Christmas and Eames

It's July - and swelteringly hot - so in my world at least it means the Holidays have started. Last week the fireplace was lit and the house was filled with lots of sparkly decorations, a white tree, two models, a photographer (hi John Cullen!), two assistants, an art director (hey Jason Kang!), a wardrobe stylist, a hair and makeup person, plus a couple of extra folks who were roped in to lend a hand. And, we were lucky enough to have smartypants food stylist Ashley Denton on set too, who took a couple of secs in between shots to snap a few pics of the goings-on with the Instagram app on his iPhone. They turned out super-cool, so I thought it'd be fun to share them (there's more on Ash's Instagram stream here).

Yep, it's all very Christmas-y, but in that last shot you'll see something far more practical, the Eames Hang-It-All that's now installed in the front hall to handle a slew of jackets, trucker hats, dog leashes, and towels (for our occasionally mucky Whippet, Spot). It was a splurge for sure - after shopping around I found the best price for a new one on eBay - and, funnily enough, it's the only Eames piece in the house. Happy Holidays!

{that one great thing} Jen's (two)one great vintage chair(s)

Can someone please explain to me how it's already Wednesday? I'm having a really work-y week and time is just whizzing by, which is why I'm super glad Jenn Hannotte's *that one great thing* pick popped up in my inbox, since she's always such a smartypants whilst I am - right now at least - feeling awfully fuzzy in the brain department. And yes, before anyone says anything, I know Jenn is slightly cheating by picking 2 things, but that's just how she rolls...

Jenn Hannotte: My One Great Thing is actually Two Great Things, but their stories are the same and I didn't want to leave either one out! When I was living in Winnipeg (holla!), I was working as an art director for a specialty advertising company. I was 20 years old, and while I cared a great deal about how my various apartments looked, I didn't really *know* anything about the history of industrial/furniture design. In a corner of the office sat these two chairs, stacked and dusty. I thought they looked cool and asked the boss if I could buy them, but he generously (it turns out!) gave them to me. This was my first experience exploring the history of an object; I turned over the chairs and discovered they were Fritz Hansen chairs and went to eBay (pretty much the only source at the time!) and learned their worth. From there, armed with a little more information I soon found myself hooked on learning about the history of design. I consider the discovery of these chairs the fuel for my passion for design, and on the downside, the impetus to my chair addiction! They always make an empty corner pop, and they've always worked with whatever look I'm loving. Here's round-up of their recent history of resting places in my various homes as an homage.


{that one great thing} Jennifer's chandelier

You guys might know Jennifer Flores as the smarty-pants behind that great blog, Rambling Renovators, while I've gotten to know her better as the tireless organizer - along with her husband Sean - of the always interesting and inspiring Pecha Kucha design talks that happen at the IDS and throughout the year (which, thanks to Jennifer, I have loads of fun hosting). You can find more about Pecha Kucha Toronto right here, and below you'll get the scoop on Jennifer's fave piece in her home in my series, that one great thing.

Jennifer Flores: This chandelier is my favourite thing in our house. Its made of translucent capiz shells edged in metal. I love its mix of hard and soft, masculine and feminine. Capiz comes from the Philippines so having this in my home reminds me not only of my heritage but also brings back fond memories of those kitschy capiz lamps and souvenirs scattered about my parents’ home in the 1970’s. 

I bought the chandelier on eBay seven years ago for $60. It was such a beautiful piece that I didn’t want to hang it just anywhere – so for most of the last seven years, it sat packed away in a box! I first hung it in a bedroom in my old condo when I needed to stage the room to prepare the condo for sale. The condo sold quickly so only two weeks later the chandelier went back into the box, no real time to enjoy it. 

Since then, it has survived two moves and only recently found a permanent home. We renovated our master bedroom and essentially planned the space around the chandelier.  Can I tell you how much I love lying in bed looking up at it? It was meant to be there all along.

Should they stay, or...

Should they go? Yes, they're awfully nutty, in fact, irresistably so - I scored a whole tea set (sadly, without the tea pot) the other day when I stopped in at  Value Village. 4 mugs, 4 side plates, plus a cream and sugar, and all shockingly 1980's and Post Modern looking. The pattern is called Clouds and was designed by Fujimori for Japanese firm Kato Kogei, yep, in the mid-80's sometime. The colour combo of sugary pink, grey and black is such a hilarious throwback to a time that style forgot, but really, should I keep them or should they head to eBay? And if they stay, will I think of Duran Duran every time I have a cup of coffee?

Buh-bye memories

My grandparents dining room set plays a large part in my childhood memories of happy times spent tucking into a Sunday roast, with a giant wobbly trifle for pud, and a glass of fizzy shandy to wash everything down. The glam set now resides in my sister's London flat, but not for much longer. It's too big. In fact, the imported from Italy in the '50's dining suite is on the humongous side, crowding into almost half of her living room, with the buffet slotted rather tightly into a spare bedroom. Once it's all been sold off on eBay, she'll be looking into a Tulip table with Bertoia Side Chairs as a considerably less space-eating alternative. And, as much as I'd like to swoop in on her auction and have everything crated and shipped over the Atlantic, we definitely don't have the room for it either. So it's a bit of a sad buh-bye... Take a look below, it's rather smashing, no?