Sneak Peak Styling The Uptown City Condo

Part of our downsize has afforded me the luxury to add some new furniture pieces and flexibility to change our style and really just have a little fun with it. Although we are only a year in Toronto I'd like to purchase items that will grow with us and transition into any new space we may find ourselves in. I defdinitely do not want to buy items and have to immediately turnaround and sell/donate at the end of the year. My lovely friend Shelley Vanderbuild, who aside from being a fabulous artist, is also a mother of three, Air Force wife and tiny house dweller. She has given us amazing advice on our new space and how to maximize it, design your space upwards not outwards, to think outside the box and see if you can multi purpose items and thus need less.

Okay enough of this, who wants a sneak peak????!!!!!

I befriended a lovely woman moving to Toronto for the same reasons as us. She is actually living in our building and we've already begun planning Monday night ladies night. She is there ahead of us and sent us pictures of our place!!! Eeek I am so excited! Now please recall I have yet to be there so things are where they landed on unpack but let's peek anyway!

Morning coffee view. Yes I think this view will do. 

The living area~

Here you can see the living room furniture almost all fit. I was hoping the furniture had been slid to one side for move in purposes but no, if you look at the next photo …… no that's it. No more space. 

The first thing I noticed is that for a scrambled hasty unpack with guilted family and friends what a fabulous job!!

You can see here the last section of the sofa wouldn't fit (it is leaned against the far wall by the post.)  We intentionally chose this sofa knowing it could be versatile and used in sections. The other thing I love is it's low profile. With that view I don't want to miss a thing. The pile of boxes against the wall have a table under there somewhere and the white dressers need to find a better home than in the kitchen. I think a new kitchen table is in order, I'm thinking round, white, we also need some new chairs as I left mine in the alleyway behind the Rose House.

Kitchen: lovely, functional, tall cabinets. Note: must find pretty step stool. And the island, definitely big enough for 2 cookie trays!!

The boys room. I have a furniture re-jig planned, look at all the useable space in this room! It's huge! The boys need new sheets for the bottom bunk and blankets/or duvets for both. What do you think? Any suggestions on colours or patterns? I'm thinking Pottery Barn Kids or PB Teen.

welcome too Lily's nook

It's a bit awkward and more cramped than I expected. I think it's the set up, a couple quick turns and this will be the sweetest little space. 
This cube self will go on castor, pull out from the wall a touch and slide over towards the door which will give an extra six inches but won't block the light switches. A couple furniture swaps here and we will be all set!

And my room. The slowest to get attention, isn't that always the way. 

Things I need: Headboard, appropriately sized duvet, duvet cover (ordered!!!).I ordered a complete bedding set from Facebook. Yes that's right! I did it. I really needed new bedding and I'm hoping this is fabulous. I'll be sure to let you know it's from PrimaryGoods 

Okay so I hope you're starting to see my vision here. It is a bit more cluttered than expected but overall I think once set up it will be fabulous. Only 2 more weeks and I'll get to see my home, lol!

The Story of Kate Part II

This story has been hard to tell. I haven’t made piece with my lot yet. I’m trying but I’m not there yet so it’s a bit raw. I’ve also seemed to have triggered a flare up and I am super sucks, one eye open, ref lipstick sore. I’m trying to spend as much time with my smalls as possible and family visits, putting down my phone and making contact. The result is a very boring blog and very boring Instagram feed. But happy kids, lol! I’m sure I’m not alone in this, every time I go to write, someone needs something, or two someone’s are stuck in a giant pink donut, or three someone’s are not going to bed, again!!!!!!…….Continuing……. 

(If you missed the last post you can refresh here: The Story of Kate 

 I receive a phone call from the base hospital to discuss my MRI results with the Nurse Practitioner. To all my NP’s I’m sorry, I love you and take no offence here because I have the greatest respect. The Greatest! But… with respect to the base hospital and being a Pilot I generally (always/only) deal with a Flight Surgeon. This was the NP versus the Flight Surgeon so I immediately thought this was a protocol to go over the results with me. I think I actually bickered with the person booking the appointment as I didn’t want to waste my time or theirs. I’m trying to upgrade to Aircraft Captain after coming off maternity leave. I’m already paying what some of us women affectionately call the post maternity return “mommy tax” (where you realize you’re equal but….maybe not so equal. Another story completely). I lost the argument and booked a time slot. 

