Lisa CILI am thrilled to announce that for the next 2 months I am going on the road with CIL Paints- helping you get rid of paint paralysis at Home Depot locations across the GTA every Thursday evening from 6pm – 8pm! I’ll be available for complimentary one-on-one design consultations right in The Home Depot in the paint department. Bring me your fabric swatches, wallpaper selections, floor plan layouts and let’s talk paint!

I’m joining some awesome company from across Canada in Home Depot locations in their areas including Jennifer Brouwer, Jo Alcorn, Emma Reddington, Monika Hibbs, Heather Eigler, Angie Pitre, Jennifer Ashley, Courtenay Hatrford, and Mary Taggart. For more info on where you can meet a CIL Decor Expert visit the CIL page here.

Tonight I am at The Home Depot’s Toronto Yorkdale location from 6pm – 8pm. Bring me your design questions and see you there!




As I wrote about earlier this summer, this wallpaper basically inspired the entire design of my main floor. And last night, I put her up.



I have a ton of experience wallpapering so in my house, I was confident to DIY it. I will say though, on the level of easy to difficult this ranks right up there in the difficult ranks with tiling (see my fun first attempt at tiling here).

Here is the secret to awesome wallpaper application- do it with a baby on your back:



I am obviously kidding. Wallpapering with my baby on my back actually made the whole process way harder (although it was a great work out for my abs). Baby was fussy and mommy was way goal oriented so baby came along for the ride. (On a completely unrelated note- this is the first time baby was in the carrier in the backpack position and she LOVED IT. She was so happy riding piggy back!)

Here are my actual secrets to awesome wallpaper application- especially with a large focal area like I am installing- 1) work with 2 people. 2) AND BE PATIENT. This is the best advice I can give. Not pictured here is my awesome assistant Monica who is really gifted in meticulous, patient tasks like this. It is simply just easier to manipulate the paper with 2 people- one person can work on the ladder while the other passes tools. I did a portion of this on my own and while still doable, moves along a lot faster with a friend.

Other secret of course is to hire. Wallpaper is very delicate- and if you rip it- there goes $$$$.

Final secret- use the sharpest blade possible to do all the trimming. I change my blade with every 3rd panel installed- so basically I go through an entire knife for my 20′ wall.

Like tiling, I think wallpaper application is a task that can be learned- but it requires a ton of patience and based on personal experience, experience installing is the best teacher.

Another fun fact: about an 8′ length of my living room wall took us about 6 hours (and I consider myself fairly experienced). Wallpapering is not a job you can rush. So also think about the time you will invest doing it yourself and if it is worth the cost- cause your time is valuable.

Love to know in the comments below if you’ve ever attempted wallpapering and if you are pleased with the results!!!!


A quick update this weekend on the status of my house. #canningreno has windows and boy are they pretty. I have never been more excited about a piece of glass in my life.

I promise to do a full breakdown of the costs of this reno but let me tell you black interior windows were more expensive than I thought- but for me essential to the modern, slightly industrial feel I wanted for the house. We went with white interior windows everywhere else in the house to be more conservative on costs (cause it was a significant jump) but both windows in the front are black. Love the contrast with our light floors (which is the topic of another lengthy post… Because my floors I kid you not caused me to lay awake at night!)

I hope everyone is having a great last leg of summer (pains me to write that!) with whatever money I have left after this reno I am excited to do some back to school wardrobe updates.

How are you spending the last few weeks of summer?


So my post earlier this week may have been a little sad. But let me show you what can get this girl’s spirits up:




I had energy sucking, money wasting, old single pane windows in my house. And thanks to the help of the team at Fieldstone Windows, new ones are going in. Tune in later this week for the after!
And how fun- cookies delivered at installation time. A welcome treat :) come back soon for new window goodness!!!!


Ok. Get ready for a super honest, heart on sleeve type, maybe I ugly cried, kinda cranky, post.

As I type this I am covered in drywall dust, my hair is in a very disheveled not at all hipster like top knot, and I have moved maybe my 20th box for the 20th time.

