Reader Design: Jo's California-meets-Canada Home

Today we're off to a location in Ontario, Canada that has seriously the best name: East Gwillimbury. How fun is that?? Don't you wish you lived there? Jo is showing us around her California-meets-Canada spot, which is a perfect mixed bag of boho, modern rustic, and traditional design elements.


Jo's home brings the Cali elements we've come to love - natural wood, white walls, leather, and pottery - to our neighbor to the north. The home doesn't feel like a replication though; it has a clear sense of family and individuality. 

I want someone to walk into our home and know who lives here right off the bat. I love that we have a mix of big-box + thrifted + antique pieces which gives our home that curated vibe. I love adding unexpected items on selves and mixing textiles so there is always something interesting to discover.

While the home doesn't have the open concept that we've come to know and love, the spaces still feel cohesive. That hasn't, however, come without difficulties. 

We are constantly trying to come up with layout ideas and seating arrangements. I tend to go for the side that is visually pleasing (and Instagram friendly!) while my boyfriend is very practical and wants the space to have maximum use.

I’ve also tried to keep trends at an arms-length, because if you get caught up in everything that’s being thrown at you, you will always be in a state of flux trying to hit on the next thing. My boyfriend recently told me I need to design slow – meaning I really need to take the time to think things through until we make the best decision, which usually means going with more permanent ideas/concepts vs. fast trends.

Jo and her boyfriend navigate any differences they may have by bringing in meaningful pieces, like the harvest table in the dining room that came from her boyfriend's grandparent's farm.


In the office, Jo has gone way above and beyond with her shelf styling skills. Her favorite element is the old slingshot sitting on the shelves. 

We were at an antique tool show and I bought this off of the cutest old man in history – complete with suspenders and all – for $1. While it was missing the actual sling, I just threw some wood beads on a string and set it up. It has the original paint chipping off but looking at it makes me happy + it’s a great random addition to a shelf.

Both the master and guest bedrooms are stunning rooms, full of vintage pieces, fresh textiles, and white and bright hues. Even the leather headboard was a vintage find from a local buy-and-sell.


Jo is clearly an absolute expert on thrifting and vintage shopping, so today, we'll close with her tips. 

1. Go often and don’t get discouraged. I usually go to three different thrift stores 2-3 times a week. Sometimes I buy nothing at all or come away with a seriously amazing find. Persistence is key, especially when you are spending hours hunting and coming away with nothing. Once you find an amazing item you realize its totally worth it.
2. Go with your gut. I never have a plan when I’m at thrift stores. I usually just hunt and if I get that lurch in my stomach when my eyes hit an item, it goes in my cart. Even if it isn’t totally my style, I’ll pass it over to some of my friends.
3. Always buy the vintage books, the pottery, and anything that makes you happy. Whether it’s on trend or not, if you love it you will most likely find a spot for it in your home so snatch it up.

Jo, thank you so much for showing us around. We seriously love your home, and I think I speak for all us mutts when I say that I'd love for you to visit my city to teach me your thrifting ways.

Follow Jo along on Instagram at @jmwearing for more; seriously, do it. 

See you in September! 

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