High-rise home: I love colour … I just think it makes you feel good.

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high rise view home



I became a priority because I had 2 children –  a boy and a girl. They offered me this flat –  in a high-rise block  – on the top floor. It was filthy, really… I think drug addicts had been in it, and had drawn all over the walls… it was really bad.  I think now they check it out and upgrade it before the offer it to people but in those days they didn’t… But I knew that I liked the flat and the view… because I’m so high up. That made my mind up. And I thought.. because there’s CCTV cameras and a concierge and security it felt more secure. Because my children would be safe, I was happy to take it.


The views….definitely the views.  I often think to myself if I were disabled or if I couldn’t go out… it’s nice because you have such a  good outlook. Because the windows are low. You also have a phone that you can call down to the concierge so you have that as a back-up as well. You can watch the world go by. Some people are stuck in wee bungalows … but in a high-rise you can see everything. I think it’s good…you don’t seem so closed off.


high-rise internal corridor to bedroom


Usually the lifts are working. I’ve only experienced last week, no lift. It’s very quiet….We have a chute for rubbish. There’s nowhere to hang washing or anything but the grounds are kept well. This idea of it being fenced in with a concierge… they are trying it in other high-rise blocks. Without it you have young people coming up in the lifts all the time and sitting in the back hallways and drinking or whatever, but now they monitor all that so it is a very safe and secure environment.


Disadvantages? Not having a garden.  Definitely, not having a garden and not being able to hang your washing out. The wind… high-rise flats move in the wind. That can be scary. The first time I noticed it my Christmas decorations were swaying .. I thought “Oh, no”.. but after a while you get used to it…


Because it was in such a bad state I just gutted everything. Stripped all the walls. I really had to get down on my hands and knees and clean everything  with Jeyes fluid.  Dogs had been in it and the smell was awful. So it was a real good clean throughout..Wallpaper and paint everything.  I put new wooden floors down. You couldn’t have kept the carpets that were here.


kitchen in high-rise block


I think they replace the kitchen and toilet/bathroom every so many years. As yet I haven’t had any replacements. We had new windows, new front doors and new soil pipe, new smoke alarms and stuff so they do look after the buildings for you. Because it’s Housing Executive you are limited to what you put in to it you make it as comfortable as you can because it’s not yours….

Interior design is something I have an interest in. I would have liked to have done it….  I like a nice home.  I’m continually re-decorating.


pink sofa and brick wall in high-rise


I love colour… I just think it makes you feel good. Bright colours make you smile.  I just think colour is what I’m all about. The brighter the better  – as you can see.


5 days a week I’m out of the house at 8am and not back till 6. At night I’ve other commitments.. my mother… my grandchildren. I only spend the weekend in it. And that’s catching up with cleaning and washing…


I had my daughter and the kids living here for a couple of years so there were toys everywhere. They couldn’t have bikes and stuff because I am on the top floor. All their furniture was here as well.  Once they went it was more or less about putting it back to what suits me.



high-rise workshop with wallpaper



Because I wanted to upcycle furniture I turned one of the 3 rooms into a workshop. Which has worked out really well because it is a great sized room…..Now that I have my wee workshop I’m spending more and more time in it because you really need the natural light. When I come home from work in the winter I can’t really do a lot. You’re not doing as good a job.  So, the weekends are spent upcycling. I find it very therapeutic.


TV and curtain in high-rise



I love the interior design blogs.  I get inspiration from them and I try to make things to look as good – on the cheap. That’s a hard thing to do but I enjoy it. I’m always investing in my home in some way. Whether it is upcycling something. Re-arranging … or making curtains…. and because I have no garden –  I love my plants –  I try to bring the outdoors in.




high-rise living room



Well it’s not the latest trends that I go for. It depends on how I feel. If I see something it will speak to me and I will buy it and then I will work colours round it.  I don’t mind if colours don’t match… I like it to be eclectic. It’s just whatever fits in my mood on the day.  And I will experiment. I just painted those walls grey. I don’t like them so next week I will paint them white…. I do like a feature wall. It really is about experimenting. It’s all fun to me.

It’s my taste. It’s my home.


This room is 18 foot by 12 foot.  They are good big flats. People think high-rise flats are tiny. My bedroom is nearly as big as this and it has full length windows.


bedroom with view in high-rise


I blog interiors worldwide…. Australia, America, French and they are all brilliant and they inspire me and there’s elements of each of them that I love. But your home is your home. This is me. It’s comfortable for me. You have to make a home from whatever you have…….


There are people who are less fortunate who are working … and have to resource from wherever they can.. charity shops, church… But it doesn’t take away from it being their home….It’s not an instant thing. A home becomes a home over years. It evolves continually. From photos of your children to your grand-children.


As a woman there’s only so much I can do. It’s the male thing of electrics, plumbing.. all the big things that you would like to do  – and having to pay someone to do it. I try to do as much as I can.



blue dressing table and plant in bedroom


There are some people who don’t have an interest in a home. There are others where everything is sitting like a new pin.  I like a house to look like it’s lived in. That’s my personal taste. When you redecorate it’s the only way you can change.  You can’t afford to buy a house or move so in a way you feel like you are moving when you re-decorate. I would probably re-decorate every 2 years.


I took out the cupboards, they were here 50 odd years.  In those days they didn’t think about the whole space. They just plonked in a cupboard where it really ate into the room. I took them all out and bought free standing wardrobes instead.



family ornaments high-rise


Because it’s not my house. Well it is… it is my home… it’s not my building…. My home is my security. Not financial security, but as in well-being. It’s a home where family and friends can come. It’s comfortable and safe. And hopefully when people come they have a sense of peace and that you are a good hostess. Most time when people come they always love what I have done. They say: “you could make something out of nothing”.


It’s just that you can close the door and you feel secure in the 4 walls. I think it’s the security of it… and the peace and quiet now the family have grown up.




Follow Nuala Rooney:

Nuala Rooney PhD, is a creative professional and award-winning author, currently developing new approaches to design innovation and spatial research through storytelling. With unique skillsets, developed as a design educator in Higher Education institutions in UK and Hong Kong, her interest lies in exploring 'home' as a human centred space.

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