – sometimes you can find something similar at a fraction of the price – but I never compromise on the quality.

Ediana Dolan
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This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in Home Style magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?