Floor Lamp Round Up

Due to the overwhelming popularity of my post on plug in wall lights, I've decided to expand on the series with a round up of my absolute favorite floor lamps. There are so many companies making exciting and innovative lighting options today, the choices are crazy wonderful if you just have some money to spend.

Personally, I've wanted to get rid of our plain and uninspiring metal floor lamp for years. It currently sits in our living room, next to a very bland and outdated (but comfortable) reading chair. I bought the lamp at Homesense eight years ago, and at the time it was cheap (and it did the job) but it's certainly not winning any style awards. Unfortunately the purchase was made without much thought behind it and it was a mistake from the get go. I'm not even going to show you a picture. That whole corner of our house is irritating to look at, simply because it's such an easy fix (I would happily donate both items to the Furniture Bank) but we are trying to do our best to limit our current spending habits. So for now...both items are here to stay.

Now if I could re-design this little corner of our house, I would certainly consider some of these bad boy contenders. While I appreciate the design behind all of the options below, they wouldn't necessarily all work in our living room. But perhaps they would look fantastic in your space.

I've chosen to break up this list into budget categories instead of grouping similar lighting designs together. I think most people shop with their wallet first, and I don't want to have you fall in love with something outside of your means. Chances are you probably will once you see what's on offer, but at the very least I've done my best to warn you so no hate mail please :)

I know lighting can be expensive, and we sadly no longer have Target here. I still really want the modern globe floor lamp which only retails for $60 USD. As far as cheap lighting goes, it's definitely one of my faves.

First, let's start with the more affordable options. All of these retail for under $300. Just please take into consideration that while I've done my best to include Canadian pricing for most floor lamps, some pricing may be in US dollars.

Out of this line up I have to say my favorite is the Pewter Lamp from EQ3, and it will most likely be the one that goes into our living room. I first noticed it at Heal's, one of my fave British retailers. I think it's the exact same model but I can't say with certainty. I also really enjoy the Mick Mint Floor Lamp from Crate & Barrel. It's such an affordable find coming in under $150. I'm shocked that it's been in the clearance section for ages.

Next up we are getting into more expensive territory but these pieces are all unique and worth every penny. They retail from $300 - $750.

OMG so many good options here. The Mutto Leaf Lamp makes me happy, while the cylindrical Quart Table Lamp from Rich Brilliant Willing is just so stupidly awesome and comes with a white marble or dark emperador stone base, and an oak, walnut, or black ebonized oak solid wood stem. I must have it someday.

Onto another small but worthy batch of contenders - these puppies go from around $750 - $1000.

A big thank you to Anthropology for winning this round with it's Slanted Copper Floor Lamp that also features white oak, marble and an unexpected hit of iron in this stunning sculptural lamp.

Now let's consider a few more investment worthy pieces. Yes these are going to set you back a pretty penny, but they are a once in a lifetime kind of a purchase. You aren't going to get tired of these beauties anytime soon, and you most likely you will be passing them down as family heirlooms someday.

So can you choose your favorite? The AJ Floor Lamp by Arne Jacobsen has been a crowd pleaser since 1960 and it's clean and modern shape is still striking to this day. The Lambert & Fils Cliff Floor Lamp (made from brass and powder-coated aluminum) is so slim, sexy and striking, it could truly be placed anywhere. And the brass shade on the Beat Light by Tom Dixon is both effortlessly modern and cool and will add a certain amount of elegance to any interior.

Next up I think I will do a round up of my favorite coffee tables, so stay tuned for that in the future.

Evi O.

I need to do a quick post on a Sydney based multi-disciplinary designer that I have recently fallen in love with -- her name is Evi O. and I barely know anything about her. But her art, it definitely speaks to me in ways you cannot even imagine.

I am fascinated by her use of color. I love the bold, vivid hues and surreal and playful shapes that she employs in her work, making me think of my favorite food in the world, scoops upon scoops of delicious flavorful gelato. Oddly enough her paintings also remind me of snow capped boob mountains, but I don't necessarily think that's exactly what she's going for.

It looks like this talented gal recently did a solo show in Collingwood, Melbourne in collaboration with The Design Files, Australia's most popular design blog (and yes I'm a huge fan of their site too). If only she could do an exhibition in Toronto next. I'm so happy I have found her.

Spring Fashion - Club Monaco

I don't think I have ever really talked fashion on here. Ok maybe once or twice, but it's rarely been mentioned. Not because I don't love it, because trust me, I do, but because I haven't really felt like shopping or looking at clothes for the longest time ever. It's sort of been a crummy year, or actually, more than a year and a bit. Sometimes, life is shit.

But back to fashion. I really shouldn't even allow my eyes to wander over to my favorite shopping websites - I'm looking at you Net A Porter, JCrew, Ssense, Whistles, APC, Acne, Alexander Wang, Comptoir Des Cotonniers, should I continue? I used to get into massive time sucks just searching the web. It's a good high, if you are looking for something specific, and even more so when you have money to burn. But these days I've steered clear. It's too addictive. Plus there's so many pretty things to look at.

But today I accidentally wondered -- and I saw so so so much good stuff out there. Here are some highlights from one of my favorite retailers, Club Monaco.

I'm tempted to buy all these jumpsuits and dresses here. I really love a good jumpsuit. I find that they are quite flattering to my body and hide a lot of issues around the mid section. Plus they are super comfy, except when you have to go to the bathroom, especially in a public space. It's as challenging as you imagine. But it's a small price to pay for feeling pulled together and I absolutely love that you just need to grab one piece of clothing out of your closet in the morning. Oh and did you see those cross back overalls as well?

Their accessory collection has also never been better. Yes please to all of these. The fine jewelry collection by Adina Reyter is perfect. It's simple but edgy, modern and cool. However, I'm still kicking myself for never buying the Jamie bow tie flats that they had a couple of years ago, which now come in a pump version. If only they weren't 4" heels -- as much as I love a good high heel I curse myself about an hour into wearing them. I'm a flat, sandal and boot girl.

Stay tuned for more fashion round ups in the future, but it might be a while before I let myself wonder the fashion universe again.

Living etc - March 2016

I don't think I have yet proclaimed my true addiction to Living etc. It's my absolute favorite design magazine, and I have a lot of favorites (Dwell, House & Home, Elle Decor...).

There's something about Living etc that I am just so obsessed with. I like that they feature interiors that combine interesting architectural spaces with modern design elements. They aren't afraid of quirky patterns and colors and they truly like to show off happy spaces. Yes happy spaces. The kind of rooms that make you feel alive, and good, and calm, and inspired to re-create in your own home. 

Since I'm always jotting down ideas when I read magazines, I thought that I would share some product highlights that stood out for me in the March issue. Perhaps this is something I will continue to do, since scribbles of paper get lost and it's easy to forget all those interesting items that you wanted to reference for a future project one day. I may even revisit old issues. But let's see what we find here first.

Bolle Light from Gallott & Radice - A spectacular light fixture that features hand burnished brass and transparent blown glass balls.

Turn Sofa from Fern Living - I have been a massive Ferm Living fan for years, mainly of their textiles and small accessories, but they have recently come out with a new sofa collection. Check out those slim metal legs on this minimalist beauty. And the best part is that you can quickly switch up your upholstery fabric by flipping the cushion.

Anita Johansen Day Bed for Menu - I've seen this day bed before and I'm really crushing on it. Those oak legs with the soft upholstered wool seat makes me really want to put this in our living room asap.

