So Canadian, eh? : Row House Nest

I first discovered this week's fabulous guest on Twitter, she was a Canadian transplant living in Ireland when we first "met" and most recently returned to Canada.

Her blog is always full of amazing inspiration; DIY's, fabulous thrifty finds and she has knack for finding the most amazing inspirational photos that get those creative juices flowing.

A true thrifter and DIYer to the core, {and really sweet} 

Please welcome....

Meagan from Row House Nest!

She is

Meagan clearly has an eye for design, check out her photos. 

Very "Design*Sponge ish"...

{Love the lamp!}

Her fabulous desk area, love the owl prints {channeling some wisdom perhaps?}
Most items are thrifted and a few inherited from her grandmother and her DIY art.

Chairs she inherited from her grandmother with newly upholstered seats with fresh and modern fabric!

Bookcases she styled on a whim, bored of just books, she put together fabulous little vignettes! Love the old truck {or should I say lorry?}

Floral botanical prints that were a Goodwill find. Meagan updated the frames with a bit of blue paint.

Aren't these bookends adorable? A car boot find in Ireland. 
{I am thinking car boot = garage sale?}

Tea cups aren't just for tea, how about a few succulents?

She made 12 of these monkey knots for a friend's wedding.
{Feeling a bit "knotty" Meagan?  - ok, sad, pathetic joke - couldn't help myself}

Another car boot find - an amazing starburst clock. 
Why don't people sell stuff like that at garage sales here?

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, your education, has design always been something you are drawn to?

Well my name is Meagan and I am a Pisces. That’s enough right? Just kidding. You don’t really care about what sign I am. In my background you will find a plucky bunch of Canadians and Irish immigrants who were crafty folks: the original DIY-ers. My Granny made her own stylish dresses from scratch for the local ceilidh dances in Donegal, my Grandmother was an avid recycler and could materialize crafts out of nothing, my own father is incredibly handy in the home and a pretty darn good woodcraftsman and my mother has been Doing It Herself for as long as I can remember when it comes to home décor and design. Combine those genes into one person and you have me!

My educational background is actually in a completely different field than design: School and Applied Child Psychology. Yup, there you have it – my cover has officially been exposed. In case you are wondering, I love my day time job more than anything – I am one of those incredibly lucky people who pursed degrees in my chosen field and love what I do.

I have always been drawn to design in a casual, informal sense over the years.  Heading out on fabric shopping trips with my mom, cruising thrift stores and yard sales for gems that we could reinvent and flipping through home magazines like House and Home for ideas and inspiration. Even when my budget allows me to spend more on home-related purchases, I have always watched what I spent and because of that have gravitated naturally towards Do It Yourself projects – big and small.

What made you decide to start blogging?

I delved into design related blogging in January 2011 with the strong support of my other half – actually it was his idea! I had maintained a personal blog after I moved from Canada to Scotland (then Ireland shortly thereafter) to keep in touch with family and friends. I had been living overseas for 7 months and was still unemployed (trust me, I TRIED!) and was beginning to rip my hair out with boredom.  So the idea to design, write and maintain a design blog came to life as an attempt to keep my sanity intact while I was not working and of course, to catalogue our oh so cute Irish Row House (or townhouse) that we had just moved into. I began waking up early to work on my blog, worked longer hours than Brian and could not stop talking about it. I loved it. I looked forward to it and felt rejuvenated.

What have you enjoyed about blogging and what has surprised you along the way?

Oh the things I love about blogging!!! Don’t know if it could be summed up that easily (I have difficulties being succinct, remember I am a Pisces after all!). I love discovering new {to me} blogs, seeing the amazing DIY work going on out there all the time and having a platform to share things that excite ME with other people. And how cool is it that other people seem to like what I find exciting? Who knew?!? Connecting with other bloggers and blog readers has been incredibly fulfilling and I just love making new blog friends around the world. 

Where do you go for inspiration for your blog?

It is so incredibly cliché to say but my inspiration truly comes from the things around my past and me. For instance, I wrote about driftwood [] a little while ago and realized how ‘connected’ I was historically to the topic. Often my ideas and inspiration come from things that catch my eye, make me think, “I would like to do that” or are just down and out beautiful. I keep a little lime green Moleskin notebook that helps me collect my ideas in one place – sometimes it can be a specific topic, such as “vintage suitcases as décor and furniture” or a more vague source of inspiration such as “lipstick, makeup”.

What do you do for work? Is it design related?

My work is not design related at all. Not one little percent. I deliver Psychological services in an Ontario School Board. Take that! Not sure if I can even find a thread of continuity between my daytime and night time “jobs”.

