Erin Davis: Welcome to REAL TIME, a podcast for REALTORS® brought to you by CREA, the Canadian Real Estate Association, where we’re all about sparking conversations with inspiring people about all things Canadian real estate, and topics that impact REALTORS®, and all of us. I’m your host, Erin Davis, and this is going to be an enlightening, uplifting, and fun edition, this episode 13 of REAL TIME.
As we spend more time at home than we ever have before, what can we learn about the relationship between our homes and our wellbeing? Are there changes we can make to support our physical and mental health without sacrificing resale value, and what’s the best approach to beautifying our homes on a budget? All good questions and we have just the guest to answer them.
Tiffany Pratt is known as the queen of colour, and can’t we all use a little of that in our lives right now. She is a spark, with a passion for interior, commercial, and product design, writing, painting, and lucky for us, speaking. You can see Tiffany Pratt on HGTV on Home to Win and Buy it, Fix It, Sell It, and she’s with us here today on REAL TIME. Well, what a treat to have you on REAL TIME and also to learn that you got your start with REALTORS®, Tiffany. Tell us about that.
Tiffany Pratt: It was when I moved to Toronto. I had closed my art studio and I was just a creative woman on the loose, doing all sorts of wild creative jobs. A local agent came up to me in a panic because his stager had quit on the job. He said, “I think you can make a room look pretty, right? You can do that?” I said, “Yes, sure. Why not?” I started to home-stage without any formal training for interior design. I tell anybody who wants a career in interior design, become a home stager, because you truly learn on the fly, you have a certain amount of time, you work with lots of different houses, different configurations, ages, and you really learn what moves on the market. It was a really valuable experience for me.
Erin: Well, that’s terrific because that synergy is going to come in great over the next little while as we talk here today. Tiffany, how significant is the link between our living spaces and our physical and mental wellbeing, which are just so important, now more than ever.
Tiffany: They’re intrinsically linked with one another, in my opinion. Having worked with homes the way I have, for as long as I have, in the quantity that I have, I can’t see a difference between the person, their choices, how they want to live, and the four walls that they choose to live them in. All the decisions that we make in that process, not just on the home itself but within the home, really make our lives, and that is our wellness effectively. We’re just going to dig into and tear apart all of the choices that we make and maybe some different little tweaks and twists we can do to our existing four walls to make ourselves feel better.
Erin: That really lays the groundwork for what we’re talking about today. Because you have a saying that everything is everything. It’s all interwoven.
Tiffany: That’s right. As a creative person, when you think of everything a human life touches, if it’s your home, if it’s the pets that you choose, the people you surround yourself with, the way that you write, the colours you choose, the car you drive, how you activate yourself in the world is all an expression of the life that you want to lead. When we go to bed, we’re closing our eyes on that life and within these four walls that we’ve chosen. What those four walls can do is serve us and keep us strong to do the service we’re supposed to do. Everything really is everything.
Erin: Now a lot of us have these creative sparks and ideas, but we’re held back by fear that what we want to do to, say, promote wellness might sacrifice the resale value of our home. How do you change that mindset so that we live in the now and where we are, literally and metaphorically, Tiffany?
Tiffany: Erin, you just said it perfectly. You live in the now. We’re always living for that future. What if, when I sell, when I don’t want to live here anymore, when I live somewhere else, or when I knock out this wall, or when this kitchen is redone. We all live in the what-ifs. As a designer, I’ve explored tearing homes down to putting a little lipstick on a pig.
In the end, it’s really not about the future. It’s about creating joy, happiness, and wellbeing in this moment, and there are so many ways to do it. Even if these changes that we make to bring our own joy to the present moment are temporary, it’s essential because to feel happy right now is way better than thinking of a future renovation or alternative place to live. We’re going to dig into why it’s important that, obviously, we don’t taint any resale value of the home, but certainly, we don’t want to devalue joy now.
Erin: Well, let’s look at the shades of the lipstick on that pig, so to speak. As the queen of colour, what can you tell us, Tiffany, about incorporating colour and specific palettes to improve our mood? We’ve all heard the tropes about this colour does this and this colour does that. What can we use to improve our mood, whether it’s to calm us or to inspire us?
