Week 6 – Renovation Series

Since our last post so much has happened and I am so excited to share! It has been an incredible journey. We are so blessed to have the opportunity to basically rebuild and design our own little abode.

Our design and renovation story dates back several months. Before we even bought the house we had tossed around the idea of what our own home build could look like. Before we could get there, there were some important things that needed to be checked off on our want list…tall ceilings, lots of natural light, functional layout, usable space, a large lot, on a cul-de-sac with a lot of trees. We waited and we found exactly what we were looking for but it needed a lot of love. We were up for the challenge because rarely does an old house with this much potential come up for sale.

The view from the master bedroom patio. This is half our yard!


Week five and six brought a lot of the design elements that I put down on paper to life! We saw the new indoor doors get installed and all the casings. Along with the doors was the replacement of several windows. For our inside doors, we chose to go with the MADISON Style, essentially one large shaker style. Again trying to keep things very simple.  All doors were standards except for the bedroom doors. We chose solid core doors for all the bedroom doors to add an extra layer of soundproofing. As for our baseboards and casings, we went with a simple flat look, 3-inch casing and 5-inch baseboards.

The kitchen got installed this week! I think this was the most exciting part of this whole process. The kitchen is such an important part of our culture. Our families are both Italians. Food is at the core of everything we do. We live to eat and eat to live. A kitchen is a vibrant place and the center of the home in Italian families. I wanted to carry that on in our home but I wanted it to be a space that was simple, clean yet still warm and inviting.

We decided to work with a local kitchen company that my husband had worked with on his previous renovations, True Kitchens. Ron and Tim (owners) did an amazing job! They put up with me first of all and after several design sessions, phone calls, text messages, and meetings, we narrowed it down to exactly what Ben and I wanted. As it came together this week in real life…I was so stunned that it literally brought me to tears. It’s exactly how I imagined it would be. My favorite part is our 11 foot, 11.5 when countertop goes in, island. I am so in love. I know I post in black and white. I promise to share color pictures on the full reveal but for those of you wondering our Kitchen is Oxford White, Benjamin Moore.

As the kitchen came together this week in real life, I was so stunned that it literally brought me to tears. It’s exactly how I imagined it would be. My favorite part is our 11 foot, 11.5 when countertop goes in, island. I am so in love. I know I post in black and white. I promise to share color pictures on the full reveal but for those of you wondering our kitchen colour is Oxford White, Benjamin Moore.


We also primed the entire house this week. Next, on the list is getting some more custom built-in cabinets completed. Painters get in this week as well to start spraying all doors, casings and get the first two coats of paint on. The tile guys get in later this week as well. I am looking forward to seeing the tile go down or up….. If you follow my Instagram you would know how excited I am about some of the printed cement tiles we chose for some special places in our home. In addition to that, we are also doing some cool tile in the bathrooms, the entrance, and backsplashes. I will share more of those details next week!

They said it couldn’t be done in 2 months. so far so good!


till the next post,


Week 4

move. part 2.

I cannot believe we are heading into the weekend…and the ending of week 4. It is truly amazing how much the hubby and I were able to organize and accomplish in the past 4 weeks. For those of you just tuning in, we took possession of our property on September 15th, 2017. On Sunday this week we celebrate one month into a massive renovation.

When we bought this house back in July, we listed our house and it sold right away with a 30-day possession. This meant that we needed to be out of the house by mid-August.

At this point, we had decided to quickly sell or donate about 80% of all our belongings. I had a very short time period to try and find my family an interim furnished abode. A place to call home. A temporary casa. A place that would allow our family to rent short term. A place that would allow a small dog and three boys. Somewhere that wasn’t insanely expensive because I didn’t want to have the extra burden of crazy carrying costs.

You would be amazed at how very few places allow pets…or how few rentals accepted three children. So now, not only were we faced with this challenge but we also needed to stay close to our current neighborhood for the kid’s schools and my work.

After very few options we ended up in a cute 1100 square foot condo that is pet-friendly, kid-friendly, furnished and a decent price (includes all utilities and internet/cable).

