So Canadian eh? : Amelia from House Pretty

When my guest this week agreed to be part of my So Canadian eh? series, I made sure she was going to have enough time before her baby was due. She assured me that she had time. Funny story, she quickly emailed me the answers last Saturday and her email noted she was on her way to the hospital!

Please welcome new mama and blogger,

Amelia Warren from House Pretty

She is 
First off, I need to congratulate Amelia on her most amazing DIY project to date, baby Hannah! 
What a joyous and exciting new adventure she is embarking on. Truly a most rewarding but tough job. 

Now onto a bit about Amelia. Newly married, she and her husband are slowly renovating a home in Nova Scotia, just outside of Halifax. Like she describes her house in her blog "she is in her forties and hasn't changed her hairstyle in decades." So Amelia is slowly changing that hairstyle with ingenuity and imagination!

Check it out!

Tell us a bit about yourself? Give us some insight into who you are, what are you drawn to, where you always creative? Your education?

I’ve always loved writing and I was definitely more drawn to languages, art and music than, say, sports growing up. I took piano lessons and art classes, and participated in drama camps and writing workshops, but like many people, I did less and less of that stuff as I grew older and “got serious” about my future. I like to say that my creative side has always been there, but it took me awhile to recognize it and figure out how to express and nurture it as an adult.

I have a BA in Psychology and a Masters degree in Public Administration, which basically means that I’m a public policy nerd.

What made you decide to start House Pretty blog? And has there been anything that you have enjoyed about blogging? Not enjoyed?

I love my day job, but my blog is my creative outlet. I started by reading and commenting on other people’s blogs, and eventually I decided that I wanted to share my own projects and ideas, too. Through blogging, I’ve discovered an entire community of people who share my obsession with décor and DIY projects, and being part of that community is definitely the best part for me.

On the not-so-enjoyable side, the reality is that blogging is a lot of work! There’s always that pressure to come up with another great project and have some beautiful photos to share at the end. And then to do it a couple of times a week.

What is your day job? Is it design related?

By day, I’m a lobbyist for a national organization representing small, independent, Canadian-owned businesses. It’s only design related in that the design world is made up of small business owners and the crux of my job is to ensure that government policy supports the growth and success of their businesses – and of entrepreneurship in general.

What is your design style?

My style is pretty eclectic, in that I’m drawn to rooms that mix old and new, contemporary and traditional, high-end and thrifted. I really admire designers who do this well, and I’m still trying to figure out how to pull it off in my own home (I look forward to the day when I have the budget for high-end pieces!). Most of the rooms in my house are a mixture of traditional pieces I’ve bought at thrift stores or yard sales and updated with paint, and more contemporary elements – be it furniture, fabric or art. I prefer a simple, less is more approach to design (some people have accused me of being too stark) and I don’t like anything that’s too precious – just because I don’t want to worry about ruining it. The nice thing about buying something at a thrift store and painting it is that it can always be re-painted ☺

Tell us something that would surprise us about you!

I’m a dual-citizen. My parents are both Americans who moved to Canada for university (my mom is still here, but my dad moved back to the States several years ago). My brothers and I were all born and raised in Canada, but my older brother now lives in Florida with his family and I attended university in Massachusetts and lived in Boston until I started dating my now-husband. Most of my family and many of my friends live in the US, so I have a special connection to both countries.

You are a newlywed renovating a house, what are some reno tips you have learned along the way? Any renovation relationship tips too?

Take your time! I have a tendency to want to do it all, all at the same time. Obviously there are practical reasons to take it slow (e.g. money, sanity), but I’ve also learned that figuring out the best use of a space takes lots of thought and careful planning. It’s worth putting up with an ugly room or a sparsely furnished one for awhile to get what you really want in the end.

As for relationships, it’s all about remembering that you’re on the same team. You will get frustrated, so take a deep breath, take a break, and be prepared to apologize when you accidentally take it out on each other. Also, my husband will work for beer, so that helps.

You getting geared up to welcome a new little one into this world {congratulations}, what are your tips for creating a fabulous nursery!

Nurseries and kids’ rooms are great places to try something outside your comfort zone, so go for it! Play with colour, try a bold pattern, buy that giant stuffed giraffe. I avoided a theme in our nursery and instead tried to incorporate colours, fabrics, furniture and accessories that will grow with the baby, or that can easily be switched out for something more to our tastes later. We had a small space to work with, so I also tried to limit what we brought into the room – think about what you really need and how you want the room to function. After all, what good is a pretty rocker if it’s actually really uncomfortable for nursing?

Do you plan to keep blogging after the baby comes?

Absolutely! I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself, especially in the beginning, so my plan is to take it one day at a time. I’ve got a mile-long list of projects waiting to be completed and blogged about (all in good time), and I’m excited to see how my blog changes and evolves with parenthood.

If you could meet anyone or do anything your heart desires, who or what would it be?

Travel more! I’ve been fascinated with travel since I was a little kid, and I’ve been lucky enough to visit some pretty amazing places so far. Of course, as you get older and take on more responsibilities, there are more excuses not to travel (time, money, etc.). I’d be happy visiting one new place a year, but travelling to new and exciting places as my heart desires would be the dream.

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 our diversity – not just culturally, but also geographically – sets us apart. I mean, Canada is a BIG place. We have a unique sense of style and design, but one that isn’t easily defined because we’re able to draw on so many different cultures and influences. I love that you will find very different styles and designs in two coastal cities like Halifax and Vancouver, say, but they’re both very much Canadian.

Amelia, you were not kidding when you said you were on your way to the hospital. Congratulations on the birth of your precious daughter, Hannah. Exciting times ahead!

XO Barbara


  1. Congratulations Amelia! What a great interview and loved your photos too - your home is beautiful!

  2. Congrats to Amelia! I LOVE her blog and she has to be one of the sweetest, most genuine people in blogland. Her amazing personality shines through in every post or comment she leaves. I love having had the chance to "meet" her through blogging and wish her and her new family nothing but the best!

  3. Congratulations Amelia!!! :) You take great pictures of your beautiful space! I love your nursery, as I'm sure Hannah does too!

  4. Love Amelia and her style. That girl is on the ball - talk about multitasking! Blogging and birthing at the same time. :)

  5. Yay! I love Amelia! What a great feature :)

  6. Congrats on the Baby Amelia! Lovely decor! I spotted a few pieces I loved. Esp the polar bear and those coral Ikat pillows are beautiful. Great feature!!

  7. Amelia's place is so cute! Another great talented Canadian.


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