Brighton built-in Bob Johnston has lived in Dublin for about 20 years. In 2009 he set up The Gutter Bookshop in Temple Bar, followed by a additional annex in Dalkey in 2013. He has won abounding awards for his addition to bookselling, best conspicuously Independent Bookshop of the Year (UK and Ireland) at the British Book Awards 2017.
Bob lives in a workman’s cottage in Malahide with his bedmate Leon McAleenan, an artisan and abecedary from Warrenpoint, Co Down. Their home is abounding with curiosities and alms boutique finds. Additionally in abode are Sasha the dog and Molly the cat.
Cheap! Only joking. Shabby chic, I accept would be the appellation for it. We both like colour, but we accept to be careful, because the lounge walls are adhesive plaster, so we bare appropriate adhesive acrylic to go on it. It gives a admirable done effect. There’s a casting adamant stove, which belts out calefaction in the winter.
When we travel, we consistently end up at the flea markets and get things you can fit in your luggage. We got our aperture handles aback we went on our amusement to New York aftermost May. We’ve got some aged ache furniture, which came from a adult who was allowance out her cottage in Santry.
My boutique in Temple Bar is abutting to a boutique alleged Find, so we consistently end up dabbling about in there. Across the way, April & The Bear accept admirable things. We got our bath mirror from the Oxfam boutique by Parnell Street, and there’s a annex in Francis Street that does furniture. We additionally accept a brace of absolutely nice Avoca Foxford throws that somebody got us for a bells present.
We adulation antiques, we adulation bargains. We adulation vintage, alms and clutter boutique stuff. We anticipate the dining table came off Done Accord for €20. I consistently dreamed of accepting a aphotic blooming bathroom. Eventually the tiling will get done, but at the moment we accept one of those big barb bottom baths – I adulation a bath!
I’m declared to accept this aphorism with books – ‘one in, one out.’ I accept clear-outs alert a year, but I aloof accumulate smuggling added in! I adulation giving books abroad to people. One of the big affidavit I adulation concrete books, is that you can put a book into someone’s duke – canyon the love. Hopefully Leon at some date will accept a able art flat alfresco of the house, at which point I’ll be able to ample a accomplished bank in the abstraction with bookcases.
I adulation my bedchamber – I could absorb all day in bed. Ever aback we confused in we’ve capital a casting adamant aged bed, and again Leon spotted this one as he was walking bottomward Capel Street, from a guy who was closing up. I assignment from home absolutely a bit, at a board in the bend of the bedroom. I’ve got my ‘to be read’ accumulation by the ancillary of the bed, but there’s consistently a additional accumulation beneath the bed!
Leon goes out and walks Sasha while I sit in bed, alcohol tea, apprehend books with Molly and chill. Sasha is from ASH Animal Rescue bottomward in Wicklow. We adopted Sasha at 16 weeks old and she has the best activity of any dog ever! Our abode backs assimilate the Malahide Alcazar area – we’ve apparent Gorillaz and Radiohead there. You go to a concert and you’re aback in the abode for a cup of tea bristles account later! We accept pre-gig BBQs and again we arch to the alcazar and watch a concert.
Leon’s pictures, mainly because of what they represent in agreement of afterward a artistic path. There’s our bells rings, which are acutely actual appropriate to us. We both campaigned actual adamantine for the alliance adequation election and to be able to get affiliated afterwards 15 years calm was amazing. It was such a absurd day, to get all our accompany and ancestors in one place. The rings were advised for us by Barry Doyle, who is in George’s Street Arcade. He afresh advised rings for Leon’s sister and her husband. He does beautiful, admirable work. My bells arena is chicken gold with a white gold bandage and Leon’s is white gold with a chicken gold band.
I still accept books from aback I was a child, belief Mum acclimated to apprehend aback I was five, so for 40 years I’ve had an object. It’s a big accord for me, to accept article for that long. One of my favourite books is Little Richard by Patricia M Scarry. This was our favourite bedtime adventure aback we were tiny kids, forth with Winnie the Pooh and Watership Down.
Leon has been talking a lot afresh about a woman alleged Rebecca Salter, who he adores. Aback we were in New York she had an exhibition on, which was stunning. We saw the Lucian Freud exhibition at IMMA aftermost year, which was amazing. There are a few Irish artists that we love, including David Quinn, Helen G Blake, Joanna Kidney and Michael Canning.
I’m not a fan of big open-plan spaces and minimalism. It can assignment for added people, but it doesn’t accelerate me in any way. I adulation accepting being about me. It makes me feel blessed and cosy.
We accept a week’s anniversary in Ireland and anniversary year, we try and go about different. We booty Sasha with us – she loves travelling. We hire a cottage that we can drive to, and so wherever we are, we tend to aberrate about and aces some $.25 up. I commonly do a little chase for clutter yards and affirmation yards afore we go anywhere, and we can stop off and accept a nose.
We’re activity to Kinvara this year, which is on the Galway-Clare border, abreast the Burren. We consistently assume to hire old cottages, which are aloof as algid and abstract as our own. We’re both a bit funny because I’m vegan and Leon’s gluten-intolerant, so it’s difficult to break in hotels. We went to New York for the aboriginal time aftermost year and aloof adored it. We spent nine canicule there and busy an accommodation in Brooklyn. Leon admired all the galleries and museums. I admired abnormality about and aloof watching people.
We appointed an artist as allotment of the Simon Community Open Door. It’s a weekend that happens every year, area architects accord an hour of their time and you pay a donation to the charity. We charge a kitchen that we can fit a table into, so the plan is to beating bottomward the baby 1970s addendum that we accept and body a hardly bigger one, as we adulation the garden. Leon accomplished in agronomics as able-bodied as art. He’s actual into the agronomical and I’m actual acceptable at killing things.
It will apparently beggarly re-wiring the accomplished abode because as with old houses, you go to do a baby job and it aloof escalates into a nightmare. I aloof apperceive the minute we attending at the kitchen, the electrics and the drains will all charge re-doing! If I had €100,000, I would beating bottomward our absolute kitchen and body a new one which is blooming and cloistral and design-led, because although I adulation the old bit of the cottage, we would accept a actual abreast extension. We dream of a able kitchen.
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