Tiffany: I don’t know who coined me, the queen of colour, also many years ago, but I now hold that as a very, very important factor in my work. I always tell people that we live in a culture that’s very colour cautious. To be the queen of colour is sometimes very difficult because I’m teaching people a language that they’re scared to speak. In the end, we all have a palette. We all have a colour or colours that make us feel a certain way. Effectively, our homes should make us feel something. It’s not about the way something may look to an external party so much as the way that something makes us feel.
Everyone looks at colour in a different way because their retinas, the way that they’re made, they all transmute, look at, and understand colour in their own private way. My job as a designer, and the queen of colour, is to really, really, really invite people to be who they really are, to invite colour into their life, not to be different for the sake of being different but to invite colour into their life because it adds to their life energy and it makes them feel more like themselves.
I don’t really subscribe to common culture, blue calms us because it reminds us of the water. I think that everyone looks at colour very privately because of the way that history has made them, with experiences or childhood memories, and really uncovering what people love and what colours sing to them sometimes takes a little bit of investigation, like what colour is your cell phone case? What colour is your underwear? What’s your favourite lipstick colour? What colours are you drawn to?
When you really investigate in your grayish monochromatic world what you really love, sometimes it’s not just black, white, and gray. Sometimes it could be lime green. I implore people to really start to become an investigator to their choices and look at colour not as something that’s scary but as something that could really give something to their life.
Erin: And make us happy. Your colour is pink, right?
Tiffany: My colour, without question, is pink. If you look at my website, if you’re on my Instagram, you will– 100%, my hair is pink. I can’t put pink on enough surfaces. It’s my happy colour, and it always has. I’m unabashed with my just constant use for it, and every shade it comes in, but not everyone’s like me. In the end, I know that colour pink and the rainbow give me joy. For me, I know I have one precious life, and I want to do as many things as I can do to bring joy, and that one of the most powerful ways of doing it to me is through the use of colour.
Erin: Coming up Tiffany Pratt, and feeling colours, and how to put them to work for you. Immerse yourself in a world of colourful content, covering all of your client’s house and home needs, just by visiting REALTOR.ca. From informative articles on key market updates to fun design trends, REALTOR.ca Living Room has it all.
Now back to Tiffany Pratt. I told you she was fun. Do you feel that colours have energies? Is there healing energy in colour, Tiffany?
Tiffany: 100%. I’m not going to get all historical on you right now, Erin, but we know that in the past colour wasn’t used as aesthetic. Colour was used as a message we were sending to the universe, the gods, or the powers that be, of what it is that that colour represents that we want to draw into our lives. You fast forward into families of affluence in the 1800s who had a family crest and family colours, and they would decorate their homes and dress in these colours because it meant something to their heritage to their family.
Colour wasn’t about aesthetic and being different or something to be scared of. You celebrated those colours because you were drawing in what they represented and what you wanted for your life. If you look at colour in that context, you can understand that it really does add healing energy. If you were to put yourself in front of an ever-changing coloured light, and you watch those colours shift in front of your eyes, you can honestly feel your emotions change based off of the colours that your eyes registering at that moment. I challenge anyone out there just to get a Pantone index and flip through it and not feel something.
Erin: If someone doesn’t have access to a colour conduit, or even a medium in a way that you are, of course, what is the best exercise that you could recommend, other than flipping through the Pantone or sitting in front of a changing colour spectrum? Do you just take a look around and say, “Okay, I love that red piece there or aqua makes me happy, or there’s that bit of yellow,” what’s a good exercise that we could do just in our own homes?
Tiffany: You could go through old photos of travel pictures that maybe you’ve blown up, and a picture that really resonates with you and why. Sometimes it could be that blue when you were in Greece, or it could be you you’re in some vineyard and all the green and the grapes or you can think of pictures of places you’ve been or things you’ve collected. People often collect things and colours that they like, but they don’t think to decorate or design in those colours.
