Salle de Bain Reno


You all know how much I LOVE my lil City Cottage. Well, there was one wee part of it that since I bought it, I hadn’t really been a fan of….

Enter space capsule/time machine shower enclosure…

I really liked everything else about my Salle de Bain, but, when the time machine started leaking a wee bit, I felt like I finally had an excuse to reno this tiny space into what I’d always hoped for.

Who better to do this for me than….my brother Mike!! He’d done my gorgeous backyard patio, has built me my stunning dining table and desk and now it was time for him to work his magic on my small space living washroom. Off I went to house sit for a friend who was out of the country and off he went on demo-ing, so we could say ‘so long’ to my space capsule.


When I walked in and saw this (see above) I was so excited but also so scared….what had we gotten ourselves into?? My brother is a contractor so he lives this everyday and to see this space transformed in such a short time was amazing..yet partially terrifying (for all the right reasons). It was literally stripped back to the studs and it was also so nice to see the history of my home that was hidden behind the walls.

My brother had filled the bin with the time capsule and everything else and off we went to Home Depot for a round of supplies. I had picked the stone/pebble tiles about a year and a half before the reno as they had been a fantastic deal (see below) and I knew that I wanted to incorporate them into the room once I was reno-ing it. They were my jumping off point as far as a palette for the small space and I knew they’d add a little, ‘je ne sais quoi’ as well. I found these gorgeous porcelain/stone look tiles at Home Depot for another great deal (see below) and just like that, the core of my bathroom was decided!


Mike found me the PERFECT small space vanity at Rona in Mississauga, at a price point for less than $100 as it was the last in stock (YASSS!!- you’ll see it in the reveal). My goal for this project was to complete in as economical manner as possible, but to not scrimp on quality, hence why we chose to put in a Schluter Shower System (see below). As a Contractor, I can always count on Mike to have done his research and be up to date and well versed on the latest and greatest when it comes to home renovations. With this system being installed, I feel confident in the fact that I will be able to enjoy this space for years to come without a concern.


I left Mike to his devices. I not only trust his skill but also his design savvy. He’s someone that not only thinks about the install but also what the final product will look like as well from an aesthetics perspective and his attention to detail is second to none! For instance, due to his care and concern, he papered over and taped off my hardwood outside the washroom all the way to the door and literally took such calculated steps in laying the first few floor tiles as we knew they’d be pivotal as we were not only tiling the floor but the walls too!


This next piece of attention to detail still blows me away to this day. He was installing the pebble/stone tile as my shower floor and didn’t like how it was angling towards the drain and also didn’t care for how it was looking….so….what does he do? He removes every pebble/stone from it’s backing and places them individually to make up the pebbled floor. INDIVIDUALLY!!!!!!!! Can you believe that level of care and concern for both the practical usage application but also the aesthetics piece? Again…BLOWN AWAY! See below for this gorgeous handiwork and also how he took the time to ensure proper spacing of the wall tile…again, attention to detail is at 110%!


So… it is…the BIG REVEAL. To this day, I still can’t believe this incredible space is in my wee cottage!


To say I love it would be such an understatement as it is exactly what I was hoping for…and even more. And, knowing that this is Mike’s handiwork means so much too! I truly feel like I’m walking into a spa every time I cross the threshold!

Below are some photos of my salle de bain today (I feel like I have to call it ‘salle de bain’ vs bathroom as it’s just too nice to be called a boring old bathroom). We’ve put a shower curtain up for now and maybe someday I’ll put up a glass door…but….we’ll see. I’m beyond perfectly happy with it as it is right now! I found a great small space storage solution at Homesense that houses my day to day toiletries and works perfectly with the vanity and also blends in against the tile. I also love how the colours change in the room, depending on the time of day and natural light coming in.


And last, but certainly not least, is the HUGE THANK YOU to my brother Mike for all of his incredibly hard work, time and attention to this project…I truly cannot say thank you enough!

If you’d like to work with Mike, his email address is and he’s located in Toronto, with projects around the GTA. Be sure to keep an eye out for his logo and you’ll be sure that a one-of-a-kind true piece of craftsman ship is being created at that site.