Vanita Cake Stand by Matii for Clippings - I've never seen a more cool looking cake stand. Made of glass and comes in four colors.

Rowan Washstand for Waterworks - Small freestanding vanity in brass & marble that's perfect for small spaces.

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Samsung - The most beautiful TV in the world. I never thought that could be said, but holy crap, somebody finally designed it. This flat screen television is available in different sizes and colors, and can be put on legs (as above) or can simply be put on a shelf.

Smart Garden by Plantui for Finnish Design Shop - What a clever idea for your home. Now you can create your own small garden any time of the year,  no matter the weather.

Electronic Smoke Alarms by Jalo Kapu - Fire alarms have come a long way. These small units are easily attached to the ceiling and come in several different shades and a battery life of five years.

Beauty Bar

I don't often share moodboards on here. I don't know why I haven't posted them in the past, because I absolutely love making them and they are a fun way to quickly conceptualize an idea to a client. That doesn't mean they are quick to make, so let's make that distinction clear. They are bloody time consuming. Sometimes the idea strikes and you are able to put one of these puppies out in a few hours, but often it's a labour of love searching for the right images to create a visual that encompasses the ideas you want to deliver to your client. Not to mention tracking down the right products.

I love stylish, sophisticated but feminine spaces so here is my take on just that - a beauty bar. If only somebody would create a space like this in Toronto that would be great. Her Majesty's Pleasure is stunning, and quite forward with it's drink bar and nail bar concept on King St W, but the name just kills it for me. They could have come up with so many better options - if they had just asked me for ideas I could have NAILED it.

By the way Her Majesty's Pleasure was conceived by one of my favorite designs firms in Toronto, +tongtong. Their work is so insanely good I can't stand it. I know you know their work already (they designed The Drake & The Drake Devonshire) but feel free to check out their site for more stuff like this.

And this.

My Favorite Design Trends 2016

I've wanted to do a post on some of my favorite 2016 design trends for a while now and I'm happy to say I've finally gotten around to it. Perhaps I should call this post "my favorite designs moments", or "design trends that are still going strong", or perhaps even more fitting "design ideas that I like that may or may not be actual design trends" because at the end of the day, these are things that inspire me and influence my style in a tremendous way. 

I think what's really important that's been developing over the last couple of years is that people want their spaces to be a true reflection of themselves. No longer do we want generic homes - god no.  Builder basic? Gross. Cookie cutter? Don't even say those words! We want to add flavor and personality - even if that means doing an all white space (and yes it's all about texture).  I love that normal human beings (not just designers or those with a creative flair) are pushing themselves to experiment. People are finally opening up to different styles, even if it's outside of their comfort zone. We are no longer safely decorating for the sake of simply making sure it's going to work for -- you know where I'm going - "re-sale".  At least I like to think so. It's as if we have unlocked this little design box that we've lived in for a while, and now, finally, we are not scared to be a little different. And you shouldn't be because who wants to be boring anyways?

I'm a bit weary of people that don't embrace change. I know it's easy to get stuck in ruts, but I dare you to casually toss aside what your preconceived notions are of what HGTV has shown you to be "on trend". Sorry, I probably played a somewhat very small role in that, but on shows we have limited budgets and are told to cater to Suzy (or Linda, or Tammy), who's middle aged, shops at Homesense (nothing wrong with Homesense, but you get the idea) and lives somewhere -- and nowhere -- in Sarnia or middle America. Sorry Suzy, Linda and Tammy, but yellow chevron stripes and barn board are just not cool anymore. And "pops of color", especially in teal (unless done well), are dreadful. Ladies - I beg you, please open your eyes, and listen...these awful style decisions are just made for mediocre television shows, based on product availability, fast turn arounds and tight budgets. And often bad design taste from junior designers, who are probably working their butts off but not getting paid very well.

Now that I've offended most of middle America, and probably all women over forty that live in small towns in Canada, and of course, anybody named Suzy, Linda and Tammy.., let's continue, shall we?

How would I define my style? Well that's a good question. With an extremely hard and convoluded answer.  I like simple forms so I gravitate towards Scandinavian and Mid Century shapes. But I also like playful and happy touches so I'm not afraid to play with patterns and colors. And then I also love antiques and introducing unexpected pairings.  I suppose I like layered spaces that are contemporary (the most dreaded style word because it means so many things to different people BUT the true definition would be what's currently on trend, not the sterile and cold spaces you are probably imagining), modern and eclectic, but spaces that are also fun, fresh and playful. Basically, I'm a minimalist at heart who loves things.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's take a look at some design trends. I know there are a million more that I could have added but I'm a one woman show here, and this took forever!

UPDATE: I only got around to doing half of my intended design trends, pop by soon to see part two!

BLACK STEEL FACTORY STYLE WINDOWS AND DOORS - This style has been around for a long time and I don't see it slowing down anytime soon. It's both modern and classic, and works with any interior. I love the idea of using it to separate spaces within the home. Keep in mind that this look works best with light colored floors, white walls and lots of natural light. Absolutely gorgeous.

OMBRE TABLES - This is certainly an interesting trend, but I really like it. The fluid ombre effect gives each piece a cool edge. This is the Proenza Schouler of your wardrobe or Aquazzura of your shoe closet. 

ARCHED DOORS / DOORWAYS - To help offset all the hard edges we are seeing in interiors of the moment, softer forms, often found in the architecture of the home, give spaces a sense of warmth and history.

DEEPLY VEINED MARBLE - I love marble. I understand mining it is not the best for mother earth, but it's so pretty. And I like that I'm seeing more variations in what people are choosing to install in their kitchens, bathrooms and hallways. I love classic white marble, but there are so many other gorgeous kinds out there that add so much more character. Don't be afraid to experiment.

UNEXPECTED PAINT JOBS - I love things that are unexpected. And using paint to add more dimension and interest to your home is a cool and completely affordable option.

PUNCHY YELLOW - Yellow makes me happy. It takes a bold person to add a really strong yellow to their home. This is not soft and mellow country yellow, but yellow on acid. If using this kind of yellow, try to keep other colors on the down low.

CANED FURNITURE - Caned furniture has never been viewed as sexy. You don't often go "if only I had a caned furniture piece in here it would make the room".  It makes me think of grandpas or libraries and a nice wool cardigan over a gingham button down.  And yet it has a special place in my heart. Most caned furniture is both timeless and classic. Today, caned furniture has had a subtle but fresh update. Lighter woods, upholstery and leather additions have re-imagined these forms, allowing each piece to either become a showstopper (take a look at the geometric high back chair below) or an instant classic, like the long bench, which would be a welcome addition to any entry.

ROUND MIRRORS - Circular mirrors are having a bit of a moment. Not sure why, maybe because square mirrors have been dominating the home for so long. I love brass and gold, so those are the ones I gravitate to the most. These days, you can now find large circular mirrors at a majority of retailers like CB2 and West Elm.

SLEEK BUILT IN STORAGE SOLUTIONS - I have been fascinated by built ins ever since I can remember. Most homes in Europe had them and I always thought that they were so elegant. I can still recall the entire wall of built in cabinets we had in our apartment in Athens, it was the most beautiful thing ever. Today, build ins are quite sleek and minimal, with few even having any hardware. It's a seamless look that is essential if you hate clutter and want to tuck most of your things away.

