So Canadian eh? : Ashli Malinek

What a fun year it has been getting to know so many amazingly talented Canadians across this country. This series has given me so much pleasure to write! But this post will be the last one for this year, as I am going to take a break for the Christmas holidays!  Have no fear, my list of Canadians is still very long, there are more to come.

What a fabulous way to end the year to have an amazing local blogger come to visit today, whom I would say is the Martha Stewart of Vancouver! She can design a fabulous home on a dime, create mouthwatering menus and recipes, and makes homemaking fun! 

Please welcome.....

Ashli Malinek of Mini Manor formerly Mallairdville Manor!

She is...

Ashli, a local blogger, the queen of green, proudly lives on a "one income budget in a two income world". Her blog, a daily read for me, is always full of fabulous budgeting, frugal and housekeeping tips. 

Ashli and her husband have taken a basic builder home from "yawn" to "yowza!" on a tight budget. Hard to believe most of her furniture and accessories were found on Craigslist. 
She really makes penny pinching trendy. There is never a dull moment at Mini Manor!

Want to see her jaw dropping home?
Come on...

Her breathtaking kitchen.

Living space.

Cozy library.

Office space.

Dining room with their DIY barn door. Isn't it amazing?

Master bedroom.

Guest room.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, has design always been something you are drawn to?
I'm Ashli and I'm a 28 year old housewife, from Big Beautiful British Columbia. My background is about as eclectic as my design sense, I'm 1/4 Chinese, 1/4 Portuguese, 1/4 Irish and 1/4 Scottish.
As far as my love of design it's always been something I've been drawn too, while other kids were drawing puppies I was designing floor plans.

What made you decide to start blogging?

My love of everything home comes from my mom, so when she moved to Vancouver Island 2 years ago we weren't able to share our latest finds with each other. I would send her emails with pictures attached but My mom has a mortal fear about opening attachments in emails, in her words "They could be full of computer killing virus's". So instead I started a blog so she could just type in an address and see all the goings on around here. She was my first follower and still my biggest fan!

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

There are so many things I enjoy about blogging, mostly it's all the wonderful people I've met along the way, all the amazingly sweet and thoughtful comments. What has surprised me is how much I love blogging, I really started it as a way to keep my mom in the loop and it's turned into so much more!!

Where do you go for inspiration for your blog?

Like most of us I'm a Pintrest-a-holic. I also follow so many blogs I've lost count, there is such an amazing community of creative people out there in the blogging world. And design shows, Sarah's House, Divine Design, Design Inc. my PVR is full of all of 'em.

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?

My hope for the future is to have tiny little mini manor rugrats running around the place (aka Children).
My dream for the blog is that it keeps growing, and we keep finding new opportunities around every corner. One of the best parts about having a blog is opening your email every morning . . . you never know what might be in there!

You are known for living within your means, yet that hasn't cramped your style {your home is gorgeous} what are some easy things people can do to save a few pennies around their home?

First Thank you very much!! (I'm blushing) DIY is my biggest tip, I steal ideas from everywhere then do it myself, everything from table runners to doors, from art to pillows we make it ourselves. Second, CRAIGSLIST and Patience. I wait to find what I need on Craigslist, it requires a few minutes a day but I check it everyday looking for what I need, something always comes up. And last, good old fashioned Leg work, If I'm looking for something I go to every store looking for deals, I go to every site I can think of looking for a steal, nothing can replace research!

How would you describe your design style?

I would say it's contemporary traditional, slightly eclectic, simple and whimsical. But ask me in a month and it might be different! Heck, I've already changed this answer twice in 30 mins :)

Tell us one thing about you that would surprise us!
I've recently become a bit of a coupon-er . . . under my bathroom sink I have 25 bottles of mouth wash . . . eek!

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

I would say I'd like to meet Martha Stewart on a good day, I think she'd be very scary if she was having a bad day.
I'd also Love to meet Gwyneth Paltrow. I think we'd be buddies . . . in my head we already are :P
But I think most of all I'd like to be the third designer to Sarah Richardson and Tommy Smythe, It would be perfect . . . I'm not as funny as Tommy and I'm not as tall as Sarah, I'd fit right in ;)

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to play volleyball and tennis, skiing in the winter. I love window shopping at stores I can't afford, I grab a coffee and walk through beautiful stores like Restoration Hardware and Liberty, making mental notes of things to copy and make myself.

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 think that Canada is sometimes forgotten about when it comes to worldly design, I mean there Danish modern, and french provincial and American country, but no one ever says "oh that . . . that's Canadian _______", with a complete exception being the Hudson bay blankets :)
I do think that Canadians have their own sense of style and design, it think it's warm and cozy and less serious! I think Canadian style is fun and more whimsical.

Ashli, what an amazing sense of style and outlook you have! I think you'd be a fabulous addition to Sarah's team {a dream of mine as well!}
Can't wait to see what else you and your husband "cook" up next year!

XO Barbara


  1. Yay for Ashli!!! I'm a recent fan of Ashli and hope to work with her in the future. She is one talented cookie!! Thanks Barbara for the interview as always, I loved it.

  2. Another great interview! I have been to Ashli's blog but not in a while. Thanks for reminding me how creative and talented she is.

  3. Another fabulous post, Barbara. Ashli sounds like my kind of girl, and her home is very tastefully decorated. Thanks for the intro.
    Have a lovely Sunday!
    ~ Wendi ~

  4. Wow Barbara!! Another amazing feature -- I have never been to Ashli's blog but am heading on over there to follow. Love her approach and the style she's displayed in her home. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Thanks for introducing Ashli to a wider audience. Yah BC bloggers.

  6. I was happy to meet Ashli at our Blend Party... she has such a talent for decorating, and it's always fun to see her projects unfold! Yay Ashli!

  7. Thank You so much Barbara!!! I had so much fun answering all the questions!!
    Thanks again!!

  8. Hoping to meet Ashli in person some day soon, I think we are almost neighbours. :) (How did I miss you at Blend?) Thanks Barbara for the introduction!

  9. Ashli has such a lovely sense of style. Her home is beautiful and done on a budget, even more amazing! I'm off to check out her blog!

  10. I'd never in a million years know that she decorates on a dime. Everything is pulled together so beautifully!

  11. Crazy about her blog...her barn door dining room is amazing...Thanks Barb for the introduction...Fun & talented!

  12. Gorgeous home! The guest room curtains and barn door are just two of nmy favorite things. Love the interview, too. Ashli sounds so fun and honest!

  13. Been following Ashli for awhile now and consider her one of my best blogging buddies! She and Lee are a wonderful couple with such great senses of humor as well. Great feature, and I look forward to reading more of your blog Barbara.

  14. Wonderful interview! It was so nice learning a bit about Ashli. Here home is gorgeous and she seems so lovely :)

  15. How terrific to drop in to see what you're up to Barbara, and then find Ashli!! I've always enjoyed checking in on what Ashli is doing over at her Mini Manor... she's such a talent (crazy about her barn door project!!)! I'm so happy that she's a member of our local network too, and I'm looking forward to get to know her!!

  16. What a great post and blog. I am a Canadian blogger as well and I'm so happy that I found your blog and the links to other Canadians. Looking forward to following you!

  17. It's so nice to see this interview. I read Ashli's blog every single day. she's on my "don't miss" list.

    I'm happy to find your blog as well.


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