Happy Monday- I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend. I spent mine somewhat warp speed- which is why I am carrying the spirit of the weekend forward today with a little fashion post that is very weekend relaxed.
A well fit denim jacket never goes out of style. With a glossy red lip (and red sunglasses to match) I’m still so much in relaxed weekend mode in this outfit. Jacket, shirt, cropped pants: Bluenotes. Shoes: Zara. Sunglasses: Karir Eyewear. Photo by Katherine Holland.
Thankfully this week I am not ugly crying- I am actually feeling fairly optimistic about my renovation today. Perhaps it’s the spring that has finally descended upon Toronto, or the fact that my contractor may have found a few ways to save some money (holler!!!) but today I reminded myself why I am embarking on this crazy reno in the first place.
When we moved into our house in 2009 (while mega pregnant with our first child) we knew the house would need work. Like tons of work. But as a young couple, with a new baby on the way, and school debt and other realities of life we knew it would be a VERY long time before renovations were at all a reality. And then of course we had 4 kids in 5 years and that is not hectic at all.
And now we are here- actually doing it. Creating a home for my family to grow up in and make memories. And it feels good. I’m doing it for them.
Speaking of them, we celebrate another birthday this week:
This little man is 2 and I love the little person he is growing up to be.
There are aspects of my work that truly feel like magic- it may sound like hyperbole but I assure you- that is what it feels like. The exercise of taking a collection of objects, arranging them in a pleasing manner, to create a tiny piece of harmony that looks inspiring and evokes emotion is just so much fun- and brings me so much joy.
Yesterday we shot the office of Knot PR in Toronto. Several years ago we worked on their first space- and what a thrill it was to work on this one.
Here’s just a tiny taste of what went down- excited to share some details and all of Katherine Holland’s genius photography work soon!
Oh am I ever glad it’s Saturday! Saturdays at my house are normally spent tidying up around the house, cuddling with the kiddies and other random errands. Today I am so excited because this morning I unpacked the last box we brought over to our rental since we are undergoing our #canningreno. We really lucked out as neighbors directly across the street decided to move for a period and lease their house- the timing honestly could not have worked out better, which I am grateful for. While I did my best to keep what we brought over to a minimum (the house is fully furnished, so great), I am shocked at how much I actually did bring over. I wanted the space to have some resemblance of home (especially for our kids) and of course give the house my own touch.
Living in a rental (whether temporarily like us during a reno, or as your more permanent residence) has some challenges- you might not want to invest in anything you can’t take with you, and when you’re renting you’re making the best of what you’ve got without making major changes. And after working on the design team for 2 seasons of the HGTV show For Rent, I have learned a thing or two about living in and decorating a rental. Here are my top tips for making a rental feel fabulous!
Paint can make such a huge difference in a room. I’m only staying temporarily so I am not painting (and the owners have painted totally awesome colours), but painting is such a minimal investment for its impact- worth the effort required. And if you invest in the time it takes to paint a stripe (like this look we did on For Rent) you can create something original and unique for a really great price.
2. INVEST IN ART
Spend money on art as it’s something you can take with you and work into new spaces. I am a big time supporter of artists and love supporting local talent. This is a piece I had commissioned for a client by my fab friend and artist Becky Simpson. We brought most of our art over to our rental to give our temporary space a sense of home.
3. CHANGE OUTDATED WINDOW TREATMENTS
Always chat with your landlord about making changes that require holes drilled in walls, but changing window treatments make a huge impact to the look of a room. HUGE! And when they are dated and tired it doesn’t matter what other fabulous things you put in the space- they will be a huge eyesore. Go somewhere like Bouclair and get cheap and cheerful, patterned and colourful window treatments you can take with you.
4. CHANGE OUTDATED LIGHT FIXTURES TOO
Ugh- if I ever see another boob light (google boob light if you don’t know what I am talking about). This cheap cheap light is one of the most offensive things to my eyes. You think I am exaggerating, I am not. Light fixtures should feel like jewelry to a room- either very ornamental or soft and subtle. They should not look like a boob under any circumstances. Ask your landlord but I’m a proponent of changing these as well to update a space.
How do you make your rental feel fabulous? Love to hear.
Striped photo by Kelly Schnurr, art photo by Tanja Tiziana
This is my house. Day #3 of my #canningreno. Soon (ok, not soon) this will be an open concept kitchen area- but for today, it is a gross mess.
What has been so interesting about this process is my reaction to everything. I have been a mess. An ugly crying, attached to possessions, tired mess. While my strategy strengths and stamina are pretty present doing the exact same thing for clients, for myself they seem to be absent.
I am not going to analyze it too much here on the blog, but if you see me at an event and I look a little weary feel free to pour me a glass. Or 2. (My preference is red!)
Speaking of events, I took a break from all the chaos and attended the launch of the Style At Home Collection for Sears Canada at the Ritz Carlton. This was a much needed dose of pretty:
This collection is full of pattern and easy coordinating pieces. I got to chat with editor-in-chief Erin McLaughlin (who was very involved in the design of the collection) about her favourite pieces- and I have to agree, the coverlets are super soft, beautifully patterned.
Here’s Erin with home decor & seasonal marketing manager for Sears Colby Jarvis (in pretty greens!):
And I got to be breakfast buddies with the lovely Stephanie Sterjovski (in pretty florals!):
And on a final personal note, 5 years ago today my life changed for the better in the best way. I became mom to John, my lovely little guy who is a caring, friendly dude and a great big brother. If you’re looking for me today I will probably be a sentimental mess (and likely more tears, but this time happy ones!) Happy Friday!
