Good Ideas

Pre-Move: Preparing your Moving Day Easily and Efficiently

Interior Design

Learn tips to move to a new home efficiently and safely this year in our three-part series with Interior Designer, Dwaina Sprague

Everyone needs a few moving tips here and there. Now that British Columbia seems to be thawing from the COVID-19 freeze, many are looking at ways to move in a safe and organized way. I experienced this myself last month when I planned a move into a cozy Kitsilano cottage in Vancouver, BC. 

To help you stay organized and safe throughout your move as well, I decided to document my move and share my lessons learned in a three-part series: 

  • Pre-Move: Preparing for Your Move Easily and Efficiently, 
  • Moving Day: A Checklist Of What To Accomplish, and 
  • Post-Move: How to Set Up Your New Home!.  

In this blog, I’ll share with you my moving tips on how to prepare for your upcoming move day.  

1. The Purge 

Moving is a great time to purge anything that, as Marie Kondo would say, doesn’t spark joy. This is the perfect opportunity to reevaluate what you want to bring to your new home, and what’s best to be left in the past. 

Leading up to the move, begin to remove what you don’t need anymore. Things that I purged included:

  • File folders. Old clothes. Any knick-knacks to get rid of things I didn’t want to bring with me to my new space. 
  • This purge process escalated to bigger things such as the closets, shoes, storage locker, kitchen area (whew!). 
  • It also gave me an opportunity to have a clear look at the things we tend to hoard. Don’t worry, we all do it. For instance, in small areas around my house, I was starting to gather paper bags in large quantities (oh my). 

2. Boxing

Start picking up cardboard or returnable boxes a month in advance. You can find companies such as Frog Box or Gorilla Box to provide you with eco-friendly solutions. I got small and medium boxes and started to wrap up all the small shelf items, chachkis and decor. You should make a list on the side of the boxes of things to keep but get carefully out of the way. These lists can help you settle in easier once you’ve moved. 

Other boxing tips:

  • Separate and box the necessities from the decor items. This will make the move in and settling into a new space much easier. 
  • Making sure each box is labeled correctly. This can save you a huge headache in the future.
  • Use sturdy, spacious, and new boxes to make sure it could best protect the objects in it. 

3. Measuring

Here’s one of the most important moving tips I have for you – measure. I measured all the furniture I wanted to keep in the new place and did a floorplan for the new home – so it secured what I wanted to keep and what I needed to donate – This saved me time from moving things unnecessarily. Additionally, this also empowered our moving team, Second 2 None, to have a clear idea of placement the day of the move. 

Worried about new furniture fitting when moving? Get your very own free delivery guide and make sure you never have to sweat moving again. 

4. Clean

Then you scrub and clean everything. No dust bunny should be saved. I vacuumed bagged all the soft goods – toss pillows, bedding, towels, etc to ensure they stayed safe & clean during the move. Vacuuming them also makes them take up MUCH less space. I then personally shifted all of my plants into the new space so they were safe and not damaged during the move. (I had access to my new space prior which made it much easier). It was clean as a whistle by the end of it, which made the moving process a lot easier than if I saved it to the last minute. 

5. Book and Schedule

Start booking and scheduling in advance so it saves you time and a headache! Make sure to book the moving team, book the building move out, and notify all your service providers of the move weeks in advance. Finally, let your family know the plan of moving and to where you’re going. Get your list of suppliers, services, and helpers out of the way before you move. These include: 

  • Getting your Wifi set up and ready for the new location  
  • Changing addresses on your Visa and other important documentation
  • Getting your Hydro and electricity set up
  • Making sure family and friends are on the same page about when you’re moving. 

I booked with Frog Box to get some boxes and learned they had wardrobe boxes which were so helpful. I also asked friends and family to help before and during the move. Afterward, you should schedule weekends prior to the move for specific packing days. 

Last Steps

Lastly, I took all the art and pictures down into marked art boxes, which I had saved from previous moves. Then I hired a professional organizer – Quin from SOSMySpace to come in before my move to help coordinate and organize during the move. Finally, I hired the cleaning team that was going to come in just after the move and clean all the windows, carpets and walls 
When you move you’re not just changing your space you call home, you’re also entering a new stage in your life. This is why planning before you move is so important. When the time finally comes for you to say goodbye to your past space, you can leave it with ease and comfort. Of course, moving day problems can happen naturally, and in the second part of this series, we’ll discuss ways to mitigate any problems that happen during your move.

