Big News: We’re Moving On!

April 7, 2014

Hey strangers! Sorry to fall off of the grid here on the blog but if you’re following me over on Instagram, you’ll know that we’ve been preoccupied with some pretty big news . . . we sold our house! Not something we thought would be happening even a mere 2 weeks ago but sometimes things are just meant to be. Here’s a personal look at our story, in a nutshell:

Brad and I bought our first home 11 years ago right before Gabe, our eldest was born, and we’ve basically been house-poor ever since. For the record, it’s totally our fault for the simple reason that we love our homes! Projects, renovations and home improvements get me excited (obviously!) and Brad just happens to be an all-round handyman. Our tiny first house was a 5-year renovation labour-of-love that took it’s fair share of blood, sweat, tears (not to mention cash!) but we loved transforming the former flop house (it was bad!) into our sweet first family home. Sadie was born and we jumped right into more serious renos there, gutting things down to the studs and swapping the kitchen and living room (I do not recommend living on site with a newborn and toddler for a renovation of this magnitude!) and somehow all survived. Fast forward a couple more years with Lilah on-the-way and it was clear that we had officially outgrown our tiny 2-bedroom heritage charmer. We bought our current West Coast rancher from friends and it has been the most amazing home to raise our family in! The cedar tongue-and-groove ceilings, treed yard, huge windows and quiet neighbourhood will forever have our hearts.

Birch + Bird

The thing is, despite the fact that Brad and I both work our tails off (he is honestly the hardest worker I know) financial stress has never been far away. Even though our house isn’t huge (and we had renters in our basement suite for most of our 6 years here) there are always projects to do, appliances to fix and bills to pay and we’ve been feeling like we’ve been treading water for far too long. Financial stresses have played a big part in our marriage and we realized early this year that something had to change if we wanted to keep our family together. We’ve played with the idea of downsizing (or even selling our house and renting) over the years but never seriously considered it until recently. One of my partners, Kevi, and her family live in a ’70′s era townhouse complex very close to us and I really loved the layout and lofty ceilings when I first saw her place (not to mention she has mad decorating skills!). I’ve kept my eye open for similar units on the market (they’re few and far between on our side of town) but she let us know during Spring Break of a new townhouse listing in their complex. It had been fully renovated (we’re talking everything) so we called our realtor, loaded up the kids and went by for a looky-loo. Well, we loved it! I think we were all surprised by the fact but it felt like us and we could totally see ourselves living there. Long story short, we listed our house last Saturday and the first viewing was on Sunday (before it was even officially on the market) and they made an offer by dinnertime that evening! We accepted and made an offer on the townhouse, which (after a few negotiations) was also accepted. Boom.

Needless to say, we feel like we made the right decision and that this move is “meant to be” but that doesn’t mean that it’s been an easy choice to make. I’ve definitely shed a few sad tears (I’m sure there will be more!) and we’ll all miss this house dearly (especially the yard, sniff sniff). But I’m also totally at peace and incredibly excited about our fresh start as a family. There is so much relief at the thought of putting our financial burdens behind us and having the chance to actually save money (is that what a savings account is for??) not to mention have a bit more flexibility for the odd vacation and family fun too. Weighing the pros and cons was actually surprisingly easy when we envisioned what we wanted our future to look like. Together.

Birch + Bird: My House

Sorry for the long-winded personal post but I thought it was important to share my story and I’m really excited to share the rest of our journey with you too. Our house is looking sooo clean and has never been more organized (seriously, it hasn’t!) and I’ll be sure to share some fresh photos with you before we start packing. With the thought of neighbours and who-knows-who poking around at our open house yesterday (I hope someone actually appreciated my tidy utility closet), I’ve cleaned, purged and organized every cupboard, drawer and closet and it’s really inspired me to keep clearing out the clutter and keep things simple at our new townhouse. Our closing date is mid-May so I’ve only got a five weeks to pack thing up, eek! You can keep tabs on the process here on Instagram and please feel free to send any moving/packing tips my way! Enjoy your Monday :)


Friday Finds: Happy Spring!

March 21, 2014

Hooray, Spring is officially here! I ventured into our backyard yesterday to clip some fresh greenery and spotted plenty of new growth and signs of life in the garden. Buds are starting to bloom, birds are chirping and the sunshine is slowly starting to bring colour to our corner of the world, all of which have me dreaming of summer BBQ’s and beach lounging! I’m getting ahead of myself, I know, but there’s just something about Spring that inspires thoughts of new beginnings and fresh adventures, isn’t there? Here are some other fresh finds for this first weekend of Spring:

1. Loving this look inside another one of my favourite design bloggers homes, Lucy Feagins, author of Australia’s The Design Files:

The Design Files. Photo by Eve Wilson.The Design Files. Photo by Eve Wilson.

2. I’m striving to cook more and try new recipes and think these printable recipe cards are far cuter than any iPad app:

A Fabulous FeteA Fabulous Fete (FREE PRINTABLE!)

