/interior design

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

Introducing Project Backyard Makeover

Backyard Makeover Fabrics

The best and most meaningful memories are made gathered around the table.

Without a doubt, some of the happiest memories I’ve ever made have been gathered around the table with my family and friends. I feel like savouring daily meals together is one of the healthiest practices we have as a family. Turns out I’m not alone. In fact, researchers are saying that eating meals together as a family improves our health and even improves our kids’ vocabularies more significantly than reading them books at bedtime! And did you know that the only thing you can do to improve on the healthy, happy habit of eating around the table together is to do it outside? That’s why this little backyard makeover is so close to my heart.

dining-area-before backyard-before-sectional backyard-before-view-from-entrance

Not totally offensive, but not exactly pretty and inviting, right? So over the next 3 weeks, our plan is to create a space worthy of making summers last as long as possible. We had Thanksgiving dinner out here a couple of years ago, and I’m hoping we can do the same thing this year but with way more comfort and style.

Here’s the plan:

  1. Using the most stunning Sunbrella fabrics, including some delicious accent fabrics from their collection for Holly Hunt Great Outdoors, my friends at Deka Home & Patio are going to sew new seat, back and decorative cushions to bring the sectional back to life. Check out the first photo in this post for a peek at where things are headed there.
  2. I’ve wanted a dining pergola for forever, and thanks to Toja Grid, my dreams are going to become reality. Their super deluxe easy system of brackets is going to take the stress out of creating our dining structure, and then our friends at Deka are going to create some beautiful outdoor panels to frame it in and warm it up using more Sunbrella goodness.
  3. We’ll be painting the whole thing out with VOC-free, non-toxic Fusion Mineral Paints. We recently stucco’d the house a warm white and want the dining pergola to blend in.
  4. We are having our friends at Dinuovo create a ridiculously gorgeous custom dining table made out of stunning natural White Cherokee marble from Polycor. I can’t wait to show you more about our plans for that next week.
  5. To tie the dining and living spaces together, Dinuovo will be making a new cocktail table out of the same natural stone from Polycor for the seating area. (Bites lip) It’s all going to be so GORG.
  6. That dining table will seat 10, so we’ll be selecting some new dining chairs from partner Structube as well to complete this fresh, modern classic outdoor entertaining area.
  7. Generally tidy up, trim and refresh everything else for a truly inviting finished space for family and friends to gather.

We’ve given ourselves a rather ridiculous timeline to get all of this accomplished, in large part because summer is basically halfway done already! I do hope you’ll follow along with our progress as we transform this “almost there” outdoor living/dining area into a “we want to spend all of our time there” kind of space. While I’m definitely feeling daunted by all of the work yet to be done, I can also envision the finished product, and that is what is driving me forward.

Check in next week for the juicy details on the custom dining table, coffee table and chairs, and be sure to follow my Instastories in the meantime for some behind-the-scenes updates. Oh yes, and we will be throwing in a week and a half trip away to San Diego while we’re at it just to keep the pressure on. Because why not, right?

Looking forward to catching up with you and filling you in further next week!


By |July 26th, 2018|0 Comments

One Room Challenge | Fall 2016 Edition | Week Two

It’s a grand thing to have hope, and for me, hope comes from signs of change. Those signs of change – though dusty and far from glamorous at the moment – are in fact starting to show up to the party in this little basement of ours, specifically in the form of the drywall and electrical being finished and the floor being patched with self-levelling concrete in preparation for the broadloom installation.

After living with a thin film of icing-sugar-like drywall dust on every living surface in the house over the last week, I am BEYOND grateful to have that nasty business over with so we can move on to much more exciting details this week. Remember our mood board?

media room mood board*

Let’s just say we still have a lot to do to get from today to TA-DA. But that’s what deep breathing and hard work are for, am I right? In addition to the drywall, electrical and floor-prep being looked after, I did receive a few very important deliveries this week, and that always feels good. First off, our wall, ceiling and trim paint. Let me catch you up on the decision-making there.

