The Tales of a Designer- Renovating Right. Where to Splurge and Where to Save

1.Invest where it will make an impact.

So you’ve compiled your inspiration photographs, you’ve planned out what will be happening with the space, and you’ve compiled a budget. Now to decide how much to pay for what?

My rule of thumb : every Reno has a focal, something special to set it apart from the thousands of other homes . This is what you spend that little extra.

reno 2

Found on domaine home

Whether it be a gorgeous fabric for the window seat, authentic barn wood for the beams or even that embossed detailing on the fireplace mantel.. Its those details that are going to wow.

This does not mean skimp on building materials. It means investing into that special piece. Hint. It’s rarely the faucet or laser cut furnace vents. Purchase honest, good quality materials, however remember that if your splurging on a piece, it better be ah-mazing.

  1. Think long term

You never know what life will throw at you! (my parents had 7 kids. Enough said.) this house may not be the forever home you where dreaming of. So maybe rethink that built in BBQ grill with the faux stone finish (yep seen that one too!) There’s something about a well designed home that appeals to everyone, even if its not their specific style. It’s the balance of line, form and texture that really makes a renovation come together- and should you decide to resell- boost property value.

If this is absolutely going to be your nest for the next 10-20 years of your life- your going to want to invest in quality, durable finishes. This may mean doing a bit of research as to the longevity of what you’ve chosen and staying away from anything too trendy.

reno 4

Found on desire to inspire

A few tips to keep your new Reno looking fabulous longer.

  • When choosing stone for your countertops- stay away from soft porous stones (marble, slate etc). Instead, go for engineered quartz! or granite that’s been filled and treated.
  • Choose a light flooring with a textured grain for your flooring. Not only will it bring warmth and texture to your space, it won’t fade or stain in the sunlight as darker wood has a tendency to.
  • Pick a backsplash that is simple and not too trendy- as it’s the backsplash and bathrooms that tend date a Reno.
  1. Work with your existing space.

I’ve recently been seeing a lot of beautiful old homes have their entire first floor walls torn down and “opened up” to give a very city like feel.

This usually means adding a enormous kitchen, a entry way, living room and… well that’s it. Often older buildings where built on a smaller foundation, walls would clearly separate the rooms and housed a miniscule kitchen to save space. Now, with new renovations we are seeing some painful loss of space due to poor planning.

reno 1

Found on La Dolce Vita Blog

Things you can do to work with your space

  • look at the flow of your space and separate it clearly into the sections you want to include (dining, living, entry, kitchen etc)
  • find furniture that fits with your space – stay away from the sprawling sectionals, and opt for something more compact that works with the space you have.
  • Invest in storage. There are so many unique and innovative ways to personalize your kitchen with storage. Take advantage of every spare inch go for a gallery or a U shaped kitchen and never underestimate the power of a lazy Susan!

4.Save a bit for later

Is your budget tight? Set aside something that can be completed at a later date.

I often see clients make compromises on pieces just to have the project wrapped up and completed. Good things come to those who wait! in the long term it’s the details that will separate your space from the sea of rushed renovations out there.

Buisness Cards-01

Top Etsy Shops For Unique Home Decor

1.Based in Iceland, Railis is a Scandinavian décor shop known for their signature humpback whale print(sold yet?).      From mugs, pillows- even table lamps! this is your go to place for anything unique and whale related.


Found on Railis


2. In Melbourne Australia, Shop owner Lizzy has developed a line of adorable quirky throw pillows, with vintage eclectic prints featuring flamingos, watermelons and goldfish- her shop Vintage Topsy is a a goldmine for all things quirky and Zooey Deschanel inspired.

flamingo Pillow

Found on Vintage Topsy


3. SiamSawadee is a oriental home décor shop which specializes in absolutely stunning oriental hand carved headboards. The shop also includes beautiful baskets and boxes, painted in bright saturated color and with incredible detail. Their headboards start at approximately 250.00. But the detail is extraordinary and makes for a one of a kind piece.


Found on SiamSawadee


4. Having trouble finding that perfect area rug to pull your space together? Look no further than OLDVINSHOP whose shop features remade vintage Turkish rugs- and yeah- they look as cool as they sound. Beautiful saturated tones downplay the intricacy of the motifs and make for the ultimate floor candy.

old vin shop

Found on Olvinshop


5. There’s something so intimate about buying handmade tableware- the process of sharing food and spending time with the people you love. Michal Keren Gelman designer and shop owner lives in Israel, in west Galilee has a collection of dining and serve ware that captures warmth and elegance. Her pieces are made of ceramics and clays, each created individually, by hand. Isn’t it amazing that through this platform we are able to reach talented, motivated artisans from all over the world and benefit from their gift?


