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So far Sarah Walker The Curated House has created 396 blog entries.

One Room Challenge | Fall 2019 | Master Bedroom Makeover | The Reboot

I cannot believe it’s been a year since I last posted. In some ways, the past 12 months have been a blur. In many ways, it’s been the hardest year of my life.

I had every intention of finishing this master bedroom makeover just a couple of months after pressing pause. When that didn’t happen, I thought I’d just jump into the Spring One Room Challenge. But I was fighting battles behind the scenes that only my closest and best knew about, and those battles haven’t followed my preferred timeline.

In my last post I shared about how I believe grief can heighten gratitude. I still believe it with my whole heart. Unfortunately, grief can also suppress immune function. I knew this about stress, both personally and based on the research, but I hadn’t made the connection with grief until my Mum passed away. That’s when the tide of the battle my body was fighting against Lyme Disease took a sudden and overwhelming turn that almost pulled me under.

Lyme is a fierce opponent. It attacks more than just your body right down to the cellular level – it attacks your career, your capacity, your confidence. Similar to grieving a loved one, grieving the “loss of quality of life” that comes with decades of Lyme Disease is a process that requires honest and mindful intention. And I’ve been so determined to not be defined by it – to tap into my resilience and to not admit defeat – that I truthfully haven’t given myself permission to grieve it the way I’ve needed to.

Here’s the thing: an elastic band that is put in a constant state of tension and stress will eventually snap. Its resilience is found in its ability to both stretch and release. The release is as much a part of the resilience as the ability to be stretched. Up until recently, I wasn’t giving myself enough space for release.

So this year I’ve been quiet on all my social channels while I’ve been waging war behind the scenes and trying to gain some ground.

I can’t say I’ve won the war just yet. Sometimes I feel like I’m just putting out fires while spinning plates, but I still believe that I will make a full recovery. I just don’t know how long it will take, and accepting that is a part of the release.

So what does all of this have to do with my master bedroom makeover, you ask? Well, in the virtual PhD in Wellness I’ve gotten through researching all the ways to support my recovery from this horrible illness, I’ve become even more passionate about how our built environment can positively or negatively contribute to our well being. It’s been my growing passion for many years, and it’s why I garnered the nickname “The Canary In The Design Mines.” My sensitivity to toxic materials and my passion for making the healthiest design choices possible have been hallmarks of my design career for many years. But this is personal.

Finishing our master bedroom is an act of self care.

The space will be as non-toxic as financially possible, but it will also be our cocoon for rest, a sanctuary for healing and recovery, and a space dedicated to the restorative powers of sleep. Design is not frivolous. Design has the power to play a huge role in nurturing wellness, and I will be using it as one of my weapons in the fight against this disease.

 I hope you’ll follow along over the next 6 weeks as I share the process and the non-toxic products behind the pretty finished product of this One Room Challenge transformation. I promise future updates will have more pictures and fewer words! But I also promise (myself, mostly) that I will let you in on more of the behind-the-scenes of the reality of the road I’m walking, not just because it might help someone else, but because it will most definitely help me to share it, too. Fighting a long term illness can be isolating. I’ve never been intentionally hiding, I’ve just been busy surviving, but it feels like the right time to invite you all into the healing journey a bit more in the hopes that it might just help all of us.

Back to the master bedroom, you can read my original intro post here and check out these befores for a refresher on what we’re starting with:

She’s kind of a basic b at the moment if you know what I mean, but the goal is to transform her into a sophisticated sanctuary for sleep and connection. We’ve done that thing I tell all my design clients not to do and left our bedroom as the last space in the house to be designed with love and intention, but it’s more than time. It will be a fast and furious 6 weeks to go from basic to beauty, but I really hope you’ll follow along.

So much love to you all for being here for this.

By |October 3rd, 2019|1 Comment

Master Bedroom Makeover | An Unexpected Pause

Grief amplifies gratitude.

Dear friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I share that my Mum passed away unexpectedly last night. I am going to take some time to grieve and process, so won’t be following the ORC calendar for completing the Master Bedroom Makeover. I promise I will be back to share the journey and the finished space with you once my feet are back on the ground.