When I showed up for that appointment I had no idea what I was walking into. As far as I recall this is how it went: I don’t remember a hello, I don’t remember an introduction, I didn’t know this woman at all. We had had no previous interactions at all. As far as I knew I was 30 something pilot in excellent health, mother of three littles and my arm injury was cycling but I was taking it easy and it seemed to be healing. We walk in the room and sit down and she says something about the flight surgeon being away but wanted to get the results to me. That bit is the bit of a blur because next she laid it all on me. I had serious neck injuries, I would need surgery, I would be in pain for the rest of my life, I would be released from the military I would never fly again and oh maybe she should just ground me right now . …………Blank……I can still remember sitting there just blank faced, slow blinking trying to absorb of the words she was saying. I’m still trying to absorb them today. What I did get was mad. How dare you tell me this. How could you be so insensitive? I don’t think she heard or cared. I didn’t get grounded and I left.

That night was a date that night for husband and I. I remember we went to a Jets game, I told Husband on the car ride. I wasn’t going to tell him, I thought about just keeping it a secret. We were in a bit of a rocky stage of our marriage and this was so unexpected that maybe I should just put a pin in it for a while. I made it all the way to the car ride, I made a little awkward small talk and then blurted. It’s funny I remember all that but I don’t remember his reaction at all. What I told him was according to my MRI I had degenerative changes that are worse at this C4-5 and C5–6 levels and a mild indentation of the left anterolateral cord at the C4-5 level. There is moderate to severe left neuroforaminal narrowing with suspected moderate compression of the existing left C5 nerve root.’ So that’s fun! 
I honestly don’t remember how I felt at that point physically I mean. When I look at the paperwork it says pilot/numbness down/index finger pain radiating left arm. But I’m blurry when the pain was really bad, I don’t even know if I knew I was in pain.  It was so insidious as it worsened I became used to it. I was so focussed on getting back to work after three babies. I wanted to keep up an image of not being a ‘chick pilot’ and was trying fitting in to an all male unit, some of whom had never flown with a woman before. I just wanted to fit in, I just wanted my aircraft upgrade, (to be an aircraft captain), to drink coffee and fly around, train students and be joyful. I wanted to be selfish and stamp my foot, I didn’t want to be in pain, I didn’t want to miss work for doctors appointments, I didn’t want it to hurt when I reached for the buttons, I just wanted life to be easy, just for a minute.

So on I went. I did see a Flight Surgeon who assured me that’s he had seen many people much worse than me who recovered without surgery. That made us feel about better. I was then expedited through the wait lists for specialists, I skipped the 18 month wait list at the pain clinic, I was front of the line everywhere I went. Somewhere along the line I had become the “Female Jet pilot”. It didn’t matter that I flew a Dash-8, somewhere in there I had become the young mother of three/Jet Pilot and people were a little in love with the idea of fixing me. At first I’d try to explain that I didn’t fly a jet and in honest only ever flew a little baby jet for a short period of time. I learned quickly that people didn’t care and that it worked in my favour so I just let it slide. I did want to go back to training pilots and that would involve getting me back into an ejection seat, so I thought let them help. 

I’m going to have to leave it here. The children are a hot mess all over me. I signed them up for summer camp, the one which we adore. We still adore it but they adore me more. I’ve been trying to write this for four days and every time I pick up an electronic device it’s an explosion of children on me like a fat kid on a Smartie. I’m half happy that they love me so much, but I need a little break and I want to get some things done. It would be glorious if they would all go to camp and give this mama a little break. 

How is everyone’s summer going? We had such a beautiful view this morning, it seemed as if boats were floating in the sky. 

Have an amazing beautiful day. P.S. I can still tell you all about the pain clinic and weird procedures I’ve had done, my surgery, recovery, drugs, if you’re interested. 

I’m also getting excited to tell you about our fabulous new condo, and new Glass House city life! Less than a month and we will be in such a different place, it’s hard to imagine. 

I am going to go strap some life jackets on these smalls, float in a donut and enjoy the sunshine. 

