Creating A Look

creating a look 1Mrs. Godfrey Chair by Jonathan Adler, $1,695.00 and available at Mint Interiors; Floral Arrangement by Quince Fine Florals, in vintage vase; Lamp by Letizia Chandelier, $583.

creating alook 2Barcelona Chair from Living Space; Carpet from East India Carpets; West German Vintage Vases, Attic Treasures; Painting by Hamish Todd

create a look 3Revamped Vintage Chair, cushion and crystal glasses from Gild and Co. DIY flowers  by homeowner, Bette.

Designing Everyday Objects

Everything is designed, even household objects we use and look at everyday. Have a look at some of the beautiful everyday objects that I found at Vancouver Special on Main Street.

everyday stuff 2

The ceramic bowl above, has a beautifully fitted wooden lid. The carafe, the juicer, and the bottle opener are all designed by Alessi, an Italian Design House. Alessi products are part of many permanent museum collections, which speaks to the quality of the designs they produce.

According to Alberto Alessi, “a true work of design must be able to move people, to convey feelings, to trigger memories, to surprise, to go against the grain… We work on expressive languages and on the expressive potential of the items… From this point of view, design intended… to conjure up images in people’s minds, which makes them a bit happier, still has tremendous potential. ”

I especially enjoy these objects’ mixture of utility and whimsy that puts the fun in functional.

brushes

The unique ‘crumpled paper’ cups above are another example of a witty twist on the expected. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but they feel good in your hands.  The wooden spoons’ simple geometry are a departure from what we’re used to, but very functional and attractive. The toilet brushes and scrub brushes are all designed with wood and natural bristles. The toilet brush in particular has a kind of material gravitas that allows this often hidden object to be tastefully displayed.

3broomYou won’t feel the need to hide the broom and scoop below because it is nice enough to show off.

rug

This carpet is made from felted balls. Each carpet contains hundreds of felt balls, and will definitely brightens up any room while imbuing it with a hand-made human scale.

vase

These classic vases are designed by Finnish Architect, Alvar Aalto, in 1936, and are still produced by Iittala. From the Iittala website:

“The Aalto vase dates back to 1936 and was first presented at the Paris World Fair the following year. Its fluid, organic form is still mouth blown today at the Iittala factory. It takes a team of seven skilled craftsmen working as one to create one Aalto vase – an icon of modern design, Alvar Aalto is undoubtedly one of the greatest names in modern architecture and Scandinavian design.”

It’s truly amazing how clean, modern design continues to feel  fresh 77 years later.

cutting boards

Next time you are about to buy an everyday used object think about how it is designed and why you chose it.  For me this kind of thoughtful connection with the design, and the designer, is part of a life well-lived.

Home Tours: Rochelle’s place in Vancouver

This is Rochelle’s fabulous home. Rochelle and her family have recently moved back to Canada after living abroad for the last 23 years, and in Hong Kong, for the last 7.  Rochelle’s interior design degree from Parson’s in New York has served her well as is evident through the house. Wanting a pied-à-terre in Vancouver while her kids finished school, Rochelle and her husband took an old Kitsilano house and undertook a massive renovation.

rochelle porch2They maintained the exterior character of their shingled Kitsilano house to respect the context of the neighbourhood. Only the large modern front door hints at what lies on the other side.

bottom of stairsfireplacelivingroom2living room

Typically homes of this vintage are comprised of small rooms where one must pass through one room to get to another. To offset this rabbit warren feel, Rochelle has opened up the rooms and totally modernized the aesthetic.  The living room, dining room and kitchen are all one large space. She recognized that with so much openness, ample storage would be a must. So all along one wall are built in storage cabinets setting a clean datum line for art and accessories.

zenscape

 

rochelle art2dog and stairsThe stairs are pure sculpture. Glass rails are bolted with stainless steel fasteners transparently enlarging the space.

back of houseCleverly tucked away behind the kitchen is the generous ‘back of house’ where laundry, more storage, and home office reside. Recognizing that life happens, here the kids can drop their backpacks, shoes and what-have-you without impacting the pristine interiors of Rochelle’s home.

powderroomOf particular beauty is Rochelle’s homage to China and Hong Kong, manifested through artwork, ceramics and the cinnabar high-gloss tiles in the powder room.

art and suchThe couple are avid art collectors, and have acquired work ranging from graduating artists at Emily Carr to eclectic pieces that span the globe.

lounge chairAbove is the Scandia Easy Chair, 1957, by Hans Brattrud of Norway.  Their sophisticated design aesthetic clearly shines in their collection of classic modern furniture pieces, right from the entry porch with its Verner Panton chairs through to the Saarinen dining table with Tulip chairs, nicely rounded out by the Arne Jakobsen Egg and Saarinen’s Womb chairs.

stair detailsEven family time is design accented as the family plays backgammon on a Jonathan Adler tapestry board in the casual attic lounge.

Style: From Runway to Room

My birthday was August 14 and I spent the day with my daughter who is visiting from Los Angeles. We took a walk down Main Street, in Vancouver, which has become a funky, hip neighbourhood with many boutiques, antique and vintage goods, cafes, and recently, home decorating shops.

me at vancouver special

Here I am sitting on a sofa in Vancouver Special, at 3612 Main Street (read more below). My daughter took this picture and it made me realize the vintage dress I was wearing was perfectly matched to the decor in the shop. This brings me to two points I want to share with you. Firstly, my dress is awesome and it goes to show you what you can pick up for next to nothing at a vintage store. And secondly, fashion now, more than ever, is one of main predictors of upcoming home decorating trends.

fashion to room

Photo from Freshome.

The styles, patterns and colours that graced the runways of Milan, New York and Paris are soon strutting down the pages of glossy fashion magazines and then end up in our closets. Yet people’s home decor would rarely reflect the fashions that they wore. (from Freshome)

blue fashionPhoto from Sourceable.

However, this is changing. What is happening in Fashion will often predict and inspire the latest looks in interiors. In recent years, the world of interiors has seen about a 2 year lag from runway to living room. Given the speed of information transfer now that time will only shorten. Fashion is not only about clothes and shoes anymore. Trends in the fashion industry have a direct impact on interior design all around the world.

So what exactly was I wearing on my birthday?

details of birthday outfit1. I am a big fan of vintage tiki and Hawaiian fashions. I found this dress recently at Community Thrift and Vintage, 311 Carrall Street. Cost $29.00. The dress is made of  colourful heavy cotton in immaculate condition. 2.  Shoes bought on sale for $50 from Madewell. 3. Silver charm bracelet handmade by Joan Scarabelli Jewellery Design. Each charm is a shoe based on the designs of Peter Fox Shoes and Manolo Blahnik Shoes.

Vancouver Special is a retail store offering a carefully curated selection of contemporary furniture, sofas, design objects, household accessories, and art and architecture books.’

Vancouver Special is a term used to refer to houses built in a particular architectural style in the period from roughly 1965 to 1985 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and its suburbs. The Vancouver Special house style has had a bad reputation because of its proliferation, its cheap materials, bland forms, kitschy decorations, ease of permitting and the fact that it was designed for two family occupancy. The Vancouver Special will be a topic of discussion in a later blog post.