You can be an investigator of your own life because often everything that we’re choosing is very subconscious. We’re working on that very deep connective layer when we’re purchasing something, especially if we’re far away, we’re just trying to bring something home with us, it makes us think of a happier time, or we’ve kept something from when we are a child or we always seem to be buying the same thing that is in this colour, or the sun is setting, the sun is rising, and it makes us feel a certain way. When we get really quiet and quite microscopic with how we look at the world and why we feel what we feel, colours attach to those experiences and those are clues.
Erin: Okay, the queen of colour has us talking about changing the colour of where we live to reflect and to imbue us with different energies in our lives. What if somebody is going, “Yes, but I don’t know. I’m not sure about painting my whole kitchen, say green, for example.” We can dip our toes in this, can’t we, Tiffany?
Tiffany: Well, I am also a designer and I want us to make wise purchases. If we’re dealing with a colour cautious person, not someone that’s as colour confident that would be so willing to spend big bucks to paint their kitchen green. I am a huge proponent for white on white on white because there is so much colour possibility when you frost colours on top of a fresh white space. Having worked in real estate, having staged plenty of homes, I know the power of a clean slate, the tabula rasa have a white space. When you frost in accessories, pillows, carpets, art, or even those hue bulbs that you can change the colour of your lamps that therefore can change the colour of the room.
You’ve got a fresh white space, you’ve invested in flooring in a kitchen, and big things in a fresh white that will effectively go with everything but it’s the colour touches for the more colour-conscious people that really can put those feelings in a room without feeling like you’re investing a lot of money or energy in a colour you’re not so sure of. Colour collecting takes time. It’s not something that happens overnight. It’s something that we discover through slow entry with certain objects and we let them live with us and then effectively they start to find friends and buddies that they want to work with and those friends and buddies can come in other colours and then before we know it, we have a bit of a technicolour dream all of our own.
Erin: I love that because a lot of people are cost-conscious now more than ever, so it can be just the accessories that it’s not going to break either your heart or your bank if you decide, “No, that didn’t work. That’s not for me. Let’s send that off for someone else to love.”
Tiffany: Yes, with colour, certainly the most inexpensive way to add colour to a space is by paint, but I don’t always subscribe to colours on walls, because that’s quite a commitment in some cases and it does divide a space or a room. If you paint a piece of furniture, if you paint a ceiling, if you paint an object in a room, you really could be adding that colour in a fun interesting way and then to repaint the ceiling or to move that piece of furniture or whatever it is, isn’t a big deal, you could gift it to a friend or send it off to Habitat for Humanity when you want to shift your shades.
There are lots of inexpensive interesting ways to bring colour into our life without feeling like we’ve done it. This is also something that people often do, which is they go to “decorate their space” and then they’ll do it once and think this is it forever. That’s not always the case. It’s an ever-evolving conversation you’re having with your home and your four walls and it’s changing just as you are.
Erin: If you’re enjoying our chat with queen of colour, Tiffany Pratt, and we have a new nickname for her in a sec, while also talking creating cozy through textures, art, and light, why not do a deeper dive? Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts for monthly episodes with guests such as TV icon Sarah Richardson, award-winning author Jessie Thistle, Canadian ad and marketing guru Terry O’Reilly and many more. Back to REAL TIME now with Tiffany Pratt.
Well, if you ever get tired of the moniker queen of colour, shade shifter is also a pretty good one, I think.
Not a shapeshifter, a shade shifter. Let’s talk to Tiffany about textures. We’ve talked about colours so far, and accessories, what about textures to help us?
Tiffany: Textures are essential to coziness and to that feeling of home. I think when we think of the word home, we think of something that envelops us like a hug. Texture often gives us that hug-like feeling. Textures can come in many formats. We’re talking about the ever-popular fabric choice that we’re using. I love using natural fibers in linens, things that can be washed, and things that are functional for an everyday home but you can do something a little bit more elaborate for throw pillows.
I always like doing double-wide draperies to really help with sound and trapping in heat or cold. I’m a big, big fan of art, wallpaper, how we’re layering in those textures in our life, really create those cozy elements but then the icing on the cake is always the little things. By human nature, we’re all effectively for the most part collectors. If it’s that collection of something we’ve inherited from our family, or if we just love collecting old National Geographic, whatever it is, those collections, if you know styled in mass can really add to that coziness as well.
