Tagged: inspiration

The beauty of using what you’ve got

I have a lovely, quirky, full-of-life sort of client who has beautiful, interesting things tucked in every closet of her home. Sound familiar? I say it’s time to pull out all the stops and create a unique home that feels like YOU. For this client we added drama to her front entrance without adding a lick of paint as it is a rental home. The hot pink sari curtains and theatre masks may not be your cup of tea but suit this client perfectly. Discover what makes you smile and hang it, display it, enjoy it! xo




Clients who love colour!

If you know my affinity for white, white and more white, you may be surprised to know how much I also LOVE working with clients who desire bold colour choices in their homes. Over the last two weeks I have worked with two different clients (one residential, one commercial) who opted to go bold with these beautiful colours. Would you dare use a bright, bold colour in your home? Even just a little? xo

Spring Cleaning

Are you feeling it yet? The enlivening energy of spring makes way for the new to come into your life. Be ready! The full moon this weekend signals a particularly good time to clean and clear out clutter in your home (and in your life).  As the chart below indicates, the time immediately following the full moon is about releasing, letting go and gives an extra energetic push behind clearing clutter and spring cleaning in preparation for the new beginnings of the new moon. Need a little more inspiration? Check out this clutter clearing post! xo

moon cycles

Thanks to Nine of Water for this helpful chart!

3 key habits to change to stay clutter free

Ok, so you feel really great about clearing out your clutter and want to keep it that way, right? If you don’t change a few key habits, you might find yourself back in the exact same cluttered place. Don’t let this happen to you!

3 key habits to stay clutter freeOne: Stop the retail ‘therapy’!
There is a psychology to purchasing – when you feel down or unbalanced and go shopping to make yourself feel better, you end up choosing things that are not really you and will not feel good to you once you are feeling better. This is where we tend to impulse shop, overspend and regret our purchases. Replace retail therapy with a healthier alternative; go for a walk in nature, exercise, talk with a friend, read a good book…you get the picture. Changing this habit will stop bad purchases from becoming future clutter.

Two: Be thoughtful about everything that comes into your home.
Yes, EVERYTHING! From junk mail to gifts, know that everything that comes into your home affects your energy in some way, so choose a positive influence. Get in the habit of asking yourself how something makes you feel and if has negative feelings around it, let it go immediately! Don’t put it somewhere to ‘decide later’, just let it go now.

Three: Be grateful for the things you have.
I have a small newspaper clipping in the bottom of my Christmas ornament box that I ‘find’ every year that says to be grateful for what I already have. To want what you already have is liberating! Being grateful in the context of clutter clearing simply means honouring what you have by keeping it clean, in good repair and ensuring it has a place. Organizing your belongings and tidying up each day will help to keep the peaceful atmosphere you’ve created.

This was meant to be the last installment of my clutter clearing series – but who I am I kidding, clutter clearing is never completely finished. As we grow and evolve, so should our living spaces. We will need to keep at it so our homes support our newest dreams, adventures and the lives we want to lead.

Here are a few of my favourite books on organizing and clearing clutter to keep you inspired! xo

clutter clearing and organization books




healing properties of crystals and how to use them in your home

I promised a while back to give you the inside scoop on shungite, the stone powder we mixed into the primer for our bedroom. Why did we do this? Being sensitive to EMF’s, we wanted to create a wi-fi free zone and protected space for sleeping. See full post here.

Shungite is an ancient stone found in northern Russia that has been credited with many healing qualities, one of which is to provide protection from the electromagnetic radiation that comes from computers, cell phones, microwaves, televisions and wi-fi emanations.

This stone is also used for healing purposes and considered a ‘miracle healing stone’. It is positive, grounding, calming, and associated with the base chakra.

I work on a computer a lot and find it helpful to wear a shungite bracelet. I also find it especially helpful when I am visiting Toronto. (Wi-fi in the subway cars? Are you kidding me? Let’s bounce radiation around a metal box with people trapped inside and see what happens over the long term. Don’t get me started…)

Other crystals that are wonderful for your home:

Amethyst – protection, overall healing, aids with sleep and dreams

Citrine – cleansing, creative, abundance, joy

Rose Quartz – calm, loving, peaceful energy

Selenite – comfort, peace, protection

Clear Quartz – cleansing, healing, balancing, amplifying

Tourmaline – grounding, protection, balancing

My go-to source for information on crystals, and the one I use in designing my healing bracelets and jewelry is The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall. You might also find this great blog post helpful from The Luminous Spirit, titled Crystals 101: How to Use Crystals and Which Ones to Start With.

If working with crystals seems overwhelming, try just one. Go to a quality source, and see what calls to you, hold it in your hand and pay attention to how you feel. If it feels great, take it home, study it’s properties and place it in a location where it can greatly benefit.

If you are skeptical about their healing properties, the intense colour and beautiful geometric shape of crystals can simply enhance your home’s decor.

Once a year London hosts the London Gem & Mineral Show which takes place on November 18-20, 2016. It’s a great place to learn more about crystals and purchase something special for your home. Maybe I’ll see you there! xo

amethyst geode

the perfect gallery wall in five easy steps

I was getting really tired of my dining room being a site where we stored construction materials and even though I told myself I didn’t want to touch a room more than once (who made up that rule anyway!) we needed to make a change. So glad we took a couple of days to move out the materials, paint and hang a gorgeous gallery wall (much of our artwork was still stored in boxes since Toronto!) This wall will come down when we open up the kitchen but until then I will enjoy this view.

