Outfit Change: From Designer, Back to Student.

Quick transition from work week to student life. I tend to feel a little disjointed on Thursday nights. I’m emerging from 4 days, 11-ish hours long (which now have an few hours of homework following them), and then I’ve got the mad dash of finishing up homework (I’m learning how to do “good enough” and not meticulously perfect) and making sure I didn’t miss anything. Last week was a late night because of IDS West and this week was late because one of our suppliers sent Scotty and I to a preseason Canucks game. I’ve never been to a hockey game. Never could stomach those ticket prices, but tonight felt like a real treat even *if* I was working on a little homework in my notebook during parts of the game. It was nice to spend a bit of time with Scotty that wasn’t both of us on our work laptops across the table from each other… Although I do love how we’re both in the same boat this year with making that leap into our new careers. We both come home and tell each other how dumb we felt at work when “x” happened. And then we laugh (to keep from crying… Some nights).
Tonight I did up a personal design statement. I think it turned out ok, I’ll share it this weekend. I also discovered iTunes festival… Has this been around forever? I’m probably so late to the “show” but I’m happy to finally be here. That’s Ellie Goulding belting it out. I think her last two albums were my most listened to this year. Absolutely love her.


IDS West.

Between all the excitement of Interior Design Show West, I managed to snap a few pictures. The show was really good this year, and Becky and I left it with aching feet (the best shoes always hurt the most) and so much excitement. The phone shots are just a taste. I was too busy enjoying myself to document everything, but it was such a great show. So much eye-candy. So much potential. So many ideas. While the industry-only event was on Friday, I am quite positive a lot of designers go to the Thursday night event. The air was just buzzing with design nerd excitement. I remember at an IDIC student event, one of the speakers said something along the lines of:

When you were a kid, you were always creating, you never left anything alone: whether your wardrobe or your room, you constantly changed ‘the look.’ As a student, you practically slept under your drafting table. And as a designer, you find yourself scribbling on napkins or the backs of receipts, and you take photos everywhere… even in a restaurant washroom because you love a light fixture, or a tile repeat. When you are a designer, you live and breathe it.


Becky talked at length with this gentleman. His pieces were beautiful. I was particularly taken with the coffee table. I opted for zebrano style wood mixed with white cabinetry (think colour-blocking) for our design office kitchen, but this stuff was insane! It was the richest colour of burnt orange and deep chocolate. And no offence to gold (I still love you), but I couldn’t get enough of the copper! Tastefully done, I think copper makes the most amazing table legs and trim especially when the wood is deep/rich.20130924-215037.jpg


Becky will try to tell you that “we” have started a teensy tiny furniture company, but the truth is, she is the one on her tiny deck with a chop saw and a rotary sander- I’m just trying to get this Jr.Designer/Student thing figured out. We’ve managed to convince our boss to let us make a small table for the reception area and a light fixture and table for our conference room. Again, I have helped her find stacks of free wood pallets and located a Christmas tree farm that sell cheap slabs of live edge. I’ve gushed with her over ideas and found hairpin table legs, but SHE has done the actual work. And this XO joint had her bursting with excitement (as wood that is drying tends to split).



Apologies for the awful, blurry picture with Becky ghosting in it, but sadly, it was the only one I took of this bike rim divider screen. Pretty awesome for a mancave or a boys room.


We had VIP passes sent to our office by some of our suppliers which meant that we got free access to the event as well as VIP lounge access. It was beautifully put together, but I tend to feel strange in VIP. The two times in my life that I got VIP I was floored with the privilege and so grateful, but I’m not fancy (I tend towards silly, and silly doesn’t seem very VIP-ish) and it felt weird watching people get turned away. We ducked in and admired center-pieces, sipped some wine and then snuck out the side.








LOVED these built in headboard lamps. Vintage work/shop lights… there is a use for absolutely everything. And it’s this kind of stuff that gets me excited!



Reclaimed wood wall mosaics. A vertical floor to ceiling strip on a wall can look sooooo cool.