In the meantime, I’m struck by how much grief can amplify gratitude. I feel like today I am even more keenly aware of the beauty and love I have in my life. I have a loving husband and two boys who I adore, and they adore me. I am surrounded by amazing friends like Lisa Canning who dropped everything and drove an hour each way just to be with me, bring me groceries and cry a little together today. I am working with some amazing people behind the brands who partner with me who don’t even hesitate to offer abundant kindness and understanding in the face of my grief. This is the best of humanity. I’ve seen some of the worst as well, but I’m so grateful to say that the best are the ones who win the day. Thank you to each of you amazing human beings for being in my life.

I’ll be back to share more soon, and in the meantime, be sure to hold your loved ones close and remind them how much they are loved.

By |October 18th, 2018|0 Comments

One Room Challenge | Fall 2018 | Master Bedroom Makeover | Week Two

” To sleep, perchance to dream…”

Someone has most certainly found the fast-forward button, because I struggle to accept that it has been a full week since my first post about our One Room Challenge Master Bedroom Makeover. But here we are, Week Two, and I’m truthfully very excited to share more delicious details with you.

As this post goes live, I will actually be in the air, flying to High Point Market for a very exciting marathon of designer goodness. I am super privileged to be a Style Spotter for High Point Market for all of 2018, which means that I (along with 7 other esteemed designers and fellow Style Spotters) will be selecting what I think are 25 of the best new releases for this Fall Market. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, High Point Market is the world’s largest furniture market and basically mecca for designers looking to discover the latest and greatest in furniture and decor. More than 30,000 people descend upon this small town for a week of total sensory overload. The privilege and pressure of being a Style Spotter are fairly equal, I admit, but I intend to make it a fun and meaningful week filled with memorable connections.

One of the ways I’ll be doing that is by hosting a panel on Wellness For the Home as a part of ASID’s Designer Viewpoint Series.

As you can see, the group of panelists is outstanding and includes Vogue Rising Star Young Huh, Kips Bay Showhouse legend Richard Ouellette of Les Ensembliers, and the ever-delightful lover of Sanctuary Lisa Kahn-Allen. Be sure to join us and say hi if you’re there!

But back to my little Oakville home and what’s happening in the Master Bedroom Makeover. Given that the room is relatively small, the bed is truly going to be the star of the show. Not to say that there won’t be some additional very lovely details (more on that soon), but the bed needs to be, well, a little bit sexy if you’ll forgive me for saying so.

Enter my friends at Whittington & Co. who, together with some absolutely luxe Crypton velvet, are going to make magic in the shape of this:

Not only will this bed be dead sexy, it will also be truly healthy. Healthy is the new sexy, after all! And this is why I love working with the custom furniture manufacturing team at Whittington: because they specialize in making dreams come true. Not only will they be creating this bed from my custom design; they will also be making it using VOC-free and formaldehyde-free adhesives and natural rubber-derived latex foam. Why do I care about these materials? Because I want to make sure that this bed does not off-gas and secretly compromise our health while we are sleeping and our bodies are working to repair and restore.

Given my personal health journey and all the research I’ve done into creating a healing environment, I have been longing to create a toxin-free sanctuary in our bedroom for some time. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am that the team at Whittington will be working with me to make that dream a reality with this gorgeous custom toxin-free bed!

“But what about the mattress?” I hear you ask. Fear not, my friends, for that too will be a totally non-toxic wonder. I will be telling you much more about it in a post to come, but here is a sneak peek at the totally toxin-free, organic mattress from Canadian manufacturer Obasan that we will soon be laying on to dream our sweet dreams:

There are so many more delicious details waiting for me to share them with you, but I confess that due to my almost-but-not-quite packed status and the fact that I’m writing this the night before I leave for High Point, those delicious details will have to wait until next week’s post. Look for details like:

  • Our beautiful nightstands from Bernhardt that are total materials mixology magic
  • The lighting from Hudson Valley Lighting that is going to take this room from ho-hum to HELLO!
  • The interior mouldings from Metrie that we will be using to create architectural interest and dimension in the space
  • The STUNNING one-of-a-kind rug from King’s House Rugs that will anchor the whole space and give it that globally gathered feeling I love so much.
  • The fabrics – oh the FABRICS!
  • The art – oh the ART!!

Be patient with me friends, as I promise to share WAY more with you in a week’s time! So much good to come!

Until then, here’s to creating homes and lives that are as healthy as they are beautiful! Be sure to check out what the 20 featured ORC designers are up to here as well as all of the guest participants here. My friend Holly Hollingsworth Phillips of The English Room may just be undertaking the most ambitious One Room Challenge project of all time.

By |October 11th, 2018|0 Comments