Birthday Kittens

I am trying to tame myself and hold back but I am so freakin excited about this move. I have cottage tasks to do that normally would thrill me but all I can think about is Pottery Barn Kids sheets, flower markets, decorating and Neurosurgeons! ( because if you’re me second opinions with neurosurgeons makes you excited )I am so ready. OK breathe deeply and exhale, whoooooo.

Number one on the list of cottage things to do is sweet Lily’s birthday.

Can you believe that she will be five? They say that time flies, and that was a little bit bullshit, I strongly remember it felt pretty slow at certain points along the way. But then it happened, I will have no children under the age of five! How is this so? When Lily was born I had three children under five and the only thing I can say is it was hard! H. A. R. D. All of you in the thick of it, mothers and fathers, know that this too shall pass. You are right now the strongest most amazing people on earth. You’ve got this.

Who’s this little gal? 4 going on 15,

Remaining on my list of things to do cottage wise is to revamp the sun porch. New cushions for the furniture, a little paint touch up for the craft table and I’m thinking a new front door colour and more perennials around the house. Flowers that will grow and mostly take care of themselves. As much as I want to have a green thumb mine remains solid black brown I just don’t have a knack for it. Maybe this summer I could actually learn a little about the plants…? Meh! Let’s see if I can get my mom to do it for me!!

First things first, I need to find some kitty ears for a dozen little smalls. I have no idea where I’m going to get these so I should probably get a hustling.

Have a beautiful day all my beautiful friends. 

And The Deal is Done

It’s hard to believe that as of today we no longer own The Rose House. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’m sad but happy. Sweet Lily and I had such a hard goodbye from The Rose House. Lily started to cry and then I started to cry and then the neighbors started to cry. Because I love ya’ll here are our hot mess ugly cry goodbye photos.

Goodbye my Rose House. I wish you a family full of love. 

(Wipes tears) 

Jumping into cottage life, we are amazing, it’s true. But life is still not as easy as I’d like. Somewhere between the move, being lone wolf (solo parent), worrying about change of physicians, work, etc my pain flared.  Husband I went to breakfast last week(ish)after dropping the smalls at camp, I admit he was a touch grumpy for all the move stuff but what better way to solve your stress than brunch at the beach! A fabulous day date.  The only problem was I forgot my pain pills and halfway through my vision blurred so much I could only see husband directly in front of me. It was a touch crappy so we ate and left quickly to go home and find pills. That’s not a part of my life I love to share and I do my best to separate it. Husband says there are three people in our relationship; me, he and my pain!  

 During the days I am so appreciative to have day camp available. It is honestly the childhood I would imagine in a perfect world. This camp is so adorable and they do what I can’t, run wild and free, play, roam, explore. It gives me the ability to spend my days mellow, appreciative of the things I have and can do but still fairly full of pain meds and narcotics. I’m doing my best to be still and allow the wave to pass. Husband will be home soon, my mama is here to help. I’m hoping she’ll help me plant a beautiful garden (hint hint).

And because you know I can’t sit still and was in need of another project: The cottage is in need of a bit of a spruce up. We are enlarging the trim around all the screens, we are going to install an outdoor shower so my house doesn’t have to be as full of sand and fixing up the bike/storage room so I don’t find it creepy every time I go in. I think it’s going to be just lovely. 

Today marks a total new begining. What should we do now???

Love K

city condo styling

First of all I’m amazed and delighted with all my new viewers this week. Welcome!! Hi I’m Kate. You should know that I like to talk to you as if we are long lost friends. We are instantly besties. Hi Bestie!! (Hugs) I try to post on Mondays and Thursdays but with the move I’m a little off. I may have to switch to Tuesdays and Fridays. Thank you for joining my adventure, feel free to write back and know you can always ask me anything. 

Okay so….Husband has been waiting patiently at the city condo for days, our furniture delivery has taken longer than we expected. I’m a little disappointed because he could have been spending time with us at the lake, on the flip he has been able to get a lot of the trivial moving tasks done health insurance, cable, etc.   

Here is the initial condo set up we have planned

We’ve already discovered that we made one flaw in that the tv stand is too long. Luckily we have a two piece until so we can split it. 