Erin: Yes, and you mentioned art there rather in passing but as an artist, of course, you know more than anyone just how great the energy is to bring something into your home, whether it’s a small ceramic piece or a painting, or a mosaic, whatever that has been made by someone’s two hands and has their whole self in it.
Tiffany: There’s nothing that’s more powerful than that. Erin, you are bang on. I worked with children, I’ve painted my whole life. I’ve worked with artists of all kinds. To this day, I still support the arts here in Toronto and it’s because artists are special humans that spend their days making beautiful things. When you connect to something that an artist has created in whatever format, it speaks to you on a subconscious level, and that level is very healing and it’s joy-inducing. If you can get out to a market, go to a gallery, check out whatever you can where artists are, and it doesn’t have to be big money.
I always tell people this, you know, sometimes there are artists out there that are just happy to paint and want to have their work in the world. Having those beautiful pieces of someone’s soul hanging in your wall, it really adds something that no one else’s space could have. They’re often one of a kind and it’s always got a story to tell and it’s always a wonderful thing when you have someone in the home to share that story with so I can’t speak enough about art, it is truly the best.
Erin: It’s so subjective, like the things that you’re talking about, the National Geographics that are artfully arranged or whatever else it is in your home that brings you joy.
Tiffany: Well, you know what’s interesting too, is that this also becomes subjective too is lighting because how you light the home adds to coziness too and what type of light fixtures you hang and where it distributes light is a really powerful way to create coziness, but also to really make a room feel good. I’m a big fan of lamps everywhere lighting up all four corners. Then if we’re thinking about that centerpiece in the room, we’re thinking about the earrings on a really great outfit. You’re thinking of the room as your wardrobe and then the centerpiece that’s hanging in the middle on top of your dining room is that really great pair of chandelier earrings.
How we’re choosing to assemble things and how we’re implying our own emotional juxtapositions to the things we collect in our lives, based on how we respond to them and feel about them, really makes a home your own. That’s the stuff I always tell my clients. “Stop looking at Pinterest, stop looking at magazines because you really want your home to be an expression of who you are.”
Erin: Once again, you’re talking about something that doesn’t have to cost a mint.
Tiffany: Absolutely not. I’m known for my thriftiness and it’s not because I don’t like to spend on beautiful things. It’s that there are so many important places to spend on a home and with little things that become pretty items, those don’t always have to cost a mint, and we don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a beautiful life. As a designer, you get known that if you do what I do for a living, you have to have a lot of money to work with the designer to live that lifestyle and it’s not the case.
Erin: That always shied me away from calling in a decorator. I thought that I was going to have to buy an $8,000 urn or something to put in the front hall, but you’re saying, no, not so.
Tiffany: I walk into a space and I’m letting the space tell me what it wants to be and what it wants to have within it. We are all people that can’t see the forest from the trees. We hate our own living rooms. We think everything has to go. We have a closet full of clothes and we hate everything that’s in it, but my take on design and art in life is that we need to view what we have with fresh eyes and look at what we have is more of a shape versus something that we’ve sat on for a really long time.
If it can be repainted or reupholstered, or put in a different room and maybe serve a different purpose or have a different use, you can fall back in love with these things again and that’s how effectively as a designer, you start saving money because you’re not buying as much furniture. You’re just shifting it around.
Erin: Coming up, Tiffany Pratt talks working in a circle, clutter and staging, but here’s a reminder that there’s a way to shine a spotlight on the charities and causes closest to you and that’s through two words, REALTORS Care. Those words are a national guiding principles celebrating the great charitable work done by Canada’s realtor community. You help raise awareness by sharing your story using #REALTORSCare on your favourite social media platforms.
As a stager, you probably did have a few key pieces that you absolutely loved. First of all, let me ask you this. When you worked with REALTORS, did you generally stage using the furniture and the pieces that homeowners had, or did you have a couple of go-to pieces that you always brought in, Tiffany? What was your plan or was there never a plan you just went in and intuited it?
