Well hello there. I’m making some changes to the site today, the most significant of which is that I will no longer be an “I” – but a “we.” One is the loneliest number, so please give a warm Symmetric welcome (that’s a shy hug and an eye-roll, for the uninitiated) to my friend Gillian Sopinka.
The Leo to my Pisces, the Jagger to my Bowie, the Betty to my Megan. I felt an instant kinship with Gillian when we met last year, and since starting to work together, she’s been the source of, oh, about 94% of the pee-your-pants-with-laughter moments in my life. I thought it a fitting introduction to feature her inviting, relaxed (yet always suspiciously tidy) country home in Creemore, Ontario as the next instalment in the ‘Natural Habitat’ series.
Gillian and her husband Steve have been married for eight years (eloping atop Mount Royal in Montreal when they were expecting their first daughter, Yarrow), and now have a second little girl, Frida, who is almost three. Here she talks about her family’s daily life, collected vintage treasures, and um, a pretty incredible birth story involving their bathroom floor.
“Steve is an architect, and works from a studio on our property. I am a social worker by profession, and have been working in the counselling and mental health field for ten years. As I approach the big 4-0 I felt an undeniable pull to start exploring some of my other interests/passions: vintage (I love the hunt…), wardrobe, interiors, photography and the desire to create something special and unique….Enter Shanan, stage left.”
“We live in a red brick Victorian house, built in 1885. Steve designed and renovated the kitchen to retain the character and charm of the home, while making it feel lighter, more open and functional.
We are early risers. This started when we became parents (oh, the special and cruel torture that is sleep deprivation) and now I am a full stop morning person. Steve and I both have some flexibility in our schedules, so we have breakfast and coffee together every day as a family. This hasn’t always been the case and I think we’ve both really come to value the ‘unstructured’ time that we share as a family.”
“Okay, so this deserves a ‘before & after.’ Honestly, this was the sketchiest space in our pre-renovated house. We’re talking Silence of the Lambs. When Steve described his vision of re-purposing the space into a functional pantry, I honestly didn’t think it was going to work. We focused the narrow space around the maple workstand Steve handmade for our first apartment; it’s been everywhere with us since. The shelving above is functional for storage and also home to some of our quirky stuff – mismatched ceramic spice holders, a fondue set from a flea market in Reykjavik, and my grandmother’s flour sifter.”
“Our fridge door is the one space I adore clutter and chaos. Home to field-trip forms, postcards, photographs, and our wedding portrait.”