~Teddy Roosevelt

When I was younger I used to think that my home couldn’t be enjoyable until I had all new perfectly co-ordinated furnishings that perfectly served my needs, fit the size of the rooms, in my favorite colors etc. etc. etc.  Well – as you may have already figured out as I did – once you purchase a home, often there isn’t much money left over for dream furnishings.  As a result we tend to purchase, borrow, inherit things that might not be our taste, style, color etc. with the intention of someday replacing it for what we really want.  Many years {and two children} later, I realized we may NEVER ever have the “perfect” home we imagined when we signed on the dotted line.  Sure – over time you’ll replace some of the stuff with better but unless you win the lottery you’re probably not going to go out and replace everything at one time.

Now – rather than getting sad about that I decided to make the best of what I’ve got and work with the pieces I had at the time.  Over the years I’ve always been able to achieve some pleasing arrangements using my mishmash of stuff.  I’m not just saying that to brag but people really did comment on my creative use of materials.  I remember in the early years when money was scarce I hung a found 5ft x 4ft bamboo blind on the wall and then hung little wicker baskets randomly from it into which I nestled some small plants.  The whole arrangement probably cost me about 20 bucks and filled the empty wall nicely for the time being.  The point is that you might as well enjoy the space you’re in while you’re waiting for the next great purchase because you might not have what you really want for a really long time.  Another thing I learned is that when you actually can afford to purchase those dream furnishings you start to rethink what’s really important.  Your kids might be out of the house, you’re going to downsize and move, you might want a vacation, a new car, or whatever.

So – go ahead and start enjoying your home as it is right now.  Make the most of what’s there.  Rearrange, declutter, add some color to your walls.  Go ahead, it’s only paint – you can always paint over it later when you win the lottery.  If it’s not totally you and feel self concious about entertaining don’t worry about it – just beef up the appetizers and ramp up the hospitality – any friends worth having won’t be judging you by your home’s furnishings. If it makes you feel any better here are some reasons for not having all new stuff.

~ you don’t have to worry about the kids, dog slopping on your new sofa

~ you won’t regret that pricey art purchase a few months later when you tire of it

~ you’ll have money to take the family on a great vacation – memories are priceless

~ waiting will allow you to really nail down your decorating style

See – you really can give yourself permission to stop worrying about your home and start enjoying it as it is now.



Have you ever stumbled across something you adore but were not sure it would blend with the color scheme of your home?  Perhaps you were out of town or even out of the country and discovered a picture or print that you would love to purchase but were not sure it would physically fit the space you imagine putting it.  

In times like these it’s helpful to be able to pull out a reference packet that contains small samples of the main elements of your home. I’m not talking about anything too large – in fact it should easily tuck into your bag.   I like to use a simple ziplock bag so I don’t necessarily have to take the items out to see them.  You could also use a small accordian file (the size you would use for coupon collecting) and assign a slot for each room. 




Some of the things you might want to include are:

  • A photo of the room, or the portion you are going to shop for
  • Paint chips of the wall colors (you might also record how much paint you used the last time you painted – for future consideration)
  • A small piece of the flooring, wallpaper, wall tile etc.
  • A piece of fabric/cushion from any soft furnishings, or a paint chip that represents the color of furniture
  • Measurements of the room
  • Measurements of the window sizes, ceiling height depending on what you are shopping for
  • Measurements of the sofa and loveseat if you are shopping for an area rug, sofa table or coffee table
  • A small measuring tape
  • A calculator for converting measurements
  • Measurements of your dining table if you are picking out a light fixture for the dining room, or even a table cloth
  • Having these things on hand will help the staff to advise you on appropriate scale, color, size and shape of the pieces you are shopping for.


 Being sure of the dimensions, and color palette of your space before you purchase minimizes the risk of spending on something that you cannot accomodate,  and maximizes the future enjoyment of your unique piece of art or decor.

With an increase in the number of people downsizing to smaller digs the need to get maximum function from a small space is key to enjoying your home.   If you find yourself missing that guest bedroom in your previous house think about how a Murphy Bed might work in your new space.  Have a look at these beauties.  I remember Murphy beds being less than pretty but it seems that’s not so anymore!

