I really can’t believe this year is coming to a close! I’m currently working through Michael Hyatt’s 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever and it’s always a great exercise to celebrate past wins and evaluate how I can improve. This past year saw the arrival of baby #5, I finished my laundry room, and my gym, and made my body go through its own before and after with hiring a trainer and finally exercising again.
As I was looking back I thought I would end this year off with my round up of 10 amazing before and after transformations that I’ve encountered this past year. It is amazing what a well designed space can do to elevate your mood, improve functionality and set the stage for amazing relationships, memories and fun.
1. Hi Sugarplum: bold and bright living room
This room is just delicious. I want to eat it. I find the magenta and marine blue such a polished combination and look at Cassie in this shot for the One Room Challenge reveal- she is just adorable. And also, she was on the cover of Redbook this year. Amazing. See the entire transformation of this room fabulous here (photos via Hi Sugarplum).
2. The Curated House: luxe laundry
Sarah is a dear friend of mine and I love this transformation as much as I love her. Gorgeous tile, calligraphy labels, those amazing pulls! So much to love. See the full One Room Challenge transformation here (photos via The Curated House).
3. Erica Cook: surprise son’s bedroom
I have admired the beautiful Erica Cook from afar for years- a fellow mom of 5 kids, I just love how she makes motherhood look so attractive (and glam!). I’d really like to live in her closet. Her son, who she created this room for as a surprise as part of the #CILPremiumBeauty contest we both participated in (see my bathroom here), must love this fresh space! I love Erica’s timeless, yet always super glam, approach to decor (photos via Moth Design).
4. IKEA: IDS15 Style At Home booth
I could not find a before picture of the trade show booth- but anyone else remember this amazing booth Style At Home magazine did for the Interior Design Show 2015? Using Ikea’s new line of Sektion cabinetry, they created a beautiful, Parisian inspired kitchen FULL OF BREAD. Fantastic drama with the repetition of black cabinets (photos via Ikea’s Pinterest page).
5. House of Jade: Jane’s room
Look at this girl! And that giant chicken! I am obsessed with the bright colours, layers of pattern and overall whimsy. For me the Minted oversize art piece was such a bold selection- that I might have second guessed and not had the guts to do if it were me. But look how successful it is in application! It’s amazing. See the full tour of this One Room Challenge space here (photos via House of Jade).
6. Jill Sorensen: kitchen contrast
It’s pretty bold to go with a blue island and this hue of yellow for upholstered chairs- which is why I love this space. The contrast is fun and unexpected. Also loving the Lewis Dolan brass pulls, pendants, and the fact that since this was part of the One Room Challenge blog event and things sometimes don’t work out in time, Jill is still smiling and pulled some serious missions to make it look amazing. See the full tour here (photos via Jill Sorensen).
7. Donna Bishop: kitchen design by Lisa Canning Interiors
Donna Bishop, eco beauty / lifestyle expert and founder of Green Beauty, approached me to design her kitchen with entertaining as the main factor. So we designed a HUGE communal island where all her guests could congregate. I’m obviously biased because I designed it, but I love the mix of barn board, matte floors and veneer walnut uppers. You can see the rest of this kitchen in the feature Style At Home did on it here (photos by the fab Valerie Wilcox for Style At Home).
8. Deb McCain: sunny kitchen design by Sarah Richardson
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Deb McCain on a few press projects and this kitchen is just as sunny as her personality. Designed by Sarah Richardson, I enjoy the mix of patterns from the striped floors to the organic painterly window covering print. See the full tour here (before image via Deb McCain’s instagram, after images via Chatelaine).
9. Swoon Worthy: pink patterned office
Can you tell I am obsessed with colour and pattern? Don’t get me wrong, I love a demure quiet room too- I just appreciate so much when people are gutsy and go for it. Colour and pattern can intimidate people that’s for sure- but when they are embraced and are executed well the results can be pretty inspiring. Such as this transformation done for the One Room Challenge by Swoon Worthy. I love the pink and black combo and mix of scale of the wallpaper and rug. See the full reveal here (photos via Swoon Worthy).