And P.S., if you’d like assistance with your renovation design or home decor/styling, you can contact me at or on Instagram. I’d be happy to help you transform your house into a home!


Time For A Refresh - Part Two


My last blog post took you through the first steps of my living/dining area refresh. 

From painting the walls in Ink Black from Home Depot, to my gorgeous antique sideboard from Simply Cottage in Bracebridge, the room was taking shape quickly!

A part of the refresh also meant a new couch was in order too. I had originally had my heart set on a camel leather option but after much searching and researching, I came to a sad conclusion. Living in a small cottage has its limits and whoever designed the entryway of my home obviously did not have the idea of moving furniture in mind when they built it. I am limited to the size of furniture I can bring in both my front and side door (sadly) and I could not find a couch of the leather colour and type I wanted that was small enough and I was not about to spend thousands on a custom leather piece either. Soooo......I found a very, very happy replacement with the help of the amazing gals at Urban Barn in Cambridge. We had paint samples, fabrics and accessories strewn around the back corner of the store as we decided on fabric for a custom piece for my home. I was also in the market for a new rug too and they happened to have THE perfect one that would still allow me to bring leather into my space, just in a different avenue.


After much contemplation, re-checking measurements and trying out the 'comfie' factor, I decided on the Lure Custom Sofa in a lux, cozy fabric option. I cannot say enough about how wonderful the staff at the Cambridge store were and how the entire experience of choosing, ordering and delivery have been nothing but impeccable! Another aspect that I am really happy about is that my couch is Canadian made (and Urban Barn is a Canadian company). It feels good to know I'm supporting our economy through my choices and receiving a high quality, beautiful end product.


The day of delivery arrived (to say I was excited is an absolute understatement) and the photo above was taken literally two minutes after the pieces were placed in my living room (the delivery experience was fantastic and the guys took impeccable care of the pieces as they entered the house through tight constraints!). I mayyyy have let out a wee squeal of happiness to see the pieces in place and I spent the duration of the afternoon pulling the space together.


I went with the cozy grey velvet-esque fabric to add warmth to the space and tie to the faux bois fabric in the chairs/coffee table. The leather 'rag rug' has hints of camel, grey and turquoise to tie in the sideboard and bring some light into the space. My 'forever' pieces from Willowhouse still look amazing in the space (my coffee table and sofa table on my gallery wall behind the chairs) and I just couldn't stop grinning from ear to ear as I witnessed everything coming together.


With the key pieces in place, it was then time to add in just a few more accessories, but mainly, throw pillows! I had looked high and low and had an idea of what I was looking for and to say I was overjoyed when I found the perfect options at Comfort & Co in downtown Guelph would be an understatement. Wendy and I had fun mixing and matching the many fabtastic options she had in store and I ended up taking home 4 pillows that exude comfort, coziness and bring their own story to the space through their texture and tones. These two in the photos above have helped transform this corner of the couch/living room and the faux fur options in the photos below have added a sense of lux coziness that only 'fur' can add to a space.


My home is transforming every day to be even more 'me' and I couldn't be happier! I cannot say 'thank you' enough to those involved in assisting in this transformation, from friends and family who I bounced ideas off of and helped move things around, to the companies I worked with the bring these beautiful new pieces/colours into my home. I couldn't have done this without:

- Home Depot, Guelph

- Simply Cottage, Bracebridge

- Urban Barn, Cambridge

- Comfort & Co, Guelph

Stay tuned for further updates and I can't wait to show you the dining table that will be the final piece to bring this space together.... I hope you've enjoyed the journey through my design/decor adventure as much as I have!


Spring Has Sprung!

There's something special about the way the light floods into my home that signals Spring has finally arrived.

I was sitting on the couch one day in late April (under a cozy blanket as there was still a wee chill in the air), looking through magazines while sipping on a latte and as I looked around my living room, I noticed 'that light' was filling the room and a huge smile came across my face! SPRING!!

This is from our first sunset at the lake this Spring....we lost Dad two years ago and we started a tradition of going to the lake (one of his favourite places) on his anniversary. It was such a beautiful night and this handsome guy enjoyed the quiet and tranquil evening just as much as Mom and I did.

