We did it! In 6 short weeks (well, technically four as today officially marks one month of living in our new home in Florida) we have transformed our empty main floor living space into a gathering spot for my family of soon to be 8 kids.
Here is the before to jog your memory:
And here is the AFTER!
OK let’s start with some details- like this green sofa. I love the silhouette, I love the texture, and honestly, I love the price lol. If you remember what my former home looked like, this sofa has a similar silhouette to our beloved blue ones- but shorter dimensions to fit this space more appropriately. The beige upholstered wingback chairs were a remarkable steal from Goodwill for $8.99 each (WHAT IS THAT?!?!) I will honestly have to do an entire post on the resale market here in Florida because prices here are just so different (aka CHEAPER) than I am used to in Toronto Canada! The metal and leather-like chairs will be so practical once we put in our pool and I love how they don’t obstruct the view to my palm trees!
This rug makes my heart soar, for the pattern and again for the price! I saw it on my friend Adele’s instagram feed and knew it would provide a lovely texture and contrast against our tile floors. This Draper ottoman, a gift from the fine folks at HomePop, (we used two 58″ wide ottomans to fill the space appropriately and give everyone somewhere to put their feet up) is so durable for my rough and tumble group of children.
I really wanted a fireplace (so much so I wanted to rough in a gas line when we built the house but the builder’s sales agent literally looked at me like I had three heads when I made that suggestion- apparently gas fireplaces are just not a thing here in Florida!) so I went with a tried and true band partner I have worked with on many projects with this Thom media unit by Dimplex. Dimplex was the company that changed my perspective on electric fireplaces- they have really perfected the design to make flame look like flame and the technology to create the ambiance that a fireplace adds to a room.
One of my goals when I designed this space was to have elements that were “so Florida” and to me that is a bit of distressed wood (I also want to add something cane back or wicker in this space eventually!) So this Botanical 8-light chandelier fixture by Kichler Lighting satisfied this desire. I’m a big believer in layered sources of lighting- we love sitting here in the evenings with the sliding doors wide open and just this fixture on for ambiance.
In the eating area, I went with a pedastal table I purchased again secondhand, this time off of Facebook Marketplace for $375, with these chairs which are again so practical for my children (aka WIPEABLE). And I needed a little something glam here with this gold fixture by Kichler Lighting.
My love affair with gold continued in the kitchen with these handmade pulls by long time friend and brand partner Shayne Fox Hardware. I have known Shayne from my days working with the Property Brothers (she is a fellow Production Designer for TV) and she creates these pulls with her own hands in Toronto. I can no longer keep track of how many projects I have used these in. I love using them not only for their hand crafted beauty, but to also support a fellow entrepreneur providing for her family. And they coordinate incredibly with these Maclain 1-light mini pendants by Kichler Lighting.
If you have been following me for a while, you know my love of faucets and ensuring they are a special piece in a kitchen. They really are like jewelry on an outfit – you can take even the most basic of outfits and make it look spectacular with a statement accessory. For this installation, I went with Delta, a tried and true brand who I have done many projects with during my interior design career in Canada (take a peek at a few projects here and here). This time we opted for the Trask™ Kitchen Faucet with VoiceIQ™ Technology in Champagne Bronze. Right now, the faucet is available at Lowe’s in the classic Spotshield Stainless finish. I was lucky enough to receive early access to the Champagne Bronze finish, but be on the lookout as it’s coming to Lowe’s soon!
The Champagne Bronze picks up on the other metals I chose to use in the space, and I just love how elegant the simple gooseneck arc is, not to mention how the pull down spout is seamlessly integrated into the design. But what really makes this faucet special is the technology attached to it. Brand new to the United States (and Canada, this technology is coming to you soon), this faucet comes equipped with VoiceIQ Technology. VoiceIQ allows the faucet to be operated with your voice –- yup, with your voice! When connected to Amazon® Alexa® or Google Home (see footnote 1 below), you can literally say a command like, “pour 8 quarts of water” or “fill the coffee pot” (see footnote 2 below) and the faucet distributes the correct amount of water without you lifting a finger! Talk about magic. This especially comes in handy when I’m juggling a lot all at once, like prepping a meal while keeping track of the little ones.