10. Honey We’re Home: lavender nursery
Many things to love about this space- the soft palette, the striped ceiling, gorgeous rug. I love when nurseries feel elegant as opposed to overly themed- this room will transition so well with this little girl. Another One Room Challenge space to use Minted art so well! Meet Megan and her beautiful blog here. Photos via Honey We’re Home.
11. Kimberly Schlegel Whitman: English living room
There is so much decorative goodness in this room, you really need to make a cup of Earl Grey and enjoy this space done by Kimberly Schlegel Whitman. It is full of visual stories, visual texture, and just tons of great design principles- and a fireplace fender with seating that is incredible. Go make your cuppa and read the details on this One Room Challenge space here. Photos via Kimberly Schlegel Whitman.
12. TIFF lounges presented by Scott Brothers Entertainment
For the past couple of years I have worked as Lead Designer for the Property Brothers on their show Buying and Selling with the Property Brothers. This August, the brothers were asked to produce some fun spaces at the CBC for the Toronto International Film Festival’s annual conference- and in 48-hours we overhauled the building and transformed 2 green rooms and the lobby in the brothers’ signature modern style. We hand assembled a MASSIVE FLOR custom carpet that celebs and delegates walked on in the lobby and incorporated some gorgeous hand painted pillows by Hollie Cooper Interiors. Could not have pulled off the 48-hour overhaul without an incredible team including Vanessa Suppa pictured above with Drew and Jonathan Scott! Photos by Larry Arnal and Mike Dizon.
13. The English Room: ping pong / dining room mash-up
This space completed for the One Room Challenge is gutsy, ballsy (pardon the ping pong pun!) and fun. And even better- versatile. The ping pong table cleverly converts to a dining table- what a fun fiesta. See the conversion here photos via The English Room.
14. The Zhush: builder basic bathroom
This beautiful bathroom room is a great example of how small tweaks can make a big impact. The builder basic bathroom room was really very basic- but look what happens when you add pattern on the walls and texture on the ceiling. Super smart that the palette was kept very neutral- with gorgeous bling in the faucet and hardware. Simple, but so impactful. See more goodness here photos via The Zhush.
15. Vanessa Francis: Parisian bedroom
Vanessa is so good at creating soft, soothing, inspiring, elegant spaces. I love the use of trim in this space she completed for the One Room Challenge and the incorporation of painterly florals.
See the rest of the room here, photos via Vanessa Francis.
If you liked these transformations and are dying to create your own in your home, I’ve got you covered- download my “10 key strategies to a magazine worthy space” by leaving your email below. It’s full of strategies employed in the rooms above with practical quick wins to make your home amazing.
From my family to yours, a very Merry Christmas!!!! I hope your celebrations have been amazing. We are still partying on and feeling quite indulgent.
Speaking of indulgent, we had the lovely opportunity to celebrate my mom's birthday at my house just before Christmas and I seized the opportunity to embrace magnolia leaves and greenery goodness. It was so quick and simple to throw together to create a polished table using the greens as a runner.
I wanted to make this party a really special celebration but was kinda strapped for time- my cast from my cellulitis saga came off not long before this party, so I had to make prep really efficient. I picked up the greens and magnolia leaves from Loblaw's (at half off I may add!) and everything else was stuff I already owned- except for these adorable white candlesticks from Hudson's Bay on clearance for $3. It might be because of the cast situation forcing me to take it easy, but this is one of the first holidays in as long as I can remember where I have not been too stressed out or overwhelmed to enjoy it. Because being too stressed out to enjoy precious moments like these would be such a shame. And enjoy we did!
And we are still enjoying- Christmas Eve all the colour came out and we've been having a great time at home.
A big part of decorating for the holidays for me is to mark that there is something really special going on, to invoke some wonder and some awe, and to celebrate the reason for all the hooplah. And that reason of course is the birth of a tiny little infant who would change the world- and my life- forever.
A very Merry Christmas to you all!!!
