So Canadian eh? : Shannon & Dean Acheson

Happy Sunday! 

Thanks for stopping by for another installment in my So Canadian eh? series.
For my newest followers you can read past interviews with fantabulously amazingly talented famous, and not--famous-but-should-be  Canadians here.

This week brings a husband and wife team who have transformed an ordinary builder blah bungalow to
a beautiful abode all with their ingenious DIY skill.

Please welcome...

The Mrs. and Mr. of {aka}Design, Shannon and Dean Acheson.

They are...

The super duo have had their home featured on Apartment Therapy's House Tours, on the Steven and Chris' Show and various other "big" name websites such as DIY Showoff, Miss Mustard Seed and Remodelaholic.

I am blown away by their talent, sure helps to have a willing husband who is handy with power tools!
{ehem..are you listening???}

Whatever they dream up, the make! Words can't describe what those two are capable of, just take a look and see.

Their Union Jack coffee table made from a typical country style coffee table. Nothing a little board and batten and paint can't fix!

Cool and hip bedroom for a train loving boy!

Rustic farm table made from wood pallets.

Restoration Hardware inspired industrial shelving
Dean made them. Yes...sick...


 Their master bedroom. What a cozy space to be in. I love those lamps!

Fabulous desk niche in their open concept family/dining room.

Their dining room, all decorated with re-vamped furniture.

Tell us a bit about yourself? What is you background? Your education? Did you study art/design?

I dabbled in architecture during high school; taking drafting and AutoCAD courses and working in an architectural firm for co-op and as a summer job. After Dean and were married, I went to college for what was previously known as Desktop Publishing followed by a year of art and design; colour theory, photography (with film and darkroom!), package design, etc. I spent two years working in advertising and graphic design before we had our kids. Since then I've come back to my original love of home, but this time far more focused on interior decorating and DIY. Dean has worked in sheet metal fabrication for almost twenty years, so his ability to see and plan a project is phenomenal. We make a really great team in that way: I come up with a concept, he plans it out and constructs it , then I put the finishing touches on it.

What made you decide to start blogging?

We bought a war era bungalow in 2009 that needed so much work. About six months into the renovations, I had been reading all these other blogs and I thought I could so do that. 

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

I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of writing and of finding my unique (I hope) voice. That is a little bit of a surprise - I had no idea I'd love it so much. I also very much enjoy the learning process; from finding sources and gleaning ideas from the web to improving my camera skills and gaining a working knowledge of seo and all the technical stuff that goes with running a blog. There is always so much to learn.

Where do you go for inspiration for your blog and for your home?

I use google image search quite a bit. And Pinterest has become a new source of beautiful images over the last few months. Other blogs provide a huge wealth of inspiration. And I still read print mags occasionally.

You have created a beautiful home with a lot of elbow grease, what tips do you have for others who want to create a fabulous home on a dime?

That's a loaded question! There are so many ways to create a great space with little money. I always say that decluttering and organizing are absolute musts. After that, decide on one large piece that you absolutely love and go from there.

As a seasoned veteran blogger, what tips do you have for other bloggers?

It's funny, I still don't think of myself as a veteran blogger. I've been asked a few times in the last few weeks for advice though, so I suppose there's something to be said for our growth. My biggest recommendation is to write about what you are passionate about, especially if you want to grow and perhaps make a little money. It takes awhile. And it takes a lot of hard work. So be patient too.

Your home has been featured on television and websites such as Apartment Therapy, how did such features come about?

Online networking. Our blog is currently linked to by over 200 other sites. Some of those links came about by others seeing our content and linking to us. Others came from me requesting a link. Then there's Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. They each have their advantages: Pinterest is great for ideas and for drawing readers to our blog, Facebook is wonderful for connecting to our readers in a conversation and twitter is fabulous for networking with other bloggers and brands.

Tell us one thing that would surprise us!

Hmm. Tough. We're pretty open. I don't know - I don't use power tools. I'm a bit scatter brained and clumsy so anything that can take off my finger if I happen to lose focus for a few seconds is not so friendly!

How would you describe your design style?

I think we are a bit modern country, farmhouse and industrial all thrown together.

How do you balance life, family and blogging?

Sometimes well and sometimes not so well! It is something we strive for. But occasionally we bite off more than we can chew. Mostly that's my fault but Dean tends to go along with my suggestions too. Last fall we participated in an online contest, followed immediately by hosting Thanksgiving, and then our tv appearance on the Steven & Chris show. All of which were incredible experiences. But it was an unbelievably busy time. We homeschool our kids so after they get themselves breakfast, I teach them in the morning. And then while they play and read in the afternoon I work on projects and take photos. Then I hang with them a bit and when Dean gets home we all do dinner together. After whatever evening activities we have going on Dean and I read to the kids and tuck them in. Then we talk projects etc and I write, often while everyone else is asleep.

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

I'm not really much of a star-struck kind of person, so meeting celebrities is awesome if it happens but I don't really idolize anyone in particular. In regards to the blog, I would really love to attend a big blog conference like Haven, be on The Nate Berkus show and have our projects or house appear in print too.

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?

Canadians have a lot do deal with by way of weather, so our homes and spaces have to work with that. We can have light bright airy spaces in the summer, but we also need to be able to pull out the plush throws for the colder seasons. I think this allows us a lot of flexibility and freedom because we're not stuck with any one thing. I think we are also a very laid back bunch overall, which makes our design very comfortable and welcoming.

Thank you so much, Barbara!!!!

Shannon {and Dean}, thank-you so much for letting us into your world. I too dabbled in architecture and drafting in high school but it was pre-AutoCad and was all hand drawing. I also worked for an engineering firm as a coop summer student! 

And power tools and I don't mix, as my focus can be a bit lacking and my appendages would be at risk!

XO Barbara


  1. They are so talented! I love to find new and talented bloggers!

  2. Honestly, i had never read their blog before.... but I will for sure now! Thanks Barbara - their home is gorgeous! :)

  3. Thank you for the feature!! You are too sweet!

    1. You are sooo welcome! Love the transformation of your home!

  4. Another new blog for me to check out. Where do you find all this amazing inspiration?

  5. Barbara, fabulous interview. I got to know Shannon by entering a giveaway she was having and I won!!!!! So cool to have gotten to know her and read their blog. You just want to hang out with those two in their cozy home.

  6. wow where do I start!! Love all the natural wood elements: the barn doors, the headboard, and man that fireplace looks gorgeous! Are those patterns on the wall from stencils? So talented!

  7. Hello Barbara,

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment! I'm loving your blog. I can see how much effort you put into it and it shows!
    I used to live in White Rock 10 years ago and loved it, then lived in the Okanagan for 6 years and moved to the East coast 3 years ago. It's great here, very calm and safe. Fantastic to raise our 3 kids. But I do miss Vancouver... I love that city! :-)

    Keep in touch.

    Have a wonderful week!


    Luciane at

  8. What a great home filled with so many fun projects! So glad to know of their blog now :)

  9. They have obviously put a lot of work into their home. It's lovely! I'm impressed. Thanks, Shannon, Dean AND Barbara.

  10. Super lovely blog!


  11. Another terrific feature from you Barb! Thank you so much for sharing this blog because I had NOT discovered them yet! I love their style! Angie xo

  12. Thank you all. :)
    @Tracey come hang out anytime!
    @Tim yes, they are stencils. Royal Design Studio.


  13. Thanks for the interview and for introducing me to a new blog!

  14. These are real people living in these homes!? Yowza! So amazing!


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