Resin-filled stumps. Yeah. I am well aware. Look at his “Bloom Table” (click here)- this guy knows how to mix his wood with resin.




I’m a bit of a light nerd. I really love light fixtures. The other designers at work laugh at me because I always get excited to look for lights for their projects.


Take this idea and run with it. Imagine toys made into wall takes and spray painted on colour for a kids room.


Happy Autumn.

I know I have been acting like it is autumn for weeks now, but today is the first official ay of Autumn. I think that is reason to celebrate a bit. I know that I am going to spend my entire evening on AutoCad, so this morning I am going thrifting followed by a pop into the farmers market for produce and white pumpkins. I know they probably won’t make it to Halloween, but I see it similar to fresh flowers- enjoy them while you can.



I am on the hunt to find a camel wool jacket similar to this one, and some skirts… and jeans. ALWAYS jeans. The Value Village in Richmond can sometimes be crazy for jeans. I’ve found Paige Premium and J Brand for under $15.


Sources: 1.2.

I Just Woke Up…

… from a 13 hour sleep. I came home from class and passed out at 7pm on a friday night.

Go big or go home right?

The adjustment to full-time and school feels a bit like jet lag: I’m happy to be here, but my eyes feel heavy. I’ll adjust. I just need time.

There’s a stomach flu going around right now. A girl in my office and a couple of guys on Scotty’s football team have been bed-ridden by it. I’m quite sure i got some version of it on Thursday night and had it all day yesterday. Had it been a work day, I would have called in sick (and I’m so not the person to take sick days). But being that it was a school day, I ran on adrenaline. I shoved my fist into my stomach where it hurt and avoided standing up too much. I told myself that I didn’t have time to start throwing up (this post is heading in a better direction, bear with me), so when I felt that lump in my throat, pounding heart and faintness I mind-over-mattered it and told myself no way in hell.

The giant fog of a headache made AutoCad greaaaat. But if i missed a class, I would be lost. The semester is quick, only 9 more classes until my final exam. miss one and it’s impossible to catch up. I had a sketchbook assignment as well as an in class assignment in space planning, so there was no getting out of that either.

Thank goodness for my immune system. I think it’s pretty swell. They always say that rural kids have better immune systems than city kids. I lived on a farm until I was 7. Playing in the dirt and running through the forest in bare feet was my forte. Unbeknownst to my mom, after my brothers went off to school (so they wouldn’t tattle on me), I used to go into the chicken coop and climb through the tiny poop covered hole and run around in the back enclosure with all the chickens. Barefoot. In the mud. In the poop. Not a care in the world until I heard my mom calling me from the porch. I would race back to the house and she would violently brush my rats nest hair into a bun for ballet… [Ballet bit the dust after 2 years. I was holding out for the shoes with the ribbons on them, but all the restriction didn’t seem worth it… I did my own awesome blend of gymnastics and dance in the basement- I called it “Fantastics.” I don’t need any of this- I’ll make my own damn shoes, and I’ll dance the way I want with messy chicken coop hair… ]. Pretty sure I owe it to that chicken poop for allowing me to fight off a large part of that flu so that I could bus, skytrain and bus to class and make it through 7 hours of school with a stomach bug.

I don’t need any of this- I’ll have the flu the way I want to.

When i got out of class, I had a text from my boss:



Remember when I said that thing about the deep end? Total jump off into the deep end with this project. I’ve surfaced and realized I didn’t sink like a stone.

Now to keep kicking my feet and stay on the surface.


My First.

Here it is. My first project. You’ll get to see all the before and afters. I think it’s going to be a pretty great little Reno. I say “little” because the only room that is getting a brand new layout is the kitchen, but the entire place has been gutted. All the finishes are being updated and we are converting a bathtub into a luxury shower (bathtubs are becoming far less common).

