sarah
Home + Design

My first Apartment Therapy Article is Live!

Holla!

This gal right here is now a contributing writer to one of her favourite websites ever. Say whaaaaat!

Just popping in to share my first article.

In today’s modern homes, open floor plans are common. True they have a lot of appeal but, when you knock down walls and merge the kitchen with the rest of the home, you then have an equally modern problem: what to do with the reverse side of your cabinetry or — now more frequently —the kitchen island facing the living or dining room. Put a little bit of extra care and attention to your kitchen’s “backside”, and add an entirely new and unexpected element. It’s also a smart way to boost storage and function, making the most out of your space.

I’ve rounded up a few of the best ways to transform your island into a hard-working piece of furniture that not only looks great, but also works with your lifestyle. Catch the full article here:

Baby Got Back: Adding Style & Storage to Your Kitchen Island’s Backside

+ cheer for me ‘cuz this is cool af.

Autumn

Img via: Sarah Sherman Samuel

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#Life, Biz

Leaping over Posting Paralysis + A Few Life Updates

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It’s been awhile since I’ve written a freeform blog update on my life in general. I guess a struggle I often have is overthinking everything, and turning little things into big things- that then feel like giant mountains that I’m tired just looking at. I think I tend to turn my blog into this intimidating shadow that looms in the back of my mind, that “I should be blogging”..

I have lists upon lists upon lists of “post ideas”- then I get caught up in my own internal battles as to which post I should write first.. One thing I want to try to get better at with my new freelance life is lightening up and writing when I feel inspired to. Sharing as I go, and not putting so much pressure on myself to write the best blog post on the planet every time. I also think it’s important for me to really carve out time for myself. I often put every other project ahead of my own and rarely leave space for my own creativity and ideas to flourish, so moving into this new season I hope to explore more of my own ideas and put more out into the universe.

In terms of updates, there’s lots going on- and I think that might be why I’ve avoided blogging about it- because it seems like this entire past year has flown right by and I’ve barely been able to catch my breath.

I digress. If you’ve been following on social, you’d have maybe seen that I’ve leaped.

I’ve made a gigantic, massive, huge, bold, terrifying and exhilarating decision to jump feet first into the world of freelancing. It’s one of those crazy decisions you’re not fully sure you want to blog about in case you fall on your face and fail miserably- you know? It’s an even crazier decision when you haven’t quite fully made up your mind about what you want to spend your time doing, haha. But- I think it’s all good. Everything is really good. I am super happy with my decision and I’ve been spending the end of my summer working on projects, still working for Leon’s- funnily enough- who have become my very first freelance client, building a shed from scratch, joining the Studio Bicyclette team, writing for Apartment Therapy, learning to drive (ha), shooting the new Hello Holiday magazine, trying to create new routines, edit my life, and explore more.

Fall for me feels like new beginnings. I am currently on a plane back from an extended work trip. Paige, Scarlet and I had our final Hello Holiday shoot in Kamloops with Colleen. Paige and I stayed back in BC a couple extra days to unplug, read, hang out in hot springs, and enjoy lots of comfort food. Next week we finish off the magazine, and we’re fully recharged and ready for the final push.

In addition to big career moves, we’re also MOVING. Remember when I said I would pop champagne and spray it all over the place when we finally moved above ground? Well the time has come. The apartment gods heard my plead and almost  serendipitously. I stumbled upon the apartment of my actual dreams. A main floor, Victorian 1 bedroom apartment in Parkdale. I can already feel that it’s going to change everything. We’ve lived in a basement for the better half of a decade and I think it’s just been weighing on me. Basement apartments lack sunlight. We have a terrifying problem with the scariest kind of bug on the planet i.e. centipedes. We never had a lot of space- and although we have a stunning little kitchen here (And and amazing little shed) that we’re super proud of- it’s time for us to move on.

I think I am mostly excited for LIGHT. My new apartment has 12 foot ceilings and heaps of natural light. I can’t wait to be able to spread my papers out on my dining table, sipping coffee, working on projects. Having pools of sun pour into my bedroom when I wake up. Aah, it’s going to be miraculous.

November 1st will prove to be pretty life changing. A new apartment. A new career. New goals. New projects and ideas. A new neighbourhood. A fresh lease on life. And baby I am ready for it.  My mantra for this year was MAKE MOVES.. I think I am following through.

Photo via Scarlet O’Neill

projectparentreno
Home + Design

HOMETOWN HEART: A Surprise Master Bedroom Makeover

Hellllloo Sunshine. Boy am I ever late to the game! In June Leon’s launched the fourth in their series of Hello lifestyle + home decor magazines, Hello Sunshine.