I'm a huge fan of visiting lake/cottage towns on the 'off season', before they get crazy busy. A good friend and I did a road trip to Muskoka a few weekends ago and we had to stop in Bracebridge to get a closer look at this insanely fast running/crashing water! I posted a video on my Instagram and the sound alone, let a lone the sight of it, was enough to take your breath away!

This is one of my favourite sections of the sideroad, just down the road from the Country House. This span of trees looks amazing in any season, but we happened to drive down literally just as the leaves had 'popped'. Soooo pretty! And....the farm on the right has a Clydesdale foal that I have to stop and say "Hi" to whenever I drive by. 

This is my first Spring with this handsome guy and it's been interesting to watch the transformation of his coat through the seasons. He went really dark, almost black, over the winter, but now that he's shedding his coat (and my goodness, I had forgotten how much fur a draft horse grows for the winter), he's turning back to his reddish/bay colour I knew from last summer. As he was standing there in the rays of the sunset the other evening, I couldn't help but capture this image as it really hilights the beautiful tones of his coat.

Spring is also a time of surprises. Whether it's tulips that randomly sprout up after being 'relocated' by the squirrels, or a plant that made it through the winter that you were afraid wouldn't, it's always fun to see what 'springs up' this time of year. I moved into my home in August and when the next Spring came around and I realized I had this beauty outside of my front door, I literally squealed with delight! From what I can tell, its an ornamental crab apple tree and its blossoms are absolutely GORGEOUS!!!!! Just as they're wrapping up, my beautiful and fragrant Korean Lilac on the other side of my front entryway comes into bloom...... Oh how I LOVE Spring!!!


Character and Charm...

It was a sunny day, I had some new hikers to break in and I decided to go for a walk through the beautiful city that I call home....Guelph.

This city has some beautiful established neighbourhoods and magnificent older homes. I feel very lucky to live in a neighbourhood full of trees, grass, gardens and character. As I set out on my walk, I soon became distracted by the many homes that exude charm, historical beauty and stunning architecture...

Even though the day then started to cloud over, I couldn't help but stop and take photos of these homes (so much for my brisk walk). Here are just a smattering of the homes that truly make this city unique and full of character!

The detail and care taken to maintain these homes is nothing short of amazing. From the slate and/or cedar shake tiles, pillers, turrets, covered porches, trim choice and colour, shutters, brick work, landscaping etc etc....the list goes on and on as to what makes these homes so stunning and inviting. You just don't see architecture like this anymore and it saddens me.... 

I feel very grateful to live in a city where I can walk through neighbourhoods filled with homes that have stories, that have had generation after generation live within their walls. 

If only those walls could talk......




A Journal of January 2016


Welcome 2016!

This is me, plain and simple (thanks Dad, for your blue eyes and rosy cheeks!), out for a walk on a snowy January/New Years day at the Country House. I can't believe it's already the 31st of January (and that I haven't yet blogged this year..bad me!) and I also can't get over how much fantastic "stuff" has already been packed into this year. This post is a photo journal of the comings and goings of 2016 so far....and what a fantastic time it has been!

I had a furry friend with me on that snowy walk at the Country House! Charlie absolutely loves the snow...My almost 11 year old pooch turns back into a puppy whenever he's outside in the white stuff!

It was then time to sit down (ok, or maybe lounge in bed) and set some plans into place for the year ahead. Whether it was personal or professional, I got out my Danielle LaPorte Planner, my notebooks and some sources of inspiration (The Happiness at Work Program - stay tuned for an upcoming post on this - and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up) and began to map out my 2016. There won't be any drastic changes, huge epiphanies or enormous lifestyle changes...but it always feels good to get thoughts out on paper and see how to guide myself into a year that I know will be filled with fun, great times and success!


January has also been a month of 'sprucing things up' around the house a wee bit. Some new pieces of home decor, tidying up, organizing and really just continuing to make my City Cottage my home. And yes, as the sign says, feel free at anytime to get me drunk and ask me about New York...I have some great stories (keep an eye out for an upcoming post on NYC from my trip there in December).