It’s one of the bosses rental homes. He’s fixing it up to sell, so it’s the perfect job for yours truly to take on the lead without having to deal with overly picky clients. He’s putting me through the ringer with timeline though. I’ve been on the project for 8 days and by next week, I’ll probably be finished almost all the design work and ordering. I’m not completely on my own. I have been coached along like crazy by Becky. I can’t say enough great things about the girl. She’s been endlessly patient with me and so crazy encouraging. Today I had a moment that I couldn’t pull through. I was struggling through specing a gas fireplace insert, and I just couldn’t figure out what the face-plate dimensions should be for the opening in the wall. I called Becky and she dropped everything to come on site to explain it and figure out what should be ordered… “Dog eat dog” is not part of her credo.

I could keep writing for hours about my gratitude to that woman, but another long day lies ahead. So I’ll let my eyes finally close and I’ll tell myself that short, regular posts are better, and make it ok to to the bulk of my posts from my phone because you can only do what you can do.


My Apartment Smells Like Burnt Sugar and Oranges.

The thunder is starting to roll in and I’ve just polished of a plate of crepes suzette. I think I might spend the day doing a scary movie marathon. I absolutely adore this time of year. The amazing late-summer storms make it that much better.

With Scotty taking on two food and nutrition classes (one Jr and one Sr), we’ve been brainstorming ideas and trying recipes. One of my specialties is crepes. I loooooove crepes. It’s my go-to when we have friends over for breakfast (and sometimes dinner). I think I ate crepes for dinner every night on our honeymoon. I never strayed from the pineapple and banana crepes flambed in dark rum. I honestly could not get enough.

This morning I taught Scotty how to make crepes and berry sauce. My Grandma always did hers with blueberries and this incredible vanilla sauce- I credit her with my fondness (obsesssion) for those paper-thin confections.

A few Christmases ago, after watching a cooking show, I finally got up the guts to flambe and made crepes Suzette for the family. Now I get excited to light my food on fire. I would argue that nothing makes your house smell as amazing as crepes Suzette.



I won’t lie. I LOVE that Scotty is teaching foods. He knows his way around the kitchen (his specialty is muffins and fresh crab cakes), but it has only ever been when the mood struck. Now he is constantly looking up recipes and doing practice runs of what he’s going to teach the coming week. There’s something about the colder weather and shortened days that gets me excited to cook and I love that it’s something we can do together. To me, cooking isn’t a chore- it’s a great way to unwind after a long day at work.

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with wild abandon or not at all.

-Hariet Van Horne


And I Just Squeeked By On Rent.

Thank goodness we both found full-time jobs. We’ve been swimming in a very small pond. It’s been more like a mud pit. Being that we just took one week of unpaid vacation, August was a lot tighter than usual.


I won’t be shopping for a very very very long time, so this jacket is but a dream. But if I had the means to buy more than groceries and toiletries, I think this would be it.


It’s Here.


Another semester fast approaching. A new contract signed. A yearning to “give back.” A running bug caught.

Life doesn’t slow. It keeps flying along, and I find myself challenged to dive in. I have this annoying need to control everything and an almost debilitating need to do everything perfect. The pace of life is beating that need out of me. It’s one thing to do things well: to pour yourself into them, but it is another when it is never good enough. When you’re afraid to try something new because you might make a mistake… that’s when you have a problem.

So right now my prayers (amongst many others) are to let go. To dive in. To live in faith of one so much greater than me.

Today I officially transitioned from “intern” to jr. designer. I have been given a permanent, full-time position which will allow me to take on more as a designer as I learn it. Today I was running all over a house that we will be renovating with a laser measure. I was assisting with our architectural lead in dimensioning everything so that he could go back to the computer and draft up an “as is” floor plan. It hit me: I’m exactly where I should be.

The blog won’t be fancy, and the text might be sparse, but I want to make record of this journey. My goal isn’t glamour. Instead, it’s to delight in simple things. To be proud of working hard. To find depths of faith and be endlessly grateful.

Happy September. It’s officially my favourite time of the year. The photo was taken on the first night of our vacation on the Sunshine Coast. Since returning from New Zealand, I have been in a mad love-affair with the west coast. Don’t get me wrong, New Zealand is stunning. I left a piece of my heart there, but I realized my soul lives for the west coast. If only the two were closer…