I am so excited for the holidays this year for a couple reasons 1) I am out of a cast- having 2 hands for Christmas is basically the best gift ever and 2) it's our second Christmas after our massive #canningreno so it's super fun to feel more at home and less overwhelmed by finishing up unpainted trim and the like.
Christmas is a big deal in the Canning house and we celebrate it hard- as Catholics, we observe at our home the traditional liturgical observance of keeping things a bit simple and solemn in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Then at Christmas Eve we go Christmas wild and that is when all the ornaments and colour and WINE and BACON and BUTTER come out for 12 DAYS. I cannot wait. Until then, we are keeping it pretty neutral. Here are a few secrets to keep it feeling super cozy and super glam all using neutrals.
1. Play with pillow patterns
Pillows (and textiles in general) will often dictate the colour scheme when I design for clients. And I like them comfy- 20" x 20", down filled (or down alternative) is where it's at. They provide the perfect amount of give to nestle up in. When using a neutral scheme, it's important to keep it interesting through variety of patterns. I find pillows are such an easy way to achieve this variety as you can play- you can physically swap out various scales and patterns until you feel satisfied with the combo. I went to Tonic Living for this cozy combo platter.
2. Mix your textures
A neutral palette can sometimes fall flat if there isn't variety in texture. So during the holidays mix up the woolens, knits, linens, natural woods, metallics and mattes to keep it really interesting. I love how the exposed wood in my coffee table is a rustic accent / anchor against the soft knits in my sofa. The table is from one of my brand partners Mirens- if you have not heard of them it's a great new Canadian founded company and I love them for their curated assortment of modern products at great prices. Lots of pieces for people who love a modern, minimal esthetic.
3. Add the glimmer
This is the element that makes it feel "holiday" and less "winter" -side note: this is why I love starting with a neutral palette as it is super easy and cost effective to strip down the holiday elements but still remain super chic for the rest of the winter- I'll be adding way more of this aspect come Christmas Eve but have started with my white Christmas tree.
From my two little elves, I hope this season has been a great one thus far!
If you're following me on Instagram you know I've had a bit of a health issue recently- through either a scrape or a bug bite on my left hand I developed an infection called cellulitis, which for some reason would not heal, which led me to being on days and days of various kinds of antibiotics, with my hand in a full on cast. Not being able to drive and being sick with the infection allowed me lots of time at home to rest and to think- I'll post more on this later but the quiet time was one positive outcome of this unexpected situation.
In the flurry of this busy holiday season I was forced to let go and relax- which is hard for me. It also meant, with five kids and only one hand, I really had to rely on the help of others. And I am so grateful for the many friends and family who came to my assistance. So grateful.
Since people were asking how they could help, it got me to thinking about what busy moms really need this holiday season. So I've put together this gift guide that I hope will help you cross a few gifts off your list, organized in a couple of fun categories!
BEST GIFTS FOR BUSY MOMS WHO ARE TIME STRAPPED
A cooked meal. With one hand out of commission there was minimal cooking action happening- and when people brought over prepared meals I was on cloud nine. I like cooking, but I don't enjoy it when there's a crying baby on my hip and toddlers dumping the contents of my tupperware drawer at my feet. So prepared meals for me are the bomb-dot-com. In the past I have tried Rose Riseman's Personal Gourmet which was delicious and wonderful and I stumbled upon this round up of the top 10 prepared meal delivery options in Toronto by BlogTO. Bonus of prepared meals- no clean up. That is a gift that keeps on giving for this busy mom!!!
An alarm clock. This might sound crazy, I know- but as I have written in the past, I am a huge proponent of waking up early. Like 5am early. Do I do it all the time? Nope. Do I miss it like crazy when I sleep in? Absolutely. Waking up before my kids, with 2 glorious hours of silence is THE BEST GIFT FOR MYSELF. I work out, I pray, I usually write a blog post- all before anyone has demanded anything of me. I am a happy person when my kids get up and that is another gift that keeps on giving. So to do it better, I'm using a simple cute alarm clock, with a light sensor so the glow won't disturb you when you sleep.
