Busy bee

These last few days seem full to bursting: between the babies, the jobs, the house, the friends, the hubby (and a little time left over for me), I feel like I’m running a marathon – me and every other working mom, I bet. That being said, the things occupying my every waking moment are all really good things. And honestly, taking the time to write this all down and review my process for the various projects I’m undertaking is kind of relaxing. Even therapeutic somehow. So here is a rundown of my professional life in the last week or so…

First: The second HGTV post is up!  The advice I gave Genevieve in this blog post is advice I often have a hard time adhering to (i.e. if you don’t know where to put it, put it back). But, I have to say, having kids has made me a little more restrained – I no longer buy every shiny, pretty thing that catches my eye. That is, I no longer buy every shiny, pretty thing that catches my eye for the home – for the kids is another story altogether! This was actually the funniest part about shopping with Genevieve, my client and also a mom to an adorable toddler: whether we were at the grungy flea market or at Ikea, finds for our kids always stopped us in our tracks. Always. Still I kept her (and me) in check and didn’t let her buy the thousands of toy trucks she wanted. I think our haul was pretty great. We kept our colour scheme pretty strict: red and black for the upstairs playroom/guest room (no cliché baby colours here). And for the downstairs office/guest room, the colours we wove through were those in the map that she wanted to put up on the wall: turquoise, orange and green. I tried to throw in some white in both rooms, so as to avoid getting too matchy-matchy and to brighten everything up. I must say that shopping with this client was super fun.

Below, some of our finds:

Winners Homesense


Flea Market




Butcher shop update: We have chosen our tile. The challenge was that the kitchen is visible to the customers so it needed to be pretty. However, it is a production kitchen, which means it will get messy and so needs to be hyper resistant and absolutely non-slippery. It is surprisingly difficult to find pretty, commercial grade tile that fits within our mini budget. And speaking of mini, I really wanted to do a small tile – a hex or penny round. Because we couldn’t find one we could afford that wasn’t risking our employees lives with its slipperiness, the compromise was the 2″x2″ dark grey tile pictured below.


And because it looked a little bit boring, I think we’ll install it like this:


Way more visually interesting, no? The tile is from La Tuilerie. A place with some great, cheap options. If you go, ask for Vincent – he was THE best.

Then we went on to choose the wall tile. This was solely for the kitchen area at the very back of the space, but definitely something that will have an impact on the aesthetics. I wanted to go super bold (red floor to ceiling tile or oversized honeycombs, something striking) but Sefi reigned me in: it is a butcher shop, a production kitchen. It needs to look clean and almost cold. She wanted a subway tile. Now, I love me a subway tile, but lately it’s all I see anywhere. The happy compromise was a larger subway tile, 4″x8″. We wanted cream but settled for white (not an ultra white, a softer one). I also added a stripe of black subway going through the room to add something visually interesting. Though still a classic look, going bigger with the size of the tile means that we are modernizing it and also that we aren’t competing with the brick wall running through the space. The wall bricks are long and skinny and uneven so maybe a more standard 3″x6″ would have seemed jarring.


Finally, we chose the tile for the basement bathroom and hallway. Given that customers will be using the bathroom, it needed to be pretty. And it is: a 1″x1″ black hex tile with mat and the occasional glossy bits.


The hex as well as the subway tile are from Ramacieri Soligo, my favourite tile spot in the city. They have gorgeous tile, sinks, faucets, etc. This is almost always my first stop in the design process; I get inspired every time I walk through their showroom. My lady there is Annie – she is super nice and very pretty.

Also we met with one of my favourite Montreal characters/trades: Mr. Dave Arnold, a.k.a Mr.Sign. He did our Lawrence sign, which I love – so simple and true and right! And when I was hired to spruce up/redesign the vintage shop Annex Vintage, I got Dave to do the sign too. He is super talented, a blast to work with, all-in all pretty rad. So, he will be doing the Boucherie Lawrence sign too. Very exciting and ready next week!

The Lawrence sign

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New client:

I was hired by an acquaintance to help out with the new home she bought. It is a duplex and she and her partner (and their baby, due in the fall), will take over the ground floor. They will have tenants upstairs. They plan to live there for a couple of years, move out and then use it as income property, renting out both floors. My first question to a client when it comes to renovating their place is: “Is this your forever home?”  If the answer is yes, then I allow myself to picture the dream scenario. If it isn’t a forever home then why blow all of your savings on something you will not live in for long. I mean, maybe if you have tons of money but that is rarely my customer base!

This is not their forever home, but she needs to get it to a decent, liveable place. Specifically, she wanted a consultation about the kitchen. They were originally going to do a massive renovation to the whole house but now that they are expecting, they have decided to simplify. My involvement: I went to take a look and modified the layout to make it more logical, user friendly and hopefully, prettier. Not hard as the existing tenants have the fridge blocking part of the window. Never block a window with a fridge! That is totally unacceptable. I quickly sketched a new floor plan and Ikea will work its magic with the cabinetry and counters. When you don’t want to spend a lot of $ on a kitchen, I don’t think anywhere in Montreal can beat Ikea.

Daycare: Somehow in the midst of all of this, I agreed to do a presentation at my son’s daycare about the work that I do. I am surprisingly terrified of speaking to 8 three and a half year olds. But it is of vital importance that I do this because when my son was asked what his mommy does for a living, he said that I drive his daddy to work. Seriously.When pressed, he said I also take care of him and his sister. Oh boy. So just to complicate my life further, I have been wracking my brain and I will attempt an activity with the kids. I have been looking for furniture/floor plan templates that I will photocopy, cut out and then let each child glue the furniture down where they think it could go on a floor plan.

something like this?


I’ll also go to the paint store and get them a bunch of paint chips to choose from. Maybe show them some tile samples? Probably a disaster but I can’t think of anything else. Basically, Oscar, your mommy goes to people’s homes and businesses and tells them what colour to paint their walls, where to put their furniture, what fabrics to choose, what tile to buy. Somehow, that doesn’t seem to cover it all…


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