SHADES OF GREEN - Green is a beautiful color in any shade. Forest green has such a regal quality, while lighter shades of mint feel cool and fresh.  I love that all kinds of green are popping up in kitchens, furniture and even flooring. I may die of green envy any day.

WINDING STAIRCASES - I find winding staircases to be so sexy. They add plenty of movement and are often the highlight of any room. I mean, have you ever been inside a home that had a winding staircase and it wasn't the first thing you were drawn to? I didn't think so.

PATTERNED TILE - I know, patterned tile has been around for literally ages, but then Pinterest came along and all of a sudden it's the next big thing. Bold geometric shapes have taken the design world by storm, but there are still plenty other ways you can add patterned tile to great effect. I will do a whole blog post on my favorite pattered tile when I can, but in the meantime, enjoy these beauties here.

BLACK AND GLASS DISPLAY CABINETS - This is a great example of a trend (see black framed steel windows and doors above) that's been filtered down and made more accessible. Those wanting to bring a touch of the look can do so by adding a black framed glass display cabinet to their kitchens, living rooms or even bedrooms.

SHEEP - Yes - sheep! If I had the option, I would probably have a strange animal object in each room in my house (on second thought, we do actually, but they are rather quite small and unobtrusive). Unfortunately, I don't think my husband would allow it, nor would my dog appreciate it or find it cute and hilarious. I've been loving the quirky addition of sheep in interiors for a while now, it makes such an oddball statement and a unique conversation piece. Design is supposed to be fun and it doesn't get more fun than sitting on a flock of sheep in your living room.

PLAYFUL LIGHTING - Who ever said you have be serious about lighting? I like adding a dose of quirk to any interior, and the lights below prove that playful lighting is sure to bring a smile to your face every time you turn on the light.

LIGHT WOOD KITCHENS - I've wanted a light wood kitchen for forever. I don't know what it is about it that speaks to me, but they just makes me feel calm and peaceful. Design trends come and go, but whether it be in oak or birch, these kitchens prove that natural wood will never go out of style.

NAKED FURNITURE - This trend is sort of tied to the one above. I remember years ago when it seemed like Ikea was the only retailer putting out any light colored furniture. I think naked unstained, birch or oak furniture has had a bit of an uphill battle over the years, not wanting to be slotted into that Ikea mindset, of cheap and cheerful design. Not all furniture needs to be stained - even if your grandma thinks so.

QUIET BATHROOMS - When it comes to bathrooms, simplicity truly is the ultimate in luxury. I love clean, zen type spaces where you can escape the hustle of the every day and take a quiet moment to yourself. I especially love the idea of limiting your materials here -- you don't need a lot going on to really appreciate the thoughtful design behind all of these bathrooms.

Wall Plug In Light Fixture Roundup

I'm not sure about you, but I've been renting for over 10 years. We wish we owned our own home, desperately, mostly because I would get the chance to decorate the shit out of it, but also because we wouldn't have to deal with the world's most annoying neighbors. Our current house is literally sandwiched in between two crazies.

While we adore our landlord and our two floor Victorian in the West end, I dream of owing our own home every single day. Not an easy feat to accomplish however when you realize we live in downtown Toronto and house prices here are astronomical. Plus we are not condo people - I want a house, with a front door, and a backyard oasis. Ok fine I will settle for just having a backyard....it doesn't have to be an oasis.

When you live in a rental, sometimes you really have to get creative. You can't just start rewiring cables, putting in new floor tiles, or adding in custom window treatments (well you could, but it's so expensive and a waste of money if you can't take it with you). So you start to make sacrifices and you begin to live with things that bother you on a daily basis.

One issue we have been battling (and not just of late) is that we have pretty much no lighting in our small kitchen. It's mostly windows, which is great during the day, but at night, and especially in the winter, it's almost impossible to see and can be a hazard when you are trying to chop vegetables. There are two pot lights, and one hasn't worked in ages. We need to get an electrician to fix it, but our temporary solution was a plug in lamp. It's worked for a few months, but sadly, it met it's demise recently.

So now I'm on the hunt for an alternative plug in lamp, and in the meantime, I've decided that I would present you all with some pretty awesome options since I've already done a bit of research anyways. These would look great beside your bed, in a living room near a reading chair, or hey, maybe you are experiencing your own lighting dilemma and perhaps one of these guys would work there as well. Feel free to click on each product to access pricing and additional details. Can you tell I have a type here?

Valentines Day Gift Edition

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I thought that I would get you thinking about that special someone in your life who perhaps deserves additional doses of love thrown at them for no particular reason. Look, I'm not one for commercial holidays, and no one is forcing your hand to buy luxurious things for your loved one. But should you wish to make somebody in your life feel extra special during any part of the year (and not just mid February) here are some ideas on how to do just that, and that doesn't mean spending a fortune or going to a spa and buying a crappy bouquet of red roses.

(image courtesy of Kinfolk)

Sausage Making Class - Nothing says true love like making sausages. Actually that's probably the first time anybody in the history of the world has ever said that, but I can assure you, making sausages with your loved one is actually quite fun. The Healthy Butcher is a butcher shop in Toronto who specializes in local, organic and 100% grass fed meat and organic produce. They also host a series of classes throughout the year, teaching everything from knife skills to fish basics to creating your own charcuterie. Their most popular class however is sausage making, where you get to spend over two hours building flavors just "encase" you want to make your own sausages. Yeah, I said it. The best part is that you actually make a LOT of sausages, so many in fact that you will go home with a giant bag of them which will surely impress your friends and family. Classes are $80 per person (they've definitely gone up since I took my husband five years ago) but are totally worth the splurge for a fun night out.

Eclairs - Nügateau is Toronto's newest desert destination (sorry Nadège, don't be upset because I still love you) and it is a real pity if you haven't been there yet. Located near the corner of Queen and Palmerston, this shop deals strictly in eclairs, and presents them in the most beautiful way. With a ton of flavors to choose from - think lemon meringue, maple bacon, raspberry, pistachio etc - you will probably want to grab a mixed box of six for you and the one you love.

Photo Book - If you want your significant other to shed endless tears of happiness, all you have to do is make them something. And by something I mean a carefully edited book of your most important photographic memories, not a random scrapbook of old love notes and movie stubs. Although on second thought, that actually sounds really romantic. In any case,  Blurb helps you to build your own custom photo book that looks pretty professional.  You get to choose the size you want (anything from 7 x 7 inches to 13 x 11 inches), and you have several options for the front of the book, including going with an image wrap, soft cover or a dust jacket. I personally prefer the image wrap in a 12 x 12 inch format. You can build a standard book online, download their software to make it a tad more customized, or you can go all out and hire one of their professionals. Prices start at $30 for 20 pages.

Cheese Boutique- Things are about to get cheesy here...it's a possibility anyways. Whether you choose to go solo or with your date, give yourself at least an hour wondering around this glorious cheese emporium that's located on the outskirts of High Park just off the Queensway. You are bound to stock up on lots of treats which will enable you to make a delicious little spread, which you may want to have with a nice bottle of wine and a toasty fire.  I suggest you buy at least 3 cheeses and build yourself a nice little charcuterie board with other fixings. They also have an amazing selection of canned goods, hot sauces, prepared foods, and not to be missed Chocolates X Brandon truffles from former Bar Isabel chef Brandon Olsen, who is about to open his own little chocolate shop in Brockton Village.

