I am heading out for a gal’s weekend to beautiful Hudson, Quebec. The picturesque town (population ~5000) located 60 km west of Montreal was once voted as one of the top places to live in Canada. Originally settled by French Canadian farmers and “voyageurs” in the early 18th century, the region became known for its large English farming community in the early part of the 19th century. The immigrants were mainly from northern England, with others coming from Ireland, Scotland and the United States. Nestled on the Ottawa River (Lake of Two Mountains) surrounded by farms and forests, Hudson is known for its large, turn-of-the century homes, various boutiques and antique markets, wonderful restaurants and hiking trails. I believe a trip to the well-known Finnegan’s Market will be on the agenda to check out the ~100 vendors offering antiques, handicrafts, organic produce, home baking, local wine and lots of seasonal goodies. Cheers!
As I have mentioned in previous posts I live in a home that is about 100 years old. Although there have been only 4 different owners throughout the homes existence there has been a number of ‘alterations’. My home still has some of its original 10” baseboards, crown molding and leaded windows but a lot of the homes original features have been changed. Mind you updated wiring, plumbing, windows and insulation are great changes. We (hubby and me) have probably done the most changes to the home but a lot of those were necessary. Every owner wants to put their personal style into the home so sometime in the ‘70’s all the walls on the main and 2nd floor had paneling applied to them. Not cherry or gumwood but the ‘cheesy’ kind so well-known for the ‘70’s. In the ‘90’s another owner decided to wallpaper over all the paneling but first had every single groove in the paneling plastered over to give the wallpaper a smooth finish. Not an easy or inexpensive task. When we finally became the homeowners we initially painted every single paneled/plastered/wallpapered wall but slowly, room by room we started to tackle the job of gutting the walls. This allowed us to start putting some insulation into the house, to update the wiring and add new drywall. Upon removal of the cheesy ‘70’s paneling we discovered that on the back side the paneling was made of mahogany! Can you imagine, one of the more valuable wood species in the world that has always been associated with fine furnishings was degraded to cheesy paneling? It seemed such a waste to dispose of this ‘outstanding’ paneling especially since mahogany trees are now endangered. We kept these sheets of paneling and have since been using them to make items like my built-in desk. Isn’t it amazing when you scratch beneath the surface what you may find?
The photo above was sent to me attached to an invitation. Any guesses as to what the photo is?? Last week I attended IIDEX/Neocon Canada which is Canada’s national design exposition and conference and Dauphin Human Design www.dauphin.com, one of the many exhibitors present, sent me this invitation to visit their booth to view their new products. The above photo is showcasing Dauphin’s Perillo, an eye-catching contemporary lounge chair. Designed by German designer Martin Ballendat, Perillo is created from one continuous, uninterrupted sheet of thermo plastic that forms the back, seat and armrest. The chair has a high gloss finish available in a ‘rainbow’ of colours. Perillo’s futuristic design and simple sculpted appearance had me wondering if this chair would be comfortable so I made a point of checking out their booth at the event. I sat in the chair and discovered that this chair was indeed quite comfortable. I immediately loved the look of the chair too. With its whimsical and unique space-age shape the chair appeared to be smiling at me and it made me want to smile too. I was reminded of the song by Louis Armstrong, “When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you”. Such a ‘happy chair’, perfect for conference rooms and lobbies to keep everyone smiling!
Image via MODMISSY
I recently came across a 1976 Spring/Summer Eaton’s Catalogue. Truly a trip down memory lane! The T. Eaton Co. Limited founded in 1869, was once Canada’s largest department store that became a national institution in Canada. Eaton’s issued their first catalogue in 1884. For 92 years the Eaton’s catalogue was a household fixture but due to financial reasons the 1976 Spring/Summer catalogue was their last catalogue ever issued. It was really fun to look through the 700 page catalogue of very retro fashions and to see what the trends of the mid-70’s were. For clothing, denim/stretch denim was hot, as were caftan dresses, tube tops, platform shoes for men and women and Speedo® bathing suits were just being introduced. What I found really interesting was the home furnishings and décor. Of course the popular colours of the time were harvest gold, avocado and brown in everything from appliances to bedding. But it was the fabrics that were being used for bedding and drapery that had me so interested. The 1970’s were all about “easy care” with fabrics that promised “permanent press, no-iron, machine washable, carefree, wrinkle-shy, resists the harmful effects of heat, humidity, sunlight and smoke”. Synthetic materials were opted over natural fibres as they “eliminated chores”. Fabrics being used for bedding were: ARNEL, AVRIL, MODACRYLIC, FIBERGLAS, FORTREL, DACRON, LANESSE, and TERGAL. Arnel was the trademark name of a synthetic fiber developed in the 1950’s but was discontinued by the manufacturer in 1986 due to concerns about the toxicity of a chemical used to manufacture the fiber. Modacrylic (modified acrylic) was produced in 1949 by Union Carbide Corporation. And Fiberglas? When it comes to the cyclical nature of fashion (and home decor) isn’t it nice to know that some things are left behind?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but summer is officially over. However following on its heels is Fall with all its magnificent colour and beauty. I thought I would share today some thoughts of what makes this season so wonder-fall.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE FALL!
