Reader Design: Lara's Canadian Hide Out

Hello, dear friends! Today, I'm writing to you all from my new home: sunny (yes, sunny... for now) Seattle, Washington. I'm just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Canadian border, which we're headed across for today's tour. 

Meet Lara and her eclectic home in Ontario, Canada.

Lara is a style mutt through and through and describes her own style as a mishmash of tastes. 

From Lara:

I am a child of the seventies, and that is reflected in my home. The house I grew up in was all earth tones with lots of wood, and that is something I am still very drawn to.

And plants, of course. I’ve been decorating with houseplants since I was a university student living in a dorm twenty years ago. It’s come as something of a surprise to me that houseplants have made such a huge comeback after years of being relegated to granny status! But I love it.

It's hard to remember a time when plants weren't 'in' - who could even imagine passing on all the huge benefits of having greenery in your home!? Thank goodness that, eventually, everything comes back into style. Lara has actually has over 50 plants in her home and definitely takes after her grandfather who was an agronomist for the Canadian government.


Lara's home evokes major #calihomevibes, despite the fact that she has yet to visit the state. It's "light, bright, and casual, with a bit of edge." After a recent trip to her home country of Latvia, Lara realized that she's subconsciously been pulling in some European elements as well, with the focus on earthiness and comfort. Like many homes in both locations, Lara has created a space that pulls you in and invites you to stay a while. 

First and foremost, I want my home to feel welcoming and homey. I want people to feel comfortable, but also, hopefully, a little inspired. I love a home that exudes creativity and reflects the personalities of the people who live there, and I hope that my home does that.

Now, it just so happens that these tendencies of Lara's are totally 'on trend' right now... but Lara assures me that she's been decorating her home this way for years!

It’s funny because I don’t think my house has ever been as on-trend as it is now! My style has been very similar for many years, but the “jungalow” look has never been as hot as it is now!

Things break away from the laid back and neutral scheme a little bit once you reach the bedrooms, where Lara is open for lots of color exploration and pattern-mixing.

As much as I love earth tones, I also love color, and the kids’ rooms are where I feel I can really let loose with that.

The bedrooms also show off Lara's thrify side - from the band posters used as art, to the clearance sale mid-century dresser that Lara's husband Rob miraculously brought back to life. 

The rooms are just fun - lucky kids who get to call those home!

Lara, thank you so much for showing us around. Your home is clean, simple, but perfectly reflects your sweet family. 

Follow Lara along on Instagram @thehydeoutblog for more inspiration, courtesy of our neighbor to the North. And thanks to Kiely @kielyramosphoto for capturing Lara's home so beautifully.

Reader Design: Amira's Boho Home

At 550 square feet, Amira's Washington, DC space packs a serious punch with a seemingly small footprint. When you enter the door, it's not the decor that captures you, or the finishes, or furniture. 

It's a feeling

Amira set out to create an interesting space, one that accurately reflects her own global third culture kid upbringing in Egypt, Abu Dhabi, and New England and one that is warm, collected, and beautifully curated. 

From Amira:

The most inviting homes, and humans, are sanctuaries that make us feel, and inspire us to be, our best selves. I love the Danish concept of hygge because its definition embodies the positive impact that environments can have on our well-being.

Things weren't always as curated as they clearly now are. When Amira moved across the world from Abu Dhabi six years ago, she defaulted to the same thing maybe of us do: the easy thing. She loaded up with items from big box retailers and called it a day. That all changed once she bought the home she lovingly refers to as the "treehouse."

I wanted to create a space that couldn’t be defined as anything but a place people wanted to spend time. Homes are personal - and, while I’m so inspired by many interior designers and the trends they embue, I was selective and patient in the process.

Making my home a delightful experience for my guests is a priority. Taking my time has allowed me to decorate with pieces that have stories I can share with guests, either because they’re made by artists I know personally or found on a memorable trip… or that I found at a neighborhood store where I’ve built relationships with the shopkeepers. Supporting local businesses and budding artists and makers has a huge influence on what I buy.

And so the collecting began. If you mutts have the same observations as me, you'll see that two elements in particular tie Amira's home together: #1 everything comfy & cozy (blankets, poufs, and pillows) and #2 PLANTS. 

Let’s be honest. I love everything in my home, but Dolly’s the real star. She’s the graceful fiddle leaf fig tree you see in the photos. I brought her home before I had any furniture, so she’s been a faithful presence and has inspired my love of plants. I named her after my favorite florist Dolores, who found her for me.
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Other homeowner favorites: the mantle she created with found materials from a Leesburg, VA treasure trove; the round hallway mirror which she ran into traffic for at the Georgetown Flea Market; and the bright light of the dining nook.  

It is all just so exactly right. Amira, we're giving you a big StyleMutt thumbs up and totally commend you for focusing on comfort and individuality with your space. We're hooked. 

Follow Amira along in Instagram @amiraelgawly for more.

And on a personal note, thank you to the SMH community for the kind thoughts and well wishes this week for my engagement. What a wonderful group this is! 

See you next week,

Reader Design: Jasmin's Desert Digs

Welcome back from Thanksgiving, everyone! I spent mine relaxing with my boyfriend's family in Columbus, Ohio and watching Ohio State battle its way to victory over That Team Up North. Monday hit like a load of bricks - back to reality! 

Luckily, today we have a great tour thanks to Jasmin. I first came across her stunning Palm Springs home on Instagram (what would we do without it?). 

From Jasmin:

We are a husband and wife photography team located just outside sunny Palm Springs, CA and have been married for three years. We became first time homebuyers a year ago and really wanted to make our home environment a place we loved. We work primarily from home, and it’s of high importance to us to love the space we are in; to create a space that reflects our minimalistic taste and clean-edge style while still allowing creative expression.
We are also avid travelers, and with spending more than one or two months out of the year in other countries, we not only have a sweet appreciation for where we call home but also find that simple living is the key to our home happiness. Although sometimes our home feels huge and other times small, we knew we wanted to style it in a way that reflects us and our values for quality over quantity.

All of us probably recognize at least a couple of these pieces from the West Elm mid-century collection. Jasmin and Ryan (her husband) started with just one piece in the hallway. Before they knew it, boxes were arriving often. Jasmin referred to it as a "parade of orders." They loved the collection so much they even ordered duplicates of some pieces! An example? 

The 80” console acts as our dining room buffet (above) to display our favorite glass chess board and serve as a visual ancho for our hanging English ivy in geometric brass planters. The same piece also serves as a streamlined workspace with storage and print inventory in our home office (below).

In each room in Jasmin's home, four things are almost certain to make an appearance: living greenery, clean whites, brassy metals, and natural wood tones. I think she's found the perfect combination for a home that's timeless but still interesting. 

And the other thing(s) always there? Her prints. Those beautiful, stunning, artistic prints. 

Our home boasts scenes from many corners of the globe captured along our adventures together as well as from places still unreached by us which we still hope to land ourselves in someday. I am intentional to display places I have not yet been to keep my inspirations for going places moving forward, while still celebrating the places we have been to in the past.

Explore the prints yourself on Jasmin and Ryan's site, Monocle Project.

Jasmin, I so admire your sense of adventure and artistry! Thank you for sharing your home and talent with us! 

Follow Jasmin along on Instagram @fiveformay or explore her blog