On my show, HGTV Canada's The Expandables (watch full episodes on hgtv.ca), we demolish, re-design, transform, and give an entire floor of a house back to our lucky home owners. When it came time for us to rent one floor of a house, it was hard for me not to want to do all of the above... then I heard the voice of my future self telling me to re-define and realize what it meant for me to be in the category of "renter", not "owner". I hit pause, and now we're renting smart and buying furniture and accessories for the long term.
First, let me tell you a little bit about me and my Plus One (for life!), Sandro Sax!
We met, we fell in love, and…one week after meeting, we were off my friends wedding in gorgeous Kelowna, British Columbia!
A fun bit of the story (and small world afterall!) was that Sandro actually worked with the wedding planners husband, and had many colleagues who were coincidentally related to the groom! Such is life, we ended up having the most WONDERFUL, spontaneous and beautiful trip together.
Fast forward a few months and we were looking for the most luxurious apartment to move into together. Ha. Just kidding. We were trying to be smart, which can be difficult when you’re dating a designer, because I just can't wait to get my hands on the space (rental or not), and when I really fall in love with a space....goood luck trying to convince me its not worth it.
I would say this is the closest we came to perfection. This house had everything we wanted in a space to rent, and I could really picture us living a beautiful life here. It was in the neighbourhood we wanted (close to our gym, with two parking spaces), it was unfurnished (I had a lot of furniture to bring with me), it was a newly renovated space (previously lived in by a designer!), had a functioning fireplace (it gets cold here!), new hardwood floors (check!), fresh paint (in a colour I would definitely approve), gorgeous custom shutters (lovely for layering the drapery I wanted to add), coffered ceilings throughout (dreamy!)... it even had light fixtures that I would have sourced myself! Ah, too good to be true? Indeed.
When we came across this house that we absolutely fell in LOVE with…but sadly after much back and forth with the home owners (they wouldn't allow pets), we had to say goodbye to this space and think of it as an inspiration for our future dreams.
It did teach us two things: 1) We had a lot in common, style wise (which I think can be really important in a couple, because you want both partners to love the space their in), and we’re looking for a space that was open, classic and had great bones! And 2) We wanted to make sure we were smart financially, finding a space that was potentially under budget, so that our future could look a lot like this. Being smart with our money now, meant that down the road we would be able to afford owning a place like this. And the house hunt continued...
We found this space hidden on a little corner on the internet. There were minimal photos, the price was just right, and it looked a little like an inspiration image I had been carrying around with me (see below)…which meant it had POTENTIAL!
Potential for me was something that we could live in happily for the next year or two, that I could give a mini facelift to (fresh paint, some updates), and that was within our (saving friendly) budget.
Touring the space it became more apparent to us – it wasn’t our dream home, but it had three bedrooms, for only two of us. It was also little north of the area we originally wanted, there was only one parking space, but he could walk to work! Compromise and patience, something I learn in my relationship every day, really paid off.
And it needed…a little/lot of work, BUT HELLO! This is what I DO, what I LIVE FOR the transformation, the dreary befores & glowing afters…. But what was the most important is that we could really see ourselves being happy here. And I am all about a happy home. Then I soon realized one of the biggest challenges as a designer isn’t designing for other people, it's designing for yourself!
I'm thrilled to share some of our journey and love connecting with all of you!