Images: 1, 2, 6, 8, 9 – Pottery Barn 3, 4 – Restoration Hardware 5 – Canadian House & Home, 7 – Martha Stewart, 10 – CN Algoma Central Railway
I had the good fortune of spending almost 3 months traveling around Europe; to take in the sights, sounds and tastes of Europe. The fascinating history and architectural grandeur of England, France and Italy had me spellbound. I toured through many cathedrals, churches and abbeys admiring the architecture of these historical buildings. But it was the massive windows of beautiful ornate stained glass windows and their craftsmanship that was so striking. The coloured glass made me feel like I was looking through a kaleidoscope of history. In my own home I have 8 stained glass windows, they are not as grand but I do enjoy looking through them. Recently I have been noticing a lot of coloured glass for sale except the coloured glass is in the form of wine glasses. Now I am no wine expert but I thought that to truly benefit all the wonderful features of a wine the drinking vessel should be clear glass. Legs and colour are just two of many characteristics you note about a wine but would a coloured wine glass not alter that. I have always found that if I drank out of a blue glass my brain tells me I am drinking something blue. i.e. blueberry juice?? Green – limeade. Red – red wine when actually it was white wine. And a cold glass of milk in an orange glass??? Too confusing! Personally I would rather look through coloured glass than drink out of it. How about you?
White Wine or Red Wine??
Many years ago I received a gift from my hubby of a black and white leather jacket. It was one of those ‘team’ jackets where the body of the jacket is Melton wool and the sleeves are made of leather with an embroidered picture on the back. The jacket was from the television series Street Legal, a Canadian production which aired from 1987 to 1994.
I wore this jacket for the seven years of the shows airing but afterwards it was relegated to the cottage to be worn as a ‘campfire’ jacket. This year after spring cleaning my closet I decided that the jacket had its time and it was goodbye. I am a big believer of: if it isn’t being used enough, get rid of it. I hate clutter and crowded closets. (that’s another post!) But for some reason I could not seem to put that jacket in the bag with all the other items that were destined for the donation drop-off centre. Throughout the summer the jacket got shuffled from one chair to another around the cottage. I could not seem to part with this jacket for some reason, maybe it was memories. Finally, I came up with another idea for re-purposing this jacket. I took scissors to the jacket and cut and ripped it apart, I removed the Legal stitching from the embroidery picture and then had Queen monogrammed in its place. It now read Queen Street which was appropriate as the scene was that of Queen Street in Toronto of which I live a stone’s throw away. I then sewed the jacket into a cushion and it now adorns my sofa. Very reduce, re-use and recycle and my original gift still lives on!
Images via Modmissy
I believe inspiration can come from anywhere.
Alessandra black and white upholstered armchair, Los Muebles Amorosos, (Spanish for loving furniture) designed by Javier Mariscal for Moroso of Italy.
Image via Birdman
Where do you get your inspiration from???????????
I recently visited Shelter, www.shelterfurniture.ca a shop in Toronto’s west end. Shelter sells Mid-Century, Bauhaus, Danish and Italian modern furniture. So often one can be intimidated by this ‘design-type’ shop, feeling nothing in the store is attainable, too expensive or for ‘designers only’. But as I strolled through the store looking at all the fabulous vignettes admiring the sofas, sectionals, chairs, tables and accessories what I found really interesting were all the ‘writings’ on the walls. Shelter is housed in a warehouse lending the shop a relaxed casual atmosphere and the first thing you see as you walk through the doors: LIVE WITH THE THINGS YOU LOVE painted on an entire wall in huge, fun letters. I liked that; sometimes we just need the obvious pointed out. Another wall sign stated that: ‘Compelling designs are a right rather than a privilege. Where an ordinary space becomes an expression of who you are’. Good design is attainable! And written on the wall behind the counter: ‘We recognize your individuality and are sensitive to the space you envision for yourself’. Shelters motto surely seems to be that they sell to ‘you’ not to who they think ‘you should be’. Webster’s Dictionary defines shelter as: a refuge, a haven, something that provides protection. Shelter just wants you to put a Mid-Century piece in that haven.
Images via Modmissy
Have you noticed anything new on the horizon of late? Ok, I will narrow that down a bit. Have you noticed the new, re-designed, contemporary-looking McDonalds’s? The world’s largest hamburger chain that serves millions of people around the globe every day is having a makeover, a facelift. Keeping in line with their ‘forever young’ brand, McDonald’s restaurants are losing the plastic-heavy, childlike look and presenting a more contemporary, youthful face. Gone is the signature mansard roof, the bright red and yellow colours and the loud tell-tale golden arches. I always associated the restaurant as a ‘jungle gym’, romper room type of playhouse; not a place to eat. Instead the new design of the exterior presents a building with contemporary architecture that is subtle and clean lined. The roof is now flat and partially cantilevered; the colours are grey, white and a muted red. Materials include natural and cultured stone. Very nice touch. The golden arches are still present but not as big of a focus. Even the outdoor seating is more edgy and hipper looking. Although I have not made it inside to check out the interior re-design I am told the old plastic seating has been replaced with leather furniture, plasma televisions and fireplaces. The ‘new’ McDonald’s is much more architecturally interesting with greater curb appeal and I confess that it now gets my attention. But would I falter from my claim to fame of “I have never in my life eaten a McDonald’s hamburger”? Hmmmm? But hey, I like the ‘tasteful’ new design!
The BEFORE and AFTER Photos. What was vs. What now is!
Image via Modmissy