With so much excitement we welcome baby #5 to our family. Joseph Andre welcome to the world.
My Thursday was a fairly ordinary Thursday, except for the fact that I was 2 days overdue which is quite unusual for me compared to my past 4 pregnancies. But come the afternoon I knew something was up (and that it would go fast) so in rush hour traffic we traveled downtown to meet our little one. No dramatic story (unlike my second pregnancy) but like my fourth, super fast.
We are home now getting used to our new normal. It's a little crazy, a little amazing, and so very worth it. Follow the adventure on my Instagram page. We are extremely grateful for the love and support we have felt.
On the day we finished our laundry room 2 houses very similar to ours (except with zero upgrades) went on the market on our street. While I am NEVER leaving this house after all the work we've gone through (ok, ok, never say never), the thought of selling does get pretty tempting.
After working 2 seasons behind the scenes in design TV on the hit show Buying and Selling with the Property Brothers, I have realized there really are a few reliable methods to get top dollar for your house- and sell it in 48 hours! (True story- totally happened to one of our homeowners! Sale within 48 hours!) Here are my top tips to get your house sold fast:
This is kinda huge. Paint everything a really really nice neutral- a gray, a soft gray teal, a soft gray blue (notice the gray theme?). I love Courtenay's post on her fab blog of her favourite CIL neutrals. Get rid of all focal walls, please please please!
2. CHANGE YOUR LIGHT FIXTURES
Get rid of the boob lights, track lights, ugly lights. Lighting has come a long way in regards to price point- making beautiful fixtures a lot more accessible. Pay close attention to the master bedroom and dining pendants where you might be able to do something really special!
3. INSTALL WINDOW TREATMENTS CORRECTLY
Notice the word correctly! Even a $19.99 drape can look amazing as long as it is installed correctly. Drapes should ideally just break at the floor- and the curtain rod should in most cases split the difference between the frame of the window and the ceiling.
4. CLEAN UP
This one is super basic but essentially clean like you have never cleaned before.
On the show we use a local Toronto staging company, Executive Rentals, and the difference gorgeous furniture makes I think is really what will expedite the sale. When a buyer can see the potential of their life in the space- and that their life will be AWESOME in it- it can certainly speed up the sale process.
What are your tips on fast house sales? Love to know in the comments below.
Last week I finished the #oneroomchallenge crazy event of completing my laundry room in 6 weeks. We legitimately went from dungeon to dramatic difference in 6 actual weeks. You can read all about the adventure and see some fun reveal pics here. Thanks so so so so much for all of the lovely comments and feedback. Special thanks to Natasha at The Simply Inspired Blog and Erin at The Organized Life for including me in posts summarizing their favourite spaces!
Beyond it being a pretty, sunny room, I am MOST excited that it's no longer a chaotic, dirty, dusty mess. Going in there was never fun, and it was almost always a safety hazard as we just piled everything we did not know what to do with in a disastrous pile. Sound familiar? Then you are going to love this post- THERE IS HOPE!!!!
Here are my 5 steps to an organized laundry room. Even if you aren't going to renovate, you can employ some of these tactics today!
STEP 1: DECIDE WHAT WILL LIVE IN THE SPACE
Make a list of the items that are going to actually live in the space. This is what lives in my laundry room:
– kids coats, shoes, backpacks, hats
– grown up off season coats
– all off season accessories for kids and grownups like snowpants, mitts, boots, etc.
– all household cleaning supplies
– all tools, tapes, most crafting supplies, items I use on set when styling for photoshoots or TV shows
When you have this list, figure out how much mass this stuff takes up. Will it fit in cabinets, do you need length for long coats, etc. etc. and design accordingly. My saving grace in this room was the Zobal system by Cutler pictured above. The key is to design your cabinets around your specific stuff, rather than the other way around. Same goes true for buying baskets, or plastic containers of any size. Figure out exactly what you need to store BEFORE you design cabinets or buy organizational items. Then- give yourself a clean sweep and purge everything else that does not belong!