Moving my family from Toronto to SW Florida (we are just outside Naples) has been quite the adventure with its fair share of stress and obstacles (needless to say doing it with 7 kids ages 10 and under while being super pregnant with number 8), but we are so thrilled to have made it, and even more thrilled to have a space now that will allow my family to gather, connect and create lasting memories in this new chapter of our lives. Thanks for following along the adventure and come back soon for a full video tour!
And this time is no exception. We have just moved my family from Toronto, Canada, to Southwest Florida, to a brand new home. We sold most of our possessions, and only brought what could fit in a 6′ x 12′ trailer! We have essentially started over in w ay, building our home up again piece by piece.
And it has been equal parts hard, equal parts fun, equal parts difficult, and equal parts exciting.
But as you can see, we are starting to come together! I have got some art to hang, and some decisions to make regarding a few furniture pieces etc. but we are in decent shape to make my reveal! Stay tuned next week for a full round up of sources, and all the after photos I can fit on my little corner of the internet!
If you’ve been following along, you know that I have recently moved my family to sunny SW Florida from Toronto Canada- and we sold almost EVERYTHING in the most epic of moving sales. We came down to the States pulling a 6′ x 12′ trailer that held essentially almost everything of our life in Canada (save for a few pieces that no matter how hard I crammed didn’t make it on to the trailer including my white feather Christmas tree, two gorgeous natural wood end tables and some extra copies of my book The Possibility Mom.
The process has taught me A LOT. And so for this week’s instalment chronicling the room design of my new living room, kitchen and dining room as art of this season’s One Room Challenge, I’m sharing the pros and cons of selling everything when you move.
PRO- DETACHMENT IS A GOOD THING
One great thing I observed as my furniture left my house in Toronto piece by piece was just how OK I was with stuff going. I am a deeply sentimental person. I have kept practically every single drawing my children have made for me, every card, every school craft, etc. And so I thought it would be similar with my stuff- and in truth, the first few pieces were hard to let go of. But after the pieces left, and my life went on so to speak, I realized that ultimately we are the ones who place meaning and value onto things, and I have a big say just how much meaning I give something.
Craziest story of my move- I had a storage room FULL OF STUFF that had not been touched for basically the almost 2 years we lived there. As I have children of all sizes, I have collected quite a few shoes, and boots and sandals and slippers. Unfortunately, there was some water damage on the property and a massive box of kids shoes got completely soaked and left to grow mold (gross). Old Lisa would have mourned the loss and the waste. new Lisa was like, “see you later moldy shoes!!!!”
CON- YOU HAVE TO FIGURE OUT STUFF QUICKLY WHEN YOU MOVE IN
I have never moved with such a small amount to unpack. It was actually quite surreal when we got here and we were able to unload the trailer in a couple of hours. But as a result of selling everything, we had literally nothing to sit on when we got here. If I were to do it all over again, I would have ordered a few pieces to arrive either in advance of us, or very quickly that first week- but I found there was just so much to tackle that I couldn’t get my head around decorating, and I didn’t want to make decisions out of panic or pressure- so we all sat on the stairs, on strollers, and on the floor for the first little while after moving in.
PRO- YOU GET TO START FRESH
There is something so nice about starting practically from scratch. For example- I don’t really have a junk drawer. I don’t have any random things in my freezer, or any half used expired spice bottles or random things like that. That has been SO NICE and noticeably different from other times we have moved.
CON- YOU GET TO START FRESH
The indecision I have felt around decorating my own home has been paralyzing. I am the WORST at designing for myself. Before I wrote my book #thepossibilitymom and started speaking and coaching moms on how to follow their dreams while being a great moms at the same time, I was an interior designer in Toronto for both private clients and HGTV shows like The Property Brothers. I loved what I did but discovered what was really fuelling my passion was helping families thrive- design was just to avenue.
All this to say, I still LOVE design and my tv design days have taught me how to design rooms on a budget, and FAST, which will be helpful because there’s only 2 weeks left for the One Room Challenge so it is going to be a legit race to the finish bahahah.