3. Coffee is a staple in our house (not to mention at the shop!) and this fully stocked coffee cart would be super handy. Loving the black Smeg fridge against the black wall too, dramatic!:

A Beautiful MessA Beautiful Mess

4. I haven’t used much wallpaper in my own home but the bright prints over at Anthropologie are calling my name:

Anthropologie "Paeonia" WallpaperAnthropologie “Paeonia” Wallpaper

5. This black + white bathroom is so flipping timeless and I’m in love. I mean, come on, that sink!:

Emilie Bedard Architecte via Home AdoreEmilie Bedard Architecte via Home Adore via Simply Grove

I’m going to take a little blogging break to enjoy our last week of Spring Break but have a wonderful weekend and I’ll be back to chat soon enough! Here are some fresh tunes for your listening pleasure too. Cheers :)


Hollywood Hideaway: A Bright Family Home

March 19, 2014

We’re only a few days into Spring Break here and I don’t know about you but it feels like everyone and their dog is currently sitting on a hot sandy beach except for us. Boo hoo! But we’ve been filling our time visiting with friends (ones who aren’t beachside either) and taking jaunts around the neighbourhood and local parks so I can’t complain too much. We’ve got a two week break so I’ll get more organized planning day trips next week but for now it’s been pretty nice just to lounge around and enjoy some lazy mornings. I’m still craving sunshine and this light-filled Hollywood home is pretty much the ultimate antidote. The stunning photos are courtesy of Brittany Ambridge and you can see more shots of the entire home here. Home to fashion designer Chay Wike, this hillside retreat was recently featured in Domino Magazine and I immediately fell in love with the lofty beams, vintage touches and mix of materials used throughout:

Brittany Ambridge | Domino MagazinePhotos by Brittany Ambridge | Domino Magazine

Brittany Ambridge | Domino Magazine

Brittany Ambridge | Domino MagazinePhotos by Brittany Ambridge | Domino Magazine

Brittany Ambridge | Domino Magazine

Brittany Ambridge | Domino MagazinePhotos by Brittany Ambridge | Domino Magazine

Brittany Ambridge | Domino MagazinePhotos by Brittany Ambridge | Domino Magazine

Pretty special, isn’t it? Built in 1933, Chay and her family did some minor renovations when they moved in but retained the home’s original architecture and charm, including some imperfections (like the concrete kitchen floors, which I absolutely love). Surrounded by nature and overlooking the bright lights of Los Angeles, this home is a true gem. Have a wonderful Wednesday!


Blogger Style: Simply Grove

March 17, 2014

Confession alert: I’m a voyeur. Well, when it come to interiors and home decor, anyway! Always  have been. Some of my first memories are walking with my mom through our childhood neighbourhood at twilight, covertly peering into lighted windows (from the appropriate sidewalk distance, of course!) and I totally still do the same today. Creepy? Maybe, but that’s what blinds are for, right? We’re all curious about how other people live (aren’t we?) and I think that’s why I started blogging in the first place. I truly love seeing what makes a house a home and, if you’re reading here today, I’d imagine that you do to. I plan on sharing more pics of my own home and homes of friends in the near future but for now I’ll continue to share other spaces that inspire me, like the home of blogger Kirsten Grove:

Home of Kristin Grove via Style Me Pretty. Photo by Allison Corona.Home of Kirsten Grove via Style Me Pretty. Photo by Allison Corona.

Home of Kristin Grove via Style Me Pretty. Photo by Allison Corona.

Home of Kristin Grove via Style Me Pretty. Photo by Allison Corona.Home of Kirsten Grove via Style Me Pretty. Photo by Allison Corona.

Home of Kristin Grove via Style Me Pretty. Photo by Allison Corona.

Home of Kristin Grove via Style Me Pretty. Photo by Allison Corona.

Home of Kristin Grove via Style Me Pretty. Photo by Allison Corona.Home of Kirsten Grove via Style Me Pretty. Photo by Allison Corona.

I especially love seeing stylish family homes that don’t break the bank. Kirsten and her family rent this fantastic space and used some special touches (like temporary wallpaper, how cool!) to make this house a home. Do you have any “cheap tricks” that you use in your own home decor? Please share!  You can see even more photos snapped by Allison Corona of the Grove’s home over at Style Me Pretty. Hope you’re having a great start to your week :)


Friday Finds: Nature Inspired

March 14, 2014

What a week! I’m officially exhausted but made it through a busy week of filming at our shop. It was pretty exciting being used as the set location for a movie and it’s incredible how much happens behind the scenes to make everything come together. Not sure I’ll look at tv the same way again! Monica and I were at the shop until the wee hours last night after the crew packed up and put things to rights and it’s funny how it suddenly looks as though nothing happened, everything’s back to normal! Well, except for the fine dusting of Christmas glitter that we’re sure to be finding for weeks to come ;) Spring Break starts now and I need to hustle to plan the next two weeks of family fun for the kiddos. We’re not going away (although I dream of heading for hot sand like the photo below!) but we’ll head out on at least a few day trips and activities to keep us all happy and sane. Here are just a few links I’ve loved this week:

Decorating with Flowers by Holly Becker + Leslie by Holly BeckerLeslie Shewring

Villa Kalos, GreeceVilla Kalos, Greece via est

Design*Sponge. Young in the Mountains studio. Photo by Kelly Ishikawa.Young in the Mountains studio tour Design*Sponge. Photo by  Kelly Ishikawa.

Have a wonderful weekend!