Found on FreeFolding


Amazing right! SO much talent- unbelievable! be sure to check out our own etsy shop for all things print related!


Jehlickova- Home Decor

5 Things Every Apartment Should Have

Upgrade your quality of living, organize your priorities and enjoy the simple things in life more fully, with these 5 simple budget friendly guidelines.


pallet herbs

Found on Style Me Pretty

Its amazing the change fresh herbs make. They can transform a ordinary omelet into a mouthwatering creation. Herbs are extremely budget friendly- each plant costs approximately 4.99 CAD at a farmers market and if you treat them right- should provide a lifetime of flavoring. As a added bonus the change in air quality is tangible. Some herbs- such as rosemary and mint carry a soft smell that relaxes and refreshes- without any of the chemical additives.

  1. Functional storage by the door

door organization

found on ApartmentTherapy

Never underestimate the power of organization! Having a coherent system to store your shoes, purse, keys etc will determine how your leave and enter home. It will set the tone for the day- whether it be stressed and late or collected, on time, and sipping a latte. Take the time this week to run through your morning routine and think about what you could change.

a few suggestions

– Invest in seating with storage

– Have a specific place you put your keys, like a bowl or hook

-For shoe storage, think strategy- put your seasonal boots in storage, to free up space and show off those summer sandals!

  1. A good espresso machine

esspresso corner

Found on madeinpersbo

This is especially important for those in college/university. Coffee will be very necessary during the school year. And it is very true good coffee is expeeensive. By buying quality beans, investing in a espresso maker and learning what you can about proper techniques on grinding, pulling etc. you will save a small fortune.

Think you cant afford one? Think again. Kijiji and Craigslist are amazing sources to find high end machines for a fraction of the price- often new or barely used! (but remember Kijiji safely) The best investment I made in college was easily my machine. Its stayed with me as I’ve moved cities and continues to produce exceptional cup after cup.

A few suggestions in buying a machine.

– To save time in rifling though the mediocre machines- make a “dream list” of your first choices ie. Breville ® Infuser Espresso Machine use that to start your search- this way you will be able to save time and compare prices.

When Kijiji-ing Always choose a public meeting point, and take extra caution- you can never be too safe. I cannot stress this enough!

Here are some great tips about learning the basics for better coffee- you may have been doing your coffee wrong this entire time!

4 Light your space properly


There are three different types of lighting: ambient , task , and accent lighting . I find a lot of homes I design for are extremely under lit. This can make a huge impact on not only your comfort, but productivity. Often we damage our eyes without even knowing it! A room that may be well lit by daylight – becomes dark and uncomfortable rapidly- especially in the winter months.

Lets Break it down.

a) Ambient lighting- these are your ceiling fixture, they create a full light and should reach every corner of the space, pay attention to what type of bulb you use- and opt for a more flattering full spectrum or   fluorescent bulb.

b) Task Lighting- This is especially important in kitchens, offices and dining areas- where clarity matters! Students- take note task lighting should be your best friend, and will prevent premature fatigue and

c) Accent lighting- this is the more decorative/ aesthetic side of things, definitely not to be overlooked. A well placed floor/side lamp brings balance and coherence to a room and can act as a functional art   Win- win right?

  1. Skip the screen

Instead of splurging on a shiny new flat screen- consider going without. Think honestly- what would your life look like with less screen time? Chances are you spend the majority of your day working on a computer. So maybe take the time to make your home a haven of sorts without having all your furniture pointed at a television. In the mood for a movie? Todays lap tops have incredible speakers, screen resolution and Netflix is just a click away. Our generation has finally developed enough to recognize the value of balancing offline/online time As a culture of young adults we are beginning to appreciate the intimacy of gathering with friends without the distraction of the internet. Which is amazing. We’re beginning to figure it out guys! So for that reason- I encourage those of you moving, or embarking on a new adventure with your first apartment- skip the screen! And invest your money in something that will increase your quality of life- instead of distract you from it.

Monday Blues? Just Go To Paris


Hi all, so we’ve decided to take our inspiration and home décor game to the next level. With a curated collection of wall and home décor. We’ve just launched our first few prints- selling for only 4.99 CAD each. Amazing right?!

Each print is available in square (10X10) Paper (8.5X10) and Poster (16.5X23.4) sized (wohoohoo!) to avoid wasting time and money on sending them out as a physical print- we’ve made them available as an instant download. So you can either do the printing yourself- or take them to the shop and customize them with paper stock, gloss etc.

gold amsterdam10 x10

Our collection was inspired by a collective need for affordable, well presented and high quality prints intended for a client base similar to us: in love with travel, design and home décor.

You can purchase them on etsy here

All the photos have been taken by yours truly- and we are in the process of putting together a city collection- so if you have a city that you would like to have custom made- get in touch!

Happy Monday!