If you’ve always wanted to hang a gallery wall but weren’t sure how to get that balanced, curated look, this post is for you! Check out my Pinterest board on gallery walls and get inspired to create your own.

Designer tips for success:
start with a freshly painted wall
take your time to play with the layout
add a few sculptural and/or quirky pieces
choose pieces you absolutely love
use a variety of shapes and sizes

Five steps to the perfect gallery wall:

Select your art and lay it out on the floor and play with the layout until it feels just right (Tip: I laid it out on a white sheet so I could see what it would look like on the white wall).

Trace and cut out paper shapes for each piece of art. Kraft paper, clean newsprint and even the back of old wrapping paper works well!

Tape the shapes on the wall and adjust the spacing and arrangement ’til you’re happy.

Measure down from the top of each piece of art to where the hanging mechanism or wire is and then measure down from the centre of the corresponding paper and mark where you will put your nail. Did you notice this is the only measuring needed!

Hammer in your nail and hang the art piece. Remove the paper and repeat with each piece of art.

Sit back, relax and enjoy your newly hung art wall!  Here’s how mine turned out. xo

gallery wall


add drama with architectural salvage

One of the joys of working with an old house is finding and restoring the home’s original elements; i.e. trim, doors, corbels and stained glass. In the yellow brick beauty, we are restoring what we can, replacing when necessary and taking the time to search for just the right piece of trim, door or window to honour the house’s history. The old bathroom sent us on a search for some reclaimed floorboards, just in case we could either save what we had (100 years of urine – not going to happen!) or to replace the entire floor with something similar to the original.

What a lucky day when we discovered Artefacts in nearby St Jacobs! It is certainly worth taking a couple of hours to visit the shop and if you have something specific in mind, the shop owner (Chris Blott) is happy to take you through room after room of trim, moldings, windows and more. This must be what decorator heaven looks like!

Here are a few pics of what you might find on your visit. Artefacts also has a workshop where beautiful furniture and decorative pieces are created with salvaged materials. Inventory is always changing, so if you see something you must have, snap it up! I’ll be making a trip back with a truck for some door trim (they have the perfect match for my house). I’d better hurry!

A few tips to make your trip even more worthwhile:

  • make a list of what you are looking for
  • bring your measurements and measuring tape
  • take pictures of the trim you are trying to match (there are very subtle details that you might not remember when looking at a large inventory!)
  • keep an open mind, items can be modified
  • look beyond an item’s original use, small bits of salvage make great art pieces
  • talk with the shop owner, he is happy to share ideas and help you problem solve
  • keep in mind they have much more than what is in the showroom
  • set aside enough time to really look, don’t rush this!

Maybe I’ll see you there! xo

finding treasures

The saying is true. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. My mom and I were going through my grandparents house before it sold. I wanted something that would remind me of my grandfather and his love of gardening (and wine making!) These might not look like much but they are treasures to me. If you are paying attention, you will have noticed one of the pieces already found a home in my new bathroom. xo

Image 1


book review: The New Bohemians

For a free-spirited, break-all-the-rules look at decorating, pick up The New Bohemians: Cool & Collected Homes, by Justina Blakeney. It’s filled to the brim with gorgeous saturated colour, patterns and texture. I know I could use a dose of this bright, happy decorating style here in Canada, especially during the last throes of winter. Most of the homes are in sunny California, and granted, maybe the decorating is a little freer, “hippier” and inventive. What do you say we throw caution to the wind and get inspired to use odd combinations and collections to create our own unique living spaces. To display a little more of ourselves in our homes. After all isn’t that what decorating is all about?


“Today’s bohemians seek to erase the distinctions between work and play, and our living spaces reflect that lack of boundaries. The new bohemian home is a multifunctional playground  for exploration and experimentation…Our new bohemian lifestyle is rooted in freedom: free-spirited, free-form and free of rules.” Justina Blakeney

This riot of colour and pattern is definitely not for everyone, but if it resonates, you will appreciate that at the end of each house tour is a section called “Adopt an Idea” which gives practical and simple ways to add Bohemian chic to your home. Fabulous!

Image 2

What I like most about this book and the homes it showcases (besides the textiles and inventiveness!) is that style isn’t about how much money we have, but about how much individuality, creativity and care we put into our homes. And no matter your decorating style, that is something we can all agree upon. xo

bathroom plans

Ooooh, the bathroom is starting, the bathroom is STARTING! We decided on the layout for this small bathroom with a little help from my talented friend and ex-business partner Susan (Toronto Designers) and  from Shane, our fabulous contractor (True North Renovations). After much consideration, we have decided to take a couple of feet from my office space in order to enlarge the main bath. Is it worth sacrificing a bit of office space for a separate shower? We say YES!

The Floor Plan

The room has a sloped ceiling on the left side so it made the most sense to put the tub and toilet underneath (our current shower is under the slope and the biggest impetus for the renovation). For those of you with a keen eye, rest assured, there will be a door. We haven’t decided on a pocket door or a door swinging to the left. Your preference?

Find a wide open space in another part of the house and use painters tape to lay out the actual floor plan to scale as in the pic below. This gives you a view of the complete space, impossible to do in the existing bathroom with the wall still up. Walking into the taped out space helps you to get a more accurate sense of size and spacing. And yes, I did actually get into that ‘tub’ with a glass of wine and it works just fine.


More to come soon, off to find a tub and toilet! xo