I have been so neglectful of my humble blog - particularly in rounding up more Canadians to feature here! I know I just asked a blogger/designer recently and forgot who! If it was you, drop me a line. Shameful.
I really need to find a better way to organize myself and my posts. If any of you have a great method in organizing this digital madness, let me know. I need some sort of calendar alert.
Recently I stumbled across this fabulous blog via the Canadian Bloggers group I am part of on Facebook. A fellow teacher, mom, thrift store shopper, DIYer, fabric lover and blogger, Krista from The Happy Housie is a gal following a similar path to me.
What I love most is that she understands the juggling act that teachers, moms and bloggers have all while striving to create a home using imagination and ingenuity. As a fabric lover she never shies away from colour and pattern, creating a colourful and vibrant mix in her home. I find her home refreshing and so cheerful!
Check it out for yourself!
First of all, thank you so much for having me today, Barbara. I am so thrilled to have the chance to do this interview for Hodge:Podge.
Tell my readers a bit about yourself
I am a Mom, wife, and an elementary school teacher. I currently teach Kindergarten/Grade One four days per week. We have two sons; our youngest is two and the oldest is in Kindergarten this year. We live on a beautiful lake just outside of a small town on Vancouver Island. I grew up in a small community and while I loved the excitement of city life while attending University, I later chose to return to my small hometown roots to get married, find a job, and raise my own children near their grandparents.
I grew up in a home that was constantly undergoing changes and renovations. When I was twelve years old my parents ripped the roof off our house and built a second story, primarily on their own. My Dad is a masterful builder and jack-off-all trades and my Mom is a professionally trained artist. I was obsessed with decorating from an early age and used to spend hours engrossed in the Ikea catalogue (my main source of design inspiration at fifteen) or with my parents house plan books. I even spent many an hour trying to design my own house floor plans on the big pads of graph paper that my dad would bring home from work.
My husband and I have lived in four houses in our almost thirteen years of marriage. The first house was an adorable little wartime cottage that we ripped apart right down to the studs. We redid the wiring, insulation, drywall, laid tile, refinished the beautiful old growth fir wood floors, painted, redid the bathroom, changed every light fixture, updated the kitchen, added trim work and wainscoting... basically redid the entire house top to bottom with only the help of our families. It was quite the summer but we managed to transform that dated little place into an adorable first home on a budget of $12,000. That was when the DIY bug really took hold in our lives and we have never looked back.
To this day, my hobby and passion is houses. I love decorating… everything from DIY projects like installing paneling and painting walls, to refinishing thrifted furniture and accessories, right down to crafty projects like sewing simple envelope pillows. I enjoy using my creativity to find thrifty and resourceful ways to decorate our home. I think that I am just a nesting type by nature and am hugely impacted by the aesthetics of any space I am in. What can I say, I’m a housie!
You are an elementary school teacher by day, blogger by night. How do you balance life, work, blogging and motherhood?
Since I am quite new to blogging I am still working on the balance. While I am at work I try to use my time uber-efficiently. I usually work through recess and part of lunch so that I have less prep before and after school. I try to use my evening hours to spend time with my sons and then I do my blog stuff after they are in bed. I get up earlier in the morning now and stay up a little bit later at night. I think finding balance is about choosing how you want to prioritize your time. I must admit that my house isn’t quite as spotless as it used to be. I also don’t watch much TV anymore and (unfortunately) have not read a novel since I started blogging. I will have some reading to catch up on come summer vacation!
Why did you start a blog? And what is behind the name?
I have been reading home décor and lifestyle blogs for a few years now and have thoroughly appreciated all of the fabulous inspiration, tips, and tricks that I have learned from them. We have been ‘project people’ and DIYers for many years and I wanted to be part of this fabulous community of creative people. I hoped to ‘pay forward’ some inspiration and learning. I also love writing – it was my favourite thing about University and I was thrilled to find a reason to write again!
I am a ‘housie’. Housie is not a real word in the way that I have used it; I would hear people use the word “foodie” and I thought to myself, “hey, I am a housie”. Houses are my hobby and my passion. I love everything about them… I love working on housie projects at our house and I LOVE peeking into other people’s houses. It is always so fascinating to see what types of spaces other people create for themselves.
You live on Vancouver Island, away from a large city center. What are your go-to design and decorating sources?