Home as a Vessel for Grieving and Healing.

Interior Design

This pandemic has me reflecting on what home and healing means even more than usual. The sense of home as a shelter, place of solace and ease may be challenged as we bring home our worries, fears and stress of what is happening in the world – into our world. Fear, grief and uncertainty are all around us – we are truly in the thick of it. 

I believe to get through this we need to put down our roots and reconnect with ourselves. To find our own solid ground. Since we are being pushed to home – then maybe home can be a place to do that if we choose to see it that way.

Can we find possibilities to feel more connected and creative and ready to rejoin the world as more aware and compassionate humans? Can a home be the vessel for a new awakening?

Home Helped Me Face My Monsters

My husband died suddenly in 2012. His death was by suicide and I found myself seeing the world in a different way. While everything appeared to be as it always was – the same buildings, same trees, same people around me, it was not the same world for me, and I felt like I didn’t belong.

In the first couple of weeks, as the numbing and shock started to wear off. Fear came knocking. It was an image in my head of a terrifying monster at my door, and it was a very thin door. The monster was huge, cruel and mean and was banging really hard and really loud on that thin door. I knew the door was coming down, and it did. The monster was in my house and we began the work of figuring each other out and how we were going to live together.

In retrospect what I feared most was feeling my feelings, facing the truth of what is. The monster was a hairball of all the feelings and realities of life and circumstances. I feared I’d become debilitated by them and lose my place in the world. It was the strangest thing to feel like I would vanish. 

And it’s true, I would never be the same. A part of me died… but a part of me was also found. I decided to nurture that part and to walk with her on this journey – whatever it was and wherever she was leading. 

Home Helped My Healing

I did my emotional work at home, and pretty regularly at my therapist’s office. I called it my bubble. Outside my home, the world felt loud and harsh and it had a lot of sharp edges. I was broken, raw, tender and open. I saw suffering in others that I hadn’t seen before. I felt untethered and challenged to keep my feet on the ground and my head in the present moment. Hearing was hard, things were so loud – my heart ached in a way I didn’t know was possible. 

My focus was elusive and time became mysterious and hard to grasp. I was exhausted. I couldn’t rally things like I used to. I couldn’t take care of my people or my work like I used to. I couldn’t get out of bed without holding onto one leg at a time and lifting it over the edge of the mattress. In my head, I would say  – “get up now and walk, just put one foot in front of the other”. Now take a breath – now brush your teeth – now put on your clothes, now get your keys and go to work. I left my home each morning with a longing to go right back inside and just be still there.

I came home every day so relieved to be sheltered. To be home, to be able to break and fall apart without witnesses, without exposure, without judgement and without having to worry about all my people. I don’t know if this was healthy or good or right – and I really don’t care. It got me through – I saw my home as my sacred place, to feel my feelings, to weep, hug my husband’s t-shirts, scream into pillows and to pray and meditate. I read voraciously about healing and growth. I began to practice the things I learned. I danced and lay on my back and stared at the ceiling. I binged on mindless Netflix series. I sent long newsy emails to my people because I knew they were concerned and reaching out to them and reassuring them made me feel better. This may be grossly dysfunctional and codependent but I didn’t care. Reaching out to them to ease their minds during my grief and solitude was comforting to me while still keeping the distance I needed. 

And through it all, I got through it. It took some time. It was messy, sloppy, really hard and at the same time joyful and funny and full of grace. A spectrum of feelings and experiences.  I connected to my soul, found my true self, and started seeing and being in the world in a new way. 

Use Your Home to Come to Terms With Uncertainty

I understand that the pain I felt then is real for so many people right now.  There is a monster at our very thin door, and it’s determined to come in. During this time, some of you may feel confined to your thoughts and have no outlet to process them. You may be feeling grief, fear and loss. That’s natural. A pandemic is happening and we are feeling it. 

If you have a home, if you are safe at home, allow yourself to feel your feelings – the good ones and the ones that feel not so good. Allow your shelter to be your refuge and healing space. We need a new world, we need us to be whole and connected to our individual selves so we can become stronger as a collective. If home is the vessel we have been sent to do work on ourselves, then so be it. Settle in and get to know your monster. Name it, tame it, may you feel brave, courageous, loved and sheltered as you do your healing work.

