How to keep your home organized in just 10 minutes a day

Keeping your home organized can feel like a mammoth chore that you've got about as much control over as Trump's PR people do over his Twitter account. If you feel overwhelmed halfway through the week at the chaos that's piled up, try building these quick habits into your daily routine. These 5 things will take only 5 minutes every day and will keep your home organized and save you from an all-day weekend of work. 

10 mistakes that might be costing you sleep

Even though we now hear a lot about how important sleep is to our overall health and wellbeing, many people still have trouble getting and/or staying asleep for the full eight hours. I'm fortunate that I'm not one of them, but I have family and friends that struggle with this problem so I know how real and frustrating it can be. 

There are lots of helpful recommendations out there on how to get more sleep, such as practicing meditation and yoga, drinking warm (non-dairy) milk or chamomile tea, cutting out screens in the evening, and taking a bath before bed. Yet, the most obvious

How to design and source a for a casual summer home

Last week I encouraged you to paint your space white to lighten up for summer. If you want to move a step beyond that, I've gathered for you all the essentials you'll need to refresh your home or cottage to make it casual, inviting, and relaxing for the season. 

I had fun working on a client project this week for her summer cottage. We worked with a lot of her own furniture and added in a few fresh things that will update the cottage without doing a major makeover on it. I came across some great items while

Creating a casual summer home with just paint

Doesn't the image of a simple, white cottage in the summer make you want to run around barefoot and swing in a hammock all day?  Me too.

Whether you have a cottage or not, you can transform your space this Summer into an oasis by creating an easy, breezy, relaxed, no-care style. And...you don't have to spend a lot, consume anything new, or get overwhelmed by a ton of work to get the look. Just pick up a paintbrush and a can or two of white paint. Yep, it really is that easy and makes a huge impact in creating a casual summer home without a big budget. 

creating a casual summer home with just paint.jpg

Here are some simple and easy ideas to achieve that casual cottage feel without spending much or consuming new products:

  • Give your kitchen cabinets a face-lift by painting them white.
  • Sand down old floors and whitewash them instead of purchasing new.
  • Spray paint dated lighting in white. 
  • Spray paint old photo frames white and hang yours or your kids own artwork.
  • Paint out wooden dining chairs and the table. 
  • If you have nice wood trim in your home, leave it as is for a natural, breezy look with white walls. If it's dark and not in great shape, or if it's already painted anything other than white, paint away my friend.
  • Gather summer-ey items like shells, rocks, branches, and yard sale baskets and vintage vases to create simple vignettes.
  • Gather some books and magazines together in baskets. 
  • Use clothing for wall art as well as function: hang summer hats, scarves, and light throws on hooks.
  • Bring in local plants, flowers, branches and even grasses to create an indoor-outdoor feel.

Check out these photos of a home in Denmark that hits the mark for a casual, serene, summer home. All images by Cristina Olsen via The Guardian .

Another wonderful white, relaxed summer cottage is this one for rent in the U.K. as seen in the Style Files courtesy of Big Cottage Company

simple white beach cottage
how to create a casual cottage with white paint
creating a white summer cottage with just paint
white beach cottage on a budget

And finally, a beautifully restored cottage in Hawaii that proves that white paint and simple, natural materials are all you need to create casual comfort. Via Remodelista

refreshing a summer cottage with white paint
a vintage cottage refreshed with white paint
simple, casual summer home
creating a casual summer home

Ready to get out the paint brush and white paint? Click below for the simple guide to choosing the right white for your summer space. 

