Why the House Tour?

The bulk of my writing over the past five years has focused on the topics of living with less and voluntary simplicity. I feel it’s important to distinguish this approach from minimalism, however, and that’s why I provide pictures of our home. It’s simple and I have sourced pretty much everything secondhand, but it’s not bare, spartan or empty by any means.

It’s important to me to have a beautiful, functional, welcoming home but it’s also important to me that I keep a small budget and mitigate my negative environmental impact as much as I can. These photos are proof that you can do both.

Our New Home

We moved into our new home in the spring, and I can’t wait to share more photos when we get all settled in.

Our Old Home

Over the years, I have received quite a few emails asking where I found furniture, art, or decorative items things in our home, so I put together these source lists in the hopes that it might help.

Of course, after completing it, I realize that it’s probably no help at all because so much of it is secondhand or so old that it’s discontinued! Ha! Oh well, here it is!

Living Room





Couch: Secondhand, Karlstad sofa with chaise, legs from PrettyPegs
Coffee table: Secondhand, painted gold
Armchairs: Secondhand, from my mama
Throw Pillows: Ancient, from IKEA
Starburst wall art over fireplace: Rummaged from under my little sister’s porch, then spray painted gold
Globe: French, from Value Village a few years ago
Window Frames: Found in a thrift store in Vancouver a few years ago
Art: This print, framed over the fireplace, a painted version of the cover of my book on the fireplace, prints in the window frames from the FeedYourSoul free art project
Brass Standing Lamp: Um…found it in the storage room of this house when I moved in? Ha! Finder’s keepers is still a thing, right?
Books: A lifetime of succumbing to temptation in Chapters stores, musty second-hand booksellers, airports, and probably a few contraband library books, too.
Stuffed Elephant: Olive’s, from my sister Mawney. It was given to her by one of her students when she was in Thailand.
Play kitchen: Made from an old nightstand, tutorial here


The Digs- SweetMadeleine.ca

The Digs- SweetMadeleine.ca

Desk: Vintage, a gift from my family
Frames in gallery wall: Value Village
Bookcase: Ancient Ikea BILLY bookcase of course! I replaced the dark brown backing with white, for a lighter look
Sheepskin: IKEA
Chair: No idea. It’s just a wooden chair. So.
Art: Family photos, “Oh hell yes” by the lovely OhSoPoppy, and this quote by Hemingway. Because yes. 


The Digs - SweetMadeleine.ca

The Digs- SweetMadeleine.ca
Kilim Runner: Vintage (allegedly vintage) from eBay
Art: Framed drawing of “Deer” by forger H. Van Meegeren, given to me by my grandparents


The Digs- SweetMadeleine.ca

My room, with recently repainted dresser.

Bed: Secondhand,  this one from IKEA
Dresser: Secondhand, painted with homemade chalk paint in Behr’s “Free Spirit”
Duvet Cover: Citron Stripe organic cotton from West Elm. Discontinued 🙁
Art: Hand painted canvas, “Fuck Perfect”, photo print from Eye Poetry Photography
Mirror: From my mom

Olive’s Room

The Digs- SweetMadeleine.ca


Bed: Secondhand
Quilt: My talented mother-in-law, Cathy!
Hanging paper cranes: A gift for Olive from my sister-in-law, but so easy to make!
Dresser: Secondhand, repainted (post here)
Racoon Bin: A gift from my friend Lisa, by 3 Sprouts, here
Art: Quotes designed by a talented friend of mine named Jody Sparkes
Sheepskin: IKEA


  • Reply The Digs - Sweet Madeleine July 9, 2015 at 12:59 PM

    […] Our Home […]

  • Reply Laura M July 12, 2015 at 8:12 PM

    Hi Madeleine! I’m a fan of your style. Can you sweet-talk your mom-in-law into sharing the quilt pattern she used for Olive’s blanket? I can’t get that design out of my head, but I haven’t been able to find something similar online! (If she free-balled it, ask her if she used 1/2 square blocks with border strips between the rows.) Thanks!

  • Reply Kevin Piron April 5, 2016 at 9:35 AM

    Hi Madeleine,

    I read your piece in the Guardian today (hypocrisy of being an environmentalist) and had some thoughts. Where I live in northern Minnesota, we are dealing with the controversy of whether to allow a new mining company to harvest several abundant metals that exist in huge deposits in our region of the state. These metals are necessary for most of the technology that drives our world today.
    We can either choose to try to extract them as carefully and respectfully as possible under our more advanced standards, or we can get them from other places in the world where in some cases children work with their hands in raw ores.

    My wife and I also leased a brand new vehicle. It gets better mileage and pollutes much less than the clunkers some people I know (who could afford better) drive about – the direct result of technological advances, mechanical and digital.

    We also recycle everything possible including fresh food waste, which we compost.

    We must not feel guilty for living our lives, especially when we are making the efforts we are to do better.

    I do believe that we must factor in how our personal actions and needs also affect the less fortunate in the world – like the Chinese workers employed at mines that have little or no safety and environmental systems and rules in place.

    Keep up the good fight and think of others and we all will be the better for it!

    Best wishes,
    Kevin Piron

    • Reply sweetmadeleine April 27, 2016 at 2:48 PM

      Thank you so much for your thoughts, Kevin!

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