Here’s a quick update of what’s going on in my home:
We had a bit of an unspoken rule that if it did not fit in a box, it did not come to Florida. So while my furniture did not make the cut, a lot of my small decorative items did and this really made my home feel more like “me”. The cake stand is new and it is PLASTIC which is so helpful with my little toddlers with not so gentle fingers.
I am like a million weeks pregnant LOL and everything is adjusting to this Florida climate WHICH I WILL NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT BECAUSE CANADA IS NOW FREEZING COLD. I scored these side chairs second hand (PS- the resale market in Florida is just bananas. People sell high end, beautiful things for next to nothing. These chairs, in incredible condition, were less than $10 EACH! WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!
And I finally pulled the trigger and bought a sofa. Come back next week and I’ll hopefully have it here. Let me tell you it’s going to be the maddest of dashes to the finish line but I AM HERE FOR IT. Nothing like a nesting pregnant mama to get a decor project done in a jiffy.
WE ARE MOVING TO FLORIDA! In 2 days!!!!! And so I am jumping into Calling It Home’s One Room Challenge yet again to decorate my main floor. Since we aren’t down there yet, I don’t have decent before photos (come back next week) but press play below to see an emotional first look at my home. So excited to be joining as a guest participant this time around!
Be sure to check out the Featured 20 designers, as well as all the guest designers right here!!!! I will be back next Thursday with some before photos of the space, and my vision for what I want our new life in Florida to look like!!!!!!! Excited to journey together on this one : )
The fall season means all kinds of new habits for moms and kids alike – and if you are already feeling like you need a little help not constantly feeling overwhelmed and burdened by mom guilt, here are my favourite tips and products to get you through this season of change.
1. DON’T MAKE LIFE HARDER THAN IT NEEDS TO BE
Between dance lessons and homework assignments, and conference calls and parent- teacher meetings, a mom cannot afford to spend time and energy in areas that are not strategic. Sometimes, I think we make life harder than it needs to be – and this can contribute to feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and mom guilt in a huge way.
Take grocery shopping for example. I used to do it with a bunch of small kids in tow, and the experience would leave me frazzled and exhausted, and often without the thing I came to get from the store in the first place because I was busy being a hostage negotiator!!!
Instead, consider using a service like the PC Insiders Subscription. For $99 a year, you get free PC Express grocery pick up, you earn 200 PC Optimum points for every dollar spent on PC Organics products, PC Black Label Collection products and Joe Fresh merchandise. Plus, you save SO MUCH TIME. You place your grocery order online from the comfort of your own home (I use a recurring shopping list every single week), you select your desired time for pick up, you pull up your vehicle, and a friendly staff member delivers your groceries to your car.
What used to take me an hour and a half was significantly cut down to less than half an hour from start to finish. Services like this allow you to save time strategically, freeing you up to enjoy time with your family.
2. MAKE TIME FOR DATE NIGHT EVEN IF YOU HAVE NO CHILD CARE
When you think about it, so much time is spent in a car as a mom. I personally spend about an hour daily for school drop off and pick up, between one to two or more hours in the car for errands and appointments depending on the day, and then another hour driving kids to activities and play dates when we have them scheduled. That’s a lot!
So instead of just a place where we act as chauffeurs for our kids, what if the car could be a place for connection for all members of the family – even for something like a weekly date night?
Here’s how you do it: pack the kids in the car in their pyjamas, drive around until they fall asleep, grab your favourite drink, park somewhere scenic, and enjoy a movie or just enjoy music and each other’s company.
We recently took the Hyundai Palisade out for a test drive, and the bells and whistles on this SUV really allowed me to create a luxury date experience. Heated seats, heated steering wheel, Android Auto™ & Apple CarPlay™, USB outlets in every row- even an in- vehicle intercom with Kid’s “Quiet Zone” to silence whatever we are listening to in the front row, so we don’t disturb our sleeping baby in the back – it’s the kind of vehicle that keeps up with the demands of a modern family.
Connection can happen anywhere we are intentional about it happening- even in the car.
3. HELP KEEP YOUR KIDS GERM-FREE WHILE THEY ARE AT SCHOOL
The back-to-school his season is TOUGH, as a new school year means new germy situations. Your children also may be settling into a new routine and being introduced to new environments (like a new school). They also won’t have you with them
during the day to remind them to do things like wash their hands before and after lunch and recess!
