HOME TOUR 2020 living + dining rooms

As we all heed the expert's advice during the Coronavirus pandemic and STAY HOME!, I've spent more time than usual in these two rooms, which really are one big room. Our home is "open concept" in that the living and dining rooms as well as the kitchen are all openly connected. There are no doors, which helps with limited natural light. Every room (besides bathrooms and bedrooms) being connected also helps our small space feel a bit larger. Over the past month of being mostly home I've thought a lot about the style of my home as I clean and organize and purge items we no longer love or use. What works in my home may not work in yours, or simply just not appeal to you, so I'm not pretending to give advice - simply sharing what I've done and why.

First of all, in such a small, yet open space I felt like we needed to go with one neutral, light colour throughout. I decided on light grey but sometimes wish it was white (and I'll probably choose white for our next home). Either way, the light neutral works and I'm happy with it! 

I also like keeping a decor theme or vibe the same for every room so it's more the style of my home and not room by room. It simplifies everything and I think makes the home seem more calm and organized, though especially these days it's rarely either for long! Pieces you'll find in both rooms often have a lot of white, black, beige, grey, and natural materials such as wild flowers, rocks, paper, and wood. 

Our home is a big mixture of old and new, and I love mixing the two. Some examples of old: my collection of vintage tea cups are all thrifted or were inherited, the 50 and 100 year old hymnals and books of common prayer were thrifted and adorn our shelves and the big thrifted basket on the dining table (which also holds our English and French Bibles), the teak mid-century modern side table in the living room that I bought off Craigslist several years ago, and the knit doily which adorns our round wooden table in the right corner of our dining nook. 

Of course, we do have some new items as well. The Structube metal mirror, our oval dining table and beech wishbone chairs from Montreal furniture store Prunelle (see more about that collaboration and learn more about them here), the white Eames-style chairs from Amazon, the glass hanging pendants in the dining room from West Elm, the Ikea lamps throughout, the round wooden table was a gift from Bois et Cuir, and our white rug in the living room from Rugs.ca

As much as I do aim to keep these spaces clean and I love an orderly home (gosh that was easier before the Pandemic brought us all home 24/7!), I want to fill these rooms with useful items. These rooms are for living after all! You'll always find tons of books in both rooms, and the basket of Bibles and hymals never leaves our dining table so we can always grab them. There's always a chess board nearby for Oli and Brad's duals, and the white metal cabinet (Ikea) which supports our TV is full of boardgames. There's also a black metal basket on the floor in the dining room that houses all of our family yearbooks and albums from our trips over the years, which someone always seems to be looking through. 

Let's talk about art. I've collected many pieces over the years, mainly from secondhand shops. My theory is that it takes years to have the art you love and best reflects you, so don't try to rush it. When we first got married I was in such a hurry to make our house put together and "finished" that I threw up anything - regardless of it was my style (what was my style anyway?) or reflected us. The longer I gave myself, the happier I am with the end result. We have never spent a ton on art (I'd love to, we just can't afford to), but I've found some real treasures over the years. The geometric watercolour above our TV was made by me, the South Pole map hanging in the dining room was a gift from Bold Tuesday, the black and white flower sketch on the shelf above my couch was a gift from Juniper Print Shop, as was the pink NYC buildings print, which I had printed by Photo Wall in a collaboration. Juniper Print Shop is a great budget-friendly option which I've used long after our collaboration. You download the prints that you buy, so you can print them to be whatever size you want. Every print is the same price (around $25) and there are so many gorgeous options! On the top shelf above the couch there's a framed book cover that reminded me so much of our neighbourhood. Do you ever buy books just for the cover? When thrifting, I love looking for beautiful old books that I can frame or use as decorations. There's also a print of Eve being comforted by a pregnant Mary that I gave to Brad for Christmas this year, by Scott Erickson.

Adding meaningful touches are what makes a home different from a hotel room, but it's not necessarily my style to have family photos on every wall or a lot of trinkets, so the way I aimed to do this was by adding a few meaningful pieces here and there. The teacups are heirlooms and speak to my deep love for all things British. The pussy willows on the fireplace were picked by my kids last March on a visit to Morgan's family farm. The Eve and Mary print is a remake or an older piece that Brad has loved for years. He's often pulled up the original image online at Christmas or Easter and it's always moved him greatly, so when I saw Scott Erickson's version which fit so well in our home, I knew it would be the perfect gift. The old books and hymnals speak to our faith and the various quotes on our letter board above the couch speaks to our values. I'll also rotate in some small pieces from recent vacations every few months, too. You can see a black sculpture from the Greek Island of Milos.

I do love the "open concept" though it poses some challenges, namely that we're always together and there isn't much alone space! From the front door you can see right through to the back door. From Brad's office, which is in our entryway, you can hear the TV. From the living room you can smell what's cooking in the kitchen. Noise and smells and chaos travel as fast as the children who tear through this home day after day. I'm not trying to complain, just being realistic about what a space like this means. I never want to paint a picture of perfection on here!

Despite the challenges, I do love our small home. We're five people in just over 1,000 square feet, sharing two bedrooms and two bathrooms with no garage or basement, and we truly use every centimeter of space. In 2-3 years we'll be hoping to move to a slightly bigger three bedroom condo in our neighbourhood and will miss this space enormously. Honestly, if we had just one more bedroom and maybe 500 square feet more, I'd want to live here forever!

Up next, a kitchen tour! Thanks for reading and looking!


  1. Thank you for the lovely home tour of your lounge/dinning space. I really like how you said that you need to take your time to find things that you love and make your space feel like home. We have been in our new home for just over 7 months and I had hopped to have it all furnished and picture perfect by now, but life happens and it's still nowhere near ready( My husband just finished painting our bedroom yesterday).I need to let go of my idea of perfection and just learn to enjoy the little things that we have managed to get done so far. This morning my daughter was totally overjoyed by the rainbows all over her bedroom, her Grandmother had sent her some crystals for her birthday in December and we finally put them up by the window to catch the light. I have also been moving some plants around and changing some cushion covers and of course tidying up to make our home feel prettier.

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