Gallery Wall & Woodstock


mirror image

Summer has been very busy, a lot of rearranging of rooms, decluttering and reorganising. Our upstairs has had a bit of a makeover so  a lot of waiting around for builders and living in chaos was endured during June and July but we are almost at the end of it. Finally the kiddies have their own rooms (well the girls are sharing) but they are all delighted with the new space. That is for another post!


Woodstock in Apple Cottage

Last week we (when I say we … I mean my amazing partner in crime heehee)  gathered,chopped and stacked some trees we had cut back in the garden. They were stacked and arranged with much love and care in the livingroom.

I really can’t post this without mentioning that this beautiful installation lasted all but two days as I noticed the wood wasn’t quite dry enough to be brought inside due to some furry white stuff creeping all over one of the logs … so they were hastily removed and put back outside the back door to dry!!!

photo gallery

Gallery wall is in progress

Am delighted to say that there has been some “Framage” Not quite finished or ready for hanging but there are photos selected, printed and almost ready to go …. it’s hard work … and very time-consuming as you know yourself!

I picked up some frames in Woodies DIY and TkMaxx but have some more to get … am really pleased with them … watch this space It should grow over next few weeks and should manage to make its way to the wall before Christmas if we’re lucky!

Would love to hear if you have made any gallery wall progress or plan to … it’s comforting to know you’re not alone!

Ciao for now,


ps. come find me on instagram @gillderiu 🙂

all photos copyright (C) Gill Deriu of The Happy Casa

Testing … 1 .. 2

… testing. Please tell me there is no actual tumbleweed in sight. Feeling a little ashamed of myself for neglecting the Blog for so long when I vowed in January I would get back in the saddle.

There are no excuses except for a serious dose of procrastination and lots of busy moments and projects on the go.

The most exciting news from last year is that ‘The Happy Casa’ was shortlisted for the Irish Blog Awards 2015  HURRAY … Super chuffed I was with my new ‘shortlisted’ button which you can check out if you scroll to the end of this post … tis the simple things in life that brings one pleasure!

So with no further ado and keeping it short and sweet we’ll fire this quick update out pronto!

The Hallway has had a little makeover with some floor coverage


hallway before

Remember this …


Some Art has actually been hung


testing one two

After a lot of holding, standing back and ‘umming and ‘awe ing …


This is one of my favourite prints from Bold and Noble, It’s called Nest : I love its simplicity and sentiment. The small colourful painting on the bottom left was done by my eldest girl.

The little Sardinian lady we bought when we went to Sardinia last year for a wedding. It was such a tiny cute piece but I wanted to give her a bit more presence so I picked up a cheap as chips generic high street picture  in my local charity shop… painted it white and mounted the lovely lady giving her the glory she deserves. At least our walls are begining to get some love … 



All in all we’ve been busy. I’ve taken on a few projects and hopefully I’ll share them here  soon!

Sin e an sceal …  (pronounced  ‘ Shin ay on shcale’ for any non irish speakers)

There are a few more before and after updates but I’ll save them for the next post.

Please feel free to comment in the comments below or sign up to receive updates straight to your inbox (consumer beware: you will most definitely NOT be bombarded with too many emails 🙂

Until next time have a great week

Ciao for now,



All photographs copyright of Gill Deriu at The Happy Casa, Feature images courtesy of and pinterest


Billy bookcase and cable camouflage …

Everyone has that dreaded corner where unsightly cables seem like they are about to take over the space like a viral epidemic. You know you are in cable crisis if every time you walk past them they catch your eye and it drives you bonkers! I tried tying mine together with twine to make them into one big ginormous cable. * not a good idea.

Then I labelled them with those little plastic tags you get from the Kleenez man. That served no purpose only to satisfy my organised self … they still managed to creep out underneath side tables, chairs and scream at me every time I passed them.

I decided one afternoon that the spaghetti junction would not get the better of me. I was faced with two dilemmas.

1. the telephone line and internet modem had to stay there, as does some form of light source

2. the space is in a part of the room that everyone walks by at least a hundred times a day so it is a very visible and awkward space

The epiphany arrived and it came as a two for one offer. A bookcase, to be more specific … my old reliable Ikea Billy Bookcase (which to be honest had been kind of shifted from one room to another as there was no space for him since we moved to this house )

Billy got a makeover and got to try out a new position on his side and hey presto… I solved that awkward corner walk through space and hid my unsightly cable situation. Hurray! win win all round 🙂


Check out my internet modem camouflage aswell … I spotted this ages back on Pinterest and knew I had to do it. We have one of those really archaic modems … it’s huge … so I bought one of these faux book wooden boxes and it sits right in.

