Entryway renovation plans

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September 2nd 2014

Mike and I are hoping to complete a small renovation project in our entryway before winter arrives. Currently, our entryway is wayyyy too small and lacks storage. You can’t fit more than 1 adult at a time and once the door opens, well it’s very cramped. When we bought the house the entryway was painted forest green and all the wood was stained. It made for an even darker space.

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As soon as we moved in, I took down all the panelling, painted everything white and removed the closet doors to open up the floor space. Although it is a slight improvement from what was there before, it is still far from functional. It just looks unfinished. And it is. It also exposes how messy we are.

Exhibit A:

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In our defense though, the mess gets out of hand very quickly because there’s just no room to put stuff!

Since we can’t expand the size of the entryway, I want to completely remove the closet. We need more storage for shoes and more accessible coat and accessories storage and I’m thinking of building in a storage bench (where we can throw in our shoes, etc) and switching out the pole for some wall mounted hooks. Here are some great examples of what I have in mind:

Credits: one / two / three

For some personality, we’re going to wallpaper the walls. I’ve already ordered this lovely paper from Farrow & Ball and I love how it ties in with all the brass accents we have on the first floor. I’m also planning on adding a round mirror to open up the space further as well as a new gray slate floor. We’re going to get some estimates for the work and, budget allowing, we’ll get started on this later this Fall. I’ll keep you guys posted!

 

Weekend Links

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August 29th 2014

My latest Podcast obsession is The Dinner Party Download.

My friend Anile gave me a jar of her homemade cashew butter (here’s a recipe) and I can’t get it into my mouth fast enough!

Wowee wowee! Check out this amazing home in Montreal’s Plateau neighbourhood.

I also wanted to take a minute to say how thankful I am to all of you who take time out of your day to visit this blog. After publishing this post on Wednesday, many of you sent me really touching emails or left comments, sharing your own stories and lessons. I must have read all of them twice because I couldn’t believe the generosity of total strangers. You guys are the best! ox

Have a great weekend!

Marie-Eve

{via}

This whole freelance thing

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August 27th 2014

Back in March I wrote a post explaining my professional path and it seemed to strike a chord with many of you. I received quite a few emails from you lovely people sharing your own stories and words of encouragement. When I published that post, I was juuust starting to work on a more regular basis. We were settling into the new house, our son was in daycare and I finally had time to focus on work. In the last paragraph of the post I wrote “I still have days where I wonder what the f*ck I’m doing” and, 6 months later, I can confirm that I still feel that way. However, I’m no longer insecure about my unconventional career path. I believe that I’ve made the right decision and the only reason I can say that is because I’m giving it a real shot and – despite some bumps along the way – things seem to be heading in the right direction.

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So what do you do exactly? I must get asked that question once a week. I used to get embarrassed when I would try to explain that “I blog and I write and I do some styling and I….” I felt like I had to offer an explanation that would make me sound like I have a plan and a purpose. I didn’t want people to think that I was all over the place or being irresponsible. Truth is, I was – and still am – all over the place. But that’s what I signed up for. And, luckily, we live in an age where you can be all over the place, as long as you are motivated, determined and ready to work hard. I remember sitting in my hair dresser’s chair last Winter and we were discussing this very topic. She and I both struggled with the fact that we seemed to go from one project to another, never really sticking with one gig for very long. When would we just figure out what it was that we were supposed to do for a living? She told me that she had recently met with a clairvoyant who had told her: “Your life’s purpose is to be unapologetically and unabashedly creative.” This is what Oprah would call an a-ha moment. Although the clairvoyant’s words were not aimed at me, I totally appropriated them and decided that this was my green light. (I should send her flowers)

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Now when I’m asked what I do, I still have a tendency to ramble but I don’t feel the need to justify my choices. “I’m a creative hustler” or “I wear many hats” are the terms that I tend to use and they actually describe what I do pretty well. Some weeks I style photo shoots and write copy for marketing agencies. Other weeks I have design consultations and one-off collaborations with brands. (Note: there are also weeks where I’m just home with my son because he has a cold or something. They are the most glamorous). The thing about freelance work, particularly in this field (lifestyle? creative?) is that it’s very difficult to have one recognizable job title. I accept that every week is different and that money will be tight some months. I take on some free gigs because they inspire me and I accept others that are not all that exciting because they’ll pay the bills. I always try to focus on the bigger picture and to find a connecting thread between every opportunity. It’s funny to feel like you’re building something but you have absolutely no blueprint or any idea of what the end result might look like. There may never be an end result. But it really is about the journey, not the destination. At least that’s what I tell myself.

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One of the aspects of freelancing that I struggle with the most is putting a value on myself – on my ideas. A potential contract came up a few months ago and the person who had approached me asked “how much will you charge for the client to have access to your brain.” Ummm. I had to put an amount, in dollars, for what I thought I was worth. When you’re someone who has always struggled with a case of Fraud Complex, that’s not an easy question to answer. A voice in the pit on your stomach tells you that the answer is “$10″ but your brain knows that what you should say is much higher.

Potential client: “Hi Marie-Eve, we’d like to hire you to do XYZ. Is this something you can do?”

Inside voice: “Nope. This is way out of my league and I have no experience doing this on my own. This could be catastrophic.”

Outside voice: “Absolutely. No problem.”

Believing in your brand is the key to freelancing. I’ve had to really work on that part of it. The more I take risks that render successful outcomes, the more I start to believe in that outside voice. Faking it ’til I’m making it all the way!

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// I would love to hear your own stories regarding career paths and detours!

 

 

My Home Sense Campaign

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August 25th 2014

Remember when I was in Toronto for a fun project with House & Home Magazine for Home Sense? Well I am happy to report that What’s Your Style campaign (Quel est votre style, in French) is now LIVE. The print ads are also in a variety of publications including Maison & Demeure, House & Home and Style at Home (or so I’ve been told – I haven’t actually seen them yet!) .

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You’ll find videos on the microsite and they explain in detail what the campaign is all about but, for posterity, I will brief you here: I was approached by Home Sense to style two vignettes featuring a hero item. In this case, copper pots. We had a couple of days to set everything up, design the spaces, photograph them and film videos that explained how it all came together. This is the kind of work that doesn’t really feel like work though. I had a big “I love my job” kind of week.

Since we were working in a photography studio, we didn’t have two kitchen sets to work with. Coming up with two spaces where you would logically find copper ware but that don’t have counters, appliances, etc. ain’t all that easy, lemme tell ya. After doing some thinking, we came up with the idea for a butler’s pantry and a breakfast nook. I wanted there to be high contrast between both vignettes so we went with a bold black and white pantry and a pastel-toned nook. I had so much fun putting these together and I am so excited to share the results of our hard work with you.

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There are more detail shots and behind-the-scenes content on the micro sites so, if copper/interiors/watching me be awkward on camera is your thing, explore away! Oh – I almost forgot – you can enter the contest to win a $2500 Home Sense shopping spree too!

 

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