It's been awhile

Fall has begun and the change in seasons encourages me to reflect on the days of past.  It has been three years since my last blog post.  Three years of highs and lows and lots of changes in our wider world and within the small circle of our individual lives.  Over the past three years, my family lost two great pillars, we weathered illness, house moves, renovations here and abroad, and the blending of generations under one roof.  We also traveled to our favorite spots and some new ones, welcomed new family members, and grew professionally with numerous amazing projects.   I am sure each of you can attest, life so often leads you in unexpected directions.


It is challenging to keep our personal and professional lives apart; so often our circles mesh and blend, sometimes for the bad, but most times for the good.  My personal experiences with design and renovations give me great reflection on my client projects and I hope, make those projects that much more robust.   Having been a part of four family house moves over the past three years, and renovations, some more major than others, in each, I have learned a little more about what my clients go through during their own ‘renovation’ process and have some musings to share….

Moving house

Wow moving--it rocks your world.  Packing, storage, moving out day, moving in day = crazy.  According to psychologists, moving households is #7 on the top ten list of “stressful life events.” 

Yet moving also gives you a fresh start, a chance to declutter and downsize belongings, reflect on memories, and dream of something new.   According to the experts, you should do all of that decluttering and downsizing as you pack up your home, giving way to an easy, smooth, organized move in.  But not all of us can follows those rules. I know for sure, I did not have the luxury to! But one thing I did find successful was this:

Make use of your resources. Our furniture storage solution in Portugal, an unused warehouse on a friend’s property

Make use of your resources. Our furniture storage solution in Portugal, an unused warehouse on a friend’s property

  • Whether you are moving, renovating or just redecorating, please, please, please, even if you cannot declutter everything, pick the 2 busiest rooms/closets/storage spaces/etc. and weed through them before packing.  You will feel so accomplished.

AND It is OK if your methods are a little unorthodox


This is the big one. Renovations. Renovations entail anything from repainting to redecorating to completely restructuring a space.  Renovations make marriages break up.   Renovations can also put you on cloud nine and make you fall in love again. 

Some tips to make it through:

Plan, Plan, Plan, and Plan again BEFORE you execute 

With my clients, I am granted the luxury of working with a pot of money, sometimes you call it a ‘budget’, sometimes you call it ‘guidelines’, but by having this, it forces the creation of a design plan and agreement on items BEFORE execution.  Of course, things will probably change a little along the way, but this will help guide you and all parties involved in the equation.

Dream a little

Think crazy thoughts. Soak up ideas around you. Travel. Notate inspirational images. Opening your mind will lead way to a better space than you thought could be possible. 

Involve everyone in the process

Buy-in from those affected (hint-anyone living in house) is important and can also be a lot of fun.

Keep an open mind

It’s OK to change your mind along the way. 

In our family cottage, we started off chalk painting everything but found along the way, it was better to keep a few pieces original after all.


Rethink and repurpose what you already have.  Maybe you do not need to replace, you just need to refinish. Existing builder grade items can look great with a little love.

Enlist Professional Help

You can’t do everything yourself. AND you are not an expert in everything.  We had great visions of our new backyard but could not pull it together both design and budget wise.  With the help of a creative and patient Landscape Designer, and phased in projects, we were able to accomplish our vision, with just a little longer timeline.


Last but not least, enjoy the fruits of your labor. Use your home inside and out. Entertain. Don’t worry about your perfect paint job getting some smudges, those marks are character and show a house well lived in.

Thank you

Thank you to all of those that let me be a part of their own renovations over the past three years. Thank you to my family for enduring our constant changes. And more than anything, thank you to all of the professionals that help me create these amazing spaces-John, Marco, Sam, Jennifer-just to name a few.

Next time, it will not take me three years to add a new post!


Angelee MarquesComment