Why Eating Outside Is Good For Your Health

This post was created in partnership with Bed Bath & Beyond. All opinions are my own. Promise.

Did you know that spending a total of just 2 hours a week outside can offer major health benefits? Both mentally and physically, we are just healthier versions of ourselves when we’re connected to nature. In fact, studies show that being outside can lower stress hormones and blood pressure, calm the nervous system and improve mood and immune function. I don’t know about you, but I’m down for all of that! In fact, I’m super passionate about designing homes that are as healthy as they are beautiful, and I believe that designing spaces that connect us to nature is a super important piece of that puzzle.

That’s why our outdoor living and dining transformation has truly been a game changer. Simply put, it invites us to slow down and connect – with nature and with each other – and we always need more of that.

Did you know that eating dinner together boosts your kids’ vocabulary even more than reading aloud to them? And the only way to make eating together healthier is to do it outside.

outdoor dining marble table

If you’re looking for ways to inspire yourself and your loved ones to eat outdoors and a full outdoor reno isn’t in the budget at the moment, I would invite you to invest in some inspiring new dinnerware to elevate your everyday meals. Making your daily details more beautiful can set the stage for making happy memories with the ones you love. I don’t see the need to separate outdoor dishes from indoor dishes, so the good news is, you’ll be investing in something that will translate into inspiring lingering dinners around the table indoors when the weather changes. It’s a win-win.


I recently updated our dinnerware, glasses and cutlery and found everything I needed at Bed Bath & Beyond. I’m in love with the soft, calming neutral palette of all of these pieces. I can honestly say that the steak knives from the Laguiole set are the best I’ve ever used. They cut through everything like butter and are so elegant. You know me, I’m always one to embrace a touch of French sophistication wherever I can, and this tableware update has honestly led us to enjoying our outdoor space even more because it all looks so beautiful together. The double old fashioned glasses in the glasses set also double as our stemless wine glasses, and I’m loving the efficiency and simplicity of that in my kitchen cabinets.

Huge thanks to Carol from Sweet Woodruff for the stunning florals, and to Laurie Wierzbecki for the beautiful photos.

Here’s to savouring every last minute of beautiful weather with the ones we love. Happy rest of summer, friends!

By |August 10th, 2020|0 Comments

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