What is Art?

I love this foyer.  The simple but striking red and blue striped runner creates a strong presence amidst the white backdrop.  Bold but elemental in design; a real show-stopper.

Right?  Wouldn’t you agree? Voice of Fire Actually it’s not a foyer and it’s not a runner but rather the powerful vertical painting, Voice of Fire, acrylic on canvas, 1967, by Barnet Newman hanging in the National Gallery of Canada.  Voice of Fire (1)I visited the National Gallery this past weekend and had a chance to sit in Gallery C214, where this 8 ft. x 18 ft. painting hangs.  The walls in this gallery soar to almost 40 feet high toward a room-length skylight and when the National Gallery was built in 1988 it was decided that an “assertive anchor” was needed for this space.

Assertive indeed!  When the painting first appeared in the National Gallery it created huge controversy.  “How could 3 simple stripes cost $1.8 million?”

And many asked, “Is this really art?”

After viewing this painting I headed towards the area of International Art where the Old Masters paintings hang.  I came across this painting by Nicolas Poussin, The Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus, 1628–1629. The Martyrdom of St Eramus

This oil on canvas painting with its ‘forceful diagonals, rich colours and strong light effects’ definitely has history as it is almost 400 years old but I ask you, “does disembowelment make for art!!??”  (Yes I’m talking about the ripping out of a person’s intestines.  Yikes!)

Voice of Fire may be controversial but isn’t The Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus offensive?

So I ask you “what is the definition of art”…..????

It’s all about interpretation I suppose.

And oh by the way Voice of Fire is now valued at more than $40 million!

PS.  If you find yourself in Ottawa check out the National Gallery of Canada and see for yourself.National Gallery of Canada


All images by MODMISSY

EARTH HOUR – pass it on!!

So here’s the thing I want to state,

This Saturday night I have a hot date.

I plan on engaging in a passionate and mindful moment,

That in the grand scheme of things is all about atonement.

Of what really should be done for what lies ahead,

Because if I don’t take care there will be trouble instead.

That’s right…..it’s Earth Hour this weekend,

So lights out is what they recommend.

A worldwide movement for the planet,

In keeping our Earth healthy and well dammit!

So holler some and make a big commotion,

Spread the word and share the notion.

That 60 minutes spent in the dark,

Will hopefully become a momentous landmark

But it’s not just about one hour

It about committing to using less power

And being more ‘green’ in everything you do,

Today, tomorrow and the whole year through!

Pass it on!!!!

                  Happy Earth

All words and images via Modmissy

A Heavenly Home

Continuing on the theme of religion in décor I thought I would share another transformation of church to home.

The former St. Jakobus Church located in Utrecht, Netherlands originally built in 1870 was converted into a beautiful modern townhouse in 2009.

With almost 5000 sq. ft. of living space and ceilings that soar to 14 metres (46 ft.) high the Utrecht-based firm of ZECC Architects undertook the transformation from church to home with a great attention to light, space and functionality.

Converted Church Utrecht

Converted Church

Converted Church interior

Converted Church interior

Converted Church interior

Converted Church interior

Converted Church bathroomTruly a ‘heavenly’ transformation!

Images via ZECC Architects

Religion in Décor

Tomorrow, February 28th, Pope Benedict XVI officially retires.  Since his surprise announcement to the world indicating he would be the first Pope in 6 centuries to retire the world has been in a bit of a ‘holy mess’!

I can’t say that I blame him; Pope Benedict is 85 years old!  I think the man must be feeling a little weary.  While the rest of us are hoping to retire at 65 years old or ‘freedom 55’ (if we are lucky enough) still working as an octogenarian must be exhausting.

Today in honour of His Papal-ness I thought religion in décor would be fitting.

The focal point in this room is a very large Buddha.  Fortunately it is seated upon the window seat as I read that inappropriate placement of the Buddha i.e. on the floor, is considered a sign of disrespect in many Buddhist cultures.



In this photo religion in décor is taken one step further!

religious stairs


The Moravian Star has become a popular décor feature.  Originating in the 1830’s at the Moravian Boys’ School in Germany (possibly from a geometry lesson) the star was adopted by the Moravian Church as an Advent Symbol and also now commonly used in light fixtures.

Moravian Star Light


Often used interchangeably due to the fact that the population of Morocco is almost 99% Muslim is Moroccan-inspired/Islamic-inspired décor.  Seen in everything from wallpaper (1st photo) to furniture and light fixtures (2nd photo) to leather poufs (3rd photo).

Moroccan-inspired decor


Belief in angels is fundamental to many religions.

Angel wings in decor

And what better way to incorporate religion into décor than converting a church into a residence.  This photo is a converted church in Utrecht, Netherlands.

Church as residence


Images via: 1,2,5,7 www.houzz.com 3 www.shadesoflight.com; 4 www.phillipjeffries.com 6 www.thecrossdesign.com 8 www.zecc.nl



The ‘How To’ of Shopping IKEA

Congratulations to Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada) on the recent arrival of their first IKEA store!

For a city with a population of approximately ¾ million, the people of Winnipeg have been patiently waiting for the opening of their big ‘blue and yellow’ retailer.

Now being a bit of a veteran when it comes to shopping at IKEA I thought I would share my tips and suggestions on how to best tackle (shop) this big store.

(Or for anyone who may be a bit timid when it comes to shopping IKEA read on.)

