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 It currently sits in our living room, next to a very bland and outdated (but comfortable) reading chair.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.

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.

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‚Äôs 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.