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

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

“Anyone can escape into sleep

we are all geniuses when we dream

the butchers and the poets equal there.”

– Emile M. Cioran

I feel like I begin every Week One post for the One Room Challenge by saying that I can’t believe it’s that time of year again, but I truly can’t believe it’s ORC time again! It’s been awhile since I took this designer plunge as I’ve been quite content to cheer from the sidelines as designer friends sprinted to the 6 week finish line. I nearly didn’t jump this round either, but a lovely friend and the owner of Whittington & Co (my custom workroom here in Toronto) convinced me it was time to do another project together, and it seems this Master Bedroom Makeover was meant to be, as it’s all come together quite miraculously at the last minute.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the One Room Challenge is the brainchild of Linda Weinstein of Calling It Home. This 6 week online design event links designers from across North America and, like a virtual linking of arms, we collectively push to complete a space in 6 short weeks, documenting our progress in our weekly blog posts. The ORC usually serves as the impetus most of us designers need to finish spaces in our own homes, avoiding the dreaded “shoemaker syndrome.” Why is it that our own homes always seem to be at the bottom of the list? That’s why this push is always such a Godsend! And as you’ll see, I’ve been needing it for our Master Bedroom.

Before I share the “befores” with you, I’d love to look back on some of the spaces I’ve had the pleasure of designing for previous editions of the One Room Challenge.

To be honest, most of them have been rather massive undertakings, so I’m grateful and rather relieved to be taking on something much smaller with truly just one room, and not a particularly big one at that. That said, it’s been my observation that Master Bedrooms are almost always one of the last rooms in the house to get properly finished. It makes sense to start with the most social spaces in our homes as we work through our design and decorating budgets, but I’ve been struck recently by how critical the Master Bedroom is for creating a healthy sanctuary in which to restore and refresh ourselves. After all, our sleep is the time in our circadian rhythms when our bodies do the most regenerating, so creating a healthy context for that process could not be more important.

Our master as it is currently isn’t totally horrific, I suppose. It’s just very unfinished and lacking in some key healthful elements that will make it a true sanctuary for Graham and I each night. Here’s the before in all its yawn-worthy glory.


  1. I like that we have a king sized bed
  2. I like the neutral colour palette
  3. I like the Barbara Barry silk coverlet and Euros, we’ve just had them for over a decade
  4. I like having dark walls as it makes for a better sleeping environment

Admittedly not the longest list, but at least there are things to be appreciated in the “now and not yet!”

  1. Probably most glaringly obvious are the pathetically undersized, horribly outdated side tables that are overflowing with books on BOTH sides of the bed. To say we are in desperate need of an upgrade here is a massive understatement, not just because we are book lovers, but also for relocating some of our clothes storage so we can centre the bed in the room and create better symmetry.
  2. The headboard looks fine, but the truth is that after more than a decade of use it’s become unstable and the fabric is stained in places from pre-bedtime hand cream applications gone wrong. I also don’t love that the metal frame under the boxspring squeaks as if to tell us that it’s time to lose some weight. OK, so maybe it is, but I don’t need my bedframe reminding me of it!
  3. Sometimes it’s what you DON’T see that matters most. Exibit A: The mattress. It is not organic and – as I’ve learned from my ongoing deep dive into designing the ultimate Healthy Home – it’s basically like sleeping on a bed of gasoline thanks to the flame retardants that have been sprayed all over it. (Yes, this is true of every other standard mattress on the market). As someone who is very health conscious, and frankly working my tail off to overcome Lyme Disease, I need to do everything I can to eliminate toxins from my home. The mattress is a biggie and I can’t wait to make this healthy “ditch and switch” in our Master Bedroom.
  4. Exhibit B on the list of “things you don’t see”: The lighting. You can’t tell from these simple iPhone snaps, but our bedside tables are getting loose…which means the shades rarely sit perfectly square and level…which yes, totally triggers my designer OCD.
  5. Exhibit C on the list of “things you don’t see”: The ceiling light is a basic, cheap flush mount which, in essential terms, inspired no one. Ever. It truly just makes you want to close your eyes. Why these hideous things are ever made is beyond me. It’s time for some inspired lighting, and this is one element I cannot wait to see installed. Photos of the current ceiling offender coming in an upcoming post (I promise).
  6. A lack of design story. Sure, it’s not the ugliest room I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t inspire me at all. That’s definitely due in large part to the lack of mouldings, art and appropriately sized, beautiful rug to tie it all together. All of those details promise to be addressed in this little makeover of ours.

And that, my friends, is all I will share with you for now with this Week One introduction to our Master Bedroom Makeover! Next week, look for details on the custom bed, the fabrics involved and some decisions to be made. And in the meantime, check out what the 20 featured designers are up to as well as all of the Guest Participants here! So much design goodness. Only 6 weeks. Let the games begin!

By |October 4th, 2018|0 Comments