Photo shoot with House & Home

Well, this is a good week! The July issue of House & Home magazine comes out and my humble abode in rural New Brunswick is featured! I've drooled over the gorgeous photos in H&H since I started rearranging my first apartment on a weekly basis (many moons ago), so to be in it is pretty amazing. 

the tale of a simple, rustic, imperfect home

This is the home I lived in last year when I moved back from Ontario to the homestead where I grew up, so I could "live the simple life" and run my own blog and design business. It's actually my brother and sister-in-law's home, but they had moved to Nova Scotia last year so I had it mostly to myself except when they came back to visit.  They've actually moved home now (which is so great) and I've just recently moved into Fredericton to my own space 20 minutes away, but I'm still there very frequently to garden and hang out with them and my nephew and nieces and my Mom and Dad, who also live on the property. Did I mention that my Mom and sister-in-law are both great cooks? It's heaven.

photo by Robin Stubbert for House & Home magazine

photo by Robin Stubbert for House & Home magazine

While I lived there, they were kind enough to let me take over the main floor and do with it what I wanted. So, of course, I got out the white paint! I painted the walls and trim white, and the two exterior doors black. Funny thing...they convinced me to leave the big blue banquette bench the bright blue they had painted it previously. I resisted at first - my can of white paint and I are kindred spirits! But I came around to it after everything else was painted out. That blue provides such a pop of brilliant colour that mirrors the blue sky seen through the skylight from the kitchen and the windows all through the dining room. It brings a cheery vibe to the rustic charm of the rest of the home.

Photo by Robin Stubbert for House & Home magazine

Photo by Robin Stubbert for House & Home magazine

My talented carpenter/furniture-maker brother, Luke Anderson, built the house himself, using a lot of reclaimed and salvaged materials from other building sites and previous projects. He included built-ins for storage functionality, along with skylights so that lights can stay off longer. The stone counter in the kitchen is made from recycled glass. The greenhouse where we grow herbs and greens and the woodshed that holds the wood for the outdoor furnace are made completely from salvaged materials. It really is an eco-friendly abode, even though it doesn't have expensive solar panels or LEED certification. 

Photo by Robin Stubbert for House and Home magazine

Photo by Robin Stubbert for House and Home magazine

I left most of my brother's custom-made wood pieces as is - like the massive dining table and bench made from a salvaged bowling alley lane, the custom wall shelves in the dining room and home office, and the hanging open shelves in the kitchen. The tray ceiling bookshelf is one of my favourite unique features.

Photo by Robin Stubbert for House and Home

Photo by Robin Stubbert for House and Home

I added some salvaged old barn board from my grandfather's home as a feature wall in the living room. It's a beautiful way to bring nature inside and tell a story of family history. 

photo by Robin Stubbert for House & Home magazine

photo by Robin Stubbert for House & Home magazine

I claimed a small room for my bedroom, and took over the master bedroom with two skylights as my home office and studio space. This is more functional as I get to spend most of my time in a workspace that inspires me and sleep in a small room that feels like a big hug. 

photo by Robin Stubbert for House and Home

photo by Robin Stubbert for House and Home

photo by Robin Stubbert for House & Home magazine

photo by Robin Stubbert for House & Home magazine

I talk a lot about imperfection, simplicity, and essentialism on the blog. I hold firm that a good life is one where we can create, thrive, and be healthy and happy. Our homes should assist us in living this way, but they don't need to be perfect or elaborate; simply functional and calming and a reflection of us. They should tell a story about us, and make us feel good when we're in them, which is most of the time (at least for a homebody like me).

photo by Robin Stubbert for House & Home magazine

photo by Robin Stubbert for House & Home magazine

My story, as reflected in this home, is how nature helps centre and calm me, so I surround myself indoors with branches and flowers and plants. And it's about how I love change and new adventures, told through vintage pieces I've collected fro from different places I've lived across Canada. And it's about my creativity and desire to contribute through writing and a web business, as witnessed by the many books, tools, and workspaces that surround me for inspiration.

photo by Robin Stubbert for House & Home magazine

photo by Robin Stubbert for House & Home magazine

I'm really honoured that House & Home saw the simple character of the home and wanted to feature it as a house that doesn't have to be elaborate, expensive or trendy to be beautiful and impactful. It just has to work for the people living in it to help make their lives better. 