IMG_8218      IMG_8217

Ah it’s the simple pleasures in life that bring us peace!


I took these photos quickly just after I re-jigged everything around … and in case any of you noticed the blank walls … they are waiting for some lovely artwork or photos … not sure which yet 🙂

I’d love to know if you have had any great ideas for hiding ugly cables/modems or any tips for Ikea hacks …

hope you all having a great week so far,

ciao for now,


First image above sourced on pinterest from

La Luna …

Inspiration DIY Art

All things Lunar seemed to be all around us of late! We are all lunatics in this house … no really we are … we are all affected by the full moon so usually we just have to look up on a clear night and we have that ‘Aha’ moment (and relief) … that explains our children’s bonkers behaviour … and ours too ( well mine, I must take ownership of this one 🙂 )

Anyway, I have been a little obsessed by all things spherical, circular and lunar for the past while and (inspired by many gorgeous wall art on my Pinterest board … like this one above) I decided to just do it.


So I went off to B&Q and got myself some Plyboard ( they are fabulous for cutting it to the exact proportions and very helpful ) I decided I wanted some art for over my mantel ( I feel like all I have been posting about is this mantel but just bear with me if you can!) Anyhow, I had the vision in my head, it had to be large and square and minimal. I am hoping it’s not too large but it’s been cut now so I have to live with it!

I had originally planned it to be bright sunflower yellow … and then I thought … maybe like an emerald-green or hot pink…and when I went into the shop to buy the paint I was instantly drawn to this pastel pink colour! So unlike me in lots of ways ( I thought ) but I love the colour and think it’s soft enough to not tire of too easily.


And so here it is. My own sphere, circle, luna, moon … whatever you want it to be. What do you think?? Am still a little unsure if the dimensions are a little big… but I think I like it!!!

Feel free to leave a comment below … thumbs up or down … and I promise there will be no photos of this mantel in the next post!!!

Ciao for now


Mount … Frame … Hang

Found on

We all have hundreds of photos (and sometimes collections of prints) just sitting in our spare rooms or in our hard drives and if you’re anything like me you keep saying … ‘ Someday I must print out those photos and put them on the wall’ . Well I’ve been having too many of those moments lately and although I have a small gallery wall on our stairwell … I really need to just go do it. So here is some inspirational pics I’d like to share that just might make you go do it too!

Found on

I am always a little wary of putting too much inspirational living quotes on walls as no-one wants to go into someone’s house and be told in every room how they should live … but I think this really works and those chairs …

Found on

This Gallery wall is what I call ‘The Cool’ gallery wall … when your dining room actually does look like an Art Gallery

Found on

This species I call ‘The Higgle’ gallery wall … it appears to be just randomly hung in all shapes and sizes but it is very well thought out and planned … I like it …feels homey and memory-ish.

gallery wall six

Found on

Now this is the ‘Look where I’ve been’ gallery wall … but it is beautiful and cohesive and black and white … love

Found on

The ‘Kiddy’ gallery wall is always my favourite ( every house should have one ) … usually the art that gets the most compliments in our house is the Kiddy art!

Found on

And finally the ‘Cheat sheet’. Some people lay out all their frames on the floor to play around with plans … the next trick is to cut out the exact shape of each of your pics from your cereal boxes and tape them to the wall to really get the feel of your gallery wall before you put the hammer to the nail!

Hope you got some inspiration to help you go for it with your own gallery wall …do you prefer mix and match vintage style frames or Black and White photos in crisp white frames? feel free to leave a comment below to share your gallery wall dilemmas or phobias …

Ciao for now 🙂


Before and after …

To paint or not to paint…that was the big question. The brick fireplace in our kitchen has never quite sat right with me. It is a big feature in the in … you really can’t miss it. It is the monster that greets you as you come  through the back ( which is really used as a front) door. Here it is in all its former glory …

You might remember this pic from an earlier post of the fireplace before we moved in

gennaio 083


I knew I was going to paint it eventually … so I decided in January that the time had come. This is how it looked the morning before the big makeover. (I didn’t attempt to pretty any of these photos up as this was done while the little lady was having her morning nap and it was a race against the zzz’s  🙂 )



Oh I should mention that the night before I cleaned the brick with a mix of half white wine vinegar and half water. It did stink but it was a natural stink so I reckoned that was ok!



