Sunday 17 November 2019

The share house: A DIY update for the conservatory

Even for those with the greenest of fingers, maintaining a vegetable garden can be tricky with our tempestuous Irish weather.

Delicate herbs and vegetables don’t often fare well with downpours or frosty mornings and so a conservatory is the perfect place to grow a thriving collection of plants.

Ann Marie, who rents a lovely home on the outskirts of Cork city with three housemates, spends a lot of time in their light-filled conservatory but thought it could do with a bit of a facelift.

“In the afternoon the sun comes around the back of the house. We spend a lot of time there- the living room is more of a winter room. It’s so peaceful in the conservatory,” she says.

“The staff in Woodie’s were really helpful. They were quite knowledgeable about planting tomatoes, the type of compost needed, and even which pots were most suitable."

With light flooding through the expansive windows, this sun-filled space is ideal for growing plants. With a budget of €250, Ann Marie was able to pick up all the materials she needed at her local Woodie’s to turn the conservatory into a botanical oasis.

“The staff in Woodie’s were really helpful. They were quite knowledgeable about planting tomatoes, the type of compost needed, and even which pots were most suitable,” she says.

“They also suggested the trellis which I wouldn’t have thought of myself. They let me know about sanding it first and then painting it which again, I wouldn’t have thought to do myself so it was great.”

Sanding down the trellis before painting

Armed with some paint and brushes, Ann Marie brightened up the varnished trellis with a soft mint green paint that complemented the terracotta walls. She also patched up parts of the wall paint that had visible wear and tear. To add a pop of colour, she opted for deep purple pots to hang from the trellis. The couches were given an instant update with the addition of some striking patterned cushions she picked up at Woodie’s.

“Along with the selection of DIY materials, I have to say the homewares section was great,” she says.

The overall result in a relaxing, vibrant space that her housemates couldn’t be happier with.

“My housemates are delighted with the work, the whole house is practically living in the conservatory!” she laughs.

Adjusting flower pots on the trellis in Woodie's

“All four of us are out there every evening and the tomato plants are thriving. I’ve since bought a few bamboo sticks to support the plants, they’re doing really well. The pots were originally on the window sills but I moved them to the ground because the plants are getting bigger.”

Despite not being an experienced DIY-er, Ann Marie was pleasantly surprised with her handy work.

“Overall I found the whole project easier than I first thought, particularly when it came to re-painting the wall. I would have thought it would have been more difficult and even when it was drying I thought, ‘oh my god, it looks like a mess!’ but it was the colour changing as it dried and it looked lovely when it was finished.”

About the Homemaker series

Our perception of home has changed dramatically over the decades. Gone are the days when home meant a mortgage and house. These days, home is a semi-D and a share house; it’s a converted barn and a care facility; it’s a studio apartment and student digs.

Gone, too, are traditional household roles. The Homemakers of today come from all walks of life, and all sorts of homes. They know that home is made as much from bricks and mortar as it is from the memories we make there.

They also know that homes are rarely perfect in that glossy magazine kind of way. They are lived in and a little ramshackle but full of the things that matter like our framed photos, mantlepiece mementos and that favourite, if not slightly sunken, armchair. Home is the hand-me-downs and the inherited furniture, the walls we painted ourselves and the garden we planted with pride.

For thirty years, Woodie’s has been helping Irish families create their ideal home and garden. We found five very different Irish Homemakers and asked them to transform a pocket of their home with the help of Woodie’s. The Homemaker series documents their progress and shows that with a little help from the experts and the right materials, everybody can love where they live.

Sponsored by: Woodies

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