This is a time to process our feelings in light of what’s happening. Let home be your shelter and not a threat. We have steps to creating the sacred space you might find helpful right now. Read our blogs on:

Creating a Sacred Home Space

Turn Your Bedroom into A Sanctuary

Christmas is coming…and not everyone is excited

Interior Design

Christmas is coming… and not everyone is excited

Candle and Christmas decoration
Honour your home by honouring yourself

For many, the Christmas season is a delightful time, full of festivities, gift-giving and merriment. But for others, it can bring about sadness. What if you’re not excited about digging out the ornaments, getting out the fancy napkins, trimming the tree and cooking up a storm? What if your traditions have all of a sudden change? And the dynamic is not what it once was?

Sometimes Traditions Can Change

My holiday traditions of the past were epic, huge events. I went so overtop that it was dizzying. My home looked beautiful and the food was amazing and my family gathered together. I was happily exhausted by the new year. Yes, there were stressful and awkward episodes. Grumbling in the kitchen about someone in the living room… pretty typical for family holiday gatherings. However, I never dreaded the season, never felt sad decorating my house, and I never felt a dark hole in my heart every December. Until it happened, the year my husband passed away.

So many of us have lost key people in our lives. Maybe they moved away, maybe they can’t make it home, maybe they broke up with us, maybe we broke up with them, maybe they died. These losses shift the dynamic and the energy in our homes and traditions. We all approach it in our own way, and for me it has been a new journey through December every year since my husband died. Trying to create a new normal is challenging. 

How Do We Honour Ourselves During This Season?

I see how we push ourselves to meet some standard set for us, either by ourselves or by others, but it’s there. Ideally, we would do a deep introspection and decide how we want to feel and then set up our homes and traditions and events to serve that. Call in what we really need, communicate that to our family, friends and community and come to a loving consensus about how we’ll celebrate. Accept each other and our limits and needs. In this ideal, our homes become a place where we honour ourselves.

Honour Your Home By Respecting Your Limits 

My work is to design interiors, and what I believe is that our home interiors are a part of our human interiors. They are connected and are metaphors for each other. Like our bodies, how you feel in your home is so much more important than how it looks

When we design our home with loving awareness of how we feel, we respect our limits and celebrate what’s most important to us. We begin to feel our joy, find a little peace and harmonize our togetherness… all the ideals of the Christmas season but lived out in a more personal way. Maybe not how it traditionally was, but how it beautifully is now.

Housewarming Essentials: Celebrating Shelter And Comfort At Covenant House Vancouver

Interior Design

I got to spend a lovely afternoon with Andrea BolenJennifer Hall, of Covenant House, and Joan, one of the amazing volunteers at the Covenant House Housewarming. 


  • noun

“a party to celebrate a person’s or family’s move to a new home.”

I believe that the intent and energy you put into your home or workspace has a powerful impact on you and everyone who comes there. I can feel it when I enter a space. What was the intention here? It impacts, it affects, it evokes feelings. Am I welcomed, safe, intimidated, awed, inspired, soothed, embraced? We always experience a feeling, whether it’s conscious or not. Take a moment to check into that place in yourself. Take a breath and see how the space makes you feel. Often this is how you can discern the intent of a space.

So, when you plan a housewarming to celebrate moving into a new home or workspace the intent becomes what you are sharing and celebrating and that’s what matters most. 

Housewarming at Covenant House. 

Me with Krista Thompson, Chief Executive Director of  Covenant House, Vancouver

On September 5th, I had the honour of attending the housewarming of the new Covenant House Vancouver, at 1302 Seymour Street. It is a brand-new building; a vessel to hold the love that is always at the forefront of the work done at Covenant House. It was conceived and built by a caring committed team that invited us to celebrate this beautiful space with them.

Covenant House is a home, created for the youth who come to it. No matter what their circumstances are at that moment in their life. They are unconditionally loved and accepted for who they are.

A Labour of Love 

Some of the warm and welcoming team at Covenant House

The conception and development of the new building was a labour of love. I could feel it in the building itself as I walked up to the new entry. Once inside I was surrounded by past and present staff, volunteers, board members, donors, the architect, building team and operations teams that coordinated the move and settling of the youth into their new home. Without a word spoken you could feel that the intent was to provide the youth with a home that honours and respects them. A home that lets them know they matter. That love is here.

The youth asked for safe access to being outside. The patios were a priority when designing the building.

