Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, there were few things that could bring more joy than Happy Mart slushies and five-cent candy. It’s safe to say that’s what we lived for - a plastic baggy full of gummies and a day-long sugar high.
Our family of five (we have a middle-child brother) lived on a quiet street in south Edmonton where you knew the names of every neighbour in a two block radius. We had a small house with a huge backyard, and a little travel trailer parked in the driveway that became our summer “home on wheels”. Dad often worked 12 to 14 hour days, while Mom somehow held down our world and worked at our nearby school as a teacher's aide. When the sun was shining, we kids would spend hours outside building forts out of dumpster treasures, living in make-believe worlds, and doing gymnastics or playing ball on the front lawn. All the while, Mom was inside… (with the screen door locked) creating.
We didn’t have a lot of money, but our mother was a pro at making something out of nothing. As young girls, we marvelled at her designs - faux farmhouse beams, mixed-pattern wallpaper, even built-in window benches. She often designed clothes for us, or made curtains and linens. We spent many nights falling asleep to the sound of our great-grandmother’s antique sewing machine, its hum our special version of a lullaby.
Mom’s projects were her outlet and passion, and perhaps by sheer osmosis, she taught us the pride and value of creating something made with heart.
Our annual road trips in that tiny Kustom Koach travel trailer still gives us hazy, glorious daydreams - all the kids packed like sardines in the backseat of an old farm truck, bikes in the box, and a highway of adventure ahead. “Where are we going, Dad?” we’d ask. His answer was always the same -“Where ever the sun’s shining”.
Our summertime soundtrack was made up of a handful of well-loved tapes (namely, The Big Chill) that we’d listen to on repeat, laughing and singing along to the oldies. There was no air conditioning, and trust us on this one - Dad would not stop for anything but gas.
We’d usually end up in Okanagan, BC (a good 10 hour trip hauling a trailer) where Dad made good on his promise of sunshine and sandy beaches.
Those are the magical days we hold on to - beaches, sunshine, and family time. Memories of Dad’s winks from the driver’s seat, Mom laughing until she cried around the campfire, and endless card games of 31 around that tiny trailer table for 5 cents a hand (that’s a lot of candy money).
We didn’t know it then, but the foundation of Prairie Beach House was borne from those moments.
We lost our parents, suddenly, 5 months apart in 2015. Our world went dark. It was a deep, indescribable despair that clustered and compounded. As sisters and new moms, we desperately held on to the bucking beast we called life, struggling every day to keep our grip. We were sucked into a dark hole that left us desperately searching for purpose.
Over the next four years, something unexpected happened as we slowly climbed out of that pit - we discovered we were stronger and more determined than ever to design the lives we wanted to live. But it meant we had to take risks. We had to show up. We had to WOMAN UP (more on that in our next blog post).
Prairie Beach House is our solace - it’s how we honour our roots, celebrate the women we’ve become, and challenge ourselves. It’s also where we design beautiful spaces, drink amazing wine, and share our day-to-day crazy lives. It’s our therapy.
So, now you know our "why".
Believe us, we know how fortunate we are to be sisters and best friends who also work together, raise our children together, travel together, and still manage to tolerate (and even admire) one another. We think our folks would be pretty happy, too.
We carry our parents’ gifts with us always - our mother’s design savvy and entrepreneurial spirit; our father’s work ethic and sun-seeking genes. Life is a journey. This is ours. We hope you’ll join us for the ride. Welcome to Prairie Beach House.