Coffee Mugs - I'm assuming that if you are reading this blog you are probably a grown up. Maybe you aren't, you know, like actually grown up, but physically, you probably at least embody the body of a grown up. Does that make sense? And most normal grown ups like a good morning cup of coffee, because it's really the world's most perfect beverage. To truly enjoy that warm, soothing, wake you up cup of coffee you could put it in a regular mug, but when you are a grown up, why not treat yourself and your loved one to two lovely ceramic mugs like this one? Yes, a mug that costs almost $60 is kind of expensive, but it's so pretty with it's blue speckles, and has such a nice weight to it, plus if you use it everyday I think it's totally worth the expense.

Roros Tweed Blanket - This 100% pure new wool blanket from Norway is hands down the best blanket I have ever owned. It's so highly superior to anything I have ever snuggled under, I really can't imagine using another blanket, ever. It was a Christmas gift from my husband (he got it in electric orange and purple), and it's definitely one of the best presents I've ever gotten.  It's warm and cozy, and guaranteed to bring you two together, in a very literal way.

Customized Stationary - Buying your own customized stationary seems a bit indulgent, but it is such a nice gesture when presented as a gift. Anything customized basically says "hey I took the time and effort to make something personal" and makes everybody feel special. I love Rifle Paper Co. and really love this little company that has grown into a massive stationary powerhouse over the last few years. For our wedding, I ordered a customized print that features an illustration of my husband, myself, our dog, and our wedding date. It's hanging in our living room and it's such a nice reminder of our wedding day. Plus we ended up getting thank you cards made from the same print, so our guests received it as a little keepsake. So why not get your loved one a notepad or some business cards that they will be proud to hand out to colleagues? They will always think of you when they see it and make them feel like real professionals.

Terrarium - Everybody loves air plants and succulents, but if you don't have a green thumb, why not ask the experts at Crown Flora to make you a terrarium. These guys made my flower crown and wedding bouquet, and yes, one day I will get around to sharing some photos from the day. You can spend a little or go all out and splurge, but I guarantee you your date will be happy no matter what you spend.





IDS 2016

IDS 2016 has come and gone and I can't say I was disappointed. It didn't feel like years past, where there is usually a huge draw to a few specific sponsored booths - I'm looking at you Miele and Ikea. It was more low key, perhaps with less blinding in your face sponsorships and more handcrafted, unique finds. Totally up my ally, so thank you for that. It felt quite cold a couple of years ago, with most of the show showcasing only baths, baths, and yup, you guessed it, more baths.

I have to be honest - I barely took any photos, mainly because I was with two of my design friends and we had so much to talk about I sort of slipped on that. Plus we were rushing around before one of the seminars and I left immediately after because I had a meeting scheduled close by. I also missed the opening night gala, which always gives me an extra bit of time to scout. Especially when you are stuck in a never ending drink line and truly get a sense of what's around.

Some of my favorite moments included getting up close and personal with these spectacular lights from Lightmaker Studio, who are based out of the Distillery District in Toronto. I absolutely cannot wait to work with these fabulous folks sometime in the future. If you are an amazing client, and looking to redo your lackluster space, let's make this happen now.

I also adored these very on trend blush doors from 1925 Workbench, another local shop that operates out of Toronto. I first came across their work in an Fall issue of Designlines, and I've always kept them in the back of my head as a resource for sliding doors and custom furniture pieces. I love that the company was started by a husband and wife team who created their own custom barn doors because they simply couldn't find what they were looking for anywhere else. It's an inspiring story and a great product, and I can't wait to see more of their work profiled.

I was also smitten by the gallery space created by the people behind Caviar20. WOW - I want everything you have. I'm a huge lover of art, and they seem to have a laser focus on what's current and hot. I especially liked how they styled their space, and this Pierre Paulin chair is to die for, I cannot even begin to discuss this magic combo of pink, green and black.

Other notable mentions are the brilliantly designed natural fiber and handmade rugs from Jan Kath.  I've wanted to do a post about his rugs for forever now, but somehow haven't gotten around to it, so shame on me for that. This man is an absolute artist who creates the most startlingly unique rug landscapes for your feet to rest on. EQ3 was another winner in my books, their Assembly line was well crafted and modern. I love that they support working Canadian furniture designers - really well done EQ3, seriously, well done.

I also had a great, completely unexpected, and most of all, incredibly embarrassing, run in with Orlando Soria, the designer and writer behind Hommemaker, creative director of Homepolish, and best friend of my ultimate girl crush, Emily Henderson. I was walking down Queen Street and basically walked right into the guy. Total fan girl moment ensued, and there are some things in life you can't take back. Let's just say I never stop anybody, it's totally unprofessional in my books (I am a TV producer after all), and I see celebrities ALL the time. Well maybe not all the time, but it's my job. I don't see the point of taking selfie photographs, or asking for autographs, and an awkward encounter is never pleasant for anybody. Trust me on that. And yet, I introduced myself, and tried to compose myself as best as I could under the circumstances. He was lovely, I gave him some Toronto recommends, and we parted ways with a hug. For me, that was more than enough - thanks for being classy Orlando. Me, not so much!

How to Plan a Stylish Winter Getaway

Happy 2016 folks! I can't believe it's been a month since my last post. Writing this blog has been a really happy experience for me, but 2015 was not a kind year, the sort of year you want to bury deep, far and away, filled with so many tragedies and let downs that never really seemed to go away. So while writing and sharing posts with you all is something I really truly look forward to, sometimes it's difficult to write about fun design stuff when life is kicking your ass every day. That being said, I'm hoping 2016 brings more joy and opportunities and many more blog posts for you all to devour. Side note, I did have a few more holiday gift round ups that I never got around to sharing, so if you stick around, you just might get some more gift ideas for the 2016 season.

I really can't complain about this mild winter we are having, but since this is a time so many people are feeling like they need a proper escape, I thought that I would share with you the places I recommend you start looking at first.

It's really no secret that I'm a design junkie. Whenever I plan a holiday, whether it be for a day or a few weeks, I'm one of those crazies that wants it to be perfect. My producer brain will keep on planning it till the very end, and I'm never truly satisfied with the itinerary unless I've exhausted all angles and viable options. That means I need to know what the best cafes, restaurants, gelato shops, design stores, architectural landmarks, and basically all non touristy special or of interest places are within a 10 km radius of wherever we are staying, so that we don't run into massive delays looking for that perfect place to go when we are bored or hungry.

I'm not an all inclusive vacation kind of a gal, I've done it once and I don't really see myself doing it again. I find most all inclusives to be kind of tacky (sorry!), and generally, pretty terrifying places. I don't want to spend my vacation with a million other people, eating generic food, fighting over towels or spots on the beach, and spending time in a run of the mill hotel room. I know, snobsville, but if I'm going to spend my hard earned money, I would like it to be on something that I want to do, and stay in spots that interest and excite me and appeal to my design aesthetic.

So here is a round up of resources that I always go to first, sorry RedFlagDeals and ITravel2000.com.

DESIGN HOTELS - The ultimate in hotel porn, if that's your thing. And yes of course it's your thing, JUST LOOK AT THIS WEBSITE. The site feels fresh and makes you so excited about possibly booking your upcoming adventure here. I love their large scale photography, and this site allows you to narrow down your search results by city, country, or price. Super easy, super fun.