STEP 2: WHAT FUNCTIONS NEED TO HAPPEN?
Obviously, you need to do laundry in the laundry room. But what else needs to happen? Do you need to fold, store laundry, sort laundry? Do you need a space for creating floral arrangements, or crafting up a storm? Do you need space for items that will go to the dry cleaners, or needs to be mended? In my space, I knew I needed the following functions:
– wash and dry clothing (A LOT OF IT with soon to be 7 people in this house)
– air dry clothing
– fold laundry
– space for kids to sit to take off boots, coats, etc.
– place for me to prep for photoshoots, pack up accessories and tools needed when on set
With my functions in mind I approached One One Eleven Designs to create this custom hanging rack for me to hang clothing like dress shirts that I don't want to go through the dryer. I also knew I needed ample counter space for the amount of laundry I fold so having one large 10' run of counter space was super important. This step is going to be really important if you are renovating so you can strategically achieve what you want and dedicate space for every specific thing. If you need help doing this I can help you out.
STEP 3: PLACE LIKE WITH LIKE
This is a step everyone can employ right away. Take all the items you know are going to live in the space as decided upon in Step 1, and now group "like with like". So place all the tools in pile, all the laundry supplies in one pile, all the other items in one pile. Now is the time you go shopping for baskets and such. For items that are kind messy like off season hats and mittens, I really like to throw them in a large opaque container like a wicker or cloth basket. I suggest small screws, small anything really get stored in stackable clear containers. I also corral mail and other small items in small trays and baskets from Bouclair.
STEP 4: KEEP VISIBLE ANYTHING YOU USE ALL THE TIME
To avoid having to rummage through bins and baskets I like keeping visible anything I use on a regular basis. In my house this includes tape, scissors, picture hanging supplies and vases (I love creating fresh floral arrangements throughout my house once or twice a week!) In my laundry room my Zobal wall installations work really hard for me to keep me organized. Additionally, I keep my detergent out on a yellow tray beside my units for convenience. I love how Sarah did this with her pre-soak powder treatment she stores in a terrarium beside her sink- the point of this step is to keep it efficient, functional and pretty.
STEP 5: MAKE IT PRETTY
Just because it's a laundry room doesn't mean you have to sacrifice on style. I would not hesitate to put wallpaper up in a laundry space, hang graphic art or paint the entire space a fun bold colour. Did you see what fellow #oneroomchallenge participant Paige Minear did in her laundry? My point is don't think of the laundry room as an afterthought. It can be just as stylish as the rest of your home. If you are renovating, consider a graphic floor or a bold colour on the walls. If you're just sprucing things up for spring, totally hang some art and / or create a styled surface- even if it's just on a floating shelf or movable storage cart.
Here's to keeping things organized and pretty this season- love to know what spring projects you've got on the go in the comments below.
Photos by Larry Arnal.
Phew! It was a mad race to the finish but the audacious challenge of completing my laundry room in 6 weeks for the One Room Challenge is now complete. Let's keep it real: it wasn't like anyone was keeping track if I didn't finish. I am basically 9 months pregnant after all and a few times this week I thought about throwing in the towel. But the entire concept of this challenge- a group of ambitious creatives doing this together, cheering each other on- my heart overflows with the new friends I have made and the invisible cheerleaders I felt I had along the way (and sending my love to my very real cheerleader, friend, and fellow complete a laundry room in 6 weeks cause we're crazy that way Sarah Walker).