It has now been 2 months in our smaller rental house. 5 people and a dog. Each of us occupying approximately 183 square feet each. Tight is an understatement at this point. Myself, sharing a wonderful full size, I repeat, FULL-SIZE bed with my gigantic 6 foot 4 husband. It’s been eye-opening. I want to be clear. We appreciate having a roof over our head and I appreciate our space but as a family of 6 I am looking forward to more, not much more, but more space. Also, the layout isn’t ideal. My three boys are sharing a bedroom. They are 15, 9 and 5. You probably could guess that our 15-year-old is thrilled about this.

Because of the current living arrangement we are so careful about what comes into this house. NO MORE CLUTTER. No space for useless things.

This brings me back to our deadline. November 15th, 2017. The landlord of our rental could only guarantee us 3 months as she had found a long-term renter for the end of November.  From the possession day to move in gives us exactly 2 months time. 2 months to turn our 1979 character home into a beautiful modern and simple space. Our home. 2 months, 8 weeks.

So here we are, 4 weeks in. The halfway point. It seemed impossible at first, daunting really, to think about all we had ahead of us. Here is what we have done so far

  • We had to completely gut, take down walls and bring in a structural engineer
  • remove more walls, add new beams, add new joists
  • remove all subfloor
  • remove more walls due to moisture and mold
  • remove new found 1979 glued down linoleum floors
  • demo the house almost to all the studs
  • remove all tile work
  • gut all bathrooms
  • reframe master room, master bath, Anthony’s room
  • change out leaky skylights
  • replace 4 major windows
  • Remove a kitchen window and reframe and board
  • Move an existing new (LARGE) window 6 inches…6 INCHES!
  • move corner fireplace in the playroom and reframe
  • core new holes in cement for venting and move several ducts
  • add 40 new pot lights, 6 ceiling speakers and Electricians updated all wiring in the house
  • plumber upgraded plumbing, moved toilets, added gas lines
  • The list went on.


Here are some pictures of 4 weeks ago and the progress we’ve made since!

The sunroom area has been completed gutted, reinsulated, new drywall, new heat vents, new subfloor, new skylights and will become our dining area now that it is super cozy and very warm!

The main entrance, we closed up that dust collecting space above the closet, we made the closet doors 96 inches high for a more grand look.

The future kitchen area

The future wet bar area and pot lights we added in front

Kids Playroom had a corner fireplace, we fixed that. Corner fireplaces…the worst!

I cannot believe how far we have come in so little time! Everyone is working so hard on this project. The team on this job have been incredible.

Almost done drywall. We are also getting rid of all the textured ceilings and going with flat ceilings throughout the house. Something that is a rarity here in Calgary. We wrap this part up in about 3 days. Next, the finisher comes in to install all new doors, trim and window casings. Kitchen arrives next week as well. and we start on a few coats of paint. PAINT!!!!!!!!


I also have a few other fun surprises happening with the design piece but I will wait to share when the time comes. Which should be fairly soon at our pace!

4 weeks to go and we get to step into our forever home. I am getting really excited to see our vision come together. I am so glad to have you join us on our journey!

till the next post,


(If you are living in the Calgary area, are doing some reno’s and are interested in learning more about the awesome trades we had working with us, let me know)

Week 1

Amazing team. Amazing life.

It’s been a full week since we got possession of the new home. It’s been a long week. A busy week. A productive week.

I knew going into this project that it wasn’t going to be easy and that we would run into bumps along the way. So I wasn’t totally surprised at some of the things we discovered as we tore down walls, lifted old hardwood and poked around in the ceiling.


Most people would be afraid to take on such a big project. So many people ask us how we maintain a sane mind (for the most part). I guess what it comes down to are our experiences and personalities. Ben and I have very realistic expectations, follow crazy deadlines and have insane ambition. Not to mention we are best friends and make a great team.

This isn’t our first rodeo. Ben and I bought our first home together.  I was 26 and had a passion for home decor and design. Ben was 30 and had already owned 2 other properties, one of which was a new build. We decided to tackle our first renovation project in our first home. Ben was handy enough to do some smaller jobs and knew many trades who could get the other work done. I have always been a leader, great delegator and been able to keep our team on the project’s timeline. I have always been good with money and financially controlled and kept us on budget; while Ben was amazing at keeping the trades on task and working.