I had half a litre tin of Annie Sloan ‘Old White’ Chalk paint – which was perfect as after much deliberation I decided that I wanted a ‘wash’ effect as opposed to a full-blown white look all over the brick. I mixed the half litre of chalk paint with equal amount of water and got to work. It did run a bit but was easily blended as it was quite watery. It didn’t take long at all ( long enough for a morning nap and a few quick photos)

And this is how it all turned out! I was pleased enough although as you can see I ran out of wash and was unable to get underneath the stove. To be honest it’s not that noticeable in real life 🙂 but I will patch it up with a tester pot.



There are a few other patches (below on the right) that could do with another little wash … but again in real life not that noticeable and with a little tester pot should be easy to fix. All in all not bad for two hours work with ingredients all found in the cupboard under my sink!



All thoughts, opinions, shock and horror and any other brick painting escapades you may have experienced all welcome in the comments below! I am vowing to post more frequently so hopefully will see you soon … Ciao for now x


Done deal



I realised  three things this week

  1. Never look a gift horse in the mouth
  2. People are not mind readers
  3. That I associate haggling with telling white  lies.

( I hope my children don’t read this until they are at least 18)

I’ll start from the beginning . We were having storage issues. The story of my life!

I was doing a bit of rejigging in the furniture department  and on embarking on a little painting project I dragged the dress up blanket box into the kitchen. This was swiftly followed by the other identical blanket box from the porch ready for transformation.

Meanwhile (coincidentally) a friend of mine said she had another identical blanket box to get rid of if I fancied taking it off her hands. I graciously declined.  ‘NO’  I said’I am good for blanket boxes, I actually have two. ‘

That night I stared at the two blanket boxes in the kitchen and thought if I paint them up, throw a few cushions on the top they’d be a perfect temporary  window seat with storage for the Kitchen!



Something along these lines..only with three boxes and in the kitchen/dining area! ( these are unfinished and were just thrown together to get the idea…please forgive the forlorn is need of much TLC and a better home! Also am not sure if I shall take the legs off the boxes or not yet…the jury is out! Anyhow …

Delighted with my little epiphany I sent my friend a text the following morning. ‘Oh no’ she said, ‘when you didn’t want it I gave it to my sister in law that evening!’

MY cunning window seat/storage solution  flowered and withered all within 24 hours.

No worries I thought, I’ll find one on DONEDEAL. (The Irish equivalent to CraigsList).

Low and behold there it was in all its glory. One identical blanket box … for 50euro FIFTY EURO!! That must be a misprint…

This blanket box was from Supervalu, from years back! People collected tokens from the shopping  they did in Supervalu ( back when EVERYBODY shopped in Supervalu because there were no European supercheap recession busting silent sparcely staffed supermarkets back then!!)

I phoned the number and spoke to (lets call her) Wanda.

Me: Is your blanket box still available?

Wanda: It is

Me: Is it the Supervalu one?

Wanda:It is

Me: Would you take 15 for it?

Wanda: FIFTEEN’ ( In incredulous tone)

Me: Yes fifteeen ( enthusiastically)

Wanda: No

Me: Oh no problem, I’ll pick up another one. I saw one last week on Donedeal for 10euro

( possible exaggeration of the truth, possibly made up …  I like to call it haggling… She didn’t take the bate.’

Wanda: ‘oh really, ok’ ( followed by silence)

 I hung up.

NOOOOO … She was supposed to haggle. Now I am left with no blanket box… I would have come up in price if she’d played ball.

So, I text her.

Me : Sorry for hanging up so abruptly there, my little baby was falling over ( I had to have a credible excuse and my little baby was swaying on her play mat … that is true) What would be your best price on the blanket box?

Wanda:  I’d hold out for 40 but will probably drop it in a few weeks.

Me : perfect, I’ll keep an eye on it. Thanks a mill,

I proceeded to move our blue sideboard out of the dining area into the livingroom to make way for the new storage seating. I checked on donedeal a week later, it was still available. I sent another text.


Me : Hi Wanda, I just noticed the blanket box is still available. Would you let it go for 20?

No response.

I couldn’t believe it. What was I going to do, I couldn’t bear the idea of phoning her to offer her more again because she probably wouldn’t even pick up!

I was too proud to pursue it any further because in truth I’d be MORTIFIED to call to her house to pick it up after my poor attempts at haggling and sounding like a complete loon in the process!!


And so I let go of my disappointment and carried on without giving it much more thought.

Then the strangest, loveliest, serendipitous … some may call it coincidence, law of attraction (or maybe a saturation of supervalu blanket boxes in Irish households) … BUT… I strolled into my local charity shop and there it was…under a mound of books and vases and heavy objects.

