Renovate and Decorate

Renovate & Decorate Without Breaking a Nail

Renovate & Redecorate


Renovate & Redecorate Without Breaking a Nail has been written by Orna O’Reilly as an insider’s guidebook on how to project manage the renovation and redecoration of your own home.

The thought of beginning a home renovation project can be daunting. In her insider’s guide, Orna, an experienced interior designer, shares a step-by-step process that allows anyone to confidently manage an entire home renovation from start to finish, with or without assistance from an interior designer or architect.

Orna, who has more than twenty years of experience in interior design and home renovation, explores the most challenging aspects of such project management.  These include hiring a builder, managing subcontractors and knowing when and how to involve an architect or interior designer. By providing a detailed step-by-step process with vital information-gathering questions, Orna teaches you how to:

  • understand basic building terminology
  • create a workable design
  • set a realistic budget and schedule
  • choose the perfect finishes for your home
  • coordinate a show-stopping colour scheme
  • incorporate important elements of kitchen and bathroom design

Renovate and Redecorate is an insider’s guide that can help you to successfully manage a home renovation and ultimately make your dream home a reality.

Orna O’Reilly is a highly experienced interior designer who has worked on home renovations for more than twenty years.

Cava Bodega

Cava Bodega

Cava Bodega

Photography by Alan Smyth

When Drigin & JP McMahon decided to to open Cava Bodega in Middle St, Galway, they knew they had to get the ambiance and atmosphere just right. It was important to have that realistic spanish bodega feel. Grainne O Neill of Architectural Spaces, in collaboration with Drigin, set about recreating an authentic spanish bodega right in the heart of Galway City. Grainne’s brief was to create a space that would make the diner/customer feel as if they had been transported to a spanish bodega.

Eclectic Design Cava Bodega

The space had perviously functioned as a restaurant but Grainne and Drigin felt it didn’t meet the needs of this restaurant. They literally had to strip back the whole place to its bones, thus exposing all the rawness and industrial elements of the building. They decided to make use of it’s rawness and keep the exposed pipes and air conditioning vents, making them part of the interior decor. They opened up the basement area and the ground floor, completely gutting it and giving it a contemporary industrial feel, while also giving it warmth with highly textured fabrics and materials with a strong use of colour.

They used natural timbers and concrete floors throughout the basement – the timber used are authentic scaffolding timber boards, made into counters and for the bar area. A fantastic selection of Spanish wines are housed in a display unit, which was built using scaffolding timber boards, with the drop lighting shaded in wine barrels that were cut in half to make large shades.

Cava Bodega 1

Colour was added with with lighting, seating, cushions, wall colour and the signage. The furniture is an eclectic mix of old and new. Some of the chairs came from an old library and are complemented with more modern seating.

Drigin’s sister was commissioned to design the cushion fabric and the lighting in the basement. She came up with a design that was in keeping with the interior of the whole space.

Careful thought and consideration was put into the colour for the exterior. It had to be obvious on the street without being outlandish or garish. The sunny yellow was just perfect, reflecting the spanish influences within.

A very successful collaboration brought Galwegians this authentic spanish restaurant with a genuine Mediterranean ambiance. “Deemed one of most authentic Spanish restaurants in Ireland at present by notable food critics, Cava fosters a way of eating based on sharing and gastronomic interaction: with tapas, food is passed around the table, communal style, the dishes breed discussion and provide an alternative approach to eating