It has begun- we are week 1 of the #canningreno (thanks for all the suggestions for my hashtag)!
Very conveniently, we’re located across the street in a rental. Like, directly across the street. Like, I can watch each sub trade show up through my front window across the street! So so convenient and it made moving a lot less painful.
However, it was also pretty painful. In the 2 weeks we have lived at our rental unit, and I have packed and sorted 5 years of belongings, I have learned / observed the following:
- I own 16 bottles of nail polish. I paint my nails maybe twice a year.
- The number of toys that my children have, that were buried at the bottom of miscellaneous forgotten containers, is shocking.
- My husband owns like a bajillion white socks that do not match.
- My husband and I have been married for 6 years and we had about 5 boxes in the basement that were never unpacked when we moved from our first apartment.
I make these above observations as I am making a commitment to myself- that whatever goes into our “new” house will make our lives better. It will give us value. It won’t be a “just incase” item. It won’t stay in a box for 5 years. We will use it, we will love it, and enjoy it.
This is the hope- continue to follow along our #canningreno to see how we make it through!
Hi guys- I must apologize for the radio silence. It is simply because I have been doing a bit of this:
We have started a major renovation on the house- after so many years of planning and hoping and dreaming the time has come. It’s finally my turn! I get to be the client (sort of)!
And you know I am taking you all along with me for the ride as I manage my own reno.
I need a hashtag to document this process on my social media platforms and I am stuck- love your help! Please give me a great suggestion for a clever hashtag and I might just buy you a present. #seriously
Love to hear your ideas in the comments below!
This morning over my tea I read this interesting article in the National Post’s Financial section, on the topic of Amazon as an “everything” store, and what retailer Indigo has to do to keep up. At the end of the article, Peter Foster posits that “[Indigo] has to find some way of doing it better, or go the way of Eaton’s”. (Which incase you are not familiar was a Canadian retailer that closed its doors in 1998 after 130 years as being the largest department store in the nation).
It got me to thinking about shopping on-line, vs in-store. I must admit- shopping on-line is pretty darn convenient. I have been known to shop in my pj’s, and with small kids sometimes it is just easier to point and click from the comfort of my home.
But as these images from Indigo’s Instagram feed would suggest, it is pretty darn inspiring to step into a well
merchandised retailer (cheers to whoever designs Indigo’s product displays). And beyond pretty merchandising, Indigo’s product assortment is just so lovely. And to view the lovely in person is just way more fun. Full disclosure- I often go to the Bayview Village Indigo just be get inspired. Rainy day? Go to Indigo. Cranky kids? Go to Indigo. Need a coffee? Go to Indigo. It has become a spot of comfort for me in my neighborhood, like a reliable friend , a warm hug. A spot of infinite possibilities to be discovered in books, a destination for instant mood elevation by way of updates for my sofa, my walls or my arm candy collection.
While shopping on-line is so convenient, it won’t ever replace the in-store experience for me. You just cannot replace it.
Disclaimer- no part of this post was sponsored in any way. This is a sincere love note to one of my favourite retailers. Ironically, (or not ironically), the tea set I drank out of this morning pictured in the first image above was purchased, you guessed it, from Indigo.
Today, somewhat of a miracle happened. I was able to ACTUALLY relax on a Saturday morning. This may sound like a no brainer (isn’t everyone supposed to relax on a Saturday?) but with 4 babes under 4 it actually requires a lot of brain power.
So to celebrate my success at being able to get through (AN ENTIRE!) cup of coffee without being interrupted, I would like to share how it happened (and perhaps it will help other busy moms out there get a wee quiet moment):
1. JAZZ MUSIC
We love music in this house- the guitar comes out every evening and there’s quite a bit of (loud) singing on a regular basis. Toronto’s Jazz FM streamed on my laptop kept my children unusually docile this morning. And it was a lovely mellow way to ease into the day. So chill.
2. NEW COLOURING BOOKS
It’s amazing the impact a new dollar store activity book has on my kids. AND A NEW PENCIL? They’re in heaven. My husband had the brilliant idea to keep a whole bunch of stickers, books etc. stored away to bring out as a surprise (especially in moments of utter chaos to act as a diffuser). And let me tell you it works wonders. So great this morning.
3. KIDS PRACTICE INDEPENDENCE
I keep things kids need on the regular within their reach: a bucket of crayons, paper for drawing, box of Lego so they can practice being independent (and I can sit. And caffeinate. SO IMPORTANT).
4. PREP THE NIGHT BEFORE
When possible, we really try and prep the kitchen the night before so that in our sleepy staggering the next morning, it is as simple as possible to a) make coffee, b) make breakfast, c) make coffee.
I think my coffee maker is my 5th child.
A happy Saturday to all! I hope yours was off to a relaxing start.
I hope everyone has had a great week and a lovely March break for all you families out there.
Sorry for the radio silence- it’s been a flurry of activity at Casa Canning as we are preparing for a major renovation- which, not going to lie, has not been the easiest thing to do with multiple projects on the go… And multiple babies in tow. If anyone wants to send me a new case of wine to review I would be happy to accept. LOL.
So today I bring to you the babies- who bring me lots of joy in all this chaos. Happy Thursday!