Thursday, March 29, 2012

A dynamic contrast

As Spring approaches, life seems to be moving forward at a thunderous pace while it can feel a little hectic at times, there are some really exciting projects in the works and new little milestones being hit along the way which make it feel so worthwhile. While my mind is often swirling with a dozen ideas at any given time, there's one space that's been particularly on my mind recently and I've found myself going back to find it quite a few 
times in the past few days. 

The first time I saw this space, I knew immediately it would someday appear on this blog - clean, fresh airy but still so dynamic and interesting, it felt like love at first sight. The Kubus fabric in Or by Pierre Frey almost cinched the deal right away - this fabric has been a favourite of mine for some time, and I'd love to have it in my home but the price $350/yard price tag had scared me off. I love how Michelle Adams of Lonny magazine balanced this dramatic pattern with soft blue walls and upholstered pieces in creamy neutral tones.


Dramatic drapery in the living room - Kubus fabric in Or.

The angular geometric lines of the console echo the pattern in the curtains.

The geometric element is continued in the striking but simple light fixture, all of these hard lines are balanced out with the soft form of the Louis XVI dining chairs and oval Saarinen table.

Michelle kept the drama in the living area and left the kitchen quite quiet in contrast.

This bedroom and the bedding in particular have been on my mind lately - soft creamy neutrals and warm walnut, injected with the just right amount of punch in the bold white and blood orange bedding. 

Just the right amount of calm to be a soothing and relaxing retreat at the end of the day, and just the right jolt of energy to wake up refreshed and energized.

{Photography: Patrick Cline, Design and Art Direction: Michelle Adams for Lonny magazine, 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Everything Begins

I was delighted recently to stumble across one of those little treasure troves of a shop online called Everything Begins that left me suddenly with a much longer wish list than when I'd arrived. With unique and beautifully designed products from an array of talented independent and emerging artists there are almost far too many pretty things to choose from. 

Bleu de Lectoure Linen Cushion

Fun and fresh umbrellas for rainy Spring days from Gina and May.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring fresh

Something about this midcentury home by Portland designer Jessica Helgerson has always felt so irrepressibly fresh to me - bright, airy and filled throughout with large leafy branches, I couldn't think of a better home for the first official day of Spring. Crisp black and white provide a neutral background and just the right amount of drama, mixed with organic, natural elements and little pops of bright green used throughout the home.

{All photos: Jessica Helgerson}

Monday, March 19, 2012

Inspiration for the new week 19.3.12

Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.
                                                                               Oprah Winfrey

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Warmth and light

Slatted wood seems to be everywhere these days and this beautiful home seems to prove exactly why this is so. Clean, simple and modern it has a much lighter effect than solid panels. There's an warmth this brings to a space that is just so inviting. With brighter skies and longer days, this airy slatted pergola  would be the perfect space to soak in all the light.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pen Art by Il Lee

I was drawn to the moody abstract imagery in these pieces right away when I saw them, but each time I learned something new about them they became even cooler. These pieces by Il Lee are actually created with ballpoint pens! What's even crazier is the scale of the pieces - at first glance I thought it was pretty impressive to have managed to fill an average sized canvas, but these images are huge! That's an awful lot of scribbling. I'm in love with the inky blue tone and the soft, abstract forms.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A classic all white kitchen with a twist

It was love at first sight when I saw Toronto stylist Sasha Seymour's kitchen - the perfect blend of timeless classics - white subway tile, carrera marble and herringbone wood floor, with unexpected twists -  a sculptural chandelier from the 1970s, brass hardware (vs. the traditional chrome and stainless steel) and of course, the pièce de résistance - a counter height fireplace.  The combination of all these elements was just so interesting and unique but still classic enough to be enduring. Flooded with light from the skylight above, the overall feeling is so fresh. This space proves that classic all white can be anything but boring - and also, that perhaps every kitchen needs a fireplace.

House and Home's Suzanne Dimma gives a video tour of Sasha's home here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The New Artisans by Olivier Dupon

by M F Miller

The New Artisans: Handmade Designs for Contemporary Living by Olivier Dupon is a well-executed look at the modern resurgence of craft and artisan-based work. An elaborate extension of his blog Dossier37, Dupon branches over several different mediums to bring together a collection of designers, crafters and companies that are focused on  making items that represent something more than the mass-production that floods the mainstream. Dupon’s goal is to return the word “artisan to its noble status,” a place where skill and workmanship matter as much as the aesthetic. 

There is now, a very recognizable movement of designers and artists combining traditional techniques and methods with fresh new styles and modern materials. The New Artisans proves this page after pageWhether it is the making of original craft from raw materials or new art from recycled sources, Dupon showcases quite strongly that all of the producers in the book have a certain thing in common; they are set on joining “meaning, imagination and excellence” in everything they make. Moreover, this artisan movement is coupled with the rise in the customer’s desire to have access to items that carry a one-of-a-kind quality  in a sea of disposable things. The want to “know thy maker” is real and fuels both the artist and the buyer.

The strength of The New Artisans lies in its scope. It is a gallery in print. Categorized alphabetically, with clean and detailed images, the book reads easily as a survey of many different artists from several different countries. It showcases both established companies like Duvelleroy (a French house of fans founded in 1827) and Italian crochet artist Antonia Rossi, who does not even have her own studio and makes her art wherever she can. Dupon provides a sneak peek into the private places where all of these crafts are made and each artist’s body of work  is well represented with several images. The New Artisans does a great job of highlighting the spectrum and specialty of each contributor. 

Dupon has put together a tightly edited collection of arts and crafts that will surely be a much-visited reference for professional inspiration and creative stimulation.

 The New Artisans by Olivier Dupon, Publisher: Thames & Hudson; All photographs by M F Miller


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