BEST GIFTS FOR BUSY MOMS WITH MODERN INTERIORS
Nuna Leaf baby seat. This seat is as beautiful as it is functional. It boasts an internal ball bearing that gently rocks baby back and forth with no motors or batteries. It can withstand up to 130lbs- so all my children have taken this for a ride! But my favourite aspect is that it is just so beautiful in its design, and comes in colours that can seamlessly integrate into your existing decor. If you follow me on Periscope I will be sharing a tour of my living room with this chair (likely with a baby in it too!) so stay tuned : )
Nuna Zaas high chair From the same family of products as the Leaf, this high chair is another item that seamlessly blends in with my decor. The genius of this chair is that it grows with your child- as pictured above it goes from high chair to regular chair, and comes in so many (non neon) colours to fit a modern interior.
Nuna Sena playpen. Can you tell I am a fan of this company? After discovering them at an event just before having our fifth baby, I honestly became obsessed. It is just so refreshing to find beautifully designed, functional baby products that aren't shades of neon. This little playpen has traveled with us everywhere- slightly smaller than the average playpen (which I find so convenient for storage in the back of our minivan), we have used this for our 6-month old as well as for our 2-year old while on vacation. Again this is a beautiful gift for the modern interior mama as its streamlined design and compact size allows it to blend in with your existing decor. We went with blue to match the wallpaper I selected for the basement!
Mamas & Papas Baby Snug My baby is just at the point where he can almost sit up unassisted, but not just yet- so this seat is perfect for him to look around and feel like he's part of the action with his older siblings. I love it for the mama who loves modern interiors because of the white exterior- again, neon child gear is just not for me- so when I find products that are functional and modern I am so excited to share. The pop of teal works in my living room really well, but it also comes in various colours (including a neutral!) to suit your decor.
Lakeland 4-in-1 convertible crib. The design of this crib falls a bit more on the transitional side but I put it in the modern interiors category for its colour and its price. It is super hard to find grey cribs off the rack that are modern and aren't at a more premium pricing level. At $300 USD, this is a really accessibly priced crib in a modern colourway- love that.
BEST GIFTS FOR BUSY MOMS WHO NEED TO SIT DOWN
Essentialism by Greg McEweon and The One Thing by Gary Keller. For my business and for me personally these have been game changers. I am not always the best at following the principles of pursuing less- but they are AMAZING principles and for me are the "secret" to how I balance 5 kids and a business. I go into a bit about Essentialism in a recent interview I did with the gals at Social Common- check it out here. These are great gifts for entrepreneurial mamas too.
BEST GIFT FOR BUSY MOMS WHO LOVE WHEN THEIR BABIES STAY SLEEPING
Graco Glider Elite. So you know when baby falls asleep in the stroller and you're like oh my goodness don't move him otherwise he'll wake up but you can't exactly leave him outside so you do the transfer with your breath held for like 2 minutes while you tip toe inside and pray he stays sleeping while you attempt to transfer to the crib? Been there SO MANY TIMES. Also failed so many times. What I love about this glider is that the bouncer chair is a separate unit that detaches from the glider- so when baby falls asleep while being rocked back and forth you only have to pick up the bouncer if you need to move and baby stays snug and secure. Also, it's a neutral, for anyone following that I LOVE neutral baby gear.
BEST GIFT FOR BUSY MOMS WHO NEED TO DE-STRESS QUICKLY
ESSENTIAL OILS! I have found that pure essential oils (I use doTerra but there are lots on the market) help me to de-stress like nothing else. Peppermint, lavender and grapefruit are my all time favourites for an instant stress fix. Simply put a drop on your wrists and take a nice slow inhale of the fragrance- for me it's an instant energy lift and I always recommend the ritual when in need of a quick de-stress fix.
I hope this helps with some ideas for the busy moms in your life! Love to know what's on your list.
Thanks to EiBrands for providing all the baby gear covered in this post. All opinions are my own based on thorough testing by my 5 kids, ages 6 and under : ) Affiliate links used in some cases.