House project update

So here we are several months after my post about a dream come true… building a house where I can make all the design decisions, well within a certain budget. Since last summer we have accomplished a few steps towards starting the actual build.
* We interviewed several architects
* Met with a few builders
* Chose an architect
* Decided to not hire a conventional builder/contractor (for a variety of reasons)
* Decided to be a contractor with the help of a friend/contractor to oversee me (I want to learn)
* Made a decision and a promise to myself not to get stressed out (it’s bad for my health and family)

Tom Chute of Marre Design is who we felt the most connection with after interviewing and meeting a variety of architectural firms. After several meetings and brainstorming and looking at a lot of pictures, we ended up with a Scandinavian inspired home (surprise). For the outside we knew we wanted a contemporary-style white building with wood details. However we did not want a flat roof and no concrete and no rock/stone. Most homes in Calgary include some sort of rock and many modern homes include concrete… but we know we did not want that as an exterior material. Both my partner and I liked the first draft we were presented with. Either Tom read us well or we are just gave great instruction… A few modifications have been made since this first rendering below (more windows for one). In our current house we lack sunlight, which I really miss, especially all those months when you can’t sit outside (like 11 out of 12).

Here is a sneek-a-peek of our house. What do you think? Too modern for Calgary? Too much like the 60’s. Do I really want to know? 😉

The back

South wall

The front
South side has an additional three windows.

Next steps
* Wait for the building permit
* Source materials to firm up budget i.e.
– decide on building method (i.e. can we afford floor heating on every floor? Can we afford blow in insulation etc etc)

We want to build as ‘green’ as we can but many times sadly the budget does not allow for the greenest building methods and materials.

The most fun part for me is planning the interior… and believe me I am already, every day, in 3D and in my head. Stay tuned.


The recently launched Crave Calgary book – The Urban Girl’s Manifesto is a great resource for any Calgarian looking for unique services offered by more then 100 female entrepreneurs right here in our city. As described on the back of the book, “Crave Calgary is a celebration of women entrepreneurs that showcases some of the most creative, interesting and gutsy proprietors throughout our area.

“Let us introduce you to a fabulous new designer, to a miracle-worker masseuse, to a confectionery queen, to the amazing women around town who will help satisfy your next craving.”

These are the pages I am featured on. Included in the book are some great talented women that I had the pleasure of meeting the book launch party at DaDe art gallery in Inglewood. One of these women is Ellinor Stenroos, a talented jewellery designer that I admire, among many others.

The books are available for purchase at $19.95 at local bookstores and a variety of retailers or from anyone featured in the book, including me.

Seasons Greetings

Tonight is Christmas eve, a special time to for many families around the world. For me it’s a time to be grateful for what I have and all the wonderful Christmas memories I have from Finland as a child, and more recent memories from my life in Canada. As the year 2011 comes to a close I look back and realize (how few blog posts I have written…ha) what a great year I have had; meeting so many new wonderful clients, colleagues and people in the industry. With this post I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your support and friendship.

Have a happy and safe holiday season. Wishing you the greatest year 2012.


It’s been busy the last two days setting up the IKEA design competition booth. My colleague/friend Marie Kanwischer and her friend Rae worked hard to set up the teenage bedroom. We had a $2000 budget to spend at IKEA. There are three other bedrooms in the competition and visitors can vote for their favorite room as well as win the contents of it.

The inspiration for our space was from the colours in a small carpet, which became the headboard of the bed and a cushion on the sofa. Despite a few out of stock items (like the sleeper sofa) the install went pretty well. The folks in charge of the show were very helpful and so was IKEA.

The timelaps was created by Philippe Clairo, a great photographer who also provided the light house photograph in our room.

The pre-desing

The sitting area

Sleeping quarters

The Scandinavian Team

If you are reading this prior to September 25, 2011… hurry up and go to the show to vote.

Look at these fabulous 360 visuals. And one more created by Philippe Photography.

A long-time dream

It’s finally happening! We are building a new home. For years I have been looking at lots and homes to renovate, or even to purchase. But every home, even those over our budget are never the way I like exactly. So my parter has been saying for a while, well honey, we just have to build it. So last week we finalized the purchase of a lot in and area called Charleswood. It is close to the kid’s school, the University should they choose to go there and also steps away from an off leash park and Nose Hill (a huge nature park, 11 sq km).
The saga has begun and we are currently talking to architects and builders to try and find one that we feel comfortable with. The price tag of the initial drawings are higher than I realized they would be (of course)… So stay tuned, I will attempt to blog about the process the whole way through. Our goal is to have it all ready for spring 2013.

We are removing the existing house but using the foundation to build a two-story modern but cozy home. Not too sleek but definitely not traditional. It seems my dream of a Cape Cod house has evolved.

The front has an east exposure and a lot of trees, six of which are on City property that you can’t see in this shot (may have to keep them all). There is a large Cedar at the corner of the house that is uncommonly big for Calgary I hear. We may want to keep some of it.

House from the front

The back has a lot of trees as well. Not sure how many we will be able to keep. The plan is for a large deck at the back and a double garage. The dream is to one day have a garden on top of the garage. Unfortunately decks for entertaining on garage roofs are not allowed in our town.

The back yard slopes down with a garage below.


Ask me anything http://formspring.me/Roomrefiner1

It was only a week ago that my sister and I roamed the streets of Paris. Ooh good old Paris. It was not my first visit, but it has been a long time since I stayed longer than a few days (flight attendant days). My last long stay was 1982 working as a nanny. Last week’s trip was only a seven days so we really had to plan our time to be able to see the things we wanted to see. But there has to be days when you simply just walk around and happen on great stores. One of those was the British Conran store with locations in the US, Japan, France etc. The Paris store happened to be on the same street as our little apartment: Rue du Bac.

Hope you don’t have to assemble this lamp yourself…

A big wall is required for this Kartell Book Worm Book case.