Drafting A Plan That Shelters, Comforts and Protects

For the creation of the new building, there was a very important process of investigation. Covenant House asked the youth what they needed to feel comfortable, safe and respected. Their answers included safe outdoor spaces, doors that ensure safety, privacy for showering and a place to do their own laundry. They asked for what they needed to feel comfortable because that is what home is for. It shelters, it comforts and protects. This is a basic human need, and like any good designer, Covenant House asked, then listened and responded. 

Each material and finish was chosen with intention and purpose.  The end result is beautiful, not just because of the materials used, but by what was etched into it by the creators.                                                 

A New Hope

Brand New Covenant House on 1302 Seymour Street. Architect NSDA

My focus, and what I aspire to as an interior designer, is to inquire, to listen and respond. I am inspired and encouraged by this special kind of housewarming and I am deeply grateful and happy for all of us that our city has a home like this for youth who find themselves in need of support, love and comfort. May it be so for everyone. 

If you feel inspired to donate to Covenant House, you can give through a myriad of ways. Please visit Covenant House Vancouver for information on how to donate. 

Claiming Space for a Room of One’s Own

Interior Design

Claiming Space
for a
Room of One’s Own

Serendipity is so exciting! I heard the expression “She Shed” for the first-time last week at a meeting and then within two days heard it again! 

Grey Shed in a lush garden field backyard. It has double doors and looks like a creative space for someone to work in.

A space intentionally created to nurture and nourish your spirit is something I think everyone should have. Size doesn’t matter but the intention does. While talking with some women recently about the concept of She Shed or Room of her Own someone said one of the men in her life said,“isn’t the whole house the She Shed”? My response is this, do not mistake responsibility for proprietorship. Women in 2019 still do the vast majority of the domestic light and heavy lifting no matter what their living situation.

A room of her own as I define it, is a space intentionally created for the wellness of her creative force – her body, mind and spirit. If this happens to be her whole home then that is fantastic and aspirational but unfortunately not the norm. It is remarkable to me that the themes of Virginia Woolf’s – A Room of One’s Own are still so relevant today.

This is a graphic image that reads - Introverts Unite. We're Here. We're Uncomfortable and we want to go home

Our creative and spiritual needs are often placed second if placed at all. Kitchen tables, kitchen islands, the dining room table, a box on the bottom stair or under the coffee table or sofa, teetering on the edge of night stands. They become afterthoughts that cohabit with the things and activities in a home that will come first, like meals, laundry and school or work projects. We shuffle to the side our needs for creative expression and space to think and reflect and hope someday to have the space for them.

Recently, at DSID we have been working on a project for a woman who is kind, generous and devoted to her work of fundraising for the Ride for the Cure. She is inspiring and like all women with a purpose she uses most of her time focusing on the work she is doing. So that is where we come in to help create a space in her basement for her to do her work and to nurture her spirit as well as provide a space for the occasional overnight guest. 

Mood Board showing fabrics, goods, furniture, colors and drawings.

In my own life we recently moved our office/studio from my home into a new space that we lovingly call “plump space” because it isn’t actually plump at all… it is a sweet little laneway house and we love it. Tiny but mighty with potential! This left me with an empty room in my home and more space in general. So rare is an empty room in my life that to be totally honest it overwhelmed me. I raised four children – and then downsized to spaces from 500 to 1000 square feet, this does not usually add up to empty rooms. I noticed that my first reaction to the empty room was to start planning what I will put in it. A sofa, a sofa bed, a murphy bed, the TV? 

Then it occurred to me to ask myself what do I need from the empty room? What would feel great and what would serve me? Wow! I teach and preach this in my work as an interior designer – what use of your space will serve you?  But somehow applied to my own life it was revolutionary since my default thinking is always – what would make everyone else comfortable? What would my family want or need when they come here? What might a guest need? As I grapple with this issue of what do I want?

I have left the room empty and I find myself standing in it sometimes feeling delighted by it and at the same time confused by it. But what I am clear on is that it will be a room of my own. Which is so exciting to me and reminds me how important this is. It is my time to define what will inspire and nurture me – give me space to be. To reflect and dance or stretch or just sit on the floor and meditate.

What might you need to create this for yourself? What intention would you need to set for yourself? What tangible things would you need? A small alter to sit by and take a few moments – a blanket or yoga mat to stretch out on before bed – a chair of your own with a few things near it that make you feel good. What physical changes might be possible in your home to chisel out some space for yourself? 

You are worth taking the time to consider it if not take action to define and create it. Consider this the note from the principal to go ahead and create some space of your own.