Six years ago we moved into our current home. It wasn’t in our plans to move again, especially after only a couple of years in our new apartment, but when the opportunity unexpectedly came up we jumped at the chance! After real estate prices in the city scared us all the way into a a condo in the suburbs, we didn’t think moving back would ever be easy. The apartment looked great on the outside, but the 45-min drive from the city and isolation from the downtown life we loved, proved to be a bigger deal than we originally thought. The granite counters, high ceilings and open space no longer mattered – we wanted to be back in the city, even if it meant being in an older home.
As it turns out, you can try to be smart about your choices and still not get what you need. Often, it’s only once I experience a situation that I know what doesn’t work for me and I need to follow my heart all the way back to what could have been my first choice.
I still remember the first weekend in our new city home. It was a sunny day at the beginning of June. After a very long day of driving all of our belongings from the other side of town, we finally moved in. Our dear friends and family helped us well beyond what we could have reasonably asked for at this point in our lives by carrying boxes and cleaning. Our new house had views of trees and grass and felt like our first grown-up home.
After over 20 years of living in various apartments, this house felt like it was going to be the family home we settled in for a while. I remember waking up the next day in our master bedroom. Surrounded by boxes, we slept on a mattress that was still on the floor. I woke up amazed at how quiet and still everything was in our little corner of the townhouse community. The home was only a few streets back from the hustle and bustle of our new city neighbourhood, yet enveloped by lush green trees and flowers. Simple things like having a door that opened up to the outside and not a shared hallway felt novel and expansive to us.
But the townhouse was also old with a list of to-dos a mile long. There were shiny 80’s brass lighting fixtures and door hardware in every room. The carpet that seemed light and bright when we visited the place during an open house, turned out to be dirty, stained, and old. And my new kitchen was almost thirty years old and in need of some serious updates – both aesthetically and functionally. I have to be honest that buyers remorse set in as I scrubbed and cleaned every part of the house realising how much work and money would have to be put into this place to really make it the home I wanted it to be. It would be a challenge I looked forward to, but also one that would test my patience and resources when things didn’t go as planned.
Our blue townhouse surrounded by trees. These photos were taken shortly after we moved in. Most of the outside appearance is still the same, but we updated the entrance somewhat with more modern details and a new window.
Six years later, the updates are still very much in progress. We replaced many of the finishes – including the kitchen – and painted all of the rooms. Some more than once when I had a change of heart about living with brighter colours. While I would say that most of the house is in a happy place for now, there are rooms that are still in need of work and likely require more resources than we currently have available.
However, the biggest change since we moved into our home was the birth of our long-awaited son a year ago. When we first settled into the house it was only with our adult needs and lifestyle in mind. Now our days look a bit different. We spend a lot more time sitting on the floor, cleaning up messes, and eating at the dinner table instead of on the couch in front of the TV.
But in all seriousness, while we still like our home, some of the spaces don’t work so well for us anymore. I have plans to make small changes in the next while that I hope to share with you. But why am I writing this story now? Because I realised that despite frequently moving over the years, I always had to put a personal stamp on each apartment I called home. Often not able to afford much more, I painted a fresh coat of paint on the walls and hung up art. Ever since I was a little girl I was dreaming up house designs and rearranging furniture in my childhood room. While I didn’t originally choose interior design to be my life’s work, to this day my passion for interiors and architecture influences what I do in my spare time and where my money goes.
Playing in my childhood garden with our dog Luna. I wish I had more photos of the inside of my childhood home. It was designed by an architect in our family and quite modern for the times. Perhaps what I remember the most though is the amazing garden that was filled with fruit trees and the campfires we had in the fall once all the leaves were raked.
Perhaps what I’m feeling simply comes from getting older, or the birth of my son changed something in me. I think most moms would say that to be true to some extent. I am more sure of myself. I don’t want to compromise as much. While I am more empathetic to what others need, I’m also more clear on what I want. There is this urgency to get to work and build something of our own. I feel like time is passing by so fast that really there is no putting things off for later anymore. The time I have I want to spend focused on what has always been most important to me – learning, creating, designing, and exploring how we live in our environment. Maybe in the process I can come up with something others also find interesting and can take away and use in their own life.
For the last couple of years I felt this strong pull back towards design and a desire to make stuff. As a digital media producer I used my creative skills directing many very talented artists, designers, and programmers. But I miss actually doing the ‘dirty’ work myself. I want to get back to creating things with my hands (even if mainly pushing pixels) and focus on mastering those skills. To continue training my eye to see the world like a problem solver and architect. To connect with the similarly design-obsessed and observe as they work. Maybe exchange ideas and inspire each other. Thinking about what I would bring to this exchange, I decided that at heart, I’m an analyst and thinker. I love to explore, learn, and come up with new ways of putting things together. Unconventional, yet firmly rational in how I solve problems. Modern, yet traditional. I’m still figuring out how to bring these opposite forces harmoniously together and this will be the space where I will continue to work this out.
What is Made with Blue about?
I write about interior design related topics and focus on lessons that you can adopt into your own home. I look for unusual places to draw inspiration and tell you how you can also do it. I observe the world with a designer’s eye to see what is interesting and how you might apply it to your home.
You might be thinking – I don’t know a thing about design, how will this make any sense to me and what will I do with it? This blog is for you if you often ask ‘why’ and ‘how’ about the place you live and look for ways to improve your experience. Or maybe you are an information nerd that is curious about interior design, architecture, and your environment. This blog is also for you. Are you simply looking for some new visual inspiration and ideas for how you can decorate your home? You will find it here as well.
I also want to make interior design and style accessible to anyone wanting to give it a try. To me, good design is about solving problems in a creative and resourceful way. You can do that with both inexpensive AND luxury materials and express your ideas using a variety of styles. In other words, it doesn’t matter what your budget is. There is always an opportunity to use good design to solve a problem in your home.
One of my first personal projects will be to explore the idea of a ‘dream home’. What would such a space look like for me and why? I want to explore my personal concept of a dream home. For example, what environment and functions are critical for me and what is optional and why. How does it influence where I choose to live, how I decorate, and organise our space. Most importantly, what can we all take away from knowing this information about ourselves in our search for a safe and comfortable place to live.
I can’t wait to get started! Tell me what you love about your own home and are interested in reading about.