Designer Cava Bodega

Restaurant Proprietors – Drigin & jP Mc Mahon. Tel: 091 539884

Interior Architect – Architectural Spaces, Tel: 091 533800

Property News

2014 will see a thriving and buoyant
property market in Galway
property news
Michelle Burke is one of Galway’s leading property auctioneers specialising in high end sales and rental of quality homes, There are signs everywhere that the economy is improving, nowhere can this be seen more than in the property market. In fact a lot of auctioneers are saying there is a chronic shortage of quality homes on the market currently. We asked leading auctioneer, Michelle Burke MIPAV for her professional opinion on the property market in Galway. “There has been a strong improvement
in the property market over the past 6 to 8 months. Properties have sold with increasing speed and prices are starting to creep up also.” She went on to say ” There is a
significant shortage of quality family homes for sale currently. This, combined with the pent up demand for both 1st time buyers and trader up properties has resulted in some homes selling in excess of the guide price. A phenomenon unheard of since 2006/2007.”
Michelle Burke was keen to point out that sellers need to be realistic about the value of their property and listen to a professionals opinion – she said that both sellers and
buyers have great access to property prices in so far as the PSRA (property services regulatory authority) allow open access to the price register on their website showing actual sold prices of every property in the country since January 2011. She welcomed this, saying it brought openness and transparency to the market. She also advised the following : Once an individual decides they are going to sell their home, they need to change the mindset of “This is my home” to “This is a commercial transaction that I need to maximise the return on” It is important to ask your Auctioneer to justify the price they value a property at and not to fall into the trap of choosing an Agent, just because they place a higher value on property. Also to explain how they intend to market the property. Poor marketing (ie poor quality photography, write up etc. can really make a property get off to a bad start.) Michelle is now taking videos of all her properties for sale and uploading them onto YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn. How can one increase the value? Some simple, cost effective steps can add thousands to the value of a property. Michelle advises using the following maxim: Declutter, Clean and Stage the home. – be clinical and ensure the property looks clean warm and inviting to prospective buyers. She has invaluable tips for vendors regarding home staging. She went on to say ” I’ve been known to even taken lamps and rugs out of my own house to help stage a property !” – That’s dedication above and beyond the call of duty It is vitally important to get your solicitor to request title deeds to the property. He/she will need a vendors written instructions in order to release the deeds – contracts can not be issued without the solicitor having the title deeds. (this can delay a sale, needlessly , for up to 6 weeks. It could also frighten off buyers who might think there was another reason for the conveyance not progressing. In relation to buyers, she advises that a buyer to ensure they have a loan offer when looking at prospective homes as there is nothing more frustrating than finding the home of their dreams only to find an offer won’t be accepted as they are only in the process of getting finance. Also, buyers need to be aware that house prices are increasing and that an extremely low offer on a property will lead to they not
being taken seriously as purchasers. “I always advise buyers to email their offers as it’s a great tool to ensure there is no miscommunication between an auctioneer and purchaser. When they are putting in their offer, ensure any codicil is included (ie offer includes contents, or fixtures and fittings, curtains etc. or else includes the garage is emptied prior to the sale
closing )” If a buyer is unsure about an area, it’s a good idea to drive around the area at different times of the day to get a feel of the neighborhoods? Also, knock on a neighbours door and ask them
what the neighborhoods is like – most people will be glad to be of help. Michelle has a lot of practical advise for both sellers and buyers. Her realistic, straight talking approach is a refreshing. When asked the reason for her success she said “I’ m fortunate to be in a profession that I am passionate
about – it is both rewarding and exciting achieving a great price for a vendor and also seeing a couple moving into their dream home. Michelle Burke is keen to point out that she is always available to assist any individual with theirproperty queries and is looking
forward to a robust year ahead for house sales in Galway city and county.
Michelle Burke can be contacted on
Mobile: 087 2500716
e- mail:

Architecturally Designed Home

Designer Home in Galway

Designer Home in Galway

An architecturally designed home on the edges of Lough Corrib  sits neatly in a verdant hollow near the river Corrib in Bushypark, Galway. This substantial 3,000 sq. ft. residence was designed by award winning architect Pat Mc Cabe of Patrick Mc Cabe Architects, the residence won an award for design in 1999, shortly after its completion. Planning in the area is extremely sensitive owing to the vast majority of lands zoned as either agricultural or SAC (special area of conservation).