photo by Robin Stubbert for House & Home magazine

photo by Robin Stubbert for House & Home magazine

The photos in the magazine and here are taken by the talented and wonderful Robin Stubbert. We "met" on Instagram where I drooled over her gallery and she kindly complimented mine and pitched my home to the H&H. After approval, she came down and did the shoot last August over two days that seemed to fly by because we laughed the whole time. I learned so much from her and I think distracted her with too much talking! Wow, the lighting and equipment and number of takes with different styling that goes into a shoot is incredible! It goes to show that picture perfect isn't real life. But it was so cool to see behind the scenes. It was a great experience and I'm glad to say I now have a new friend.

hehe - I snapped this one of Robin when she wasn't looking

hehe - I snapped this one of Robin when she wasn't looking

To see the rest of the house and the story it tells, go pick up a copy of the July issue of House & Home magazine coming out this week! 

Essentials for a Serene Master Suite

I often work with clients who want me to help them design a calming and serene master suite. They long for a peaceful getaway, an oasis to recharge their batteries, yet they don't have the time or energy to spend frustrating hours searching for all the furniture and finishings and colour choices they need to create it. 

I get it. And I know you might be one of those people who've been staring at Pinterest and Houzz and online shopping sites forever without making a decision. I'm here to help!

Essentials for a Serene Master Suite...with sources

The main way I help my clients is with an e-fresh, where I FaceTime or Google Hangout with them for up to an hour to see their space, listen to what they want, and then design a board that contains inspiration photos, all recommendations and sources for purchasing, DIY instructions to repurpose as much of their current furniture as possible, and a room layout so that they know how to arrange their furniture.They've told me that they love the service because it's a quick and budget-friendly way to get design help, it saves them tons of time searching for furniture and materials, and it saves them money by getting paint colours and finishings right the first time.

But...not everyone is ready or able to purchase an e-fresh. So I figured, why not share some essential design boards with you for free? Hey, all of us are better off with a little inspiration and guidance, right? Of course, these boards aren't personalized like client e-fresh boards and they don't give you instructions for your particular space or layouts for arranging your furniture. But they do give you a good idea of how to put together a room and where to find the pieces you'll need to do so.

You'll see that I began earlier this week by reworking an older post on Essentials for an Eco-Friendly Bathroom. If you're thinking about a bathroom renovation any time soon, I encourage you to check out these sustainable ideas and sources.

Today, because of the high demand for a calming, soothing bedroom, here are the Essentials for Serene Master Suite

Essentials for a Serene Master Suite

The inspiration for this calming master bedroom and bath comes from a design by Studio McGee. 

1. Roman shade from Wayfair. 

2. Wall colour for both bedroom and bathroom: Sherwin Williams Extra White

3. Accent colour to paint bathroom vanity and perhaps a dresser or nightstand: Sherwin Williams Gray Screen

4. Blue petal bowl for nightstand from Ten Thousand Villages

5. Belgian linen white duvet cover set from Wayfair

6. Lapis quilt from John Robshaw Textiles. Or if you need to trim the budget, go for this duvet cover and skip the quilt. 

7. Bedside tables from Wayfair

8. Lamps from Wayfair

9. Green leaf accent pillow from Etsy

10. Indigo accent pillows from Etsy.  (Canadian buyers check out good options from Canadian pillow makers on Etsy)

11. Beach print from Etsy. 

12. Have a small green plant in the bathroom and/or bedroom for colour and to clean the air.

13. Zen tree print from Etsy

14. Sconce lights in bathroom from Wayfair

15. A tall plant like a fiddle leaf fig works well in the corner to add softness and fresh air to the bedroom. 

16. Hexagon tile for bathroom floor from Home Depot

17. Contemporary and slim-lined faucet from American Standard.

18. Large natural fibre rug under bed from Wayfair. 

Note that some of the sources are affiliate links. The companies share a small piece of their profit with me, which helps pay for my time sharing this info on the blog, without any cost to you. In fact, sometimes the prices are lower because they come through a trade link!

I hope this Essentials Design Board helps guide you and save you time sourcing items to create a serene and beautiful master suite!