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Not to mention we are two feisty Italians and knew how to keep everyone on track in a positive and respectful way. (Using lots of hand gestures and slightly louder than usual voices, charm, and charisma)

Since our first major house renovation in 2006, together, we have renovated 2 other properties. More recently, Ben has completed his Realtors license and has partnered with his best friend to create Ultra Property Group. Together with their team, they buy, revitalize and put back on the market beautifully renovated homes across Calgary.

Everyone wants the ability to go big, buy big, live big…we had. The funny thing is, it didn’t align with our values or beliefs, ever. At first, we were thinking in the typical Calgary way – 25-year amortization, invest in a home, live through a boom, make a lot of money, sell your home, take out equity, move into the bigger home and repeat. The problem was it wasn’t who we were and yet we felt very pressured by life and people around us to keep up. Which seems so ridiculous looking back.

When did that change for us?

A couple of years back, Ben and I sat together one night and mapped out our values. We discussed how we wanted to live our lives together. We discussed our individual goals and our family’s goals. Which BTW I think is a fantastic exercise that all couple should do. It really gets you on the same page, helps you set goals together and allows you to understand and support one another through your differences.

We were about a decade into our journey of life together. We had three kids and a dog. We weren’t going to have any more children or dogs. This was it. We wanted to start living life the way we wanted. We wanted less because we knew it would give us more. One of the goals we discussed was downsizing to a space that would better utilize square footage. We wanted a space we could invest in to create an intentional and beautiful home but still get a good return.

Week one has come to a close and we did so much work together as a family and as a couple. One night Ben and I sat there pulling out over a thousand staples and added over 500 new screws to the builder’s grade floor from 1979. There we were working in the moonlight because we had no power for lights. We got frustrated, we got annoyed, we laughed, we told stories and we finished. Our backs were sore and palms bruised. We left excited and in love with our home and each other.


Week one brought us several hidden wasps nests in the insulation, mouse droppings (ewwww…which was immediately dealt with and resolved), beams, boards, and engineers that had us slightly changing our plans and my least favorite…traces of black mold that led to having to tear down and remediate a wall.

Despite all the curve balls, I can’t believe how much we accomplished in a short week! Now we head into week 2 with all the surprises we encountered fixed. The house is in prime shape for the next step. Our new windows arrive soon, some framing work to be done and the new subfloor to be installed. The sunroom skylights arrive this week and we will be meeting with insulation specialists, our tile guy, and finalizing some design ideas.

Our deadline is November 15th. I know this seems like a lofty goal and many of our friends and family members think we’re completely crazy to think we will be living there so soon but they don’t know our secret. We are an amazing team, we planned this out and we made room for oversights. I guess now we will have to see and leave it in the hands of time….and two Italians.

I believe we got this. Keep following to find out

till the next post,




The renovation is still in the DEMO phase since my last post. I will share some before and afters later this week!


I have been trying to think about content all weekend for the blog. I wanted to make sure that when I write, I am sharing content that is meaningful and will add value to your life. I thought about all the changes and challenges my family has been making towards a more simple life. As I reflected, it hit me. I needed to share where this all started for me.

I think what is important to recognize is that my journey didn’t just recently begin. I had been moving towards a more minimal lifestyle over the last year or so.  WHERE did my story start? well….my story started in the one place that needed it most. The room that was always overwhelming and daunting. MY CLOSET.

These were from my most recent clear-out. I gained a little over 50 new hangers to donate!

A minimalist lifestyle is when you make the choice to pare down your life and the stuff around you. Stuff that feels overwhelming and daunting for you to face like debt, junk, memorabilia, knick-knacks, hand me downs, relationships, CLOTHES….

Yes, clothes. That seems so superficial to even think about.

Those who were following me on Instagram last winter would remember my Instagram story about my closet cleanout. That awesome Instagram story showcased 6 HUGE, extra large garbage bags of clothing, purses, shoes, belts etc.. to donate. I repeat, 6 extra large garbage bags!! All were from MY CLOSET! I want to be clear here this was not stuff that I hoarded over time. This was trendy, fun, cute, one-time wear items that I felt represented my personality and identity.  I had stuff with tags on it still!

When I was done, my closet seemed to be full of staple items and looked more manageable. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I had pared down so much that I had very little to work with and not many outfits to put together. Over the following several months, I worked on creating a basic, classic capsule wardrobe (thank you PINTEREST).