I honest to goodness cannot find a better photo. Anyhow it will be perfect, just perfect, in half. Anyone need an ikea stand, lol? 

Movers are coming and I should have photos by the weekend. I’m honestly so excited to see what everything looks like moved in! Eeek!! 

A couple photos from husband~

Tiny house, minimalist, minimalism, family of 5, small home

Living space

Storage, condo, city living

Storage unit. Crucial!

Bathroom, condo, family, 2 baths

1 of 2 Bathrooms

Kate Shaw

The view from the boys room

Beautiful view, condo, city living, small space, beautiful space

The view from my bedroom

Condo, bike, storage, Toronto

Bicycle storage

Okay, so y’all have an amazing weekend. As soon as I have photos, you’ll have photos. Now go do something that makes you feel happy.

Love K

Tiny Transitions 

When I found we were posted to Toronto I immediately knew this was my chance, my chance to embrace something completely new, not just our house but our entire lives.  It took husband just a little longer to get on board with my visio but we both knew it was time for a new beginning and a fresh start. I’ve always had a fascination with people who can pick up and change their lives. I felt for many years that I just wasn’t living life right. On paper I looked good. Mother of 3, Airforce pilot, runner, baker, blogger, loving husband, big house. But inside I just kept thinking life was too hard, why does this have to be so hard? What am I doing wrong?? 

 I think our tiny house discussions began after my spine surgery. I spent a lot of 2015 laying on the floor watching HGTV. Tiny house hunters became one of our favourite shows. Not that it was in our future but so fun to imagine. Right?! Ironically until last week our family of 5 lived in a 3200 square-foot, 3 story century home. 

We purchased the house a few years ago, honestly it was a bit of a marriage patch. We were struggling between a deployment, 3 children under 5, me returning to work and retraining. Truthfully there was a lot of tension in our house and somehow it felt if we lived in a larger space we would have more personal space and thus create more space within our marriage. Our new home was fabulous, on a beautiful street with lovely kind neighbours, and over the years we became a community. It was last minute shared dinners, children flow freely from house to house, birthdays, holiday, wine and late night parties full of laughter. What I started to realize was that more than our home it was our community I loved, more and more the house faded into the background of what was bringing me joy.  At the same time I began to notice that the space we actually used within our home was minimal. Despite having 3200 ft.² if you look at my photos you’ll see that the children are almost always within an arms reach of me. I feel like I am the centre of the family right now. I’m the grounding point and they swirl about me. Wherever I went within the house people (and always our faithful puppy) all gravitated with me, it’s not uncommon for four people to follow me to the bathroom!  So here was the big question, If we are all just using 400 ft.² and just rotating that space through the home, do I really need all that space?

When this one year opportunity arose I knew we were going to do this! Husband and I sat down and discussed what was really important to us. What we came up with was; location, bright space, big windows, kitchen island big enough to hold two cookie trays, and minimum two bedrooms. (Husband thought we were looking for three bedrooms, but I knew we could do two so I just let him come around slowly and didn’t tell him I told the agent 2, shhhh). We ended up with a 2+ 1 bedroom condo, which means 2 bedrooms and a den. It’s an excellent location, it’s bright and open, it has incredible windows, and island big enough to hold to cookie trays and with a grand total of 968 ft.² 

This was a hard choice, the downsize has been an incredible transition but I am looking forward to a year of living simply. I’m not sure most people look at downtown Toronto as “the simple life” but no lawns, no snow, less cleaning, soooo much less cleaning! Our building is amazing. Groceries, pool, green space. Everything about it so far makes me happy. 

So our furniture is currently enroute to our new home. Husband is supervising our move. Today he got keys, he’s last minute measuring and trying to make sure everything will fit (last minute man stressing). I’m just trying to be mellow and envision what I want the space to look like and how I’m going to feel in it. I can’t tell you exactly how it’s going to work out but I am so excited about this upcoming year and sharing the experience.  I hope you’ll follow along our journey and see how a family of five, plus puppy, fit into a 2+ highrise condo in the city. 

I hope you have a beautiful day, wishing you happiness and joy. 