Processed with Snapseed.

I have a career-long love affair with the Farrow & Ball line of paints for many reasons. Their historical grounding, nuance and sophistication mean they bring depth and life to every space in which I use them. Their colours are richer and more complex, in part because of the unique clay base to the paint. White is not simply white with Farrow & Ball, as evidenced by the six shades of white you see above.

Choosing the right white is all about the alchemy of art and science, and the truth is, it should always begin with your fabric selections. In this case, that would be my seemingly daring choice to upholster Whittington’s Joni sofa in pure white. I know, I know. I have a teenager and a toddler in my house. Has she lost her ever-loving mind? you quietly wonder to yourself.

No, I have not. At least, not on this front. Because I know the designer secret behind having a beautiful white sofa and actually being able to live on it.

My friends at Thibaut have solved the red-wine-drinking, white sofa-loving age-old dilemma with the introduction of their line of nanotechnology-treated fabrics.

So what’s the deal with nanotechology, you ask?

  1. Through the use of nanotechnology, every fibre in the fabric is fundamentally transformed to repel liquids.
  2. The natural qualities of the original fabric are maintained, including it’s softness, hand and breathability.
  3. The combination gives you natural looking fabrics that repel liquids, resist stains and significantly extend the life of your fabrics.
  4. This is an eco-friendly process, so your conscience can stay as clean as your white sofa.

Basically, thanks to Thibaut you can have your cake and eat it (on your sofa), too. Even if it’s chocolate. OK, especially if it’s chocolate.


So the arrival of our amazing Nanotex-ified Thibaut white fabric immediately narrowed my six choices of white down to two: All White and Wimborne White. Whereas All White is a brighter, cooler, slightly pinkish white, Wimborne White is warmer while still neutral and without any yellow undertones.


Wimborne White is a perfect compliment to the warm white throughout the rest of the house. Add to that the fact that Wimborne White visually softens the feel of the Thibaut shade, and we have a clear winner. I cannot wait to get that painting done this week!

While we are still on the subject of fabrics, I’ve got some serious goodies to share with you in the form of my pilow selections from Arianna Belle. I’m thrilled to be collaborating with this brilliant woman again, and I’m seriously excited about how the pattern play has come together for this space.


Needless to say, that gorgeous linen Leopard print will bring a feminine edge to the space, while that touch of Blush Velvet (sans le gold piping for simplicity’s sake) will add an elegant softness. I know I’m repeating the use of Kelly Wearstler’s Channels from our living room drapery treatments with the kidney cushion for the chair, but can you blame me? This fabric has a sense of artistic grit, and I’m all about bringing that vibe into my home.

So what’s on tap for this week?

  1. Finalize and install the wall panelling on the wall behind the sofa with our amazing Metrie mouldings.
  2. Paint the entire basement with my superhubs.
  3. Cheer on said superhubs as he builds our media cabinet.
  4. Paint said media cabinet in more Farrow & Ball goodness and get it ready to receive the LG TV of our dreams (more on that soon, I promise!).
  5. Recover from the flu that I am literally fighting as we speak.

I cannot realistically ever expect to get through a One Room Challenge unscathed, and if the flu is my mountain to climb for this one, I’ll take it! It beats FedEx losing my fabric any day of the week!

I cannot wait to check out the mountains being moved by my fellow ORC design daredevils this week, and you should join me in taking in all of that goodness through the links below.

Jana Bek | Chris Loves Julia | Shannon Claire | Coco.Kelley | The Curated House

Driven by Decor | The English Room | From the Right Bank | Sherry Hart

Hi Sugarplum | House of Jade | Hunted Interior | The Makerista | Making it Lovely

Marcus Design | Pencil & Paper Co. | Megan Pflug | Place of My Taste | Suburban B’s

Waiting on Martha Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by CIH

Next week I should have a few exciting, real-life photo updates for you, as well as more delicious design details to share on how this space is going to come together. I do hope you’ll stick around for the party! I have high hopes this will be a good one.


By |October 12th, 2016|20 Comments