If you are new to my blog, welcome! So happy to have you. Here's the before: a scary gross dungeon FILLED to the brim with junk:
And here is the crazy crazy transformation (still cannot believe we did this and I did not go into labour):
TILES: Let's start with the floors and backsplash. On the floors I wanted something graphic and herringbone, and I was prepared to cut every single tile personally. But when I saw these porcelain tiles at Creekside Tile I thought the 12" x 24" scale would work well in my space. In 3 shades of grey, my installer Roberto and I figured out the colour pattern (let me tell you that was a head scratcher to not get any colours touching…) and I am so pleased with the results. For the backsplash, Enrique at Creekside suggested a large scale herringbone in matte white- and with a light grey grout it provides an elegant texture and contrast to my floors.
INDUSTRIAL TEXTURE: This live edge wooden shelf with pipe hanging rod was a bit of a last minute addition (as in the team at One One Eleven are miracle workers). I've worked with Aimee and Chris, husband and wife woodworking team extraordinaire on client projects and TV shows- and so happy to have a little piece of their talent to act as a functional place to air dry clothing. And who doesn't love a live edge- the wood provides a gorgeous texture in any application in my opinion!
LAUNDRY FOR THE MASSES: As my smiling face in my photo at the top of this post would indicate, I cannot wait to do laundry in my new units. The Whirlpool Cabrio High-Efficiency Top Loader has Precision Dispense and the digital controls basically remember your ideal settings for doing laundry. And you guys- my dryer has a steam option and will dry 4 BASKETS OF LAUNDRY IN ONE GO! I needed to upgrade to larger units for my growing family- and chose to go white for some contrast and to match my counters.
STORAGE STORAGE EVERYWHERE: In my pursuit of keeping things family friendly (both in function and in approach to budget) I used off the rack cabinetry from Cutler Modern Living. These multi-purpose cabinets come flat packed so they whip together super fast (pick up to final installation was 2 days total by my super installer Steve). With handy baskets, hampers and trays from Bouclair I'm able to attempt to remain organized with my soon to be 5 kids : )
SPACE SAVING STORAGE: Between designing for clients and styling photoshoots from print and TV, I have SO MUCH STUFF that needs organized storage. I basically had small things like picture hanging hardware, various tools, vases for styling, and cleaning supplies for when I am on set in the most unorganized of tote bags and plastic bins. I never knew where anything was and was always scrambling. Scramble no more- this is the Zobal system by Cutler Modern Living and they have developed this amazing track system that is pretty darn perfect for my needs. With a variety of hooks, shelves, containers, etc. etc. that you customize to your liking- and can change at whim by the way as all the features clip and slide, by the way- this is truly a flexible and practical system for small space storage. I am kind of obsessed and am dreaming up applications for this in stone, glass tile and the like- I chose to install the tracks between melamine that matches my cabinets for a contemporary look. And PS- when cleaning supplies look as pretty as pretty as these Lemon Aide products do, can't help but keep them on display.
BRING ON THE BLACK: I love the industrial edge a matte black faucet brings to a space. I have this exact model in my kitchen- and at first I thought I should switch it up and not have a copy cat faucet in my laundry as well. But I just love it- and why mess with something you love- so the Solna by Brizo makes a repeat performance in my laundry as well.
This was a serious mad race to the finish line (seriously, most of the work happened in the last 72 hours!). But so thankful I finished, and thankful to my brand partners, to members of my design team Carter and Kelly-Lynn, and BIG thanks to Larry Arnal for these beautiful images. And thankful for all of you for following along. The whole idea of designing spaces that allow families to thrive is such an important concept to me. After doing it for clients day in and day out it always feels so good to use my own gifts to serve my own growing family. And while laundry might be mundane and tedious, it is a care we provide to our families that is a valuable, necessary, and can be done with a ton of love.
Now go check out what everyone else accomplished- the results are pretty amazing. For the featured 20 click here, and for the 150+ linking participants click here.
I think all parents could use one of these trophies from time to time. Cause being a parent- let alone a working parent- is a juggling act that is deserving of an award.
Being a working parent is no easy feat. It requires a great deal of organization and stamina. I started my interior design business right out of university, after working on this crazy little television show, and pretty shortly after I had my first child. 8 years of a business and almost 5 kids later the art of juggling has become a skill I am very familiar with.