Have you ever lived in a home without ample storage at the entry or no closet at all?  Do you need to free up floor space? No room for a small table?  These photos offer some great ideas for your entry that will keep frequently used items easily accessible. Entry ideas

If course a church pew might not fit in every entry but you could consider something smaller such as a foot stool, small deacon’s bench, a sturdy storage basket , or a small chest – anything that could be sat on to put on your shoes.   Even better if it too had storage capabilities.  If you’ve got something suitable that doesn’t go with your decor consider painting it or covering it with a slip cover.

I just love the creative use of picture frames, plants, bulletin board and baskets.  The high contrast baskets also add texture and warmth, the dark hooks contrast nicely also.  Entryway organizationIf you are challenged by a long hallway with no interest this might inspire you to add a focal point.  What are your challenges?


After a busy summer of traveling to and from the cottage and maintaining two properties, repairing our heat damaged lawn and near dead shrubs I was pleased to be able to have a short rest between seasons. Credit goes to my daughter and my fantastic neighbour for managing to keep my front door urns alive while I was away from home off and on throughout the summer. Many an urn full of gorgeous mature plant materials has perished in a short two day weekend of baking hot sun without daily watering.

When we first moved into our home I had a small table and a few muskoka chairs at the front entry to both fill the space and provide a relaxing place to sip wine with my neighbourhood friends on a Friday afternoon while we watched the kids play. Over the years we learned that on a cool but sunny day in March at approximately 3:30 p.m. we could strategically park our muskoka chairs on that cement entry, just around the corner and out of the wind in such a way that it would feel like a hot July day. Okay – so you had to close your eyes and do a little visualization to ignore the melting snow and the sound of slush splashing off passing cars, but it was nice little moments like this that warmed your inner core and gave you a little boost of much needed vitamin D. Now that the kids are grown the chairs have been abandoned for beauty over function and although I look forward to the sun I really love the abundance of plant life   that fills the very colorless corner at the front door and strategically hides the hideous garden hose that needs to hang there. Have you ever noticed that hoses only come in really ugly colors!

This year I decided to forget doing a fall planting (I wasn’t inspired by the plant selection this year) and just patiently wait for the cooler weather so I could once again fill my pots with an abundance of texture and color. In the meantime I brought out the chairs back out for a few weeks but didn’t find time to actually sit in them and sip wine. Yesterday, as the last few leaves fell from our maple tree I was finally able to get those pots filled and looking great again. If it stays cool enough to keep them green they will last throughout the season. I miss sitting in my muskoka chair sipping wine with my neighbours but I think I miss having my pots full of color even more. Wine lasts for a few minutes but the joy of color can last all season.

Order your seasonal planter   905- 878- 7803

redesign the bathroomWhen it’s re-purposed of course! I’m not a big fan of an exposed trash can in the bathroom. I personally think they should be hidden under the sink. So when my son gave me this beautiful teak set for Christmas a few years back I came up with a new use for the beautiful wood can. Now it holds a botanical arrangement on the counter. I quite like the scale and the way it contrasts the wall. A big fan of texture I searched out some unusual dried botanicals that would really make a statement. Add a maintenance free (very real looking) fake plant and voila! You have a fantastic focal point for the sometimes boring counter. You’ll notice in the photo that there is a nice piece of coral. This was rediscoved (pun intended) last summer when moving my parents to their new home. It used to sit on my dresser when I was a child and I was delighted to A) find it again and B) put it to good use! Funny how things look new again when you move them to a different room, arrangement or home. What everyday items are waiting to be re-purposed in your home?

Do you have a decorating question?When I entered this field of ReDesign I knew of course how much fun it would be. After all – who wouldn’t like being asked to shop for beautiful things using other people’s money! For those of us who love to decorate – a few hours spent wandering around HomeSense can be the highlight of our week and bring us back to our “happy place”. As wonderful as that sounds to some of us the reality is that not everyone feels this way about decorating.

I have a friend who reminds me that many people find it scary to choose decor from an overwhelming selection of product, and even though they like the idea of creating a space to love they avoid doing so because they are overwhelmed by making decisions about what to purchase. How great would it be to have a redesigner friend that you can take shopping with you? Someone that knows how you use your space and what you want to achieve and can guide you in making sensible and well thought out choices for how you use your place? If you’re struggling with deciding on a purchase and need a second opinion you could even send them a photo of the item and ask their opinion about it. Or perhaps they could source a suitable item for you and then invite you to visit the store and see it in person.

