Photography: Ellen Ho of Hong Photography
Vancouver-based Monika Hibbs of The Doctor’s Closet began her blog (and later, her unique jewelry line, bfrend) as a creative escape from her demanding work in the medical field. When it came time to decorate her home, Monika faced the ultimate aesthetic challenge: balancing her husband’s love of all things rustic with her own girlish and glittery tendencies. Through online inspiration, an indisputable eye for bargains, careful consideration, and a bit of compromise, Monika skillfully and successfully melded their distinct styles (has a deer head ever looked quite so chic?)! From clean lines to crisp neutrals to a patio perfect for entertaining, the Hibbs’ home is a polished yet strikingly cozy retreat.
“It’s hard to walk by this bed and not be tempted to lay in the vast amount of pillows with a great book or my favorite magazine!” Top: ZARA, Pants: BB Dekota, iPhone case: Kate Spade, Pillows: The Cross Design.
Your blog just turned 1! Why did you decide to start a blog?
I was very stressed and busy with studying and working, consumed with all things medical field. It was putting a strain on my lifestyle in a negative way. I needed to find a way to de-stress for an hour a day — not including going to the gym. My husband suggested I start a blog, which made me do a little research about fashion and lifestyle blogs. I grew to love the idea…and that was it! The start of The Doctor’s Closet.
“Our bedroom was one of the rooms that took the longest to finish decorating. Finding the perfect side tables, headboard, and lamps took forever! My husband didn’t want the bedroom to be all crystals the way it was before, but I didn’t want it to look like a man cave. I really had to think outside of the box! I took elements from a rustic look and mixed in light colors and fabulous pillows from The Cross Design. The Cameroon Juju Hat is my favorite finishing touch to the room, also from The Cross.” Side tables: Pottery Barn, Headboard: Restoration Hardware, Lamps: Home Sense.
“Having a selection of scents to choose from every morning allows me to switch up my mood. I picked up this little silver tray from The Cross Design, one of my favorite home décor stores in Yale Town, Vancouver. It holds all of my favorite perfume bottles without looking messy. Stag Head jewelry holder: Front & Company, Vancouver.”
How did you find the time to work in the medical field while running a great blog and a jewelry business?
I believe time management is key! Really focusing on what’s important and making time for everything throughout the day. That being said, I’ve discovered what I really love in life and what I want to do for the rest of it! I’ve decided to focus on my blog, fashion career, and bfrend. Yes, a little bit of a career change/pause to figure it all out. Lots of doors have been opening with amazing opportunities while others have been closing. I’m juggling it all at the moment! Lots of excitement, that’s for sure!
“Every girl should have a place in her home where she can show off her jewels!” Pearl Necklace with Crystal Flower: Blue Ruby Vancouver, Charm Necklace: Dyrbery/Kern, White and Silver Crystal: Spike the Punch, Chain and Crystal Necklace: Forever 21, Pearls: Club Monaco.
What inspired the bfrend line and what are some things you have in store for the brand this year?
bfrend is such a treasure to me, mostly because I didn’t plan for it to take off as it did! I simply made two friendship bracelets to give away on my blog one month, which turned into a mass email of requests to buy them! I was shocked by the response! I had no idea what I was doing! No idea how to collect payment (or what to charge)! There were so many questions and very little time to think about any of them due to the quick demand! I took a huge leap of faith and decided to make bfrend come to life. I opened an Etsy store and it took off from there!
This year I’m really hoping for great things for bfrend! I would love to keep it fun and easy to wear. However, I’m also creating some high fashion pieces that go beyond the typical friendship bracelet.
“I fell in love with this dress the second I saw it.” From Blush Bridal in West Vancouver, designed by JS Group.
“This photo makes me giggle because there is a story behind the towel hooks. They were the solution to an everlasting fight between my hubby and I. (Whose towel is whose? And why is there makeup on this towel?) Solution: Two hooks with our initials from Anthropologie. We haven’t fought about towels since then! I simply adore the gold LOVE prints by Jen Ramos; they add balance!”
How would you describe your personal design aesthetic?
Very simple, really. I love clean, minimal, timeless, and classic pieces that tell a story. A place that is warm and welcoming that feels like a home, not just a house.
“I love a clean and tidy bathroom look. I love these glass containers from Pottery barn; they look great and hold bathroom essentials we use each day! The Chanel Bottle is an ISeeNoise print from Etsy, designed by a local Vancouver blogger.”
“Just like the rest of our home, I like a clean and tidy office. I can’t seem to focus and get any work done otherwise! Having a white office makes it easy to maintain a clean feel.” Wearing: BB Dakota sweater & pants; Tory Burch bangle. Chalkboard: Urban Walls
What is one of the best compliments you’ve ever received about your home?
The best compliment is when someone comes into our place for the first time and says, “Wow, can you come decorate my place?” Not only are they saying that they love it, but they’re also saying that they would trust my style in their own home!
“This is one of my favorite corners in our home. Mostly because the pieces tell a story and can’t be found anywhere else. The painting was a gift that I made for my husband for our first wedding anniversary. It is one-of-a-kind, and always gets conversations started. The European deer skull mount was hunted by my husband on his most recent annual hunting trip he takes with all the men in his family. I begged and pleaded with him to mount it on a white plaque instead of cherry red. It’s one of my favorite pieces in our home.”
Does your personal style correspond at all to your home décor?
Yes; I will not buy something that I don’t like. That can get tricky though! I love things that are girly and fresh — and anything that sparkles! My husband, on the other hand, likes a manly, rugged look (deer heads on the walls!). I really had to learn to take both of our styles and morph them into a design that we both loved. Though at the end of the day, the girl always wins, right? I think it came out to be 60/40 — okay, maybe more like 70/30. Lesson learned: a white porcelain stag head is not considered manly. At least I tried!
“The white desk in our office was an amazing find and fast buy! I found it at our local home bargain shopping store, Home Sense. Now, the trick at shopping at Home Sense is that if you like something you see, you have to buy it right then and there, because it most likely won’t be there an hour later.”