Call me Fifi

Okay, so how huge was Woofstock? Ummm, let's just say it was a massive doggie day out (you better believe it when they say it's the largest dog festival in North America). In fact, Spot the Whippet is now zonked on the sofa with a grumbling belly after scarfing down tons of free samples. For me the coolest find of the day was the totally brilliant pet photography by Jason Krygier-Baum. His large-scale and very coy Poodle portrait totally stopped me in my tracks, and made me think that it's time for Spot to get ready for his close-up. Oh, and just so you know, while you might agree with me that the supermodel below looks just like a Fifi, her real name is just as beguiling - Paree.

Slightly awol

Yep, I have been slightly awol from the blogosphere of late, since Tommy Smythe and I have been working together on a Very Important Project that's been taking up a fair bit of time. More news on that soon (it actually starts shooting today!).

In the meantime, how about checking out a fantastic new exhibit called 10x10x10 that photographer George Whiteside is working on. I saw George the other night at Azure Magazine's 25th anniversary party and he told me all about it, here's the deal - Starting on 10/10/10, he'll be hanging 1,000 of his photographs at Toronto's One 800 Gallery. Each day more will go up - including Polaroids, test prints, collages and one of a kind images - and you can even volunteer to help in the process (call 416.986.9900 for deets). The show opens Oct 20th, and yes, everything hung on the wall will be available to purchase. Oh, and for even more inspiration, check out George's stellar portfolio here.


Oh happy day

It's hard to be glum when the sun is shining, even if it is a Monday, so I thought I'd start the week off bright (nope, that is not a typo) with a peek at the swell home of San Francisco-based photographer Nicole Hill Gerulat. These lovely shots are outtakes from Nicole's house shoot for The Nest mag (click here for more). I'm totally digging her sense of style, and confident way with white and colour, not to mention that great camera collection in the last shot! For more from Nicole, check out her portfolio here, and follow along on Twitter here, oh, and the styling on Nicole's house shoot was done by Anthony Albertus.

Blue mondays

Is Monday your most favourite day of the week? Errr, possibly not. So, to get everyone through the gloom and chill of this particular Monday I thought we could totally do with some inspiring shots by photographer Tom Mannion. I don't even remember how I stumbled across his jaw-dropping work, but as soon as I'd had the chance to have a good rummage through his stunning portfolio I knew I wanted to post this series of shots. A quick e-mail and then Tom said yes. Cool!

Anyways, I love the mix of blues (turquoise is Pantone's colour of the year, btw) and the slightly surreal feel of the shots, all beautifully styled by the v. talented Faye Toogood for Elle Decoration. Time for some dotty paper lanterns, don't you think?

Julia Black: Capturing Heidi Leverty

One of my favorite aspects of working on Pure Design is searching for local artists to feature in each episode. Several of us on the team would brainstorm and research that perfect creative type for each episode at hand, and with countless talented and passionate artists out there discovering them was such a memorable journey. One of my absolute faves this season was Heidi Leverty, an astounding photographer and enlightening artist. Her exceptional ability to convey, through her lens, the beauty in discarded objects is amazing. Within her four collections of photographs, Heidi shines a light on transformations, cycles, and lifespan, which causes us to reconsider and appreciate the value and beauty of all that is around us. Take a close look and you’ll see the ordinary material of our everyday routines becomes an extraordinary photograph. You can catch Heidi's inspired work on this week's episode of Pure Design on HGTV.

For even more of Julia's point of view check out her cool blog here.

Inky and pretty

In my line of work I get to see gorgeous stuff, well, almost on a daily basis, but every now and then I get completely gobsmacked by something that's just so jarringly lovely that I'm rendered speechless. Hello, did you take a look at the shots below? Are they not completely fantabulous? All that colour against that inky black wall is just so inspiring - let alone the vintage pottery and all the other collectibles - it just makes me want to grab a paintbrush and a gallon of Farrow & Ball's darkly glam Railing and paint over all our white walls. Let's give a big gold star to both the brilliant photographer Janne Peters and stylist Maria Grossman, who collaborated on this project, and thanks too to both of them for letting me share the images with you!

Kitchen Confidential

Can I say how much I love, love, love the way this kitchen for Canadian Family turned out? I had the pleasure of working on the project with Jen Reynolds, CF's editor-in-chief, and the results were shot by the always sassy Michael Alberstat (make sure to check out his portfolio).

