Alison Currie was well into her career as the owner and in-house designer of The Cashmere Shop when she had her first baby. “I’m not a track pants kind of girl,” she says. “As soon as I left the hospital I was in jeans and heels.” While she may have been running in her stilettos before she had Declan, 7, and Isla, 5, she didn’t slow down…right away. Eventually, motherhood changed her state of frenzy. “Watching them play is truly cathartic. Over time, parenting has become therapeutic for me.” She still wears high heels, however now she’s moving at a pace that leaves plenty of time for every part of her life: family, friends and work.
I often say my children healed my soul because motherhood has shifted my world and shown me so many different experiences. Before I had children, I was just about my work. I did nothing else and I didn’t really take a lot of time for myself. Then my kids came along and provided me with this euphoric push and energy that inspired me to explore every part of my life. Sure my business has struggled at times due to the demands of parenting but I emotionally prepped myself for that. I knew that being a mom was going to be difficult and that my sales would go down when they were born but that was never a big deal for me. I always wanted a family and knew I would put them first.
“Parenting has given me the courage to design my life, as I dream it to be.”
Now I’m inspired me to fill my days with things that I find enjoyable and inspiring as a mother and as a business owner. When I first had Declan, I couldn’t sit at the park with him. I was so high strung that it was too relaxing for me. Now it’s different. I like sitting down and being in the backyard and watching him and Isla run through the sprinkler. I sit in the moment and allow myself to feel it, listen to every sound and enjoy the laughter of my children. I didn’t do that with the same vigour or emotional ease that I do now. In my business I am more comfortable with taking risks, exploring new ideas and partnerships. And I have the strength to make difficult decisions without wasting time. Parenting has given me the courage to design my life, as I dream it to be.
I try not to lose myself to any one thing whether it’s work, motherhood or my partner. I don’t think it’s beneficial as a parent and I believe it’s good for the kids to see me being active and enjoying myself. Since becoming a mom, I find I cherish my friendships more, organize a full social life and say yes to more things. Luckily, I’ve always managed my time really well. I give people energy and time as needed and I intuitively know there’s never going to be a true balance. For me, it’s about always shifting my focus and I don’t find that overwhelming. I know it’s not a perfect way to get through a day and I’m cool with that.
“I try not to lose myself to any one thing whether it’s work, motherhood or my partner. I don’t think that’s beneficial as a parent.”
I didn’t have a maternity leave so I took Declan with me everywhere, even to art galleries and store openings. He would never nap at home; he would nap at the store or on the road. Since he was born, I don’t commit as much time to work as I used to and I feel like I’m always behind and saying sorry to people because of this or that. But shouldn’t we all be okay with that? Shouldn’t we all be understanding that we have full lives to live and forgive a missed phone call? I would prefer my kids get my time when they need it, even if it means checking my email later.
I want to look back and feel good about how Declan and Isla feel—how they feel about their parents and how they feel about the world. I want my customers to feel good about coming into my store and feel good about what they leave with. For myself, I want to know I made the best decisions for myself. In my old age I want to look back with a smile knowing that I created a life that I’m proud of. I want to know I made choices that were right for me.
HOME TOUR A modern and bright home with cheery accents
FAIRY TALE INSPO
Alison asked artist Robyn Thomas to create her signature and textural style with pages of Alice In Wonderland. “I grew up full of dreams and fantasies and I’ve always associated with Alice.” Dining table, Caban; Eames chairs, Studio B.
Alison seeks out hand carved frames for work and home at Abraham’s Antiques then kits them out with mirrored glass. This large scale mirror was professionally hung by Superframe. Sofa and chair, Nienkamper. Lamp, West Elm.
“This fig tree is about a year old and I got it about 4 months ago. The tricks to keeping a fig tree happy: Find a spot for it and don’t move it (they like one location) talk to it (for real), water it but don’t let the roots stay wet and gently clean the leaves.”
Alison’s modern decor gets humanized with cheeky must-haves. Dinosaur vessel and cactus, Crown Flora.
WATCH YOUR STEP
The stairway is an homage to new and old family memories. White frames on white walls unify the space and keep this gallery clean and easy to appreciate.
WORK IN PROGRESS
Alison has been busy renovating her entire home and the kitchen is still ongoing. It stays in line with her light and bright attitude.
WHEELS IN MOTION
“I was given my bicycle last year as a birthday present. It has returned the freedom and joy of my childhood to me. I’ve found riding it helps me clear my mind and feel free again.”
SNEAK PEAK: THE KIDS’ ROOMS
MY FAVOURITE THINGS
“I saw this piece in the window of Love of Mine (I miss her shop but I’m happy to say former owner Anna Damelin is now doing interior styling). It reminded me of my children and how I repeatedly tell them, “I love you, I love you, I love you.” It’s hung in the kitchen so that it greets me first thing in the morning and we can all see it when we’re having breakfast.”
“Every three months I make a schedule that breaks out my whole day. I don’t follow it to the letter; it’s for those days when I come home from work and I don’t know what to cook or it reminds me to wash my hair which is easy to forget when I’m busy.” Roast Salmon and potatoes from Martha Stewart’s Dinner at Home is a family go-to.
Alison stacks her bedside with plenty of visual inspiration and non-fiction, however author Elena Ferrante has her attention. “She writes about women, friendship and our inner most emotions in a way that’s so hard to put down.”
“Bunny” belongs to Declan who has had it since birth. The pink cashmere sock monkey was made for Isla by artist Robyn Thomas. It’s made of socks from Alison’s store and has Isla’s name embroidered on it. “The brown bear is “teddy” which I’ve kept since I was little.”
“I consider my style classic and lucky for me, I’ve been given accessories that will stay with me forever. Coincidentally they’re all from Birks, which I love. I love that they’re Canadian and I love their design: Clean and elegant.”
A cottage life addict, Alison dreams of owning her own lakeside haven. She’s already started collecting cottage must-haves. “It’ll never happen if I don’t start getting ready for it.”
“In the city, we all mostly wear black and charcoal. These scarves from YARNZ add colour and interest to any neutral. They are well-made and durable, which is essential when you’re making the investment. We’ve sold them for many years at my store and thhis is only some of my own collection.”
Alison has an impressive collection of antique toys that are on display throughout her home including army figurines from her dad and a pair of red tin phones she found in Germany that Isla plays with all the time.
Alison’s beauty must-haves: Arm & Hammer Essentials Deodorant (“I buy it in NYC. There’s no extra chemicals that I don’t need”); Smith’s Strawberry Lip Balm; Le Labo Thé Noir 29; YSL Waterproof Luxurious Mascara (“It stays on beautifully. My lashes will look the same all day long”); and Dermalogica Multi Active toner and Skin Smoothing Cream keeps her sensitive skin from ever seeing red.
“I feel like we have different parts of ourselves so why not express them all. There’s a part of me that’s uptown and another that’s downtown. I’ll dress in black, leathers and darker prints when I’m going to a gallery opening or a girls’ night out.”
“If I have a shower or a brunch, I’ll opt for lighter pastels and boho-inspired pieces. And every piece I buy is something I know I’ll wear ten years from now. I would rather have nothing than have something I don’t love.”