The move to a new house definitely gave me the kick I needed to finally let go of some items I really didn’t wear or use. I would say my closet to date is 80% less than what it was a year ago and it’s still a work in progress. Now I follow one basic rule; when something new goes in, something old comes out. When I shop, I think long and hard about my purchase.

My new closet is currently being designed for the house and I will share more with you as our renovation continues. This new closet has space for all the things I need. It’s not a walk in closet, instead, I opted to keep the current reach-in style closet because all my stuff would fit just fine.

I am still a girl, living in a world, where social media feeds you content that is full of perfectly styled people and things. It’s hard not to want to spend money on stuff but I am also aware of the false reality that world is. Every time that feeling comes over me, I ask myself one question, will that really add value to my life? and as long I am honest with myself…the answer is almost always no.

till the next post,




Let’s start here….with a move.

Everyone keeps asking us the same things. Why would you want to sell your beautiful house and MOVE? Why would you want to live through another renovation? Why would you ever want to go through the moving process with three kids!? Why would you want to give away all your awesome stuff? WHY?

The same answer applies to all of the above questions. We want to live a more simple life. A life that is full of intention. We want to value the things we have and appreciate the people around us. We want to travel more. We want our children to understand that stuff has a purpose and relationships create memories.

Photo 1
our big beautiful home sold in 7 days.

Selling our house allows for this. It gives us freedom.

Why now….WHY NOT? I think Ryan Nicodemus from The Minimalists said something along those lines the other night as I sat listening to them share their story and message about minimalism. I think for me personally, I have been on this path for a while. I don’t think I recognized it. I just always had this feeling that I wanted less because it would give me more. In my mind it made sense but I didn’t know how to totally put it into action. After watching the documentary, The Minimalists, things started to make more sense.

Photo 3
met Josh and Ryan from the Minimalists when they stopped in Calgary on tour


That night after watching, my husband and I chatted about how we wanted to ensure we would always be financially okay, that we could save for our future but still enjoy living in the moment. We wanted to surround ourselves with people whose values aligned with ours. We chatted about how our boys were growing up being surrounded by stuff and things that were overwhelming them through marketing, ads, commercials that targeted them and left them wanting more of the latest gadgets.

BUT It goes beyond that….I was tired of how we were constantly running around and investing so much money into sports and activities. Not just your basic community league of soccer or hockey. No, They now wanted your child to attend more skill development, more one to one time, more practices…and all this would come at a cost! and for what purpose? was one of my boys going to be the next superstar? I really had to ask myself that rather than getting wrapped up in what I was being told they needed. So we scaled back on that too. We got more time back together. (more on this in later posts to come)

Photo 4
looking forward to what lies ahead!


SO…I wasn’t surprised when our million dollar home sold within a week.  Our house is a dream. It’s THE dream. The bigger house, the nicer cars, the expensive clothes – it’s what everyone around me is chasing…and I was done with it. I just want to be clear here….I WAS DONE WITH IT. If you feel like those things add value to your life then I respect that. I didn’t find that any of that stuff was making me happier.

Did I really LOVE the house? the answer was simple. NO. I want my house to be someplace I love and brings me great joy…but the home we lived in was nothing more than a big fancy house that everyone else was in awe of, except me. I want a home for my family that serves a purpose. I want a home that is unique, that is simple, that is aesthetically pleasing. I want a home that has a lot of natural light, big windows and is surrounded by trees. Our new home needs to be full of intention. Every space needs to have a purpose. Even if it is small, it will feel organized, clean and we won’t feel encumbered by a bunch of stuff.

So come with us on our journey. Because guess what?! We found it. We found our perfect house for our life right now. It’s surrounded by trees, it’s in a quiet crescent, it’s got sky lights! and huge floor to ceiling windows. It’s old! and will need a lot of TLC. We are about to embark on a 3-month serious renovation project and we want to take you along for our ride as we plan each area and furnish each room to be simple, clean and full of love. We recently sold 90% of our possessions and are renting a small furnished 1000 square foot condo. This has been a great learning experience in itself! CLEAN SLATE! I hope you have as much fun as we do. I am sure there will be ups and downs but maybe along the way, something will inspire you…

till the next post….