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! 

McKenna Sig.jpg

Celebrating Christmas ||Our Holiday Home Tour


Suddenly a great company of heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests!"

Luke 2:13-15


Christmas is our favorite birthday to decorate for. There is no other birth celebrated world wide, year after year, as Jesus' and it gives me butterflies just thinking about it! The Lord has given us so much to celebrate and that excitement inspires all kinds of creativity when we decorate in honor of His birth. This year has been much more simple but every bit filled with joy. There's been a lot less emphasis on DIY projects which has opened a lot more time to spend with family and friends. A solid trade off from my perspective! Still, our 'Christmas home' feels the most personal this year and is my favorite our home has ever felt over the holidays. It just feels like home, and not some big transformation as it's felt in years passed. I've been looking forward to welcoming you all 'in' today and I hope you enjoy peeking around!

Right behind our front door is the ol' thrifted spoon rack we made when we first moved in 6+ years ago. Above it hangs a framed print from Urban Outfitters and a small pair of trees. The entry way gets messy fast so this area certainly doesn't need more!

Heading down a short flight of stairs takes you to our basement family room! Some of the first pieces we found for our first Christmas together end up down here, like the wooden J-O-Y train and tin sleigh where we keep Christmas cards. Although my style has evolved and changed since 11 years ago I still get excited to see those pieces year after year!

Back up stairs to our somewhat open main floor! Quite a bit has changed in here since the Fall and our shoot with HGTV Magazine, (more on that another time!), and I debated how to combine a 'what's new' post with a Christmas tour, but we'll skip all the new stuff for now and save that for the new year. How's that sound?

Last year's tree was named Paul Pheiffer for it's tall, gangly awkwardness. This year I call our tree Rosemary Clooney for it's statuesque physique! Rosemary is the perfect tree for us this year as our decor ended up taking an unexpected vintage turn!

Well I said I wasn't going to go into 'what's new' but our vintage WWI army cot that I turned into a coffee table is hard to miss! This piece came up from the basement and suits the room much better spatially.

It's never really bothered me that we haven't had a place to hang stockings, but when I saw these vintage wooden accordian peg racks floating around I thought they'd make cute stocking hangers!

One of our first Christmas pieces was this advent which my grandparents gave us on our first Christmas. It's such a fun, tangible way for the kids to understand why we celebrate. They play with this set every day and I love to see their imaginations at work!

In the past I've stuck trimmings from our Christmas tree in every nook and cranny I could think of; it's fantastic free decor, don't get me wrong! But in an effort to stay truer to my style and decorate for the holidays in such a way that doesn't make me anxious over these weeks, I cut way back on the trimmings and focused on simple statements instead. A flimsy branch cascading down the side of the mirror here is the perfect whisper of the holiday coming and leaves plenty of room to breath. (Which, by the way, is all relative. I like a lot of room to breath in my home - it's an exciting time of life with lots of energy and chaos, but adding more 'things' to the mix makes me a little anxious.)

Taking a cue from Cate's recent eclectic Winter home tour, I spy a felt snowball! See it?

While I didn't share a series on holiday DIY ideas this year, I'm really excited with how our DIY Christmas tree skirt turned out! Our old tree skirt had begun tearing a bit last year and I looked for a new one in post holiday sales last January - nothing! It was the perfect opportunity to find or make something really unique but inspiration didn't strike until this past September when I came across a gigantic vintage Persian rug on Craigslist for $20! The reason it was so cheap was because it had been cut right down the middle, making two equal halves. While it was useless as an area rug, I loved it's colors and thought it would make a great Christmas tree skirt! After sharing to Instagram we've had the opportunity to collaborate on more attainable vintage inspired tree skirts with Etsy seller, IHeartNorwegianWood, who is selling them in her shop for anyone interested in something similar!

Moving on to the dining room!

Rather than garlands and lights as I've used in the past, I just hung up our kissing ball and filled in with some fun little pieces, like our antarctic friend keeping watch for snow.

Okay, quick side note: I love these Willow Tree angels below and they've been a slow growing collection over the years since I was little. Each angel represents a particular quality/characteristic, and girlfriend at far right is supposed to represent's never dawned on me that she looks more indignant than anything else! Hah!

For a simple table, I used a length of last years faux boxwood garland stretched across the table with collected vintage brass candle holders found over the year.

The rest of that faux boxwood went in the kitchen!

It doesn't take much for our cozy kitchen to take a festive turn, and a simple green and white plaid dishtowel from an antique shop finishes it off just fine.

Heading upstairs and our first stop is Shire's room! Last year I found this string of lights for $3 on sale and spray painted the cord gold. I'm not gonna lie, I thought it would be special to give her room a little extra glow for Christmas, but when I plugged this baby in I'm pretty sure the illumination from her window alone lit up the street! So it's a little bright....but she thinks they're fun!

Colin and Mason's shared room is just so much fun to decorate for Christmas - partly because it doesn't take much! The birch trees already look flocked with snow; it's kind of a year-round wintery looking room. Hah!

When Mason started asking 23 times at bedtime, (beginning in September), how many days until Christmas, I couldn't wait to hang this countdown in his room. It cuts our bedtime down by 37 minutes! Instructions for the DIY yarn wreath can be found here.

Our bedroom may as well be a tent plopped right in the middle of a Christmas tree farm because sleeping under this fresh wreath from Lynch Creek Farm tickles our nose every single night! 

Opposite the bed is a cozy cuddling spot where I love to sit whenever I've got a child in need of a snuggle. And whether we have a white Christmas or not, we've got snow capped mountains to enjoy thanks to the painting by my grandma!

That's the end of our holiday home tour! It's been such a joy getting ready for Christmas this year and getting to see so many others' Christmas decor styles! Thank you so much for taking the time to come by today; it's a treat to get to share our home with friends.