TABLET HOTELS - We exclusively only looked at hotels here when we planned our Palm Spring getaway last year. I love that they feature a very thoughtful selection of designer chic hotels from around the world, and you can also search their "best of" section, which essentially is their cream of the crop picks. And while beautifully designed hotels can be expensive, the choices here are quite varied, meaning you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to plan your next dream holiday.


BOUTIQUE HOMES - Boutique Homes has been inspiring me now for years, and not just with their carefully curated selection of vacation spots. I can spend hours on this site lusting over some incredibly beautifully designed houses from around the world. Here you are not looking to book a stay at some fancy schmancy hotel - these are real houses, like AIRBNB, but on steroids. You can search by category - Architectural, Sustainable, Historical, Mid Century Modern, Cheap and Chic etc - whatever floats your boat. You can rent villas, tree houses, beach houses...there really is an endless selection of totally unique spaces that will make you wish you lived there. Prices are per night or you can generally find better deals per week. I also like that they provide you with interior and exterior photos, and a little write up or photos of places nearby that are note worthy.

WELCOME BEYOND - This site is SOOOOO good. I don't think there is one place on here that I would not kill to stay at. They have such a mind blowing (but limited) selection of the best of the best - villas, boutique homes, bed and breakfasts, chalets, cabins, yurts, city apartments etc. If you are completely clueless, but want to give your significant other the vacation of their dreams, just book something on here. Their tagline is "hand-picked paradise" - and I would agree that Welcome Beyond has definitely nailed it.

SMALL LUXURY HOTELS - I almost forgot about Small Luxury Hotels, but what a mistake it would have been to exclude them from this list. This very small and hand picked list of just over 500 small luxury hotels around the world ensures you are getting a vetted luxury experience. They also have tons of deals and if you have any questions, the customer service provided is at the top of the list.

DESIGN TRIPPER - The writers behind this blog showcase some truly interesting indie, boutique and unique spaces (hotels, inns, villas, b&b's) to entice you for your next holiday. Definitely one of my go to's when I want something out of the box with a great story. Although I don't think this site is updated on a regular basis, there is a great catalog of spots to flip through.

In addition, here are a few more notable mentions if you are looking for a couple more resources to help round out your vacation selects.

DESIGN SPONGE - Design Sponge features great city guides (curated by people all over the world) that will definitely help make the most of your vacation. They do a fantastic job narrowing down the spots you should check out first when it comes to food or design destinations in a multitude of cities near and far.


GOOP - Say what you want about Gwyneth Paltrow, but she really has an amazing design sense and I love her for it. Her site features an incredibly stylish list of top restaurants, shops, hotels, and spas around the world to a breakdown of the best sandwiches in LA and hipster guides to NY or San Francisco.

Holiday Countdown - Gift Edition Part 3

With Christmas less than ten days away, I hope that the final push to finish up your holiday shopping has not crushed you just yet. To make things a tad easier, I'm providing you with another edition of my curated collection of gifts, this time for the City Sophisticate. She's a stylish woman in her late 20s to mid 30s, a young professional that knows what she likes and what she wants, and who prefers unique, feminine and thoughtful finds that are luxurious but still practical enough to use everyday.

Buy her any of these gems, and you will probably be in her good books forever.

1. Woodlot Re-charge Package - $59 - This lovely Canadian made toxin free bundle includes a coconut wax candle, a nourishing soap bar, and mineral bath soaks. Everything is made out of rosemary + peppermint essential oils, and this little set is the perfect way to help her relax and recharge during the holidays.

2. Ilia Multi Stick - $34 - For the girl on the go, who doesn't need a lot of makeup, nor does she really want to put it on anyways. This magic stick comes in six unique shades, and works on cheeks, eyes and lips, providing a sexy but subtle hint of rosy shine that will enhance any winter complexion.

3. Ring Dish - $32 - This gorgeous little handmade ring dish is made out of porcelain and features a delicate gold rim. Each dish is one of a kind and will look right at home holding her favorite jewelry on her nightstand or dresser.

4. Stone Morter & Pestle - $272 - Almost too pretty to use, this Tom Dixon Morward white marble and brass set is sure to become a family heirloom.

5. Lady Bag - $1350 USD - Mansur Gavriel has been on the top of my wish list for the last couple of years, but only now can you find this extremely hard to find label in Canada. It's currently sold at Holts, and I'm kind of fearful because once things are no longer rare, my deep lust and attraction can sometimes go away. However, this chic carryall shouldn't worry, as it's essentially the perfect IT bag. It's totally sexy and naked, roomy enough for everyday use, and it comes in six colorways.

6. BarreWorks - During any gift giving season, I beg you to never give a girl a gym membership. Unless it's what she wants, trust me, just stay away. But BarreWorks is totally different. With two locations in Toronto, this is a super on trend fun ballet inspired workout that I think any girl would probably be quite happy to get. You can purchase a 5 class pack ($95) or a two weeks of unlimited classes for $40.

7. Lip Gloss - $42 - This has to be my favorite lip gloss ever.  I love that it's all natural, glides on without all that gunky mess, and it provides me with a youthful shine that stays on for hours. Well worth the hefty price tag.

8. Drop Earrings - $1805 - I've never been a big diamond fan, but these drop diamond earrings with a rose gold finish are modern classic. While extremely gorgeous, they are subtle enough to wear everyday.

9. Pillow - $212.50 USD - This luxurious Molto dual sided pillow from DWR features cashmere wool on one side and cotton velvet on the other, each with a slightly different look and feel.

10. Sweater Coat - $595 USD - This simple oatmeal Yak sweater coat from Jenni Kayne is exactly the kind of thing you want to throw on during a cold day. Unfortunately, they don't deliver to Canada, but when there's a will, there's a way...

11. Scarf - This stunning scarf is made from 100% crape silk, and is produced in very limited quantities in the EU. Lucky for us, you can purchase it in store at Ewanika or have it shipped to Canada.

12. Watch - $189 USD. A classic minimalist watch in rose gold and grey leather. You can purchase it online or in store at Likely General.




Holiday Countdown - Gift Edition Part 2

This gift collection is created for the young professional man, living in the big city, working away in some media world capacity (because that's apparently the majority of dudes I know). The guy who likes nice things yet won't often splurge on himself, but who deserves it nonetheless.

It doesn't matter if you are the wife, girlfriend, mother, or sister who is bestowing any of these gifts upon the 20 to 30 something year old man in your life, because all of these are pretty safe bets. Trust me, he is probably in dire need of some of these things anyways.

This list is really just a start, because I could have kept on going with some other must haves and luxuries like a timeless leather belt, a minimalist leather wallet, black cashmere gloves, a plaid scarf, a canvas laptop bag, a real shaving kit, a proper matching pajama set, a double set of high quality white sheets to have on the go, a chefs knife, sea salt collection, a set of matching white towels, a classic watch, quality chocolate from Mast Brothers, a smoked wood chip kit for the BBQ, or perhaps a subscription to a weekly organic food box or monthly butcher delivery service.

Just remember, giving a gift to the male in your life doesn't automatically have to require a trip to Best Buy. Although, there's some really cool shit at Best Buy as well :)

1. Muttonhead Camping Hoodie - $136 - This classic hoodie is made in a sweatshop free factory in Toronto. This dual layer camping hoodie is 100% waterproof and lined with a super soft fleece. It functions like a hoodie but has the warm protection of a jacket, perfect for our unpredictable Canadian weather.