For the purposes of this blog post I am calling "working parents" those who either work out of the home for someone else, or run their own business either full or part-time (bloggers you're in here too!). However, this nomenclature is not to underscore the amount of work it is to raise kids full time at home- it is absolutely the most important full time job I believe that exists today and it is a ton of hard work.
With that said, here are my top tips for how to balance it all without falling flat on your face:
1. PLAN YOUR IDEAL WEEK
This is a non-negotiable, do not pass go, do not move any further without sitting down to plan this. Here are some tips on how to plan it practically, but I also want you to consider the word "ideal" with an attitude of abundance. We live in a market today where being a working parent can look VERY different from generations past. So even if you work a "traditional" 9-5 job, might there be ways you could negotiate it to look less traditional ie. working from home a few days a week, extending your hours some days so you can take other days off, or simply starting your day early so you can end early and personally do school pick ups. I realize this might not be an option for everyone, but it is an option I think one should explore, or not write off completely before exploring options. The most important thing on this point is that you think about what IDEAL means for YOU, really dig deep without being limited, and adjust accordingly. It might lead you to realize that the situation you are in needs to change.
2. MANAGE YOUR OWN EXPECTATIONS
I think the pursuit of "having it all" can be kind of dangerous. I absolutely love Heather Havrilesky's take on it in this article. I agree with her wholeheartedly- I think working mothers / parents CAN have it all- you just have to adjust your expectation of what "IT" is. And "IT" is going to look totally different from one working parent (or any parent for that matter) to the next. Don't compare. I often get asked how I do it all- and I will be honest with you, I have no magic potion, no secret, no easy answer. I simply work hard, know the "why" behind what I do, and have gone through a ton of trial and error and adjusted every time. For me, it always comes down to the work I have done planning / visioning what my ideal life looks like, and every time things fall out of balance or I don't feel like my actions align with my values, I readjust.
3. MAKE FAMILY TIME AS IMPORTANT AS ANY WORK APPOINTMENT
This is huge, and admittedly, a muscle I constantly have to strengthen. Essentially, make spending time with your family just as important as any major meeting, presentation, client appointment or conference. In my own life, I will prepare whole-heartedly for work related meetings and events- but how much effort do I invest in spending time with my husband or kids? Too often I don't put in nearly as much effort. I'm not arguing that one has to make every ounce of quality time a production or major event- but that you schedule it, stick to it, and dare I say put your phone on silent in the same manner you would in a work meeting. In a practical sense this could look like taking Sundays off with your family, scheduling a weekly date night, etc. etc. etc. But the point is that it is scheduled, and prioritized highly.
4. EDIT YOUR LIFE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Okay, I do have an answer to the question how I do it all: I have edited my life A TON. In my business, I have delegated / outsourced as much as possible to keep me working in my strengths. In my home life, we have a part-time nanny and occasionally hire cleaning services. As a result of trial and error, I learned I could not do everything without compromising or feeling like I was failing at everything. I also argue working parents need to edit their lives of other things: activities that might waste time (I had to remove Angry Birds from my phone because I could not believe how much time I was spending killing those darn pigs!), friends that might suck your energy, or the amount of TV you watch.
5. EMBRACE THE IMBALANCE
I know I have used the word "balance" on this blog like it is something you can achieve. But make no mistake what I have learned, especially as an entrepreneur with really young kids- is that imbalance is far more regular and if I constantly tried to keep my life exactly balanced at all times I would not win. Instead, I embrace the imbalance, knowing that the pendulum always swings back: busy times are balanced later with family vacations, no day in my life is identical to the last, and that trying to control everything- including my kids- is a harmful and unrealistic goal. So I embrace that juggling work and kids won't always be graceful- but with proactive planning and a sense of humour you can thrive- not just survive.
What are your tips for balancing work and family life? Love to know in the comments below.