This post was written for inclusion in the July collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Read below for more writings on living small from our community of writers. Check back next month for a new topic and posts in the series and follow our community board on Pinterest for the latest small homes and family minimalism pins!

Minimalist Meg -“Our Story Behind Small and Simple Living” : Sometimes living simply and living small doesn’t happen because of a grand event. Sometimes it just happens and it’s not until after that you decide to keep it that way.
Little Bungalow– “Accidental then Intentional” : A visual tour of all the small homes we didn’t buy before we bought our most recent smallish home in beautiful Victoria, BC.
Fourth and West– “The Home That Chose Us” : Realizing the home we had was actually perfect all along.
Tiny Ass Camper– “Casita Life” : How and why we chose a 17′ Casita Spirit Standard as our home on wheels.
600 Sq Ft and a Baby– “How We Ended Up Living Small” : Looking back on why living small stuck for us.
Fancy Pigeon– “Why We Live Small” : A vlog on why and how our family has consistently downsized over the years.
The Streamlined Life– “Why I Fell in Love with Small House Living” : Sometimes our earliest memories have the strongest impact.
This Lovely Day– (that’s me!!)”Tiny Transitions” : Follow along with Kate Shaw, a retiring Air Force pilot, as she transitions her family of five from living in a 3200 ft.² century home to a 900 ft.² downtown high rise condo in the city.
The Justice Pirate– “Minimalism: My First Tiny House” : Once upon a time, a little girl dreamed of having her own tiny house and her dream came true…temporarily.
Family Pedals– “Finding Abundance in 1500 Square Feet” : In our culture it would be easy for us to view our house as a stepping stone to something bigger, something nicer. For us, the next step we’d like to take is to something smaller, something simpler.

Love K


Our first week of Lake life has gone relatively well, to be honest I’ve pretty much just flaked out. On the weekend we had our fabulous Canada day /Fourth of July party with such amazing friends. I believe we had 17 people sleep in the house and there was definitely still space for more. So if I was worried about the move to Toronto and fitting into a small space, I think we prove that it’s well within reason. 

For the last two months I have been sorting and tossing and gifting and giving and I am so freaking happy to be done with that! I don’t even know what to do with myself. I find myself just sitting staring off at the lake totally mindless and I think I love it, LOL. Here’s a great question; what did we keep?? 

Items that made to cut are: desk and cubby from the boys room, the bed was cut. Sadly the hutch, the fireplace, pretty much the entire basement, outdoor Christmas, freezer, actually all the appliances, sofa bed, all the chairs in the dining room, but not the table, she’s a keeper! Our king bed shifted to the cottage, our linen dining chairs, the chairs from my bedroom. Once everything is sorted and out away it should be pretty fabulous at the lake.

We kept the marblecoffee table, about half our small appliances,  the white sofa, a rocking chair and recliner. An  antique table, which you can see in the picture below, this may be our dining table but I think I may prefer a circle.  

And what was in those boxes in the living room? 

OK, in the boxes are new covers for our Soderhamn sofa. We’ve decided to keep it and give it a try, I really like the low-profile it has, that it sectional so we could divide it into a smaller sofa and chaise lounger. My plan is to switch the chaise to the other end and simply pop it in the corner of the condo and I think it’s going to be just the right size. 

Oh my gosh did you just look at this space and have total moment of oh what the F*, what has she done?! Because I did. Calming breaths..calming breaths….

More things in the boxes; there is a large cube shelf which will ultimately be Lily’s floating wall, AND brand-new white clean cubes, I know is that not the sexiest thing but husband bought them all on his own. He said (grunted) “we need new cubes!” And presented me with 16 clean white cubes. It’s strange what becomes foreplay when you get old. 

We also have a brand-new bed for the boys, a single over double, gray lacquered finish. It creates a whole other area where guests can stay and have some sort of privacy. Kids can bunk up, we can swap around and sleep with the kids, much better than having people sleep in the living room in my opinion. The key to tiny homes is being flexibile and if you don’t care for it we can go down to the “wine cellar”and buy you a little bottle of happy. 

Okay I am off to pick up small humans from summer camp. Today was pizza on the bandstand day. How sweet is that? 

Have a rockin weekend with lots of love

Love K