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?

I feel like depending on my mood and the day, I may tell you something different. It involves a lot of home/property ownership with my un-handy gentleman (goal: {small} homes in Toronto, Ireland and a Canadian cottage someday).  Each will be a treasure trove of decorating delights for me. Hopes are to continue to grow in every way possible with all the work I dapple in (day and night), spend lots of time with the people I love and appreciate my health and happiness. I fantasize about the day where I can live part-time in a remote cottage, grow my own food and spend my days outdoors in the wilderness. OH! And I hope my future holds a daily hug from a beagle. Everyone needs one of those.

How would you describe your design style?

My design style is incredibly eclectic. In fact – I would use the term ‘hodge-podge’! I like to take meaningful bits and pieces from my life, pair them with fun colours and fabrics and create spaces that reflect my personality. I love vintage pieces and ultimately they work themselves into every nook and cranny in my previous homes. That said, I do feel like the farther I delve into the design blogosphere, the more I appreciate a variety of styles and definitely think my next home will look incredibly different than my past homes.

Tell us one thing about you that would surprise us!

I was home-schooled until I was 13 years old and turned out perfectly normal (at least publically!)

If you were given the opportunity to meet anyone or do anything, what would it be and why?

Given the opportunity to do anything: it would be to up sticks to Algonquin Park and take up residence in one of the 304 leasehold cottages that exist in the Provincial Park. Why? Because I am kooky like that! I love Algonquin Park, feel incredibly at peace up there, love exploring and have been in love with the Park since before I can recall.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time I walk my dog, read, hang out in local parks, drink coffee and enjoy playing old fashioned board and card games with my family.  An of course, the occasion delicious glass of wine or cold beer with friends.

You were a Canadian living in Ireland but most recently transferred back to Canada, do you find the approach to design different in Ireland? How?

It was incredibly different in Ireland. Shockingly different. I was expecting to be entering a land of design treasures and cottages rammed full of vintage goodies. Sadly, what I found more often than not – was that it is very common to see homes decorated by Big Box Stores. Over time, I realized that many people in the North and South of Ireland gravitated towards new modern design styles and looks. Brian and I hypothesized that this may be because everything in Ireland is so old – so people get excited about new things in design (read NOT DAMP). Don’t get me wrong, I love the look of a sleek new kitchen – but often times, these ultra modern homes lack personality or any sense of history.  Occasionally you see a beautiful older home restored and decorated with unique bits and bobs but it was much less common. Also, I found their vintage or bespoke furniture very expensive making them less desirable to those working with a tight budget. (p.s. these are just my personal feelings and observations so don’t take them too seriously!)

What are your views on the role Canadian design plays in the world design scene? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style and design, and if so, what is it that you think sets us apart?

I really don’t know if I have enough design knowledge or experience to be able to intelligently remark upon the first question. One thing I have noticed is that the interior design world seems to be less affected by the ‘one country dominates’ dilemma you see in other areas. There are highly talented designers across the world, which are internationally celebrated and recognized – Canadians included.  I do get the sense that Canadians are on the up and up when it comes to design. We as a people are being more proud of where we are from and are quick to distinguish ourselves as Canadians whereas I am not so sure that happened in the past. There was a tendency towards quiet, polite Patriotism.

Another cliché analogy on the horizon here, I do feel that the unique Canadian sense of style is one that can be described as a diverse mosaic that pulls in the influence of so many different things: our surroundings, languages, cultural backgrounds and rugged landscapes. What sets us apart is that we have no 1 defined type of style. Design style is so individual and since Canada is so diverse it would be impossible to say what is quintessentially Canadian. We have the ability to see beauty in differences, appreciate our environment and embrace new ideas because we are such a young country. God, I love Canada!

Thanks for much for visiting here and giving us a peak into your life Meagan!
I love your thoughts on Canadian design, despite not having a background in design you clearly have an eye for it!

XO Barbara


  1. Great interview Barbara! Last time I "met up" with Megan, she was an expat in Ireland - I must catch up on all that's been happening! :)
    Hi Megan!

  2. Thanks for sharing - I've followed Megan on twitter for awhile and I also love her DIY inspiration posts! It's nice to learn a little bit more about her and the inspiration behind her blog.

  3. This was another wonderful interview Barbara & Megan! I just love those dining room chairs & all of the other fabulous DIY projects!!
    Nancy xo

  4. Hi there, awesome site. I thought the topics you posted on were very interesting. I tried to add your RSS to my feed reader and it a few. take a look at it, hopefully I can add you and follow.

    Row House


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