I am super grateful for the opportunity to renovate. And I do not for a second want to seem ungrateful that we are able to do this, and the results of all this hard work will be worth it. It could be so much worse. There are really serious things happening in the world beyond my little bubble of renovating / working basically full time / talking care of my kids / and fitting in the odd television appearance.

What I am feeling right now is the depressing feeling of taking 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. We finished our floors (yay!) but then got them all dirty with more construction mess (boo). We are moving back home (woo hoo!) but there’s still so much to do before it is really done (sigh).

And I am also feeling pretty tired. Like fall asleep in my oatmeal type tired!

So today I am distracting myself, and energizing myself with my finishes. Here are a couple of the fun light fixtures going in my house:



Super excited to learn about new e-tailer Mirens where all these fixtures are from. Even more excited to be working with them on my house. Thinking about all the pretty keeps me excited and motivated. The house will be finished one day. And it will be great for my family.

What do you do when you get tired in the middle of a project? How do you keep your spirits up? Love to know in the comments below.


I began my career as a DIY-er, and absolutely appreciate a project done with my own hands. However, in the last few years I have experienced and appreciated the skill, convenience and value that comes with hiring people who are expert and good at what they do. They do it 100 times faster than I would, and have way more joy doing it.

For my #canningreno, I left 75% of the project to pros. Demo, framing, HVAC, plumbing, electrical I entrusted to the very capable hands of my General Contractor Black General Contracting. But as a cost saving measure, I decided to take on flooring, tiling, painting, wallpaper, myself. I will definitely talk about the pros and cons of this in another post.

But for today- let’s talk tile!

I decided I would give it a shot. Put the Y in DIY. With the help of my extremely generous brother in law, I attempted my family bathroom.

Here she is, a beautiful random marble mosaic at the Home Depot.

So… I basically picked the most difficult tile to learn on. I always wondered why installers’ quotes were so much higher for mosaic installation… And now I know.

Do not be misled by my eager smile. My brother in law did most of it / all the hard parts. And this was hard! Mosaic marble is #1) heavy. #2) the random design means lots more cuts, and lots more precise cuts to get things to line up. #3) super heavy. Lots of time was spent massaging the tile pieces into the right position, only to notice the tiles would start to sag a bit due their heavy weight if spacers were not placed immediately.

I also did not anticipate how incredibly messy tiling is. The adhesive gets everywhere, and again, being precise I am convinced only comes with years and years of experience perfecting the skill.

I have never ever touched a tile saw before this..I literally held my breath with every. single. cut. Again, I understand why trade quotes for mosaic tiling are so much higher than a regular subway or other standard tile. Due to the random design of this tile there were lots of tiny precise cuts. Which equals LOTS of time and patience.

So in short- am I happy I attempted this? Yes. Am I beyond grateful for my brother in law who came after his regular work day to help me on this? OH YES. Would I recommend someone take this particular tile on as a first time project if you have never cut a tile before / installed a tile before / even knew what tile adhesive looked like / where to find it in the Home Depot? No.

BUT- I do think if you have time and a ton of patience tiling is a skill that can be learned with some guidance. Did I say I am grateful to my brother in law? Cause wowza I am. This took a ton of time. But truthfully, after being instructed how to not cut my fingers off (so scary), and the steps involved in sticking tile to a properly waterproof prepared wall, I feel empowered to take on more. It was a really intimidating project (especially with an incredibly fast rotating blade) and so daunting (I wrapped this tile all the way around the tub surround) but it was worth the effort. I actually can’t wait to get my hands dirty again and take on more. #letsdothis!

Work lights are so sculptural!


Here we are without grout- can you guess what I am doing this weekend?


Thanks to the Home Depot Canada for working with me on my bathroom!


As I approach the home stretch of my #canningreno (you can read more about it here) I thought it might be fun to show you what my house looked like before. Get ready for it… Shield your eyes!



