The Best Blogs: Bijou & Boheme

What's not to love about Bijou and Boheme's Christine Dovey? For one, she's brave: A little over a year ago, the mother of three boldly decided to sell all of her furniture online and start from scratch, blogging every step of the way. She's also a pleasure to get to know: Her refreshingly candid posts regularly have us laughing out loud. And she has impeccable taste: The S&C offices are still oohing and aahing about the recent tour we took of her gorgeous (now refurnished) home.

We just had to find out more...

By Beth Maher

christine_dovey1.jpgQ: What on earth made you decide to get rid of all of your furniture?!

Dovey: I was sitting in my living room one day, and it dawned on me that there wasn't a thing I was looking at that I truly loved. As a stay-at-home mom, I spend a lot of time in my home and I just couldn't accept that I was surrounded by pieces that didn't inspire me.

Q: What was your family's reaction to the purge?

Dovey: My family was definitely skeptical at first but when they saw me selling things that had previously been collecting dust in the garage, they started to see the light. In general, they were all very supportive of my wanting a fresh start.

Q: Is there anything you now regret getting rid of?

Dovey: Honestly? No. I've replaced every piece with something I truly adore so I don't regret a thing!

Q: It's almost impossible to tell that there are three children living in your chic space. Where do you hide all the kid clutter?

Dovey: My number one tip is to have a lot of storage...everywhere. I have at least one cabinet or drawer in every room that is dedicated to the kids' stuff. Even in the kitchen, there are two large drawers that are just for toys. That way, when things migrate up from the playroom, there is always somwhere to hide them. Having kids doesn't mean that you have to sacrifice style or dumb down your design; you just have to make sure you have a space to stash the plastic.

Q: What design rules do you try to stick by?

Dovey: My biggest design rule is to forget the rules. I'm a firm believer in only buying things that truly speak to you; when I do that, everything seems to magically work together. I love layering pieces from different eras, styles and price points to create a space that feels curated and collected, rather than decorated. And in my opinion, no room is complete without a ton of books, a little (or a lot!) of pink, fresh flowers or plants and art-filled walls.

Q: What's your favourite site to shop online for decor items?

Dovey: I love Circa Who for fabulous regency vintage and Ruby Lane for antiques. I'm also an Etsy-aholic; it's my go-to for original art and accessories.

Q: But Etsy's so massive! How do you know where to begin?

Dovey: Start with a clear idea of what you're looking for. I tend to search for specific things I want to buy and go from there. If I'm looking for regency bookends, for example, I type that in and when I find a pair I like, I always check out the seller's shop as well. And if I enjoy their whole store, I file it in my favourites folder. I have about 50 shops saved there and check them out first when I'm looking for something. I'll also look to their favourites for direction, which often leads me to new gems I wouldn't have found on my own.

Q: What are your top tips for sourcing deals online?

Dovey: 1) Always email the vendor and ask for their best price. I've found that most will offer 20% below what's listed. 2) Use higher-priced sites (e.g. 1st Dibs) to browse for inspiration, then search for the items you like on bargain sites. 3) When you know what you're looking for, always do an open-item search on your local Craigslist or Kijiji, along with eBay and Etsy.

Q: What about flea market shopping? Any tips for finding gems amongst the junk?

Dovey: The trick there is being able to see beyond the clutter and dirt. I always start a flea market expedition by scanning the whole space then I walk around and see what catches my eye. Once I find something I'm interested in, I try to imagine it reinvented in a new place in my home. If I can see it working somewhere, in some way, it's a keeper. You have to be prepared to sift through the junk and really take your time; it's not meant to be fast and easy, but the hunt is what makes it interesting!

Q: What's your favourite place in your home?

Dovey: My favourite place in our home is the kitchen because it's where my family spends the most time together. The five of us eat dinner around a big oval table every night, and I love creating memories with them in a space I absolutely love.