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 always like to distinguish this approach from minimalism, however, and that’s why I provide pictures of our home. It’s pretty simple and I have sourced most of it secondhand, but it’s not bare, spartan or empty by any means.

I love creating 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.

I like to share these photos to prove that you can do both. (And also because I love doing virtual snooping in other people’s homes on the Internets, so it’s only fair that I give back, you know? Enable snooping unto others as you would have them enable snooping unto you, I think is how the saying goes.)

Our New Home

Olive and I have been here about six months now, and I think we’re finally settled in! Things have naturally evolved to include lots of white, natural wood, plants, and occasional bright accent colour here and there.

I’ve provided brief source lists for furniture/decorative items; all items listed in bold were found secondhand, and I encourage you to lurk around your local Craigslist, Kijiji, or Facebook Buy and Sell sites to do the same! If it was found secondhand, however, I’ve tried to also link to the product page if the item is still sold in stores, and/or blog post where I explain how I refinished it where applicable.

(Also – if you think that I waited until Olive was at her dad’s for the weekend to take advantage of a clean house, you are absolutely right. My house never looks like this when she’s home. Also, if you think that sometimes I look at these pictures and smile, remembering what it felt like to have every room spotlessly clean, you are also very, very right.)


Living Room

Our new home has a large, long living room with one wall completely windows. The moment I saw it I knew I would do a wall of half-bookshelves. I was able to find all five second-hand, added some plants and bought a rug – and voila! Everything else is essentially unchanged from our old living room.

This room is also a great example of why I love not having a TV – it would have changed the entire orientation of the room if I’d had to think about what wall a TV would go on. Not having one makes for greater flexibility in furniture arrangements.

Couch – Karlstad, Chair – Loaned from my mom, Bookshelves, Coffee table, Window picture frames – Vintage shop in Vancouver, Wool rug, Play kitchen

Dining Room

This is the first time I’ve ever had a separate dining room and honestly, I didn’t know if I’d like it. Open floor plans with the dining space connected to the kitchen/living room are so much more common now, but it turns out I absolutely love the set-up. It connects to the kitchen so it’s not at all inconvenient, and it’s nice to eat out of sight of any food prep mess (I am not at all a tidy cook).

I’ve kept things pretty simple in here – I like the space and the light, and I really appreciate that there’s extra room to add the table leaf in and accommodate more guests if we need to. For a while, I debated adding a small desk to the empty wall where the large floor plant is but have decided against it for now.

Dining Table, Eiffel chairs, Picture frames,


The absolute best part of this kitchen is the dishwasher. I mean, I love the subway tiles and white cupboards and ample cupboard space and huge window…but the DISHWASHER!

Honestly, I include this dishwasher on so many entries in my gratitude journal – I’m not even kidding. Thank you, Beyonce, for bringing this magical machine into my life.

Recycling Centre console table – Free on Kijiji, painted white, Garbage/Compost/Recycling Baskets


It is surprisingly hard to take pictures of a tiny bathroom! There’s nothing too interesting going on in here anyway, except one of my favourite old-house details – the arched shower stall opening.

Olive’s Room

Olive has shared a room with me basically since birth. She still likes snuggling into bed with me most mornings, but she was also so excited to have her own room when we moved into this house, and we had so much fun putting it together. A family friend helped me surprise her by making this little house bed, and she picked out the rug, plants, duvet cover, and colours.

In here, things are really busy and colourful – just the way she likes it.

House bed – handmade, Duvet, Rug , Nightstand, Dresser, Floating shelves, Globe -Value Village, Upholstered stool – gift from my sister

My Room

I try to keep things really simple in my room. Comfy sheets, lots of plants, and a few favourite secondhand finds.

Bed, Plant Basket – Goodwill, Apple Crate – Vintage store Edmonton, Side Tables – Kijiji, Starburst mirror – Under my sister’s porch

That’s it! Let me know if you have any questions 🙂

Our Old Home

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!

  • Reply Laura M October 16, 2017 at 6:03 PM

    “Enable snooping unto others as you would have them enable snooping unto you, I think is how the saying goes.” Bahahahaha! That’s my Internet philosophy to a ‘t’!!!

  • Reply heidi ruckriegel October 16, 2017 at 6:49 PM

    Nice! Love your potplants, especially.

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