To help my kids avoid germs and keep their hands clean during school hours, I include travel pouches of Wet Ones antibacterial hand wipes in their backpacks and lunch boxes every day. These Wet Ones wipes are hypoallergenic and gentle on skin, and are an easy way to ensure my kids keep harmful germs away when soap and water aren’t easily accessible – and let’s face it, many kids forget to get up, find a sink, and wash their hands.
The prompt of seeing a wipe in their lunchbox is a great way to keep your kiddos’ hands clean, and to help ease your mind, knowing that you have given them a line of defence against harmful germs.
4. ACKNOWLEDGE THAT ASKING FOR HELP IS NOT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS
I do not know where in modern motherhood it became a sign of success to do everything alone- but this mindset needs to stop!. We need to be ok with asking for help, and be ok receiving it! Whether your help comes from your mom, a hired service to clean your home, a teenager in the neighbourhood who watches your kids, or a mom you swap babysitting with so you can both get a break during the week, creating a culture where moms help each other succeed is something that is very important to me, and desperately needed today.
Thanks so much to the brands mentioned for partnering with me on this post. I only work with brands that I personally use myself and can personally attest to their value!
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I am a little obsessed with window coverings. I really do believe they are an area of the home that too often gets treated as an afterthought, but when done well, they can really make a space feel like a million dollars!!!!
So when Budget Blinds approached me to partner with them on a video to share the process of installing custom window coverings in your home, I was on board. Budget Blinds is a custom window covering provider – which means they provide tailor made drapes, blinds, shades, shutters and more for your home, completely customized for you space.
Everything begins with a free in-home consultation with a local Design Consultant. Your Design Consultant brings everything to you- and I mean everything! They bring you fabric samples, professional measuring tools, and even the technology to create your own custom fabric yourself through their DesignINK™ program.
I have known Toronto Design Consultant Karen for almost my entire interior design career. We have worked on many projects together (lots that I have written about on this blog! Check out Dacia’s kitchen and bedroom here).
And what has come out of a long business relationship, is a real life friendship as well. I love that by working with a Budget Blinds Design Consultant, I get to support a fellow entrepreneur, and mom, who is following her dreams (and you know how much I care about that)!
So as I mentioned, the Design Consultant takes care of everything, from professionally measuring the space, to guiding you in the design process to installing the final product. And what I love about the Budget Blinds approach is that they really care. They work with you to either match what is in your current home, or launch you into an entirely different design scheme, and provide you options to match your unique needs and budget.
In my home, we installed gorgeous sheer curtains using the DesignINK™ program. This program kind of blew my mind. When I was working with interior design clients, I would spend hours in fabric showrooms finding the perfect scheme for my clients- and this would take a lot of time! So what I think is so unique about DesignINK™, is that you get to play designer and create your own custom fabric from the comfort of your own home. Through their portable technology, your Design Consultant can guide you through hundreds of prints- from organic, to geometric, to traditional, to contemporary, and then you can customize the colour to basically whatever you want! We were able to match the exact pink in my drapes to the door colour in my dining room! Once you are satisfied with your design, your custom print is sent to be tested on the fabric of your choice, and you receive the options in the mail for approval! Check out what the process looked like here.
Pretty cool, right?
So here is what the spaces looked like before:
And here is what they looked like after!
I am so thrilled with how everything turned out. I wanted something playful to match the personality of my family. Pink was a bold choice, but we ensured that the hue was saturated enough that it wouldn’t feel too juvenile.
At Karen’s suggestion, we also created custom pillows to match the window coverings! And I love the custom touch this creates. This is the simplest way in my opinion to add a designer touch to a space – the repetition of colour and pattern creates a cohesive approach in the space and is a way of adding a custom element without breaking the bank!
I think that whatever your budget, or whatever the space, or however old your kids are, or whatever your stage is in life, everyone can enjoy a beautiful home – and window coverings are a big part of that!
To watch the entire transformation in my home, click play below.
And to learn how to work with a Budget Blinds Design Consultant (available throughout the USA and Canada!) click here!