A Supervalu blanket box. If blanket boxes had hair it would have been blowing in the wind to heavenly music right at that moment.

Me: How much is that blanket box over there?

Lovely girl: 20 euro

Me:  I’ll take it

Deal done.


Something Old … something new …

nostalgia noun


I have been thinking a lot lately about what fascinates us about old things and how they can be labelled as vintage, retro or antique. I happen to love old things… not ALL old things…I have a weakness for  retro and  I definitely appreciate nostalgic sentiment (without bordering on the ridiculous!) For example I wore my mother’s Wedding dress when I got married a couple of years ago! And to make it even more sentimental my Father’s mother MADE the dress … so it was really sweet that I could dust off a bit of family history and rejuvenate it to wear on our special day!

I was lucky enough to have inherited a sideboard which belonged to my parents and dates back to 1972. Originally it was a wedding gift to my parents and I have vague memories of it in our tiny two up two down terraced house, then it came with us to our three bed semi detached home in 1980. It was then given to my grandmother where it remained in her house until three years ago when my mother wanted to make space in my grandmother’s house so I took it off her hands… et voila!

sideboard before


As you can see in its original state it was brown and cream formica. Prettyyy rETro!

…  Two years ago I decided to give it a make over…well … I trusted my lovely neighbour and owner of Quay Designs Painted Furniture to transform it for our new house! She did a fab job of it and it takes pride of place in our dining room.

blue sideboard

We have since painted the wall in the dining area and I fear the sideboard will be on the move to the living room pretty soon as alas the colours are not living too harmoniously side by side.:(

Another addition to our home of late is this fabulous anglepoise desk lamp .



It sat behind my grandmother’s chair in her living room for many years throwing some light on many craft projects, crosswords, books and in later years her kindle! I was thrilled to have inherited this great piece and it now takes pride of place on my desk. I really love it.

I just couldn’t resist putting in this last photo … I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic of late – as you can tell – our eldest little girl had her sixth birthday last week and it got me wondering where those years have gone … this is a photo which was taken over 6 years ago.

fine Luglio 005

We bought this OLD banjaxed van to put all our worldly belongings in and drive from Barcelona to Sardinia! I thought we had a better photo of it from the outside but this was the best I could do! You get the drift regardless.

And then we fast forward to this NEW ‘van’ being washed by our BIG little girl last week….


Mamamia I don’t know where those years have gone … and how so much can change in such a short space of time!

So all that said and as much as I love the old I embrace the new and allow myself to be just a little nostalgic for times gone by and aware that this NOW will soon be in the past … but not forgotten…





Oh where to start! I have (and have had for a very long time) a severe case of Project-itis. In my head there are hundreds. But realistic tangible projects (in the process and in the pipeline) indeed there are a few!

Firstly I have to say that I owe it to my children to paint their bedroom floor! It has been put on the long finger for so long and really I am doing them a disservice if I tell them one more time ‘yep, am going to do that soon….’ My poor son was bursting with excitement last week when they went for a sleepover at Granny’s house…i had told him when I paint the floor that they’d have to sleep in Granny’s house….the pressure in the car on the journey home when I had to explain that I still hadn’t painted their floor! So

Project 1.

Prime and Paint the children’s floor in Little Green French Grey. Stat!


Project 2.

 Finish office space. I have put a second coat of Annie Sloan Yellow on the dormant Front door…it keeps dripping…grrrrrrrr am hoping when it fully dries it will look better and that a coat of clear varnish will finish it off…the jury is out as to whether it is a success or not.


(Toying with the idea of painting the tiles on the floor in the office as well (gulp) would be a very big faux pas if I couldn’t pull it off…i might just hold back on telling Happy Casa Husband about that one for now..Oops… pretend you didn’t read that Sah…erase it from your memory! LOL

Project 3.

Replace overhead cupboards in Kitchen with open shelves. This is a pressing matter due to ridiculously disorganised cupboards. I need to be forced to keep it looking good in order to keep it organised and lookin’ loverly! Am still trying to figure out how to incorporate the under cupboard lighting under the proposed shelf as I would like a clean line … have to think about it Thankfully my lovely marito is a chef so he appreciates good order in the kitchen so not too much persuading going on for this one. Also we realised if we took out the cupboard holding the microwave and drawers we would need to tile that space.


*Note to self. Check number of spare tiles.

*Note to self-2. Locate spare tiles!

Project 4.