Jen's drab old kitchen didn't reflect her century home's feel or her eclectic sense of style (it was as dull as dishwater) so we spent time layering charm back into the space; making sure it worked for her family and had all the bells and whistles Jen had always wanted (like those smashing fridge drawers from GE Monogram). Here's a quick rundown - The kitchen was planned and installed by Home Depot, the antiqued painted cabinetry is by Kraftmaid, those new windows are from Jeld-Wen, the sink and faucets (including the pot filler above the cooktop) are Kohler. As well as the fridges, the oven and cooktop are from GE Monogram (the SmartDispense dishwasher is GE Profile). And finally, that gorgeous Persian rug was lugged back years ago from Iran by Jen's husband Neil!

You'll have to grab the Winter '09 issue for the inside scoop on the whole project, but I wanted to share a few of the shots below.


Honey, my key won't work

I've featured some pretty amazing interiors in Flare Magazine, but the one below is a total favourite. In fact, when I first scouted it, I accidentally let slip that I might move in and change the locks, lol. This gem of a house, hidden away in a Toronto suburb, is owned by photographer John Cullen and his talented wife, Martine Blackhurst, who's a stylist and vintage shopper extraordinaire.

Of course John shot the place, capturing beautifully all the light and colour that fills each room. Martine is responsible for the wit and style of the interiors; she snagged much of the furniture and accessories from thrift stores, eBay and antique markets, lugging stuff home from as far afield as Mexico. The house has great architectural bones, and luckily most of the bells and whistles hadn't been ripped out or mucked up over the years - like that skylight-topped teak coffered ceiling in the living room, and the old-school glam mirror tiled wall in the dining room (there's another skylight in there too, sigh...).

Click here to take a look at the rest of John's portfolio - his shots of India are mah-vellous. And y'know what? I still might move in...

Old dogs and rockers

Apologies for posting later than normal, today has been a bit nuts-o. The steel beams arrived at the house early this morning so I was hanging around watching the install as long as I could before totally freezing my you-know-whats off (I'll be posting shots of the install later). Now I'm back at my laptop and have just polished off Style Scout for the National Post after running to grab a door handle for a shoot for House & Home. Phew, no rest for the v. wicked...

I thought it would be fun to post a couple of recent vintage finds. The first is a totally cool teak rocker that was quite the steal from a seller on Kijiji. It's destined to be re-upholstered for a mod nursery makeover that I'm working on for CityLine. The second are a pair of beyond fab Foo Dogs grabbed from a local Goodwill. $12 each, you can't beat that with a stick. They'll be used in an upcoming shoot I'm working on with a photographer friend of mine Stefano Barbera. And don't worry, I'll be sharing the shots once they're done.

Blanc space

What's the right white? Well, everyone has their favourites. From Benjamin Moore the obvious pick is Cloud White; it's the go-to choice for most designers. I'm v. partial to Ralph Lauren Paint's Mother of Pearl which has a touch of grey warmth to it, and then there's the always lovely Farrow & Ball. I love their well edited collection of hues and will happily plunk for All White if I'm in need of a modern gallery white, or Pointing, if something warmer is just the ticket.

The darling house below is in Benjamin Moore's Decorator's White. The place was shot in all it's pale glory by Janet Bailey and first appeared in Flare magazine in March of this year. Its the touches of black and bright hits of colour that make this place work against all that white, that and some very dramatic choices. Take a look at the space below, and make sure to check out Janet Bailey's portfolio here.



Dark and light

Chiaroscuro - The interplay of dark and light. There's a $10 word; drilled into me at a tender age by my Art History teacher who's Scottish brogue sauced every word she carefully pronounced (I've never heard 'r's rolled better). It popped into my head as I was scrolling through the beautiful work of photographer Annie Schlechter who, I discovered, has shot for both Jonathan Adler and Kelly Wearstler as well as quite the laundry list of top design and decor mags.

Take a look below at a brief selection of images that hit me as fabulous - interesting interiors shot with an eye to style, colour and texture - and be sure to click here to check out the rest of Annie's portfolio. Oh, and don't be stealing that ochre and concrete colour combo from the first shot; I have my eye on it for our new place.