Life wouldn't be complete without gal time and what a fantastic gals weekend at The Rock again this year in Port Elgin (Thank you soooo much Carlie!!). As is always the case when you get a bunch of women together, there is plenty of yummy food, lots of laughs and many new memories made! We even made it to MacGregor Point to go skating through the woods and hiked along Lake Huron at sunset. Thank you to all the Donut Dolls for a fabtastic time!

I've also been spending the odd Saturday at WillowHouse In Cambridge. If there was ever a store I would want to move into, it would be this one! Kim, the 'out of this world' owner of this beautiful shop, has such an amazing eye and sense of hitting every little detail just perfectly....Thank you for allowing me to become part of the 'family'!

One thing I really do want to focus on in 2016 is trying new things and making memories! I've always loved the quote, "Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to share, not stuff to show". I plan on doing this by pushing past my comfort zone and really living every moment possible. A friend and I decided to go out for dinner on Friday night to Manhattans here in Guelph to enjoy live music while dining on terrific food! It had been a very long time since I'd been to such a venue and it was SUCH a fun evening!! The band, the Eclectic Vinyl Orchestra was fantastic and uber entertaining and our dinner was scrumptious...Thanks so much Em for the wonderful suggestion!

So cheers to 2016... I'm really looking forward to seeing what this year has to bring!


Orange is the New Black!

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It was time to decorate the sideboard for Fall (thanks so much to Ruralist for featuring my vignette!) and as I was looking through my decor pieces, I suddenly felt an urge to go orange!

I have always gravitated to orange (my next pair of Hunter boots will be their burnt orange...I'm almost positive!), but have been somewhat nervous to incorporate it into my home decor.

Well, as you can see, I'm no longer nervous and love it! I also wish I had brought this colour into my home sooner.

I was visiting my parent's a few weeks ago, picking up my pumpkins and gourds for my outdoor Fall decor from a farm a few roads over when I decided to stop in at The Garage in Belmore. I am soooooo glad I did!

When I had started my Fall decorating inside my home, I felt something (or somethings) were missing, especially when it came to my sideboard (the focal point of my 800 square feet of living space). I was having this 'urge for orange' but didn't really have any pieces to fulfill that urge.

The moment I stepped inside The Garage Home Decor, I spotted the orange urn and the birch picture and knew they would be coming home with me!

As I wandered around the shop, I also noticed the orange and brown equine-esque infinity scarf, the deer print and the gold tea light holders. Literally every time I turned around, there was another piece I loved and wanted to bring home with me!

I also picked up a few more items and was so happy when the total came to just under $200! Wow....less than $200 for pieces I can re-use again and again and don't necessarily only lend themselves to Fall. 

Upon returning to my parent's, I cut some grasses that would add some height to the vignette, but also some softness.  I integrated the grasses, along with some mini pumpkins, corn and gourds from the farm, as natural elements to the display.

I then raided my basement and other rooms in the house to pull the vignette together. I used feather wreaths from The Hive in Bayfield, a silver antler from Homesense and a glass cloche and coppery/bronze bowl from Achesons Pharmacy in Harriston. The wire and wood tray was a gift and I made the grapevine wreath from vine in my back yard.

I'm so happy with how it all came together! And I'm SOOO happy I took a leap and brought orange into my home. I stopped into Achesons this weekend and there are some orange and grey plaid pillows that I was THIS close to taking home with me.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend and that you too 'take the plunge' and incorporate some colour into your Fall decor!


A World Where There Are Octobers...

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L.M Montgomery (a wonderful Canadian author) says it the best; 

  • "I'm so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers."

Those words couldn't be more truthful.

To live in a world where we get to watch the leaves turn colour, the evenings have a chill in the air, the birds fly south, crops are harvested from farmer's fields, pumpkins and gourds are staples in decor, boots and scarves become a wardrobe staple...the list could go on and on about all of the wonderful things that come along with the month of October....with the Fall season.

Fall is my favourite time of year for a multitude of reasons (most of which are noted above), but also because I see it as a season of a fresh start and new beginnings. You may say or ask why I see it as this as Fall is a season of the end of a life cycle for so many things. Yes, the trees lose their leaves, we get the last bit of bounty from the garden/fields....but, through this end of life comes inspiration and a culmination of what the Spring and Summer has produced. It may be the end for somethings, but with every ending comes the chance for a new beginning.