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I’ve been up to my eyes with projects, deadlines, recording voice overs, making big life decisions.. you know, the usual. Better late than never, am I right? // SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR THE VIDEO REVEAL!

As editor in chief of the Hello magazines for the past four issues I worked quietly behind the scenes. For this past issue of Hello Sunshine I was very fortunate to be able to flex my own design skills and complete a very special makeover project, for my parents. I shared the big #ProjectParentReno Reveal in this year’s issue, but I also wanted to share a bit more about the process leading up to our big shoot. Firstly, I’ll start by saying that what started out as a “Hey Mom and Dad, I’m going to makeover your bedroom.. It will take one month”.. Turned into 5 months of my parents being temporarily kicked out of their bedroom haha. Isn’t that always the case with renovations?

As a bit of a backstory- the whole reno was spawned out of a couple health scares and a few lucky breaks. My family had a tough couple years with accidents and overall well-being.. that really led me to want to create a safe space for my parents to unwind in. A fresh start, a new outlook, a relaxing retreat.  From new floors to trims, to paint and everything in between- it was truly a head to toe makeover.

To get started on the design process I began by pining some overall design concepts based on a need to create a space that felt eclectic and bohemian to appeal to my Mom.. but also equal parts mixed metals to appeal to my biker Dad. Previously a pretty boring box-like-room, I knew I wanted to add as much architectural interest as possible to really make it feel like a new space. So, I called on the board-and-batten experts- Bethany and Art  from This Little Estate for some expertise. Little did I know one phone call looking for some advice would turn into a full on collaboration to re do the space together. Bethany and Art are two of the most kind hearted, generous and truly genuine people I’ve ever met.  Back on their blog in 2014 they started a project called The Porch Project– which in a nutshell was all about doing kind things for other people- specifically in this case by leaving unexpected packages on peoples doorsteps. This year, they decided to bring the project back- but this time- rolling up their sleeves and using their design knowledge to surprise people with updated spaces. (See one of their makeover reveal videos here. AND, they are actually tackling a lucky contest winners space for the next issue of Hello Holiday.) This makeover would not have been possible without this design duo, so Bethany and Art- thank you SO much.

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We partnered up with Metrie to bring the ho-hum walls to life and the difference was DRAMATIC. This was my first time working with trim and it’s actually stunning how much of a difference great trim can make in a space.

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I nixed their ratty old comforter for this stunning high quality duvet set from Unison home. The sheets are also Unison and are oh-so-smooth and super dreamy!

Art even built a 100% custom herringbone barn door using wood from Metrie. (I’m honestly jealous it’s not in my space!) Art was truly the master installing the trims..Driving to my parent’s place through sun, snow, rain.. you name it. Many a’ Tim Horton’s coffees were had in this room haha! See the POWER of trim below & the incredible herringbone barn door created by TLE Build and Design!

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We went with Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore on the walls. I knew I could go dark and moody on the top half of the walls because the pop from the white trim would brighten up the overall space. And I knew from the get-go I wanted a big fluffy textured JUJU hat above the bed- so picking a dark hue to contrast with was a priority. Plus, adding a splash of something rich is just so nice.. My parent’s home otherwise is pretty safe, lots of creams and neutrals- so this was totally unexplored territory.

One other element I was sure of was that I wanted a sophisticated brass sputnik. Brass + Navy= a winning combination. And you’d never believe this was a cheapie from Costco, spray painted brass! (It was like $120!) I used Gold Sabotaz Spraypaint- as recommended by Lindsay Stephenson– and I loved it! You can pick it up at Deserres.

Sputnik Progress

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How stunning is this brass drapery hardware from Tonic Living?

The closet, actually came as an afterthought. Basically I was obsessed with having a Herringbone barn door (rightly so).. but totally forgot that when the door slid on the barn track- it would bump right into the dresser I had perfectly measured out to go along that wall. So.. I changed the plans, moved the dresser under the window- and found the PERFECT mid century dresser to go into the closet to create a thoughtful little nook for my mama. (This dresser was actually found in the BABY section if you can believe it!)

I decided straight away I wanted to paint the inside of the closet HARLEY orange for my Dad.. but wanted to figure out a way to make it feel feminine and lovely for my Mom.. So floral wall it is! I had the greatest instructor (Bethany) as she’s done a couple floral walls in her day.  I found a few designs I loved from Rifle Paper Co and combined them to create something unique to my Ma. (To paint them on, I cut out templates I made from bristol board, traced em on, and filled em’ in!)

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Ta da!

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And here’s a look at the closet before.. a bit of an upgrade I think ;)!

