So…..is it hot enough for you?! I do love summer and never complain about the heat because winter is just so long and so cold and always seems to be just around the corner. We do not use air-conditioning at our house but fortunately we are surrounded by large trees that provide shade, live near the water for breezes and have a cooler (renovated) basement that we can retreat to. But I also like to have the windows open to hear the sounds of summer. We have on occasion used a fan during the night but the noise of the fan blades chopping the air does not make for a restful sleep. Enter the new Dyson Air Multiplier Fan® with its completely bladeless, non-buffeting design. I had a chance to check out the Dyson fans today and was quite impressed by their contemporary, hip looking design. The Dyson fan has great style and if standing in the corner of a room would appear as an interesting piece of art or architecture. They are also much quieter than a standard fan and because there are no blades they are safer and easy to clean. I even put my fingers on the fan while running which is a total no-no with standard fans. The detail that was difficult to overcome though was the price tag. The small fans start at a hefty price of $300. Which makes me wonder, does great design have to cost more? Hhmmm? On that thought I am heading off to the cottage for a few weeks so keep cool and enjoy the rest of the summer.
Image via Modmissy
Okay, here it is my latest find and of course it is orange. It seems that of late my eyes have this uncanny ability to seek out anything orange. While visiting East End Estates on Kingston Road located in Toronto’s east end (see blog July 14th) I came across what I thought was the ‘jewel’ of the shop that day. I found an ‘Eames-inspired’, orange, touch tone Contempra® telephone. Very mod! The Northern Electric Contempra telephone was first introduced in 1968 in a rotary dial version, with the touch tone version being released a few years later. Inspired by the popularity of Sweden’s very cool Ericofon®, Northern Electric (Bell Canada manufacturing subsidiary) introduced the Contempra which was the first Canadian-designed telephone. It was a very ‘ground-breaking’ style with the dial on the handset instead of the base and was available in a rainbow of colours but none best represents the ‘70’s era like the orange version. I was so thrilled with my find so I showed it to my neighbour – a young, hip, very current, twenty-something who took a look at the very orange, heavy telephone with a long cord that plugs into a phone jack and said, “Why?…..Is it mobile?!”
One morning while sitting at the desk in front of my 3rd floor window I watched my neighbour walk to the curb and place something beside his garbage bin. It was garbage day, that day of endless possibilities where ‘one man’s garbage, is another woman’s treasure’. I raced downstairs and outside and met my neighbour before he had the chance to go back inside. I asked if I could have the item he was getting rid of. I didn’t want to look like I was scrounging! “Sure, but why?”, as he thought the ‘old’ item to be no longer any good. Well, my ‘new’ found item was a foot stool, with a metal tulip-shaped base, covered in white diamond-shaped quilted leatherette, approximately 1950-60’s era. The metal finish on the base was all pitted and flaking and the leatherette was ripped and dirty as I believe it had served some time outside. But no matter because I could see past all this, as it truly was a diamond in the rough. I had the stool recovered in a purple vinyl and I spray painted the metal base silver. The spray paint was not great looking so I decided to go the extra and have the tulip-shaped base re-plated in polished chrome. Re-plating is a great way to update metal objects when the finish has aged or worn away. The new finish is amazing and the stool is now a unique, custom looking piece of furniture with a contemporary feel and instead of sitting by the garbage bin it has a place of honour in my living room.
My friend has this fabulous piece of furniture in her home that I had not noticed before. It is an orange (loving it!) console table that is just the perfect size to place between two doorways in my friend’s home. The orange is similar to the trademark colour of Hermès orange www.hermes.com. It is Asian-inspired in design although that is not the overall decorating theme of my friend’s home. This piece does not take itself too ‘serious’ but rather adds a bit of fun to the space. The hardware’s aged bronze patina and the roughhewed edges of the doors/drawers give the console an appearance of an original not the reproduction that it is. The reason I had not noticed this piece of furniture was that it was located in another spot in the home. In a place where it was not being admired or treasured as much. My friend purchased the piece some time ago but since she has moved the console table she is enjoying it so much more. It’s like having a new piece of furniture. She says looking at the orange piece makes her happy. So….look around your own home and see if you have an item that could be moved to another spot. To enjoy in a new way. Switch things up!
