Welcome to my blog!

This blog tells my experience with buying a house in Dublin, Ireland, and renovating it. 

I wanted to share everything I learned along the way, my misadventures and any tips and tricks!


Sofa hunting in Dublin

Sofa hunting in Dublin

As soon as I moved into my new apartment, I knew I would eventually buy a new couch. The one I inherited with the apartment (pictured right) was, in order of unplesantness:

  1. Uncomfortable
     
  2. Made of (worn) leather - cold in the winter and sticky in the summer
     
  3. Partly useless on one end, due to the seat coming off every single time someone would sit on it
     
  4. Last but definitely not least, a dark brownish colour
Old Couch.jpg

I knew IKEA wasn’t an option in this case, for a couple of reasons. I had experienced an eight-hour shopping nightmare as soon as I had moved in, and I wasn’t keen on a second run. I also decided that my couch deserved more than that, given the time I knew I’d be spending on it. So I decided to bide my time, save up some cash, and eventually buy the sofa I’d spend my life with (and on).

After a full winter of cold bums, followed by a summer of sticky ones, I finally decided to start my research, both online and in showrooms around Dublin. I had a vague idea of what I wanted: a grey-ish couch, with a flowy shape, some kind of chaise longue on one end, and legs. Legs are the keyword here: I didn’t want the new sofa to be grazing the floor.

I thought a week or two would be enough to find something I liked enough to splurge on. Spoiler: I was wrong.

The first place I visited, needless to say, was IKEA. You know it’s going to be a bad experience and you most likely won’t find anything, but you still go, eat meatballs, and end up buying candles and various kitchen contraptions. I went in thinking their Söderhamn corner sofa looked good, but I was pretty disappointed when I sat on it. It wasn’t as comfortable as I wanted it to be, and it looked better on screen.

Next on my list was my lunch break window shopping favourite: Arnotts. They have a wonderful selection of brands I love, including the sleek BoConcept and S.O.U.L.. I realised pretty soon that I would probably need another full cycle of cold/sticky bum in order to afford any couch from these, and I returned to work hungry and demoralised.

The following weekend, I went to the South Beacon Quarter area, which I had found out to be an Irish wonderland of furniture stores. I visited the BoConcept and S.O.U.L shops again, just to remind myself that, yes, I did not have enough money for them. EZ Living Furniture was the next stop on my list.

This one deserves a paragraph of its own: it’s a huge showroom with a drop of nice pieces in a sea of chunky furniture I’d never want in my house. You keep wandering around, thinking “This looks familiar”, and end up realizing after an hour that you were walking in circle. At that point, the sales assistants already know that you won’t buy anything, and let you wander until starvation. I had already bought a bookcase from them, and I thought I might get lucky again. Once again, I was wrong.

 

My quest for the perfect couch continued in DFS in Blanchardstown. I was looking specifically for a model I had seen on their website: Zinc, from their collection in collaboration with French Connection:

It has a flowy shape (whatever that means in my head), a chaise longue, it comes in 7 shades of grey, and above all, look at those legs. I kept this one for last, the same way you keep frozen pizza: in case dinner isn’t good, you know you can count on it. The sofa was there, all grey, pretty and Mad Men-y. As I sat on it, I thought “Not very comfortable. But, it’s so pretty, it’ll look great.”

I ended up walking around just in case, looking at sofas in all the colors I didn’t want, and the sales assistant points me to this really chunky, legless sofa from Sofa Workshop, saying it’s a customer favourite. You already know how I feel about chunky furniture. I had seen Dillon online, and never gave it much thought:

I found out about Sofa Workshop during my Internet research. I had seen some sofas I really liked, with thousands of different fabrics, and prices that would make you feel like you’re still splurging, without actually breaking the bank - a very hard balance to find. The problem was that they are a British-based company, meaning I’d have to take a ferry to buy a couch.

I had also seen their collaboration with DFS, but it seemed a tepid attempt to bring some of their stuff to the Irish people. It didn’t really impress me.

Don Draper on his favorite couch

Don Draper on his favorite couch

Anyway, I gave Dillon a chance to wow me and sat on it. I immediately felt it was infinitely more comfortable than the sofa Don Draper would sit on in his office. Still, I wasn’t convinced by the looks at all, the choice of fabric seemed limited too, and, of course, no long legs in sight.

My very patient personal shopper (AKA Stephen, my boyfriend), which I still thank periodically for enduring this whole sofa search, kept on singing its praises. “It will look good in a few years, when it will have lost its original shape, plus you can get a proper corner couch, instead of a useless chaise longue.

The more I sat on it and thought about it, the more I drifted away from the checklist I had in my head. Was I going to ditch the much sought-after legs? Was this really the sofa I was looking for, but didn’t know?

I went home, dazed and confused by the latest turn of events, and decided to sleep on it. For several nights, which turned into a couple of weeks. I knew it was down to the two couches in DFS, and I went back deciding I’d trust the second first impression. As soon I saw Dillon in his corner, I knew he was the right one for me, and decided to bring him home.

Well, it wasn’t that fast. I had to give details of my bank account, proof of salary, sign at least four papers, scan my ID, pay a deposit and wait for a couple of months.

I ended up buying the couch I didn’t know I was looking for, and I am super happy about it. I knew I made the right choice the night I had friends over for wine and gossip, and we ended up falling asleep on the couch. You might blame it on our old age, but I prefer thinking it was my new sofa.

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