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What My Mom Taught Me About Making a Home

I was going to write something design-y this week, but with Mother’s Day just over the horizon, I kept finding my thoughts wandering back to my mom. I don’t get to see her more than a couple of times a year. She’s still out in the balmy Okanagan and I’m still here with a busy family in not so balmy Cochrane, Alberta. But she is one of the reasons I believe I fell into Interior Design. She always loved pretty things and she was, and is, stunningly creative. She operated a custom cake business, created floral arrangements like they were going out of style and could often be found painting. She also adored dogs, could spot a good antique deal and wasn’t too bad at sewing. She always had her fingers in something.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I moved around a ton. Home was always somewhere new. Even though moving meant starting fresh constantly, I never felt like I didn’t have a home. Home was where we made it and my Mom was at the centre of that. Without her, I wouldn’t understand the following:

Sharing a Meal Bonds you Together

My Mom believed strongly in eating together. No matter what we were in the midst of doing, we knew to drop it and run to the dinner table when she called…or else. I’ve passed that down to my boys and barring activities, I expect them to gather at dinner and eat whatever is on the menu (or as I like to tell them, this isn’t a restaurant). Dinner time is our opportunity to catch up, find out what’s happened in their day and to reconnect using ACTUAL words versus the quick texts that sum up so much of our communication.

I wouldn’t say my Mom loved to cook – I like to think it’s because she didn’t have the advantage of a custom-designed kitchen😉 - but what she did love was the time spent at the table together. Even better if that time was spent noshing on one of her delicious cakes. She made the best birthday cakes a kid could ask for - it was her way of making us feel special. There were two tier circus cakes and Cinderella cakes with a coach and coachmen… whatever theme we wanted, she’d create a cake to go with it and our usual request was chocolate cake. I’ve included my favourite chocolate cake recipe here so you can share it with your family and friends or maybe make it for your Mom this Mother’s Day.

Fresh Flowers Make For a Happy Home (or at least happier)

My mom LOVED flowers and whenever she could, and when her flowers were blooming, arrangements popped up everywhere. She has a green thumb that I sadly did not inherit, so I’m a big fan of buying them from the florist so I don’t have to feel bad about killing yet another plant because I forgot to water them. For me, they are an instant mood booster and I try to make it a practice to buy them on the regular because I feel more productive and upbeat when I do. Turns out, my Mom was on to something…

In a study on having flowers in your home, Rutgers University found that the link between flowers and your satisfaction with life is far more important than previously thought. Having flowers in your home increased happiness, reduces depression and anxiety and actually can increase emotional contact with friends and family. A separate study by Harvard University found the same results – increased compassion, feeling less negative, and more energy at work. In a trifecta of flower research, Texas A & M University found that flowers and plants in the workplace improve problem solving skills and increase creativity. (source: Get Green, Be Well)

The research is so conclusive that the Society of American Florists has dedicated a page linking to all of the positive research of bringing flowers into your home.

Homes Should Be Inclusive of All Family Members (aka Pets are People Too)

My Mom is a dog lover to this day – so much so, that when she recently lost her little poodle Sassy, she and my dad decided to go adopt two more geriatric pups from a cross-border rescue organization. Dr Doolittle had nothing on my parents when I was growing up and a menagerie of pets were just as welcome in our home as any other guests, sometimes more so.

I think my Mom fundamentally understood how much pets are a part of the family dynamic and beneficial to us (barring those with severe allergies). You don’t have to search far to find the statistics on pets improving your mood and self-esteem, lowering blood pressure and decreasing loneliness to name just a few. In my heart, I feel like my Mom instilled those values in me and she is the reason I’m passionate about creating homes that are inviting to all family members, including the four-legged kind. Unlike her, I will stick to only one furry friend though thank-you-very-much.

If you've stuck with me this far, thanks for reading. Nostalgia got the better of me this week. I could go on about everything my Mom taught me about being creative and crafting a home you love, but what I really wanted to say was Thank You Mom! I love you to the moon and back and I value all of the lessons and all of the advice you’ve given me. And guess what? I was listening after all. ❤

Next week on the blog -

If you have any ideas you'd like to see on the blog, I'd love to hear from you.

Until next time,



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