2. Dillon's Bitters - $16.95 - I know very little about bitters, except that it's a thing and I should figure it out already. Most guys will want to experiment with some of these flavors, so why not give a collection for the budding mixologist in your life. Dillon's Bitters are made local in Beamsville Ontario, and you can find them for sale in specialty food stores across Canada.

3. Chemex Coffeemaker - $62.95 - This six cup coffee maker has been a classic since 1939 and even holds a place in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art. This little glass marvel makes a bitter free tasting cup of coffee in less than 4 minutes and makes you look like a professional at home barista.

4. Limited Edition Military Blanket - $249 - This 100% wool blanket is an instant classic that will not only look great in the home but also keep him warm for the next 50 years.

5. Møller Trolley - $1725 USD - This beautiful solid wood walnut trolley can serve as a bar, side table, or even a printer stand. A classic piece of furniture he will treasure forever. 

6. Beard Tonic - $27 - Let's be honest. Most men aren't into grooming, even though the rise of the metrosexual would have us believe otherwise these days. Most men scoff at the idea of applying moisturizer on their face, let alone face oil. But sadly, our male counterparts are living with cracked, dry, and flaky skin that needs some nourishment. Beard oil is not just for the beard, it's really to help repair his dry skin underneath all that hair.

7. Large Ice Cube Maker - $11.95 - This is a great gift for a guy who likes to drink whiskey, yet these large cubes are a perfect addition to any cocktail. 

8. Alpaca Duvet - Nice duvets are a luxury item that most guys won't get themselves. This one is made in Canada, and instead of using feathers or down, it features 100% Peruvian Alpaca fiber. As the store states on their website "Alpaca fiber is warmer, lighter yet stronger than wool and resistant to saturation that is nearly water-repellent. It is also lanolin free making it hypoallergenic" -- perfect for the guy who gets sniffles or allergies throughout the year.  This duvet will also help regulate body temperature and is suitable for sleeping underneath year round. Call the store directly to inquire about pricing.

9. Jasper Oxford Shirt - $55 - This Frank & Oak slim fitting shirt in 100% cotton is a wardrobe staple. Plus this light grey color feels fresh and will work with any hair color or skin tone. Perfect for all seasons.

10. Duffle Bag - $424.99 - For the man who goes on business trips, weekend getaways or who frequently hits up the gym. His old ripped apart hockey bag won't cut it, but this Filson Duffle in Otter green says he's a fully grown up man. Water repellent with two way brass zippers and leather pulls.

11. Fair Isle Socks - $38 - These socks are comfy, warm and say Christmas. Great as a stand alone gift or a stocking stuffer.

12. Sweatpants - $150 - Every guy needs to have a nice new pair of sweatpants. Please. Do it for me. Or you. Or them. It doesn't matter as long as they have a pair of new sweatpants. If they are still wearing the same sweats from high school or college, this should be the first thing they receive this year. This pair from Naked & Famous is clean and classic and made from 100% cotton.




Holiday Countdown - Gift Edition Part 1

I am such a sucker for putting together pretty gift sets. It's probably one of my favorite activities, and if I had to choose my dream job, it would probably be assembling beautiful gift packages for really, really, REALLY rich people.

For the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be putting together some holiday shopping ideas for those unique people in your life who may have stumped you this gift giving season. But since this blog is all about fantasy, I apologize if some of my finds are a tad expensive. I'm not saying you have to rush out and buy any of these things, but in my dream world, if I had endless amounts of money, and could spend it on others (in very frivolous ways), this might be it.

First up, this collection of finds is for the baker or taste maker, the person who practically lives in their kitchen but dreams about moving to Italy or the south of France, the one who loves to whip up their own jars of pickles in the early fall, and who generously spends all day making pasta by hand.

1. Kitten & Bear Jam - $12 - This local Toronto store makes jam in small batch quantities by hand, and they do not use any preservatives or commercial additives. As the shop states, all of their items are "made in the French confiture style in traditional hand-hammered copper preserving pans, they stand apart by their exquisite texture, interesting ingredients, and subtle balance of flavours." Since this spot is right around the corner from me, I indulge in their freshly made scones more frequently than I would like to admit. If you have never been there, for the love of god, go immediately. Each scone purchase comes with your choice of seasonal jam and clotted cream, and once you open up the heavenly warm scone in your hand, dollop on some topping, and feel the buttery richness in your mouth, you will never be the same. You can shop in store or online.

2. Herriott Grace - Rolling Pin - $70 - I am a massive fan of Herriot Grace. This father daughter duo create spectacular wood carved pieces that you will treasure forever. Made in Vancouver and available online.

3. Mjolk - Onion Basket - $60 - A large bamboo handmade basket, perfect for storing fruit or onions on the counter. Made by an artisan in Kyoto Japan. Available in store and online.

4. Rough Linen - Apron - $50 - A classic rough linen Belgian waiters apron, perfect for protecting your clothes on days when you have hot soup bubbling on the stove. Made in the US but ships to Canada.

5. Mjolk - Cast Iron Pan with Handle - $320 - Crafted by Japan's most important industrial designer Sori Yanagi. The stunning black pot features curved edges for easy pouring. Available in store and online.

6. Coolican & Company - Palmerston Stool - $490 - I first spotted Coolican & Company at IDS a few years ago. I instantly fell in love with their superb craftsmanship and incredible attention to detail. They have a small line of furniture and accessories, and this lovely handcrafted white maple stool is the perfect place to perch your tired legs when peeling a bucket of potatoes. Available online, contact the shop directly.

7. Elte - Picardie Tumbler - $2.96 (each) - These classic ribbed tumbler glasses are a standard in French bistros and are made of shatter proof glass that can withstand both hot and cold beverages. All that and coming in at less than $3, what's not to love?

8. Chapters Indigo - A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse - $34.49 - Famous food blogger and former model Mimi Thorisson welcomes us into her own kitchen in France. You will find spectacular photography featuring beautiful ingredients and seasonal family style meals. You can purchase this book online for 25% off, or in store at regular retail price.

9. L' Atelier St George - Pallares Solsona Kitchen Knife - $35 - A practical knife for daily use, yet so pretty that it will made food photographers salivate. Made in Spain, available for purchase in store and online.

Wall Hanging Roundup

I don't know about you, but I'm all about 70s decor style coming back. As the old adage goes, everything old is new again, and that is certainly true for retro inspired wall hangings. I've always been wild about hanging textiles, perhaps it's because they remind me of beautiful vintage rugs I would see hanging in houses all over Poland when I was a kid. They can bring so much texture and color to any space, and with a myriad of different styles and color combinations to choose from, chances are you won't make a mistake. Since wall hangings are taking over the world by storm (ok more so the instagram design world), I thought that I would share a few of my favorites.


Based out of Brooklyn, this company makes jewelry, rugs, bags, and other cool stuff. I think I discovered them years ago through the Brick House, and I've been hooked ever since. Below is Blackwater Country, a wall hanging they currently have on sale for $500. I love the contrast between the soft pale silk and navy shag wool, a total winner in my books.

I will forever be kicking myself for not buying this when I spotted it on sale at a shop in Palm Springs last year. BIG MISTAKE. It's no longer in stock, and don't expect it to make a comeback. The blush with the neon green, a touch of blue...it's so fresh, alive and playful.  If I had to sum up my personality in a wall hanging, this would probably be it.


