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Mother's Day - My Mom is my Biggest Design Influence

My mother Camille has always had a passion for decorating. I remember growing up with stacks of House and Home, House Beautiful and Better Homes and Gardens magazines.

My mom would pore over them for hours in the evenings when my younger siblings were finally settled in for the night. I don’t remember what age I was when I joined her.

We would sit on the sofa with our little stacks beside us, trading issues and pointing out details to one another from each professionally styled image. This is how I learned what I liked: what small detail would make my eyes widen? What cozy pillow or beautiful mug on a table would give me Hygge vibes? A lovely brass pull on a kitchen drawer or a gathered bunch of lavender in the corner of a French country kitchen could fuel our conversation for hours.

Little did I know that this activity would become foundational in my career as a photo stylist and product curator.

My mother Camille has always had a passion for decorating. I remember growing up with stacks of House and Home, House Beautiful and Better Homes and Gardens magazines.

We did not have a huge home. We were on a tight budget, but my mom always managed to make every inch of our home stylish: she took special care helping my sisters and I decorate our shared bedroom. Each corner of the room was customized with items specific to each. On only a modest budget, her imagination and style enabled her to create a home so stunning, so unique, that all who came by came away impressed. Nothing looked tacky. Nothing looked cheap. Everything was classy, beautiful and colorful with a hint of antique. 

I remember later when we moved into the small housing complex in Scarborough’s East End. The house was plain to the naked eye but my mom saw the potential in this modest space. She worked hard to transform it into a home for us, painting the kitchen a warm Terracotta and accented with deep blues, yellows and greens, Mexican-inspired and vibrant.

Sponge painting was very popular at the time and we had a dark blue sponge painted front hallway with a large gold framed mirror that actually looked amazing! 


As a self-conscious teenager, I often felt embarrassed about how small our place was. I compared our home to my friends’ much larger homes in nicer neighborhoods. 

Despite the modest size of our home and budget, friends were dazzled by my mother’s abilities. My mom showed me that we could create the space of our dreams with what we had. 

The first design project I did all by myself from design to execution was a full bedroom makeover, complete with painted furniture! I selected a light sky blue and painted my old childhood dresser a more grown up navy blue, complete with gold spray painted pulls. My mom offered advice along the way, but let me take the reins on the project to create a space that was entirely my vision. The highlight of the room was the border of stenciled gold stars and broken glass mosaic I had created. I was so happy with the results! To watch a design that started in my imagination come to life before my eyes was incredibly gratifying. I eventually redecorated and painted the room a super bright lime green, which I loved at the time. Despite being a very bold choice, my mom was always a fan of trying something fun and new. She loves the journey of decorating and always encourages me to explore my own taste.

Despite the modest size of our home and budget, friends were dazzled by my mother’s abilities. My mom showed me that we could create the space of our dreams with what we had.

My mother played an undeniable role in my love for home decorating and styling. She showed me you can make a space you love out of any home. It doesn't take a million dollars; all it takes is the desire to create a haven. A space for you, and for your loved ones. That's what I want to bring to all of you, in my small way, through Hacienda. The same way that my mom taught me.

Happy Mother's Day to you, or to the parents or loved ones who contribute to your home feeling always like your haven.

(By the way, if you'd like to get more of a sense of my mom's stylishness, we chronicled her home in our No Place Like web-series! You can check it out here).

 

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