SO this space we decorated- but then never took care of. There used to be three pieces of art- and when one fell down I never put it back. My light fixtures- one broke, and I never fixed it. Note the blue tape holding it up. Not good.



Ugh… So basically these were both a 1960’s mess. And as you can see, normal family with 4 kids crazy mess. My kitchen cabinets chipped every time you opened a door from the 5 layers of paint. And check out the yellow and black in my bathroom!!!!! So not glam.




So this is just embarrassing. As you can see it was basically a hodge lodge of mismatched items, leftovers from projects, and a closet bursting at the seams. I shudder just looking at this (although I love seeing my pregnant belly!)

And finally… Really shield your eyes…



Check out ALL THIS PANELING. We filled an entire dumpster with it! The space has come a long way since these pictures were taken it is crazy to see what it looked like.

There ya have it- crazy times in my crazy house! Can’t wait to share (and move in and live in) the afters!!!!

What projects are you working on this summer? Any crazy paneling in your house? Love to know :)


We have had a fun couple of days while my husband attended a conference in Steubenville, Ohio. While not exactly a tourist hot spot area of the US, it was very quaint, refreshingly quiet (I am always surprised at the difference in traffic in cities outside of Toronto) and fun to explore. Here is the quickest of glances at our whirlwind trip:



We visited the Good Zoo in neighbouring West Virginia. Small-ish, manageable zoo with a decent train ride and fun interactive bird feeding area. Best part was the robotic dinosaurs (note my son’s tentative expression! Had to explain they were pretend!) and the expansive model train set.




For 8 months in the late 1700’s Fort Steuben was erected to protect US surveyors from mapping out this area of Ohio. They have reconstructed the fort in great detail and as a bit if a history nerd (and lover of old interiors) we had fun exploring each part of the fort.





Lots of quaint architecture and relics of the past like this sign on the Steuenville High front steps- revealing it as a previous Civic Defence bomb shelter in the 1950’s.

How is your summer going? What fun adventures are you up to?


Dear readers- forgive me. I have been away, and I have missed you. Thanks for bearing with me- as I have been slightly crazy insane busy.

We are sooooooo close to the finish line. After a couple of hiccups with waterproofing, scoping in a second bathroom we did not intend to touch (but bonus I get to decorate something else!) and the other regular insanity that occurs when you renovate with children, we were delayed. But I can finally see the light. And it is a gooood one!

We thought it might be fun to add to the crazy mix lots of travel with summer with our kids. It takes a lot of coordination to travel with small kids, but my attitude is that it’s either work hard at home or work hard in a new location making fun family memories- so we do it- and I am able to get pictures like this:

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I’ve got some really rewarding client projects on the go, plus some production design for TV work that really play to my strengths of strategy and love of getting this done! Here’s a peek of what I’ve been working on:

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Thanks for bearing with me in my absence- blogging gives me so much joy, and I have missed it- and you. How has your summer been so far?



The wallpaper that filled the length of my main floor is now gone. This paper, which I lovingly put up while 8 months pregnant with my second child (I am a crazy lady), and my oldest then toddler at 17-months thought would be hilarious to rip off as soon as I applied (so not funny at the time) came down today. In like a sliver of the time it took to put up.

I loved it in 2010 but am excited to move on in a new direction for my #canningreno in 2014! You can read more about that here.

It took no time at all (about 30 linear feet I got done in 2 hours, done in 30 minute blocks of time whenever I could steal a break between kids and work) and it truthfully was no big deal.

TIP 1: soak the paper like crazy. Like crazy. I used a dish towel cause that is all I had on hand but a massive sponge would be ideal. Wash the paper with lots of water, use more than you think.

TIP 2: work a section at a time. I would move my step ladder every 4-6 feet or so and work in small sections.

TIP 3: be patient and try to get it all in one full piece. After I got the hang of how much water to apply it flew. At first I scraped at little wee bits way more than I needed to- once I figured out more water was better it flew.

Cannot wait to get the new paper up and get this reno finished!!!!

What reno projects are you tackling this summer? Let me know in the comments!