Mimi Jung is a more recent find, but she's definitely in the running to become one of my favorites. Her woven textile designs are modern and light, yet they make such a powerful statements and feel much more like paintings rather than textile art. Her work is smart and sophisticated, and I can see her pieces hanging in a museum or in a gorgeous modern home or loft. You can purchase them straight off of her website.


Now you can't really talk about wall hangings without mentioning Maryanne Moodie. I've been following her work on Instagram for a while, and she makes some incredible pieces. Also based out of Brooklyn, she not only creates wall hangings but also teaches the craft worldwide. I wish I could summarize her work, but since every piece she makes is so incredibly different, you never know what you are going to get, and I like that she keeps things interesting.  She does calm, muted shades just as well as bold, colorful, punchy tones. Follow her on Instagram and Etsy to see more of her work or create a custom piece for your own home.


Native Line is run by artist Justine Ashbee, who combines geometric lines with precious metals to create spectacular shimmering pieces of wall art. Her use of gold and silver makes her work feel truly one of a kind. Her work is inspired by Southwest desert landscapes, where she spent several months, dreaming up her designs. You can find her designs at specialty stores worldwide as well as through her online shop.

The Big Sofa Challenge

There is absolutely no reason for me to currently want to purchase a new sofa. I know it's a really large investment and we shouldn't even be considering it, but my brain doesn't work that way. Ideally, I would love a modular sectional, something that can be configured any way we see fit. It would be fantastic for apartment living, and it's awesome because you can just add more pieces down the line if needed.

My first pick is the Connect Sofa by Mutto. I love how easy it is to specify exactly what modules you need to create the ideal sofa shape for your space, the low profile, and of course, it's chunky base. For what we would want, this would set up back around $10,000. Not a cheap sofa by any means, but I'm a big believer in buying something that you love once, and hopefully never having to buy it again.

My second choice is the Mags Sofa by Hay. Also modular, it allows you to configure the set up based on your needs. It looks so comfy, sturdy, and the ultimate spot to lounge out on after a long day. In terms of pricing, it comes in a tad lower than the Connect Sofa above, but again, there's not exactly a deal here.

Lastly, I'm also kind of digging the Mix, the new modular sofa system by Gus Modern. Like all the above, the Mix let you mix and match components and fabrics to build a custom sectional, so you end up with whatever shape best fits your space. Plus Gus Modern is a Canadian design company based out of Toronto, and it's always nice to support local businesses that actually make awesome products. Price wise, you have to contact the store directly in order to get a quote, so I'm not quite sure what we would be looking at here.

While I love all of the above options, I was really dismayed to learn that the Connect Sofa is made from cold foam and the Mags Sofa is made out of polyurethane foam. Seeing as how these are two Scandinavian brands that I really adore, who I hoped would care about using only natural materials in their products, it's a total bummer, especially when you factor in the high price tags.

At least the Mix Sofa from Gus Modern is manufactured to meet California TB117-2013 fire safety standards without the use of flame retardant additives in upholstery foam, however, they still use some kind of foam, made from chemicals, so while they have made a step in the right direction, they definitely have a ways to go. And while the brand is open to using a different filler for their upholstery, they suggested soy foam or recycled plastic bottles as an alternative, these options are not exactly healthy or green, even though it's easy to think they can be.

It's crazy to me that in almost 2016 (less than two months away!), most people are still sitting on and breathing in some incredibly toxic substances, mostly found in sofa cushions and mattresses. Is it for a lack of information? There have been so many studies done about this, and yet it's almost as if people don't want to believe it. These toxic substances are contributing to our failing health, leaching into our bodies and making us sick.  We made the switch to an organic latex mattress this summer (scroll down if you want to read my review - spoiler alert, it's one of the best decisions we ever made), and now I'm faced with the really difficult challenge of finding a organic latex sofa.

I know there are a few companies who specialize in making natural products in the US, like Ekla and Green Sofas, but unfortunately, here in Canada, our options are sadly pretty much non existent. The closet I got was Cisco Brothers,  who retail through Elte, and make all of their products available for purchase using their green technology. The company states "Cisco’s Inside Green technology is our smart, healthy, responsible, alternative method of building furniture made entirely from Natural Latex, organic wool, organic goose feathers and down. These natural materials are not only superior in terms of comfort and lifespan, but are inherently flame retardant and hypo-allergenic. Every product in the Cisco line can be ordered using Inside Green technology." I only wish I wanted one of their sectionals. Don't get me wrong, they are beautiful, just not what I am looking for.

For now, the search continues. But if I can't find what I want, I'm going to see if I can at least switch out our current sofa cushions for organic latex versions, if I can track down a Canadian supplier willing to cut custom sizes. Again, there is a company doing it in the US called Foam to Order, but the shipping fees would be killer. If anybody knows where to look or has any suggestions, feel free to let me know.

Clarks Shoes

I'm so excited to share with you some photos from my latest project. This project has taken over my life for the last couple of months, and I'm beyond thrilled to see it finally up and running. Full disclosure, I wish the photos were more professionally shot, but for right now folks, this is all that we've got.

For those who don't know, Hey Love Design was recently commissioned by Clarks and High Road Communications to create a store design for Clarks Shoes, who was opening a four month long pop up shop in the heart of Yokville in Toronto. They wanted to create brand awareness and expose more customers to their new products, with a spotlight on their carefully curated “Edit” collection. We worked on developing a strong brand identity by focusing on the companies 190 year history and gave the shop a heritage feel with an industrial touch. We then topped it all off with some luxe finishes to make it more on trend and modern.

For the front window display, I found this incredible 100 year old work table, that came with a swing out chair attached. I instantly loved the beat up green paint, the metal top, and the scale of the whole piece was spot on. It's the only item that we rented for the duration of the pop up, and I don't think that I could have found anything else to fit this space so perfectly. On top of the table sits an embossing machine, which gets quite a workout during the day, as it allows customers to personalize their new desert boots on the spot. I also hung a custom brass light - with a ceiling height of over 14 ft, I needed to design something that was simple and elegant and wouldn't compete with all the typography, and I'm so happy with how this turned out.

Since we were setting up shop in an old Porsche store, which was quite cold and stark when we first saw the space, it was essential that our pop up felt warm and inviting. We concentrated on introducing supple tufted leathers found in the long bench, a wing back chair and Chesterfield sofa, custom warm wood tables throughout, and we installed a temporary wall with panel moulding at the back of the store to add architectural interest and make our three gallery walls really pop.

A custom marble topped cash bar and a plush floor to ceiling velvet curtain were luxurious additions that really elevated the design. I also like how all of our brass light fixtures accentuate the hunter green that we used as our backdrop. We then chose to pick up on the brass in other elements found in the store, giving the shop a truly cohesive look.

Finishing touches included layering in vintage and special elements, like sheepskin rugs to add texture, cloches to house some of our more unique items, such as old rulers and sock molds, shoe lasts in shadow boxes, stone rises to highlight our featured products, union jack pillows that reference the brand’s British identity, and, my favorite, a fox skull situated next to the brands iconic desert boots, greeting customers as soon as they walk in the door.

We also painted out empty big box store book boxes and used them as shoe risers throughout the store. This helped add a dose of brightness and afforded us a perfect spot to showcase our products.  Finally, vintage crates were stacked at the back of the shop, increasing our display space and adding extra height to an otherwise empty corner of the room.

All in all I'm so happy with how this project has turned out, especially since we were up against an incredibly fast deadline and even tighter budget. A big thanks goes out to all of my suppliers, who pulled off the impossible in record time.