Paint our bedroom and Paint our bed. (Yes I said ‘bed’) We bought it new almost three  years ago but I never wanted dark wood  and I compromised as our relationship is a democracy –  and then proceeded to convince the opposition that my visualising powers were far greater than his and made him realise that it totally sucks out the light  and makes the room feel smaller –  The bill was passed!


It fits snugly in the ‘Elle’ part of our ‘L’ shaped room. I am very excited about this one … I also want to paint the wall behind the bed in a deep grey…oh yes, the floors are getting a lick of paint as well….then hopefully our rug can finally get an outing from under our bed where it is ‘resting’ for the past 2 years!

Project 5

Storage (window) seating in the kitchen/dining area. My dream is to have something like this…from …

reading nook

 … where I can lounge with a coffee and a really good book glancing ( occasionally) to observe the birds on our feeder outside the window … cue happy music! 


* These are birds on our feeder … they’re not OUR birds exactly …well, you know what I mean! 

WE NEED STORAGE SPACE. Realistically for school bags, coats, shoes etc. So the reality may not equate with the above but the above is my ideal! I shall endeavour to create the happy medium!

Project 6.

Breakfast Bar in Kitchen.  I am canvasing for some serious DIY’ing to create our own custom made breakfast bar made from reclaimed pallets. I know my partner in crime can do it…I just have to make him believe he can as well! This is our peninsula at the moment peninsula

      I was thinking of something along these lines…no pressure amore mio …!

(photo courtesy of

love this island

On that lovely note I shall toddle off to bed with a satisfied heart and a determined soul to cure this project-itis as fast as I can before the next bout strikes!! … Ciao for now … buona notte agus Oiche Mhaith x


Colour Bombing


I was reading recently about colour and the power it has to change or affect our mood. Some people may ‘poo poo’ at all the’ Energy mumbo jumbo ‘but I do believe that colour in a room can emanate a certain feeling or dare I say’ Vibe’ (without invoking too much eye rolling and hippy flower floaty images). It can lift a mood, it can make you feel light and airy and can also evoke feelings of cosiness, homey-ness and a sense of fun.

I definitely have to curb my relationship with colour from time to time as it can take on a life of its own. We painted all our walls in’ Dulux Country White’ when we bought the house (previous to that we were drowning in Magnolia)

*I do not wish to offend any home owner who has chosen Magnolia to line the inside of their homely palace. It is just sadly not for me . . .  ever.

… And so began my quest to colour – bomb our house! Starting with a side table which didn’t fit beside our bed anymore when we upsized our bed. It went from Red to Blue and has now finally been this Yellow for the past few months.



It wasn’t quite the colour I was hoping for I really wanted it to be the colour of the yellow tin on the box but alas it’ll stay until I get the urge to change it again 🙂

I ogle over the whiteness and greyness of Scandinavian Interiors with their fabulous use of texture and cosy furry rugs and throws …but as much as I love them…I crave a pop of yellow (my personal all-time favourite) or green…and on it goes.

I should add at this point that our house was FULL of wood. All skirting, sills, doors, stairs, the cubby under the stairs, floors, the ceiling in the children’s room, Pine Panelling at the top of the stairs surrounding the Hot press… when I say A LOT OF WOOD …I mean A LOT OF WOOD…OH and I forgot the kitchen was Pippi Oak and there were wooden beams. It was Wood OVERLOAD so cutting a long story short.

We painted ALL the wood. YAH!

(As I go along all the before and after pics will be revealed) but I have digressed so …where was I? …oh yes…back to the colour bombing … Here’s a step stool I colour-bombed recently …


This is a basic Ikea Step stool which came unpainted and I gave it a little makeover with some Annie Sloan chalk paint in Florence. It then got  two coats of Ronseal’s Diamond white Clear Satin to protect it from the knocks and bumps from all the little people.




So now I love looking at our little reading nook in the living room and it doubles up as both step to reach for books and perfect for landing tea!!! Delighted with life!

Another little project I have going on at the moment is this cheap Supervalu Chest that holds all the dress up clothes in the playroom.


I am hoping to transform it with a little … colour…I have given it one coat of Annie Sloan Old White but I came across some bright yellow spray paint in my local Aldi and I think I may just have to cave in and give it a burst of sunshine! Only problem is I may have to wait for the weather to get better before I can manage to do it outside. Here’s the middle pic…


                                                   And this is what I am hoping it will look like when it’s finished…


It may even get a promotion and be taken out of the playroom if it turns out well…so stay tuned for updates!!