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You can see my parent’s adorable/emotionally charged reactions to their new space in finale episode of our Hello Sunshine web series below.

 

+ If you’re just tuning in now- be sure to catch up on the other 5 episodes! (And subscribe to the Leon’s Youtube channel so you’ll be notified when new content goes live!)

EP 01 | NEW BEGINNINGS | We travel to Edmonton Alberta to shoot Kristina and Jack.

EP 02 | THE NOT SO TERRIBLE TWOS | Shooting Twin Toddlers in Cobourg Ontario.

EP 03 |EASTERN HOSPITALITY | Rainbow eyes in Berwick Nova Scotia.

EP 04 | BEHIND THE CURTAIN | We visit a Canadian factory.

EP 05 | SUMMER LOVE | Nothing but sunshine in Guelph Ontario

SHOP THE ROOM:

Simmons Paradise Plush Mattress | The Pineridge Bed | Calvin End Table |The Finley Dresser (Also available in white.) | Tibet 8×11″ Rug | Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy | Benjamin Moore’s White Dove | Himmeli Duvet Cover- Unison Home | Chambray Stone Sheets- Unison Home | Striped Beige Throw- Le Flique | Mudcloth Pillows- My Haven Home | JUJU Hat | Kilim Lumbar Pillow | Mudcloth Blanket | Hanging hammock Chair | Moroccan Pouff-Baba Souk | All trims by Metrie. Herringbone barn door was custom created by TLE Build and Design with Metrie Products. |Matte Brass drapery hardware- Tonic Living |Final photos by Scarlet O’Neill

subway
#Life

Is anybody else kind of sick of the Internet?

19243889_10155644149772573_1648895065_o*Raises hand*

A few weeks ago when I was getting my eyebrows microbladed, the girl doing my eyebrows Crista Nicole said the greatest thing.

“I just feel like Instagram is that hot popular girl in highschool that everyone wants to be friends with, but secretly nobody actually likes”.

Bingo.

Maybe I am just going through a phase. Maybe I am kind of depressed with the state of the world. Maybe I am soooo sick of all the bullshit. But there’s just this little spark inside me that says, there’s more than this. There’s more than staring at a tiny screen as soon as you open your eyes in the morning. There’s more than getting high off of internet likes. There’s more than constantly comparing your life to others. There’s more than consuming, changing your apartment decor every week, or sharing a zillion photos of your dog.

I’m just feeling like… we are doing this to ourselves. We dislike that we are in this constant state of wanting more. More followers. More engagement. More content. More more more more more. But we feed this beast. We feed it every time we get annoyed that our significant other is talking to us, because we’re reading on our phone. We feed into it every time we spend hours choosing the right outfit, Googling the right coffee shop, searching for the right hashtags. I always shy away from posting these types of blogs because A: I don’t want to be a downer. And B: I’m a hypocrite. But aren’t we all?

I think I often get sucked up into this feeling that basically I haven’t found my calling yet. That I have dabbled in lots of things I like, but I don’t think I’ve fully unlocked that fiery passion that I love yet. I definitely don’t think I am alone in feeling this way either. I just often feel like I am capable of more or that my life should have more meaning, more impact. That there is more I can be doing.. That my focus should maybe shift. That I am wasting time on things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of life. It’s hard to think about life because it’s uncomfortable. I just think I need to do some soul searching because I don’t feel content, and I am not sure why. Part of the problem I think, is that I don’t have a clear idea of where I want to go. I just think that I have this incredible life to live, and I want to make it worth while.

Did you know the odds of actually becoming a human are something like 1 in 400 quadrillion? I got that fact from the Internet, so it’s 100% true ;)… but if you really consider it.. All of us have won the biggest race of our lives. We are alive on this earth. We beat out everybody else in the race, and we are here.. But why?? To tap on Instagram photos? To talk about toothpaste or Iced Tea? Come on people, you do not stand for Iced Tea.

I’ve often felt like I want to break away completely from social media, or dreamt of living in an era where it didn’t exist. Where you were free to find yourself, your passions, your desires- on your own- without the influence of hundreds of thousands of people. I think the internet and social media make you want things you don’t need and make you question your own, life, body, house, etc. I’m a marketer, but I am sick of being marketed to. From the moment we take our first breath on this planet people are telling us what to do. How to live. Movies and advertisements, the internet, everything we see as we grow up shapes our minds as to what a “good life” should look like. What success looks like. What a good family looks like. What beauty is. What is important.

What if everything you’ve ever learned about living was all wrong?

This post doesn’t get wrapped up with a pretty bow and a quirky idiom filled ending with a call to action. I don’t have any answers, I just know that my life is important, and so is yours.