We change our flip flops for rubber boots, summer flowers for grasses, summer fruit for pumpkins and squash, cold beer for warm apple cider, shorts for jeans, t-shirts for sweaters, corals for burnt orange....the list goes on and on. 

As I sit out on the back deck wrapped in a cozy blanket rather than on a towel, I welcome the chill in the air, I watch the squirrels and chipmunks rushing around as they put away the walnuts for the winter, I look up at the tree canopy that is now almost void of leaves...... We're in a transition....a transition to new beginnings....

The more I look around me and take it all in, the more I sure am glad to live in a world with Octobers!



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Reinforcement = the process of encouraging or establishing a belief or pattern of behavior, especially by encouragement. 

A strong Mind, Body and Home needs Reinforcements......Whether it be a daily planner, a group of friends, an inspiring print or a favourite app, we MUST surround ourselves with who and what will encourage and assist us to be the best 'Me' possible.

I think it's safe to say, for a lot of us, most days are quite manageable....though everyone's degree of manageable differs of course. I think we can attribute this ability to manage to the reinforcements we don't even realize we've built into our lives.  Something as simple as our morning routine can help to get the day off to a great start. Do you have a morning routine?? A while back, I wrote about morning routines and asked, "What do you do before breakfast?" . I definitely do have a routine (you'll have to read that post to find out what my mornings entail) and even though I do try and stick with it, there are times when I just can't.... 

This is where Adaptability comes in...Adaptability AND Resiliency some days. There is one thing I can say about my life, and I'm sure yours manageable as it is most days, when the curveballs get thrown, let's just say, they come in at 125mph and damn, there are some that come close to striking me out! 

This is where you have to use all of your 'tools' in your Reinforcements toolbox, in addition to your ability to Adapt and be Resilient, to help you get through. I've already mentioned some of my 'tools', but here are a few more:

  • Moleskines and a pen; so I can jot down ideas, lists, quotes etc as the day goes by...and so I can look back at all the good when it may not be quite as good a day as ones prior.
  • Magazines; I subscribe to mags that let me lose myself in them, whose pages end up on my inspiration boards and that help keep me on track from a motivational standpoint. When I've had a rough day, I come home, pour a glass of wine and curl up with a magazine to either distract me for a bit, or to help me unwind. 
  • Fresh Flowers; I try and have fresh flowers in my home as often as I can, especially flowers from the Market here in town. They bring a smile to my face every time I look at them and really, I can't think of a better 'pick me up' then a bouquet of your favorites to bring some cheer and colour into your home.
  • The Gym;  I have two words for you: Leg Press! The days when the frustration levels are topping out are the days I actually have some of my best workouts!  Head phones in, music turned up, water bottle filled...Bring on leg day..and heavy leg day at that! The great thing about working out is that it makes you so aware of the mind and body connection, especially when doing weights I find (I'm definitely a gal that lifts). You have little choice but to completely focus on your workout when you have a new personal best loaded up on the squat rack.
  • Re-Organizing: one of THE best distractions for me is re-organizing, updating/refreshing my home decor and purging. It not only helps the mind de-clutter and settle to go through the creative process but it also brings a new sense of 'Me' to your/my space. It's a pretty great workout too if you're having to run things back and forth to the basement like I do.
  • Cooking;  there's something almost therapeutic about chopping up veggies, bbqing out in the sunshine and taking in all the yummy aromas as the meal comes together...maybe I was a sous chef in a prior life. Not only do you have the 'therapy' of the process, you know you have healthy, great food to feed your body too!

Reinforcements.....we all need them and only you know what you need to ensure you remain successful, healthy and happy. I find as we get older, we hone in on what really works for us....What are some of your Reinforcements?

Adaptability and Resiliency work hand in hand with your Reinforcements and the more tangible "tools" you have in your toolbox, the more emotionally strong, resilient and adaptable you should be able to be. I say should....but honestly, I really mean will. You WILL be more resilient and adaptable. 

