Hey! My name is Wren and I am so excited to share my home with you today! I live in a three-bedroom home on an acreage with my handsome husband, beautiful children, and a menagerie of animals. I am a photographer/musician/designer and I have a blog called “Florian“. There I mainly post my photographs, with little ramblings about life. Thanks so very much to Emory for inviting me to come over and show some photos of our place. It has been a big project for our family for the past few years and so it is nice to be at the point where we can share some of our progress. There is still a ton left to do, but it’s home for us for now and we love it! Hope you enjoy.
Where is your home located?
Our home is located in a beautiful little forest near a meandering stream with a wooden bridge running over it. There are woods, fields and orchards all around, with amazing views from the nearby hilltops. The big old trees standing around our home shade us nicely in summer and keep us cool. Then they thin their leaves enough in the fall and winter to let lots of sunlight in when we need it the most.
Wild animals wander through our property all year round and we have enough space to have a large vegetable garden in the back (with a fence around it of course). We also like to have bonfires and camp-outs in the farthest reach of our property that makes us feel like we are far away from it all. I even have a swing up there that I like to visit whenever I need a few moments to unwind and feel like a kid again. We also have the perfect toboggan hill for the winter, which I am pretty sure is the main reason our kids agreed to our place when we first saw it! It’s a pretty great location with lots of natural beauty and of course the necessary amenities within close reach. We looked a long time before buying our home and really thought about what we wanted from our property. I think we lucked out and found a great spot for our family for right now.
What are your thoughts on the idea of ‘home’?
I think my motto is “home is where the heart lies”. I have moved and travelled a lot throughout the years so ‘home’ has meant a lot of different things at different points in my life. (Once I got married and had kids, I kept on moving only with more stuff and people to tow along!) Because I have lived in so many places and homes, I think my approach to making a house into home has become pretty straightforward. Home for me is wherever my husband and kids are, where we make our space comfortable and functional, and where we create memories together. I like to set up my furniture, art and instruments right away whenever we settle into a new space, which makes things feel familiar. But it is honestly not about stuff for me when I think of home. It is more about the feelings of nostalgia that you get whenever you bake an old cookie recipe from your childhood. Or when you smell wood smoke and remember all those times you sat by a wood stove or bonfire with the ones you love. It’s how you feel when you get out decorations from the attic to get ready for the holidays. That is ‘home’ to me. The good stuff in life that you share with the people you love the most. It’s also a safe place to relax and unwind away from it all. We named our property “the hide out” for a reason. It’s a place that we feel hidden away and happy in, with space to play and to work on projects, celebrate holidays and enjoy our time together.
What kinds of things influence your design style?
I am a fan of mid-century modern and Scandinavian design, so I tend to gravitate towards that look. We also have a lot of different eras of vintage furniture and collectibles in our home, which set a certain tone with their aesthetic and colour palettes. As far as an overall look in a space, I love the graphic quality of black and whites with bright colour thrown in to contrast. I think my tastes in design are pretty similar whether it be in home design, photography, or fashion, etc. My photos are the best (I think) when they are more graphic looking, I wear a lot of black and white in my wardrobe, and I have noticed that my home is increasingly looking more like this as well. I have been told that I am “daring with colour” in my home, which I suppose is true in some ways. However, most of our walls are white, except for an occasional accent wall. The floors are also all painted/tiled/carpeted white throughout the house. This was a choice I made because I knew that it would allow the space to breathe and feel light, as well as leave room for the colourful pieces that I wanted to showcase. (And no, it isn’t super hard to keep clean! It requires about the same level of cleaning as any floor surface does.)
A really colourful choice that I made was on my kitchen cupboards which are from Poggenpohl. The colour they are is called “fluorite” from a line the company did based on minerals. Essentially it is this delicious citrus green. I loved them the minute I saw them, but I think some people would shy away from putting in such strong colour on so much area. They work really well though and add a lot of life to the space. We had all white walls initially in the kitchen, but I pushed for the main wall to be painted black and I am so happy that we did it. It makes the space feel substantial and shows off the chrome and stainless steel in the room (like my industrial sink!).
