Good morning everyone. Today I am super excited because I get to share the home tour of one of my blogger friends from across the border (the Canadian border that is.) Ariel from PMQ for Two, (FYI: PMQ stands for Private Military/Married Quarters (PMQs) are housing provided to members of the military and their families.) Ariel, like me, is a military spouse. She is always on the move but you’d never know it by the looks of her perfectly styled home. Today Ariel has been kind enough to share her home along with a few tips for those of you who may have a big move coming up, be living in a rental, or just decorating on a budget.
So let’s get to it!
How often do you normally move? What number move is this? (the house we will be touring)
We’ve moved every 12-16 months since we met, and before that, we had each been moving about once a year during university. Together, this was our third home, although we’re moving again shortly to our fourth! At this point I think of myself as a turtle hauling my precious belongings along from spot to spot.
If you could give one piece of moving advice what would it be?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Much like deployments and courses, things won’t go perfectly and you’ll often feel frustrated with the process. As long as you, your family and most of your belongings get to the end destination in one piece I’d say it was a successful move. I have a big file folder that I take with me everywhere: full of agreements, forms, moving slips and every piece of paper that has been signed or given to me during the process. Even if it’s not particularly ordered, at least I can say it’s all there!
Moving can suck, but what is the plus side of moving often?
Not everybody agrees with me on this one, but I see the constant moves as a huge plus for me. I love that I get to try new things in each house and only bring the “best of” forward with us. For example, I really wanted to try a vibrant raspberry pink bathroom accent wall so I did it in this house. I loved it here, but I won’t be bringing it with us to the next place. A lot of my design choices are contingent upon the home we have at the time, but overall I love that my style gets to evolve and grow as we move from base to base.
What would you call your style?
I still struggle to define my style to be honest because it’s not easily pegged as one thing or another. I love mid century modern design items, but I rely on a heavy dose of IKEA to fill out more practical elements like bookshelves and desks. I’d say I’m a cross between mid-century modern and classic design elements used in a contemporary way ex. The bookshelves in the dining room, the sitting room etc. Above all though, I am colourful!
You are in military housing, what is the extent of the changes you can make?
I’m in Canadian military housing, so this may be different than American military housing. We’re not technically allowed to do much. We need to request to paint or change light fixtures, and you need a permit to put up a fence or an above-ground pool. I’ve painted with impunity and always return things to approved colours before we march out. I switch out light fixtures all the time and replace dome lighting with drum shades for more colour and dimension.
Other then that, no renos allowed.
Do you have a favorite item that seem to work perfectly in every home?
Nothing has been around long enough to say it’s the perfect piece… not yet at least. In our first home we were combining items from his household and my household, so style was a mish-mash. Our next place was what survived the cull. Our two houses since have been different enough that we’ve acquired furniture in the process. Our dining room table has been with us since our first home and was the first thing we refinished together, although our sitting room couch and chairs are our new favorites, and will be reupholstered for our next home.
What is our favorite spot in this house and why?
I love our sitting room. It was the first space where I felt free enough to experiment with form vs. function, and got creative with the walls. It’s also the most acclaimed space in the house, having been feature on Martha Stewart and won the Apartment Therapy The Big Reveal 2015.
It’s right off the kitchen and is the hub of our entertaining. We don’t have a TV in there so it’s really a conversation room full of textures, colours and throw pillows. Our bar cart is also there and gets quite a bit of use. I’ve spent many hours looking out the windows at falling snow, watching birds in the backyard, watching the leaves change in the fall and then napping on the couch. Our friend who passed away this fall helped us paint the room so it holds a special place in our hearts. I’ll be sad to paint it over in a few weeks.
What is the biggest project you’ve ever tackled in a rental/PMQ?
Honestly, building a fence. In our first PMQ we had to build a backyard fence to keep our dog in and delimit our space from other peoples. It took planning and permits and we snagged the fence at the right time so everything was on sale. It only took a day to assemble but required the most prep work.
Since then, we’ve laboured over our 12 foot harvest table, but that has less to do with the PMQ and more to do with access to tools and time spent staining.
Do you have any tips for making a rental your own?
Hang things on the walls. This sounds pretty pointless as far as advice goes, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t hang anything because they don’t want to have to patch holes and paint when they leave. It’s silly really. I love seeing our art and pictures up on the walls, I don’t think it would feel like home if there was nothing on the walls. Patching and painting will take a weekend – at most – and that’s definitely worth it to me. If this doesn’t interest you though, I’ve also got a post with my tips for decorating post-move.
Do you have any tips for design on a budget?
Thrifting DIY and planning are a girl’s best friend! I purchased our sitting room and living room furniture from our local thrift stores and paid a fraction of what they would cost new! I got fantastic items at great prices that are built to last.
When all else fails, DIY it! We wanted a big table for our backyard entertaining, so we built one! I wanted fancy new upholstered headboards so I built them! Buffet? No problem.
Planning is the mother of all time and money savers though. If you take the time to plan out the progression of furniture and items within your household over moves and homes, you’ll be able to justify the cost of an item over several years and utility cycles.
If you love Ariel’s style and great tips as much as I do you’ll want to stop by PMQ for Two and learn more.
Thanks so much Ariel for letting me share your amazing home!