While shopping for a client last week, a woman I had never met approached me and asked my opinion about some chairs she was considering for her dining room. I was able to look at a photo of her room on the camera she brought, ask a few questions about how she will use the space and determine which chairs were best for her situation. Sometimes all we need is another opinion to proceed without fear. Often all we need is the cash register receipt and a store with a good return policy.

If you’ve explored the rest of this website you will see a basic list of services one might expect from a decorator. What you might not extract from my site is my down to earth, practical philosophy for achieving my client’s decorating goals regardless of how we do it. If that means meeting you at your favorite store to help you shop, rummaging through your family photos for your picture collage, or visiting a relative’s house to see their discarded dining set to determine if it will work in your space, I’m happy to do it.

I am told one of the things my clients like most about working along side me is that I freely share ideas and information that will help them feel confident in making well thought out purchases on their own in future. I encourage you to embrace your inner decorator, invest in a personal in-home consultation and start moving forward to create the place you’ve always wanted.

Why not incorporate them into your decor!
Here’s a great idea for displaying and accessing your book collection.

  Modern Bookcases, Cabinets and Computer Armoires
  modern bookcases cabinets and computer armoires design by

ReDesign (which just happens to be my specialty) is all about using your own stuff in creative ways and this shelf system does just that. I’ve seen smaller versions of this shelf but none quite so tall. For those of you who don’t have a library or built-in shelving this may be the best esthetically appealing idea for using your book collection that I’ve seen in a long time. Don’t stop at books, think about how you might use this as a towel shelf in the bathroom or to display a teapot collection in the kitchen.

Imagine the possibilities…..

My name is Carolyn and I specialize in ReDesign and Staging. In a nutshell……I effectively use what you already have to redecorate your home. I’ve always been drawn to harmonious and beautiful surroundings. For as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed rearranging my surroundings to suit my ever changing needs and to create great looking, comfortable spaces that I enjoyed spending time in and sharing with others. As I write this I am amused to share that I can still recall the great color scheme and design of my girlfriend’s room I visited when I was 12. For my 14th birthday I was excited to pick out a new duvet for my bed, my mom never had to ask me to tidy my room because I really did love seeing it tidy.

So it’s no surprise that as an adult I find myself passionate about doing this for others. A few years ago, after my employer decided to restructure and eliminate my job, I found myself searching for something fun and inspiring to do. My husband suggested I create a business around my love of re-arranging and beautifying my surroundings. Truth be told, I think he was tired of seeing our own home in constant change! After researching my options, I obtained training to be able to better understand the principals and process of ReDesign and started my business. I knew the moment I completed my first room makeover that I had found my calling. Not only did I think the results were fabulous the client did too! My colleagues and I often say we love doing ReDesign so much that we would almost consider doing it for free but clients were happy to reward me with payment in exchange for one very full and productive day of making their stuff look great!!!

Four years and many rewarding redesigns later I still can’t wait for the opportunity to work magic with someone’s treasures – re-arranging them into functional yet cohesive groupings that bring harmony to a once chaotic environment so they can come home to, and entertain in, a place that they feel proud to call their own.

Life is good.

Front EntranceDon’t you just love special pickup days? This week I scooped up my neighbour’s tired looking wicker chair that was headed for the dump and gave it a scrubbing and a fresh paint job to match my urns. It now looks fabulous at my front entry and it’s so comfortable. The best part is that everytime I look at it I will be reminded of a dear neighbour/friend who passed away a few years ago as this chair sat on her front step which faced my house.

Chair, side tableLast year we spotted and scooped up a piece of old furniture on another special pickup day that had such great lines. We stripped the yellow paint to reveal some beautiful wood, refinished it, re-attached the original glass knobs and brass wheels and now it’s become one of our favorite and most functional pieces. Everyone who visits our home comments on it’s beauty. The green chair pictured beside the refinished piece came from a garage sale and I have plans to recover it in the future. When choosing previously loved upholstered furniture pieces I like to examine them for signs of mould or pet stains before I purchase them as these things may be a reason to leave them at the curb.

What treasures are out at the curb awaiting your creative touch?

Getting Connected


"Thank you so much for the dramatic redesign. Even though I have a knack for home décor myself, I was challenged by the space. Simply switching the placement of my dining area to the other side of the room, made the living room seem so much bigger yet more inviting. Your creative displays of the things that were special to me really completed the look. I am enjoying my home more than ever before."

~ S. Kirkman, Brampton

CRD Association

Canadian Redesigners Association