On Monday 16th December 2019 we’re opening up our office (our converted shipping container) to become a shop for people to come browse and choose their Johnny Magory Books in the run up to Christmas. I would ask everybody that comes to bare in mind that the Johnny Magory HQ is still a “work in progress”!
On that vein, I’d like to share with you our HQ story!
A “Proper” Office!
As you may know, I decided to leave the corporate world in January 2019 knowing I’d be self employed on the 1st of April 2019. (I never considered the fact that it was April Fools Day but what can you do!) You can read more about this here.
Prior to my decision to leave, I had been operating out of the spare room in the house which I’d half converted into my office.
I knew that a proper office was needed for me to take this seriously (and prevent little people from fiddling with my stuff!!)
Wild ideas are my thing! Ever since I was a child, our parents would plámás us with a regular “Planning Hour’s” whereby we all sat around the table and were allowed air our “improvement” ideas.
Improvements for the house; improvements for the garden/ stables/ horse jumps/ things to do/ for anything really!
When I look back, Ma and Da must have knocked some craic out of these meetings with us. You would want to have heard the ideas but they always gave them ‘some’ thought and then reverted with a Yay or Nay!
Anyways, lets just say my husband was privy to more than a few “Planning Hours’ when it came to deciding on the office!
So Many Ideas!
The ideas varied from an attic conversion in our bungalow complete with balcony; to garage conversion complete with balcony, log cabin’s, vintage caravans, tree houses, yurts… Look, there were a lot of ideas!
I never once entertained the idea of renting an office space though. One of the big reason’s for leaving my job was to spend more time at home with the kids.
Anyways, one by one the ideas were ruled out for either technical, monetary or practical reasons.
I was hell bent from day one though that I wanted a balcony or terrace to be able to view my beloved lake! Sounds bonkers I know but if I was to embrace this ‘creative’ world, then I needed my inspiration on tap…
Note – Lets be honest, it was also so I could enjoy a cup of tea or glass of wine and relax too!
Shipping Container on the Brain
So ultimately we landed on the idea of a shipping container office. It had to be a shipping container to support the rooftop terrace you see; no standard Porta Cabin would do!
DoneDeal searches were set up and one faithful day (April 29th), I received an email with “The One”!
Davey, my husband, was on the case straight away, we viewed that very afternoon and had it delivered that same evening!
I had pre-empted it’s arrival so I had the area prepared with gravel for underneath hence the swift impulse looking buy!
So I was first to put my hands up and admit that it aint pretty… Yet though! It had potential and it was kind to my pocket form a budget point of view.
Either-way, I was in love with her, the big, ugly, steel box that she was!
I initially thought it would take a month max to finish the office out to my vision but here we are in December and it’s still a work in progress. Two days after the office arrived was the finals for IBYE which signified the launch into crazy times for Johnny Magory Business which hasn’t (thankfully) let off since.
We did get cracking though and I’m proud to stand back and see what we’ve created so far.
The container was already segmented into a toilet, kitchenette and externally accessed store room. It was painted entirely in magnolia and was wired with sockets etc which gave us a great start.
Floors and Paint
We put down laminate flooring firstly and then painted the entire container in brilliant white. That alone was enough for me to work with and the paint had barely dried when I moved my trusty Ikea desk and chair out from the house and into the new HQ.
Stick the Kettle On…
The kitchenette was the next priority and I cannot tell you the satisfaction I got from pulling out the one that was there! My brother-in-law made the sink unit from some timber and I learned to tile! I also scorched some scaffolding planks and varnished for the shelving used in the kitchenette and behind my desk.
And once we had the kettle on, we were all happy bunnies!
Dave replaced the sterile florescent bulb with a homemade one using secondhand Edison bulbs we got for free and a stick from the forest behind the house. He also moved all the sockets to their new positions to make way for my new double doors.
We made a whole in the partitician wall for a door into our store room which is now completely insulated and shelved out. The original end door of the shipping container can still be opened however you’ll be met with two large boards providing about 6 inches of insulation!
Room with a View
I wanted to put in large windows and doors to catch as much sun light as physically possible and also ensure we could see as much of wildlife as possible when working. My cousin Richard found us french doors that were being thrown out and came down to cut the large hole in the side of the container and fit them.
This has completely changed the feel of the office. I personally absolutely adore being able to watch the birds at the feeder.
Richard also made a 4 bar safety railing to go around the roof (safety first and all that!) and we found a staircase on DoneDeal in Clare which was also super easy on the pocket. Richard has it safely attached now and as you can see, it’s starting to take place!
So we’ve still a bit to go. I want to landscape outside the office with a nice stone and put in a ‘reading area’. Growing wisteria and lots of other beautiful plants and trees is top of the list too and thankfully we have our daffodil and tulip bulbs in the ground already. The stone will form a path across the kids play area to the door.
The rooftop needs to have a risen floor put down which will probably be timber decking then up there needs to be kitted out with a table, lights, planters, deck chairs (yes for the sunny days!) and a heater of some sort. I can’t wait for spring to get working on that.
The toilet still hasn’t been touched and is going to be my Christmas holidays project. I’ve the paint picked and ideas for furnishings. I’ll update you on this as soon as it’s done.
Getting it plumbed is the last remaining ‘big’ job, if you want to call it that but we’ve all the materials there ready to go for January.
Oh… And did I mention I’d really love a slide??!!
So if you do come out to the ‘shipping container shop’, I need you to put your imagination eyes on and see the bigger vision!
Our shop will be open in Ballynafagh (outside of Prosperous, Co. Kildare) from 9:30 to 13:00 Monday to Friday next week starting Monday 16th December.
Eircode W91 Y9V3.
Cash and card accepted.
Choose from individual books to special offer book bundles, adventure boxes and tin whistles.
We can facilitate evening visits also but please phone Emma-Jane in advance 087 942 9989.
Why not make the most of the trip, pack your wellies and go for a walk around our beloved Ballynafagh Lake while you’re here.
“I’ll tell you a story about Johnny Magory”