Change is good with design, and honestly I think that the evolution of a space is often the most interesting part. I have found that too much of one style tends to make a space into more of a museum than a livable home. I really like the sparseness and space of mid-century modern, but it has proven to be a bit too cold for daily life with a family. My husband and kids have pushed for more soft furnishings, so we have compromised a bit on some of our furniture. I have gotten rid of some of the vintage pieces that I loved, but were not comfy or durable enough to keep. Our bright blue couch is a departure from the usual style/shape I choose in furniture, but it is super cozy and perfect for curling up on with a good book, so it works great for our family room.
Having kids and pets also adds a lot of clutter and commotion to life which has led me to realize that striving for a ‘perfect’ room with pristine furniture and no toys/books/art supplies/shoes laying about is like shoveling in a snow storm. I am not going to ever get it finished, no matter how hard I try! I do daydream of all white furniture with lots of teak, but my puppy likes to chew wood and my kids have spilled on almost every piece of furniture I own. I guess my design style is best summed up as “aspiring for clean/functional/fun- with a good dose of having a family friendly surfaces.”
What do you consider to be one of your favourite items in your home? What could you never live without?
Other than my family, which I could never live without, I suppose my favourite items in my home are my musical instruments. We have moved far and wide and left behind many a sofa/chair/coffee table, but we always take our instruments. My husband and I are both musicians and have built up a collection of instruments that we play regularly and are, I think, a beautiful part of our space. I feel like it is home when we get the instruments all set up and arranged. The drum kit takes up a lot of space but I also just feel that I want to live in a house that has a drum kit in it. Our kids love playing music too, which I think is invaluable for them to experience. They have learned to feel comfortable around things like violins, banjos and sitars from an early age, which I hope will lead them to having music in their lives as they grow. It’s something we really value in our home. It makes our house feel more like a ‘home’ to me whenever we play music together.
Please share any ideas/stories/pictures that best highlight your home.
Well, our home has been a real “labour of love” for our family. We bought it a couple of years ago and have worked incredibly hard on it since then. I mentioned earlier that we loved the property and surroundings when we found our place. The other part of that story is that the house itself was in terrible condition and needed an immense amount of work to get it up to current living standards. We literally started out camping in a tent for a few days when we moved in because the house was in such dire straights. But with a lot of elbow grease, a couple of large dumpsters, and lots of dreams we have been able to make our house into a space that works for our family. There were definitely moments where I thought we had bitten off more than we could chew, but it has all been a great learning experience that allowed us to make our house into what we want and need. We had some excellent work done by electricians/gas fitters/installers etc. on the things that needed inspection and certification, but other than that we have done a lot ourselves. This has meant that we get to think about what we are doing and make sure it works, which is wonderful. But, it has also meant that things have taken a bit longer because it’s been us doing it rather than some big crew rushing though. Sometimes we had to wait to do something because it was outside of what our budget would allow. Or we had to find the right materials and it took a lot longer to do that than we had planned. Often we had to stop and reassess where we were heading with a plan and decide if we were making the right choices. It was harder than I first thought to make some of the decisions, although it was super fun at other moments too. I would say that the kitchen part was the worst for me simply because it is such a central part of our home and it seemed to take so very long to complete. I knew what I wanted with the lay out and design, but it was a process to get it all set up. (It took forever to find a fridge that fit properly and didn’t take over the entire space!!) In the interim, we still had to make meals in it, which was pretty tough some days.
Overall, our home has become a lot of what I envisioned when I first saw it. It is open and bright and looks out onto our property with big windows. The children’s rooms are finished enough that I feel good about them, finally!! My bathtub is exactly the big and luxurious type that I wanted; I just had to wait a little while for it. The plans that we have for the rest of our home are exciting to look forward to. We have worked hard on this house with our little budget and our big hopes and dreams, and it has taught me a lot. I have grand designs for an art cabin in the back of our property where I can write, paint and play music. I am hoping that next spring it will be time to get that project going. I know that it will be a snap to do compared to what the rest of the house has been. I feel like we can do pretty much anything now due to all that we have accomplished.
As I said before, there is still a ton to do on our house, but it is getting there and we are really loving what we have made it into. I suppose that that is what I would say is the biggest thing I’ve taken away from this whole experience; dream big, work hard and keep your chin up. Things tend to work out all right if you do those three things. Yay!! for dreaming big!
Thanks so much Emory for inviting me to share my little home! It was so much fun!
If you would like to take part in this series, entitled Home, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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