Tiffany: Erin, this is a great question because every home was very different and I did have to intuit every space because some homes needed lots of work. Some homes just needed a little sprinkling and some homes needed an overhaul because you’re trying to build a perception of a home. When someone comes in to buy it, they need to envision themselves there.
If things had too much of a particular style, it would deter certain people of a certain other style from buying it. My job was to create a home that spoke of the homes different time frame because it’s not always going to be a new build or an old home. You have to work with what the home actually is. I would keep key pieces. I would bring in some newer ones, but I have to tell you, there was one time I walked into a home, it was an older woman that lived there. She had been living there since the ’50s. She had redone the home between 1950 and 1975 and it had never been touched again. She took such great care of all of the fixtures, furnishings and the space that it looked like you were trapped in a museum and everything was original and it was spectacular. When I was told to stage this home, I said, “I’m absolutely not touching anything.”
Tiffany: You bring someone in and they have to appreciate everything as it is. There’s no way of changing this. Every home has a message to share. I think my job and what I’ve learned over the years as a designer, my job is to listen and then to sometimes add or strip away in order for the space to be of best use for that particular couple, person or family.
Erin: You talk about possibly stripping away and that brings us to something that, of course, Marie Kondo became such a household name of just getting rid of stuff. Does it bring you joy? Pitch it. What impact can clutter have on our mental state, in your experience, Tiffany?
Tiffany: It’s huge. People don’t realize that everything we have, everything is everything, we’re coming back to it. When we have piles of something that just accumulate in certain corners or on our dining room table, it’s holding energy in that space, it’s unattended to energy. When I go over to someone’s house, they’ve feverishly been trying to clean up all the surfaces because guests are coming over and they slam things in drawers and in cupboards, that’s not cleaning.
Cleaning is literally pulling everything out, looking at what you have, witnessing it. If it serves a purpose or not, if it adds to your life or subtracts it, and that is the process of elimination. Then when you go to move back into that space we’ve redone or move to that new home, we’re not bringing old practices of not witnessing our old habits of collecting clutter and not tending to our things. We get really mindful of what comes in and what goes out and where it goes and building homes for the things that we have, because that is effectively the foundation of good design.
Erin: Tell me about the working in a circle that you say you like to do. Explain that for us, would you, Tiffany?
Tiffany: I work both commercially and residentially. When I’m working in a space, especially high-traffic areas in larger homes or homes with families, blended families or in a café or a space that people frequent, I want to make sure that there is very intuitive pathways for anyone who’s coming into the home to do what they need to do naturally. Those pathways often when they’re feeling good, appear in circles for me. An energetic pathway that goes in circles throughout the house means that people can get out in and around any one space or piece of furniture at any time effortlessly.
When I’m thinking of feng shui, we’re thinking of building a room with furniture that isn’t in the middle of doorways, where we’re stubbing toes or walking into the corners of furniture or knocking into things because all that spoils that circular chi that I’m talking about in a room. When I’m talking to my clients about furniture placement, or where things need to go, not only does it look aesthetically pleasing, but it feels good when you’re designing in the round.
Erin: Next up, Tiffany Pratt discusses getting rid of things in a way that’s gentle to the planet and her beef with TV. Spoiler alert it hampers connection. You can stay connected through CREACafe.ca, it’s your reliable source for all things real estate, from the latest news and stats to legal matters and advocacy updates. Stay connected to the world of Canadian real estate on CREACafe.ca.
You’re talking about natural and you mentioned that word there. Let’s go to the next step of natural and talk about green or natural materials and how they can play a role in boosting our well-being.
Tiffany: Natural is not only a big thing and super hype right now, but it actually becomes something when we strip it all down that makes us feel the best because it’s always those silent killers that we’re not thinking about. Killers of energy, killers of joy when we’re smelling things that aren’t making us feel happy, or we’re in an environment that we just can’t put our finger on that one thing that’s not right. When I’m thinking of green, I’m talking about as a designer, when we strip things out, are we doing it mindfully?
Are we mindful of how we’re stripping off wallpaper, old paint, tearing things down, what’s becoming airborne? What kind of paint are we using? Ventilation open windows. I can’t say enough about the power of just opening up your front door and your back door. Any windows to get circulation. Air purifiers are just the best. I have two of them rolling in my old place all the time.