Resource List - Lampcage, Design Republic, Commute Home, Elte, Cornerstone Furniture, Love The Design, Smash, 698 Queen Antiques, Williams Design, Crystal Tile and Marble, Camilla House, Zuo Modern, Robert Allen, West Elm, Homesense

The Hip World of Artisan Crafts Featuring Ariele Alasko

If you like unique, handcrafted, charming yet skillfully designed products, you are probably already a fan of Ariele Alasko. And if you are in the design world and religiously follow design blogs or read magazines like DesignSponge or Kinfolk, and you've have never heard of this amazing woodworking artist, you probably live under a rock. For the rest of you, I will give you a pass and hope to inspire you to start following her on Instagram (and join over 369K people that do) immediately.

I stumbled upon her work a couple of years ago, during one of those Instagram binges where one thing led to another, and I ended up following over 20 new feeds. Probably not the kind of binge most people are used to, but in my world, yeah, things got craaaazy.

Besides her immense talents in woodworking, Ariele is a great photographer who knows what her style is and can really speak to her audience. You like teepees? Check. Beautiful horses? Check. Desert scapes? Check . Rustic flowers? Check. Cute Brooklyn apartments? Check. I could go on and on but you get the idea. She also features her new creations as well, and if you don't spot these goodies and scoop them up right away, chances are they will be sold out by the time you look at her website.

Ariele is sculptor by trade, who gathers discarded strips of wood from old NY brownstones, cleans them up, and uses the materials to create intricate patterns that grace tables, headboards, and wall hangings.  In addition to her furniture pieces, she excels at hand carving spoons, trays, and serving bowls, and has inspired many more artisans to start working in this field. But we all know who started this trend. And unlike some of her imitators, you can see the love and time she spends on each item, ensuring it will be a treasured family heirloom hopefully passed down for generations.

Couple of things to keep in mind if you want to score one of her pieces - she doesn't do wholesale, so you have to buy direct. But like I mentioned, if you don't jump at the immediate opportunity to buy it as soon as you spot it on instagram, good luck my friend.

Staying Hydrated in Style

When I'm on the hunt for a new product, it's never as simple as walking into a store, presenting my debit or credit card, and going home to unwrap my new package. How I wish I was one of those people, but no, unfortunately, I spend weeks looking for that perfect item, reading reviews, weighing props and cons, finally making my purchase, and then agonizing over my decision. My husband thinks I'm crazy, and he's probably right, but I can't help caring about all the little details. Why on earth would I spend money on something that I don't like? 

One of those types of purchases was our coffee maker. Ours was a basic old model, and when it finally broke down, we desperately needed a replacement. After weeks of research, of which we heavily relied on our Nespresso machine for our daily caffeine fix, I finally decided on the Krups KT600 Silver Art Collection Coffee Maker and I've never looked back. The thing is sexy, sleek, and the wood handle really warms things up. Literally.


But sometimes there are purchases you make, in the heat of the moment, that you instantly regret, or perhaps, you were gifted with something that is practical, but aesthetically, ehhhh. While I adore my SodaStream (received as a gift for a show I worked on) for fizzing my basic tap water on a daily basis, we really could never part, as soon as I saw the gorgeous Yves Béhar designed version, I wanted to chuck mine right out. Unfortunately, as much as I like beautifully designed kitchen products, I hate wasting things just as much. So for now, my old model sits beside my Krups coffee maker and they still hang out. But just imagine how good my Krups coffee maker would look sitting next to this guy.

Now onto my real dilemma. I'm looking for a new water filtration system, and I don't want a simple Brita. Nothing wrong with Brita....but I've never been a huge fan. I hate putting in those Brita filters, they always leave a residue and when you put them in they constantly pop up and down, the plastic handles are super annoying, and no matter what model I've tried, there's always something awkward about the spout. Are they even BPA free now?

We currently have a glass carafe from DWR, which came with it's own Binchotan charcoal stick. It's a beautiful design, and I love that it's glass, but unfortunately it doesn't hold very much water, and since you have to wait at least 6 hours for the charcoal to filter the water it's a real time suck.  So for now we've taken out the metal piece that fits inside and use it as a regular table carafe.


I wish I could do an under the sink model, but since we rent, that idea doesn't quite pan out. I've found a couple of doable ceramic models, but they would take up a massive piece of real estate on our already tiny countertop. I really thought that I might have to settle for something I didn't want, but then magically, I found the incredible Soma Water Pitcher. It comes in two different shapes and size, and really, I have to ask myself, how have I never seen it until now?

It's immediately wooed me with it's simple design. The only thing I would change about it is that it's plastic, and while shatter-proof and BPA free, I really wish it was glass. Granted, the smaller size is glass, but I know we would get tons more use out of this one. For the Soma pitcher and one filter (which is made out of coconut shell carbon and a plant-based casing), the price is a measly $39 US. If you want enough filters for a whole year, you can upgrade to a package that includes 12 filters for $149.

But since nothing is ever easy, I was really dismayed to learn that they don't ship to Canada. Yet. Apparently. That's what they have up on their website.

Come on Soma, hurry up! I need you in my life! I will happily be your first Canadian customer, so please, figure it out!




Client Project - Clark's Shoes

I know I haven't written in a while but it's for good reason, I swear. I've just finished a commercial project for Clark's Shoes, which opened in the heart of Yorkville in Toronto this past weekend. It's been a whirlwind but we managed to get everything done on time. Well, almost. They are still waiting on the art that's going on the walls in the back of the store to arrive. But with a turnaround of less than two months, it's truly a miracle everything else was done on time!

I promise to get back to blogging again by the weekend, with lots more new content to come. And yes I will be posting pictures of the finished space as soon as we shoot it -- hoping to get my hands on photos by mid October.

For now, here is a little post Marketing Mag wrote up about the Pop Up. Please note that while I designed the whole space, one of the front windows (pictured in the write up) was created for Nuite Blanche by artist Andre Kan.


When No. means Yes.

I'm pretty sure ceramic collections are becoming the new jewelry for the well traveled and curated home. They are prized possessions, often costing five times or more than what you would normally pay for a bowl or cup at Homesense. Yes the prices may seem a little extreme, but I can't stop admiring and coveting ceramic shapes, and it's so lovely to support hard working artists who are making beautiful things by hand. And a little treat here and there never hurt anyone, unless we are talking about me reaching for another bowl of hazelnut gelato.

There are quite a few small ceramic studios that I follow on Pinterest and Instagram, but one of my top picks is No., which is located in Long Island and run by Romy Northover.

Trained in European ceramics at the University of London, she has traveled the globe from Hong Kong to Berlin, soaking in many different cultures along the way and undoubtedly inspiring some of her work. She currently uses the Japanese techniques of Kinuneri, Tebineri and Rokuro - none of which I know anything about - but god are they beautiful. The 22 Karat Climax cups above are ridiculous - and I mean that in a good way. Each cup is handmade (and hand painted with 22 Karat Gold) and retails for $62.

I'm also loving the Mountain Bolt collection, with it's geometric lines and speckled finish. These vases would look gorgeous grouped together just about anywhere in a home. And then there are the Moon Tide and Freedom collections, one light and creamy and the other bold with fantastic swirls and plenty of movement.

You can find Romy's work at a lot of specialty shops in the US, including The Line's website. For No.'s Canadian fans, look no further than one of my favorite shops, Likely General.