A friend and I were discussing how our lives can look 'perfect' via the internet...The 'flawless' Instagram photos, the 'splendid' Facebook posts...yea right! For those moments, those literal seconds, life is 'perfect', but what about all the other minutes and hours in the day? I'm sure there are many other 'perfect' moments in your day, but for the 'not-so-perfect' times, remember these 3 words:



The Making of Me...

Someone asked me the other day what I blog about and crazily enough, I had a bit of a difficult time answering. 

My first and immediate response was, "Home Decor"....

I must have answered with a somewhat unsure look on my face or tone in my voice, as they asked me the question again... After what seemed like an eternity, I responded for a second time, but much more confidently, "I blog about lifestyle topics...I blog about life"....... As the words came out of my mouth, I thought to myself, "Did that ever feel good rolling off my tongue".

As much as I love Home Decor, I feel like there is much, much more to my blog than that...and to me as a person....

|n my humble opinion, blogging should be your much or as little as you'd like to share...but when push comes to shove, your blog should be a reflection of you, what inspires you and what you love.

Wait....let me say that another way.... your LIFE should be about what inspires you and what you love...a reflection of what makes you YOU.

You're probably thinking, what is this girl talking about? Of course my life is a reflection of me.. I'm living it!! 

But I ask you to take a step back....take a panoramic view of the life you are living. Can you say to yourself with 100% honesty, I'm living a life that reflects 'me' as the person I want to be.... 

Insert Epiphany In The Making Here!! 

Let me back up a bit first..... It all began one day a few months ago when I had written out my initials... AMBM.......................and it came to me...

A Mind Body hoMe Life & Style... Your mind, your body and your home need to be in synergy to find and retrieve the "Me" you strive to be every day.

Some days are definitely a smoother ride then others, but the thoughts running through your mind, how you care for your body and what you do to make your house a home reveal the 'Me' you are becoming every second of every day.


Rustic Retrievals = Retrieving your experience and knowledge on a daily basis to continue to mold  the unfinished parts of you. Essentially, taking the 'old me' (who I was yesterday) and continuing to learn, grow and build the 'new me' (who I am today and who I will be tomorrow). 

I'm just getting started as my mind is going a mile a minutes with so many ideas! Stay tuned for so much more Mind + Body + Home = Me and Rustic Retrievals Life & Style...

For now....I will leave you with this question...

What inspires you on a daily basis about your life??




A Weekend in the Country - Part Deux

The Friday and Saturday of the April long weekend involved running errands, decorating for Spring and some relaxation. 

After all that, a sunny Sunday meant only one thing...ROAD TRIP TO THE LAKE!!!

Mom, Charlie and I hopped in the truck (Char is never one to miss a good road trip, especially one that MAY include swimming - this one didn't as the lake was much too cold) and off to the lake we went. We started in Kincardine, along Lake Huron, and I just couldn't wait to put my feet in the sand!! As you can see, Charlie had his leash on and he was none too happy about that, but as you can also see, there are still chunks of ice in the water! Last thing we needed was a hypothermic pooch!!

How great did it feel to finally be able to wear flip flops and have our toes....and the sand!?!


It wouldn't be a trip to the lake without ice cream!! An Oreo Blizzard for myself, ice cream cone for Charlie and a pineapple sundae for Mom! Feels like Summer has officially started (well....almost!).

Back into the truck for a drive along the shore..... So many new homes and 'cottages' have gone up over the past 5-10 years....The one above is one of my favourites on the drive between Kincardine and Point Clark.

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The colours this time of year are unlike any other! You will rarely see the water this turquoise-blue in the summer. I can't get over how much ice there still was (and snow for that matter). It really was a perfect picture taking day!!

We then got on the road and headed home :(

Such a great day and so bittersweet to leave the water behind.... 

We arrived home to this sunset...Just stunning! The perfect end to the perfect day!

Monday morning arrived (last day of the long weekend) and I headed back to the city as I wanted to get my yard work done and the deck/patio set up!

As I got to the end of my parent's sideroad, this happened as the sun was rising....I absolutely had to get out and capture how incredibly beautiful it was! 

It was such a lovely Spring weekend in the country..... It completely re-energized me and as always, made me realize how lucky I am to live a Bucolic Lifestyle......