Cleaning products for that beautiful furniture we’ve painted, or we purchased. Using something without a heavy chemical so that when we’re smelling it, it’s better for ourselves and our furry friends. It’s really just endless the amount of things we can do, even just with going down to the beach or going to a weird corner store and picking up a plant. We bring that rock from the beach home, or we bring that really beautiful spider plant, put it in the corner. All of these things imbue the home with an energetic energy. It’s a grounding force that we need to bring that really makes us feel alive and at home.
Erin: It’s also taking the next step, once the renovations have been completed, working with conscious trades people, making sure where this stuff is going when it leaves your home as well.
Tiffany: This is one of my favourite topics right now, because it’s a wasteful business that I’m in and it’s really wonderful when everything just magically disappears but the question is where is it going? It needs to be a diversified waste removal service that we’re calling upon province-to-province where we’re finding out who in the most effective and conscious way can remove whatever building materials, paints, old appliances, toilets, chemicals. There’s so much that we need to think about when we’re verging and we’re cleansing our home or we’re renovating, or we’re starting a new. It’s not just a matter of stripping it down and it’s good for us and see you later old stuff.
Oftentimes I’m really mindful if I’m ripping out old cabinetry or things I know someone could use again, it may not be my taste, but certainly if I tear it apart or take it out in a great way, someone can reuse it. This is all valuable stuff for anyone out there who’s looking to make small or large changes to their home is really make sure you’re doing your homework on the final step of where the stuff is going so it’s in the right hands and we’re being kind to our planet.
Erin: Speaking of the planet, the days are getting longer, we’re getting more light and it just shows in such a concrete way how much that means to our spirit. What can we do to bring more of that energetic light to us, literally, metaphorically, once again, in our homes, Tiffany?
Tiffany: We have really tuned into the things that bring us joy and it’s not always the stuff that appears in magazines or looks a certain way, but it’s the things in our life that make us feel a certain way. If it’s a music room or if it’s getting rid of that old armchair in the corner that’s not doing anything, and applying a new surface for ourselves or our spouse or our children to create on. In the end, it’s these creative urges, these places where we can go to get lost in something that we love to do outside of television and it could be anything really, but it’s to create space for creativity, for play and for joy.
We can turn all the lights on in the house and really inspire some play because play is what makes us feel joy and so to almost restore ourselves to our childlike center is to then create spaces that help us let that part of ourselves emerge. In the end, yes, it is darker, but when the doors are shut and you’re surrounded by colours and tidiness and beautiful sounds and beautiful light, doing the things you love, you don’t really notice what’s going on outside.
Erin: You mentioned television there and I couldn’t help but remember the podcast we did to kick off 2021 and designer Steven Sabados told us that the sales of enormous screen TVs went through the roof in 2020, because so many people were at home, safe at home, not stuck at home and of course we’re turning to their televisions for diversion or entertainment or whatever. You’re not a big fan of the elephant in the room, are you?
Tiffany: I’m not, and it’s not the best thing to confess, may I say, Erin, as a television personality, but I have to tell you as a designer that loves colour in light bright spaces, when I’m trying to accommodate the gigantic black rectangle in the room, which is the television, it is like putting a deep, dark vortex in a space. Unless I can then in turn paint something else in a nice dark shade that offsets and gives that television a buddy, I tell anyone that will listen to me in all my wild ways that, okay, I understand the need for a little entertainment and a little reason to get lost.
We all love it, but put it in a place that’s not in a central high traffic area of the home. In a basement or in a small entertainment room where you go to for a few hours and then you reemerge and get back to your life because what I find is that television becomes that life suck that takes the time away from the day where you could be going through those piles of things or repainting that chair or tuning into your joy or playing that music or doing your cross-stitch. We just go for the– it’s like the lowest hanging fruit, which is turning on that clicker, watching something that’s going to make us feel better instantly. Anyone out there that’s listening to me, I don’t hate television, but I do think it needs to be used wisely.
