Home Renos: An Outlet for Creativity

creative-process-messyThis is totally what home renos are like!

We’ll just knock down these walls to open up the space, put in some new windows here for lots of light, and put in a new entry to the basement…it will only take a few weeks!

Fast forward to the actual work in progress and it’s beyond messy.  Those walls were full of electrical that needed to be rerouted.  The new basement entry required drawings from a structural engineer, permits, and contractors.  Let’s just say that a few weeks can quickly turn into a year.

Last fall, my husband and I bought a brick, 1920s home in Toronto.  We wanted a fixer upper, something with character.  The main floor was split into multiple small rooms, the orange-tinged laminate flooring made me cringe, and the bad 1970s iron banister made me long for what would have originally been there.

We didn’t love it, but we would.

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Now imagine having a baby and and toddler in with this fun…


Despite the absolute mess and dust, and keeping our kids from eating random debris,  I have enjoyed it.  Working on the house has been a creative outlet for me.

I get to design a space for our family that is functional and is us.

Below are a few before / after pictures…

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The front entrance of our home.  We installed a transom window to bring some character back into the house, laid some Spanish tile, put in new doors, and exposed the brick wall.
We opened up the space by removing walls, refinished the stairs, added new light fixtures, and put in new hardwood flooring.
Our kitchen now feels more open with a bank of new windows. We installed new cupboards, counter top, and the tile for our back splash is still a work in progress.


Inspiration has come through reading books and searching online.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up made me think about the importance of getting rid of clutter and only keeping pieces that have meaning or bring joy.  Reading about the bagua map got me thinking about the spaces within our home.  Do we have a space for our children to be creative?  A space for career/life paths? Health? Travel?

All gave food for thought, yet the biggest influence on our design choices has been our kids.

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We had a coat rack made for the kids from barn wood and hung it low so they could reach it.
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We chose a glass storm door at our entrance to bring in sunlight and so the kids could easily look outside.
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I designed a wall for the kids to play and create.  They can draw, display their art work in the frames, and play on the magnet wall.


We continue to dream about future projects.

Our dining room will one day have a long live edge wood table with benches and seating for 8.  We’d like to have a new mantel built for our fireplace with built-ins for storage. Someday maybe our third floor / attic space could become a “Lainie Room” – a place where I can work, write, and be creative.

And although the creative process is a messy one, imagining spaces, planning, and experimenting is all a part of the fun.

I’ve already started gathering ideas for what’s to come.




Note: When I mentioned “we” in reference to the work that has been done, it encompasses many who have done so much to help us out.  My parents, brother-in-law, our friends, and contractors. We are so thankful.

3 Replies to “Home Renos: An Outlet for Creativity”

  1. I especially love your kitchen!! I like that you take your kids into account in your remodeling project, but how do you deal with them growing up. Aren’t you afraid that they soon get tired of the magnet wall for example?

    1. Just like with any toy, we find they do get tired of it after awhile. We rotate through different magnets like we do toys and it sparks them all over again. Animal magnets, trucks, emergency vehicles…letters. As they get older, there are different things a person can add. Pieces of tubing and a ball to design their own mazes and things. And eventually it will likely become more like our fridge – a place to display things they are proud of or papers we want to keep track of. It’s also just removing a few screws to remove it once we find it’s not being used. Thanks for your question!

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