I recently purchased a vintage, 1950’s era, black patent handbag. It is in perfect condition which leads me to believe it was used only for ‘special’ occasions. Its size is just large enough to hold some loose change, a lipstick, pressed powder and some tissues; the few items a ‘lady’ of the ‘50’s needed to carry. Inside the handbag I found a ticket stub from an old Hamilton, Ontario ‘big band’ night club. I envision couples sipping on cocktails and dancing to the sounds of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. I get many complements on this handbag and I believe this due in part to the sense of nostalgia one feels looking at this handbag. It is very reminiscent of days gone by when times were simpler. When women were ladies and men were gentlemen. When automobiles were large and solid with lots of shiny chrome. And furniture styles were simple, with clean lines and organic forms. Colour was embraced in everything from Naugahyde® vinyl upholstery to laminate. Designers like Harry Bertoia, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen and Arne Jacobsen led the way in the modernist style furniture that has become the design classics of the 20th century. I envision elliptical tables, molded plastic chairs, armless sofas, curved plywood/leather loungers, curvy sectionals, and tubular chrome furniture. If ever I had the chance to travel back in time it would most definitely be to the 1950’s. And all this while looking at a handbag.
- Vintage Handbag on a Harry Bertoia Chair
Post being updated – stay tuned.
Views of the Gatineau River from the cottage deck
I am heading off to the nation’s capital this weekend – Ottawa. I am going to take in the sights along the Ottawa River, visit little towns and villages. ‘Nose about’ as they say. Whatever you have planned I hope it involves lots of chillin’, grillin’ and enjoying. Take time for self and sights. Cheers!
Parliament Building in Ottawa seen in a different perspective. How reflective!
Summer is such a great time to get out and discover. One thing I like to do is visit antique/thrift/junk/second-hand shops. I recently found a fabulous antique shop; East End Estates, 1462 Kingston Road at Warden. The good thing is I didn’t even have to drive to the country as it is located in Toronto’s east end. Presently there is no sign above the shop but Steve, the owner, explained it is on its way. But no matter because what I did notice out front of the shop was all kinds of ‘goodies’ displayed. Catches your eye better than any sign!
There were these fabulous white bistro chairs that could be used indoors or outdoors. I really liked the white vinyl seat covers with black piping.
Once inside the shop it truly was a treasure trove. There were items from every era. There was lots of furniture which Steve explained is constantly being changed as things move quickly through his shop. This antique drop leaf table was great and so was all the old crockery.
I fell in love with this West Germany piece of pottery. I liked the colours and the pattern.
I think a set like this could really create a wonderful retro vibe to ‘drinks @ 5’ for anyone who likes to entertain with style!
Of course you know I would fall in love with this orange lamp that had a chrome base. With a new more contemporary lampshade this piece would add character to any room. I don’t really need another orange lamp although ‘want’ is something completely different! Hmmm
There is also a huge downstairs filled with more treasures of crockery, furniture, baskets, antique toys, mirrors, picture frames and lamps. I thought this antique rocker was beautiful.
These 2 benches could be very workable in any décor recovered in new fabric.
I strolled through this shop for quite some time as it is not a space pass you can quickly breeze through as there are so many things to look at and ponder. I highly recommend a visit to East End Estates as you won’t be disappointed. Of course I could not leave this shop without some fabulous treasure of my own but I will share that in a later blog. Stay tuned!
Has it ever happened to you where sometimes you just run out of ideas? Like, “OMG, what should I make for dinner tonight?” or “What should I get X for their birthday this year?” or “How should I entertain the kids this weekend?” Really very small decisions when it comes to the grand scheme of things but most likely you will try to switch things up as variety is the spice of life and as I always say ‘change is good’. Which is probably the reason why the other day while sitting at a traffic light waiting for the light to change I looked down a side street and I was dumbfounded? I made a quick U-turn as I just had to get a closer look. What I noticed was that on both sides of the street all the houses (more than 40) were identical. They were perfectly aligned; every rooftop, every peak, every window, every porch, everything! There were slight colour differences but other than that these homes were all the same. Total carbon copies. I could understand if these truly were row houses but they weren’t, they were all detached homes built identical to the one next to it. It made me wonder, did the builder/architect/designer run out of ideas after the first design? Did the idea of altering a roof angle or a window dimension or a street setback never make it into the design strategy? Did someone believe that the one design was good enough so let’s repeat it over and over and over and over? I understand running out of ideas for dinner but really…! As I wrote before ‘good design is obvious, great design is transparent’.