Erin: Can I just tell you that when we had a cottage overlooking Lake Simcoe and it was all windows, we had a cheap fabric print on a frame that I would place in front of the TV screen for most of the day until the evening so that it didn’t own the room. I took a fair bit of ribbing about that, but I totally subscribed to what you’re saying and hear where we overlook the ocean here on Vancouver Island, my fantasy is to have a TV that drops down from the ceiling — ain’t going to happen. The people upstairs, know, I’m just kidding, but I would love that idea so that it’s only there when you need it. It’d be a wonderful luxury.
Tiffany: I’m a creative person and I moved into the space I’ve been living in now. I live down by Lake Ontario here in the beach in Toronto. I love being down by the water and listening to the wave and I love the old place that I live in. When I moved in, I listened to the building and its weird old bones and I never moved the television in and I haven’t had one sense and it’s been 13 years.
Erin: Wow. There’s this woman on HGTV named Tiffany Pratt. She’s really good. You should look for her.
Good, we can see you online.
Tiffany: Well, at least you know I don’t watch myself on TV.
Erin: Yes, okay. I believe you. We’re back to Tiffany in a moment. Flow, function at building a beautiful life piece by piece that’s yours alone. If you’re enjoying this episode, please be sure to subscribe to our channels on Spotify, Apple, and Stitcher to stay up-to-date on future guests and stories.
Once again, here’s Tiffany Pratt on REAL TIME. You’re in the beaches in Toronto, I’m on Vancouver Island. You have toured Canada numerous times. Is there a thread that you have been able to sow this great land together in terms of our design desires, if you will?
Tiffany: I think when I have done the home show tour, the multiple times that I have, I’ve been so lucky to speak province-to-province, person-to-person, and really discover what’s out there. What kind of homes people are living in, what kind of circumstances they’re living in, what snack bracket they live under with finances and it doesn’t matter where you live, how old you are, what your style is, what your capabilities are with DIY, how much money you make. Anybody can transform anything in their life with paint.
I really believe that there needs to be sustainable, easy, accessible ways for all of us to access a beautiful life and when we can do something so easy as painting something, our walls, our doors, our furniture, our floors, our ceilings, anything really with our own two hands. We’re imbuing that with our love, we’re taking time to do it, and we’re really transforming the space or the object and it makes us feel good. No matter where you are, no matter what you’re doing, no matter what space you live in there is really no end to the message I can share of the power of paint. The power of paint is truly endless.
Erin: I love that message and it doesn’t have to be expensive and if you don’t like the colour, you paint over it, nothing is permanent and it really does speak to the title of your book. This Can Be Beautiful, which really, Tiffany, needs to be re-upped because this message is more timely than ever and you share projects to help beautify your home, wardrobe, beauty routine, travel style, and more, how does it relate to our homes?
Tiffany: Why I wrote This Can Be Beautiful is because it was my love note to the world to say that anything that you can truly look at, touch, see, that you’ve collected in your life, this table, this light, this dress, this toilet paper, roll this newspaper, truly anything can be beautiful. If we re-imagine it and look at it, we have it all. We are a culture that thinks that we need to constantly buy and accumulate and everything we need is external and it’s not internal and the book is a call to action to basically say you have everything you need and stop looking at things for what they are and look at them for what they can be.
This Can Be Beautiful, was created as a lifestyle book, not just for the kids and for the crafters at heart, but for the everyday person, to understand that through the use of their own two hands, they can build a beautiful life piece by piece. When we create, we use our own two hands, we use what we’ve got. We’re not only saving money, we’re being imaginative. We’re accessing our creative spirit, but we’re also building a life that looks like only ours and no one else’s, and that is a true gift in this world. I’ve always felt that you didn’t need a lot of money to have a beautiful life and this book is an invitation to do that and to really appreciate what you have, and to celebrate it by making it better.
Erin: How important are things like flow and function now that our homes have just become everything is everything to quote you, they are all things to all people?
