We have thrown timber to the wind. And yet in this material lies a quick and economically competitive construction alternative to our blockwork and plaster world.
When I walk around Dublin I look for timber houses. Where are they? Hiding beneath concrete? Disguised as potting sheds? Booed out of the urban environment for being too provincial?
During our three-year renovation we kept a quote on our kitchen blackboard: “Opinions are like noses. Everyone has one.” We didn’t use the word “nose”, but you get the drift.
In 2005, I was diagnosed with a form of arthritis: ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Haven’t heard of it? Neither had I. And at 22 years old, it was just the sort of thing that didn’t belong in my life: an incurable degenerative autoimmune disease with a name like a subspecies of sea cucumber and just as unappealing.
After five weeks of ups and downs in our quest to find our dream Irish property, we are seriously wondering if we imagined all this publicity about Ireland being a buyer’s market after the downturn. We are young foreign buyers and have come armed with cash, and I must admit we are having trouble getting rid of it.
Forging a Tradition: A land with a thousand lakes can hide many secrets and tucked away on an island 300 kilometres northeast of Helsinki is one of Europe’s finest artisans...
I interview reclusive blacksmith Martti Malinen from his home in the woods of Finland's eastern borders. I expected a story of steel and strength but what I found was the tale of a battle to preserve a thousand-year-old skill set by a man who has a fire in his heart.
Like all crazy ideas, we found our private island on the internet. It didn’t come complete with a golden beach and Michelin-starred chef ready to cater our every culinary need, but it was a kingdom nonetheless.
In 2014, we scoured Ireland in search of a place to buy. Boy, did we find it. A derelict Georgian pile on Kerry’s wild coast may not sound like everyone’s idea of a dream fixer-upper but we were never ones to shirk a challenge. And a challenge it was.