I have long been a reader of the Canadian decorating magazines “Style at Home” and “Canadian House and Home” as well as an avid HGTV Canada fan. With the onset of Pinterest and the amazing array of Home Décor blogs online these days I find I am never short of sources of inspiration. In fact, I often have a little too much inspiration and not enough time to implement my ideas! As far as sources for finding items, I have to be a little more ‘resourceful’ than people might be in larger centers. I love finding thrifted items and fixing them up… we have many pieces of furniture throughout our house that were free, or nearly free and that have been brought back to life with a little paint and elbow grease. There are also such amazing sources for shopping online now. My go-to for fabric inspiration (which is often my jumping off point for any room) is Tonic Living. They carry such beautiful prints that I go to their website regularly just to enjoy some eye candy. I also love that they are a Canadian company.
You definitely don’t shy away from colour. Do you have a favourite colour? Or a favourite combo?
I LOVE colour. I try to balance it with a lot of white as well so it doesn’t feel like ‘too much’… but I definitely couldn’t live my life in a neutral space. I think it is because we live in gray for soooooo much of the year on the West Coast that I need the energy and warmth that colour in our home provides. My favourite combinations change regularly and I have been through many colour ‘phases’ so I try to keep big pieces neutral. I don’t consider painting a piece of furniture a big job so I love playing with colour on painted furniture as well. When we moved into this house two years ago I made the big switch from browns and reds to turquoise and green with red accents. Now I am makingthe red a little more subtle on the main floor of the house because I have a new mad-on passion for yellow. The laundry room got me going on yellow again (I haven’t used it much since our first house thirteen years ago) but the living/dining room is being yellow-ified as I write. You just never know what colour it might be next...
I love how your incorporate fabric into your home. Any tips you have in mixing colours and patterns?
Fabric is one of my very favourite sources of design inspiration. I think I learned this from watching Sarah Richardson for so many years. She is absolutely amazing and taught me so much about basic design through her many series. I think that fabric is one of the very (if not THE) best way to tie together a room scheme. There are so many beautiful fabric prints available that basically GIVE you a colour scheme to start with - find a fabric (or pillow or throw) you love and use the colours in it to inspire your room design. I think that my biggest tip for mixing colours and patterns is to go for it! Don’t be afraid to take some risks. I think most people are so nervous that they are going to make a mistake that they stick with neutral. If you LOVE a color or pattern then give it a try! What is the worst that can happen?
What has been your favourite project to date?
In our current home, my favourite projects are our Ensuite and our Laundry/Mud Room because I got to design it them from scratch and didn’t have to work in ‘old’ pieces of furniture. That rarely happens; I am usually decorating (or redecorating) a room with great consideration to the pieces we already have that we need to keep. We also just finished adding board and batten to our hallway so that might be another favourite soon, once I figure out how to dress the walls above it!
Any favourite blogs/websites that you love to read?
There are so many amazing blogs that I love to read that it is really hard to narrow it down. I absolutely LOVE Ashley’s amazing style at The Handmade Home. It is so fun and colorful and creative and ‘handmade’. I also love the clean and modern Scandinavian inspired design at Nalle’s House - we have way too much cottagey stuff here to ever achieve that look but I totally admire it in Anu’s space. I also love Tricia’s style at Simplicity in the South; the clean, fun, colorful and modern looks at Young House Love and Cape 27; and I LOVE the modern cottage eclectic look at NewlyWoodwards. I keep coming across new fabulous blogs and there are so many more that I enjoy... but those are a few of my favourite home tours so far.
Where do you hope to see your blog in the future?
I don’t really know - I got into blogging imply to share my housie exploits with others and to pay forward some of the inspiration that I have found online. Many of my friends have sought out my housie advice for years and I love helping other people create spaces that reflect them and that they love being in. I would love one day to incorporate this into my blog somehow.
Although we love the house we live in, it has always been my dream to do another complete revamp of a dated house - wouldn’t it be fun to blog your way through the remaking of one dated room after another?? I would love that... but until then there are still a lot more rooms to work on in our current home.
Living on Vancouver Island, do you find the islanders have a different approach to decorating their homes?
I think that there is a huge variety of design styles and tastes on the Island depending on where you live. Here, in a small central island community, I think that many people have a pretty relaxed approach to their home décor because they are not exposed to design and décor the way that people are in cities, unless they are purposely seeking it out (through television, magazines, online sources etc.). We also lived in Tofino for a few years and design out there was very casual and coastal with an earthy vibe. In larger centers like Victoria or Nanaimo, where people have access to beautiful shops and are influenced by a city lifestyle there is probably more awareness of design trends, like there would be in Vancouver.
Be sure to pop over to Krista's blog, The Happy Housie!