Tiffany: Homes have always needed to be hard-working, but never as hard-working as they need to be now. Space is truly at a minimum for a lot of families that are homeschooling or have ailing parents moving in or, you’re downsizing, whatever it is, everyone has found themselves in a new circumstance. With new circumstances, comes great change. One of the greatest tips of advice I’ve ever shared with anyone that’s looking for a way to accommodate more activity within one space is to take everything out of that room and look at it in a new way without everything you used to have and do in that room. Because when you strip it out, and you think, “Okay, I need a space for my children. I need a space for my parents. I need a space for me, I have to put a desk here.” You start to look at fun malleable ways to work four walls.
That’s what I’m recommending to anyone out there right now is that it doesn’t all have to happen on the dining room table. That’s what everyone’s doing. Now the dining room has been taken and forsaken for all of these secondary purposes. I say, gone with the formal living room, gone with the formal anything, let’s have fun in our space and have the space work with us and not against us. It’s time to get rid of that old lumpy couch, bring in the fun big work table, bringing the ping pong table, whatever it’s got to be, and make the family feel like they fit.
Erin: One of my favourite things, I never did bring it into our lives, although my husband would have loved it is the pool table that converts into a dining room table. Talk about form, function and fun. Oh my gosh, what a great idea.
Tiffany: Why not? This is what I’m sick of seeing everything be so status quo, and to the letter and by the book and things we see because in the end, we’re all very different people. We all see this world very differently. Why should our homes all look the same?
Erin: Yes, why is all the fun stuff stuck in the basement?
Tiffany: Yes, I don’t understand it. I think the whole home should be fun and a reflection of the people within it. There are so many incredible, weird, wonderful things that each person in a home can bring to the table and bring to the overall design. Let’s celebrate the weird climbing equipment. Let’s stack up the weird collectible junk items that your wife loves. Let’s really celebrate the things that we love instead of tucking them away or throwing them in a garage. This is the thing about design, it’s not about having to go out and get high style stuff. It’s about looking at everything we do in our life as art.
Erin: Yes, and as you’ve said, instead of how things look more about how things feel. I also love that while you’re trying to stay within a budget too, customizing for a hard-working organizational investment, like Murphy Beds and that sort of thing too. You’re all in favor of that.
Tiffany: Yes, if I’m going to spend on anything, it’s always going to be on custom storage, cabinetry, anything that gives me more floor space. If I can have a hard working built in that has a flipped down top that becomes a desk or has a flip down screen that conceals a television, that also has another little spot that a bed pops out of I’m all about it even in a large space, because effectively floorspace is what we all need to play, to move effortlessly through our homes and to really make the space work for us. Anyone out there that’s looking for a place to spend, I can’t say enough, find a beautiful tradesman or a custom cabinetry person, and really see what you can do by putting really effective properly designed for what you have built-ins in the home.
Erin: You don’t have to have an entire meditation room or I remember the story of the billionaire’s wife in Los Angeles, Candy Spelling, who had her own wrapping paper room. That was just the ultimate, you can have your pocket, you can have your little place that is special to you. Even if it is just a tiny altar and a candle and a pillow for meditation and that sort of thing, right?
Tiffany: Yes, I think sometimes we stop doing the things that are good for us because we’ve built it in her head to be too complicated. If we don’t carve this Zen retreat for ourselves in some beautiful corner with crystals and incense burning, we’re not going to be able to meditate because we don’t have our special meditation corner. Or if we don’t have this perfect art room or this perfect music room or sports space. I often think the greatest things, the biggest a-has, our most wonderful moments of Zen occur in our everyday lives where we can access it at any time without anything fancy because that’s how we live. We’re not always going to be home, sitting on that meditation pillow.
If you find a spot on your sofa, by your dining room table, you don’t need the crystals, you just need a moment to yourself. That’s where when we can organize our homes and give everyone a space where they feel represented. They can be busy and we can have our moment to ourselves, just to close our eyes for 10 minutes and take a deep breath and listen to the thoughts that are running through our minds and find some peace. I’m all for creating beautiful nooks in the home but don’t let it stop you from having the thing you want to have. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be accessible.
Erin: I love this time that we’ve spent together today, Tiffany, and I know that everybody listening to this podcast has as well. There’s so many takeaways and the thing that resonated most clearly with me was clearing everything out and taking a look at the space. The s…