When I was in Grade 6, I vividly remember walking to school on a cool autumn morning. It was September, and I was starting at yet another new school. This would be my fifth school since Grade 1, and I felt the butterflies dancing in my stomach as I approached the playground.
Did I wear the right outfit? Why did I let my mom cut my hair so short? Will anyone say hi to me? Will they like me?
Growing up, we moved every couple of years while I was in elementary and secondary school. I was always the “new kid”, and I developed a deep desire for a sense of belonging. This experience also shaped my view of what home meant.
Every time we moved, I watched my Mom create our “home” in each new environment, using familiar furniture, artwork, and treasured items. Even at such a young age, I experienced packing only my favourite things and the excitement of rearranging them in my new room. I would paint the walls and often add new bedding. The thrill and freedom of starting fresh has always stuck with me.
The pressure to create a “perfect-looking” home.
In the first couple of homes I owned as an interior designer, I felt the pressure to have picture-perfect decor. The feeling was reminiscent of that first day at a new school. There was this self-imposed pressure to fit in, belong, and be accepted. Because of this, my homes always felt “not quite done”. Then, I would put my social life on hold, waiting until my home was perfectly on-trend before inviting people over.
Unfortunately, by those standards, I was never ready. Trends changed faster than I (or my wallet) could keep up. And eventually, I realized that I didn’t need to try. There was a better way.
Designing a collected home instead.
The idea of a “collected” home has stuck with me since redecorating my room with my mom. Important pieces carry emotional meaning for us and allow us to bring those emotions and memories with us as we move from place to place. It’s a way of collecting experiences and memories and keeping them close. That way, even if the four walls or the city changes around us, we still feel at home. We still belong.
As I started embracing this approach in my own home as an adult, I realized that these experiences and memories are more intriguing than any on-trend home anyway. These pieces tell my story to people as they walk through the door. Our treasures become topics of conversation, a way to get to know us, and a way to share a bit of ourselves with others.
To me, that is more beautiful and meaningful than a shiny new home that looks like it came out of a magazine. Of course, we can still layer in new pieces that you love, but I want those pieces (and any “old” ones you might also include) to feel special to you. I want them to make you feel happy and at home. That’s what truly matters.
Embracing memories and meaning over perfection.
I have several pieces that feel deeply meaningful and collected in my home…
One of my favourites is my turquoise leather wingback chair (left). It’s stayed with me over the past 3-4 moves and was my first significant furniture investment. It was also the first thing in my home that wasn’t neutral! Blue and green are my favourite colours, and this chair still makes me smile every time I see it. So many cozy memories have been made while sitting in this chair.
On the right, these tiny shoes were the first pair both of my kids wore, as well as my brothers’ four kids. The wooden cabin next to them was made by my grandpa as a replica of the home he built when he first came to Canada. There is so much history in these that it is impossible not to see them and smile at the memories!
I also have a beloved art piece from Bellagio, Italy that holds some of my favourite memories with my children, but I tell that story here.
How to discover your feeling of home.
What have I learned from all these years of moving, designing, and creating new homes? The feeling of being HOME starts with the person who dwells there. It’s a feeling. It’s layered. It’s full of depth and dimension that a designer can help you discover but can’t give you outright. Because it starts with you.
My tagline, “Spaces that feel like coming home to yourself”, is more than pretty words I strung together. Coming home to yourself is being brave enough to build the home you love, embrace the memories that make you who you are, wear the clothes you love, say what’s important, and fully show up as yourself in your life.
My gift is guiding clients in discovering what feels like home to them, and then helping them pull it all together. This means that you will have a home that makes you feel proud and excited to live. Not waiting for some future home or with your life on hold (like I did), but fully present and in the moment. You deserve that.
Want support creating a collected home?
When you work with me, my priority is to get to know your story. In our first meeting, I’ll ask questions about your lifestyle, family, and daily rhythms. I also find out what is most important to you. My hope is that we have a great conversation where you feel comfortable expressing yourself and what you want and value, regardless of trends.
I will then pair your definition of home with my eye for design and my experience managing renovations, new builds, and home furnishing projects. Together, we’ll craft a design plan that tells your story through your home and is comfortable, enduring, and memorable. Finally, we’ll bring it all to fruition, and I’m willing to bet your life will never be the same.
If you’re ready to create a space that tells your story, I’d love to help. Reach out to me here, and we’ll get to know each other to see if we’re the right fit.
Local Spotlight: Olann Handmade
I love the story behind this company and their process. (And I also love that the owner shares my Irish heritage!) They hand-make each piece with natural dyes and environmentally conscious materials, and they sell out within an hour every time they announce new stock!
This sweater is my gift to myself after a beautiful year of working hard as a designer and business owner. I fully support you treating yourself, too. 😉