IKEA logo

Welcome newcomer,                                                                                                        Your first trip to IKEA has finally arrived.                                                                               As a seasoned shopper with valuable tips,                                                                              I will explain how I have survived.

Navigating the big blue and yellow store,                                                                         Initially may seem like no easy feat.                                                                                    But with a few of my simple tips,                                                                                              I promise there will be no sense of defeat.

Most important of all,                                                                                                              Is to wear your most comfortable shoes.                                                                   Because as I have already mentioned,                                                                             IKEA is big and has lots and lots to view.

Don’t worry about ever getting lost,                                                                                     For IKEA has this unnerving dilemma sorted out.                                                             With big arrows on the floor,                                                                                                 An easy way-finding system avoids any sense of doubt.

Before beginning your IKEA journey,                                                                                 With smaller ones in tow,                                                                                                   You might like to use the Småland childcare service,                                                          Its free and yours if you choose so.

Head directly up to the 2nd floor,                                                                                          For this is where you will see.                                                                                         Room settings that will truly inspire,                                                                          Designed with IKEA furniture and accessories.

Now you might need to understand,                                                                                While you are on your shopping mission,                                                                          That IKEA’s roots and origin,                                                                                             Hails from the country of Sweden.

So be prepared to be introduced,                                                                                         To POÄNG, KLIPPAN, LACK and LIATORP.                                                           HEMNES, OPPDAL, MALM,                                                                                 ASPELUND, RYKENE, PAX, and EKTORP!

Now that you are more fluent in Swedish,                                                                        Head to the 1st floor and grab a shopping cart.                                                                    For on this level you will begin to discover,                                                                           All the kitchen ware, bedding, lighting, carpets and art.

Now keep following those arrows,                                                                                      And very soon you will see,                                                                                                 The place that has made IKEA globally known,                                                                      A warehouse full of flat-pack and self-assembly.

And don’t forget to take some time,                                                                                      To nosh on a variety of IKEA treats.                                                                                    For there is lots of fabulous food,                                                                                       Eat-in or take-away that just can’t be beat!

You have now successfully made it to the end,                                                                With the check-out clearly in view.                                                                                     You never got confused or lost,                                                                                          And had a wonderful shopping experience too!

The End!

All words composed by Modmissy




Colour – Out of this World!

When booking an airplane ticket do you request the window seat? For the view?

Well Commander Chris Hadfield, Canadian Astronaut, currently living in space aboard the ISS (International Space Station) as Flight Engineer on Expedition 34 has the best window seat ever!

And he has been sharing the view. International Space StationAt 370 – 460 kilometers (230–286 miles) above the Earth’s surface the photos that Commander Hadfield has been sharing via Twitter are nothing short of ‘stellar’!

The ISS orbits Earth 16 times per day, so the 6 Astronauts living aboard see 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets each day! How cool is that!?

I have been following the adventures of Commander Hadfield and I’m in total awe of seeing Earth from the ISS, the beauty of this planet and the wonderful colours of Earth.

Take a look.

This is the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco.   Who would have thought that the ‘City by the Bay’ would be coloured in lavender and teal? Golden Gate Bridge

The Outback, Australia looks like a colourful abstract painting of burnt Sienna and deep blues. The Outback, Australia

This photo taken at night of New York City matches the colours of ‘a night out on the town’ outfitted in mystic gold and blacktop. New York City - ISS

The Richat Structure, a prominent circular feature in the Sahara desert of Mauritania is a beautiful swirling composition of amber and delphinium blue. Richat Structure, Mauritania

Thanks for sharing Commander Hadfield.

All images via Commander Chris Hadfield


Goodbye Penny

Sadly today we acknowledge the passing of Penny.  (1858 – 2013)

I have fond memories of Penny – at the candy store, the summer fair, bingo.

In Canada, a Penny is a coin worth one cent, or 1⁄100 of a dollar and as of today the Royal Canadian Mint stops distributing pennies to banks and retailers.

Up until 1996 the Penny was composed of ~98% copper thus giving the coin its name ‘Copper’.

Canadian Penny frontCanadian Penny back

Although the Penny has become discontinued currency, copper will still be visible in home décor.

The Copper Shade by Tom Dixon is a bright and shiny way to light a room.

Tom Dixon Copper Shade www.tomdixon.net

Nanocrystalline Copper Chair by Max Lamb.Nanocrystalline Copper Chair by Max Lamb

Copper Freestanding Tub by Elizabethan Classics http://www.vintagetub.comCopper Tub http://www.vintagetub.com

Copper door handles http://www.ashardware.co.ukCopper Door Handles

So….‘Penny for your thoughts” if you see a Penny on the street now will you stop to pick it up?


I Believe

December has arrived – a month that is full of rich traditions, celebrations and holidays observed by many people in all parts of the world.

Many of these celebrations are linked to winter solstice with light being a significant symbol.  Others are religiously linked holy days hence the word ‘holiday’.

Hanukkah or ‘Festival of Lights’ is one of the most important Jewish holidays and celebrated for 8 days; December 8 – 16, 2012

Christmas – December 25th marks the birth of Jesus Christ.

Bodhi Day ‘Day of Enlightenment’ celebrated on December 8th marks the day that the historical Buddha experienced enlightenment.

Kwanzaa celebrated December 26th to January 1st recognizes African heritage in North America

Saint Nicholas Day celebrated on December 6 in many parts of Europe.

Yalda, December 21st, is the Persian Winter Solstice Celebration.

Pancha Ganapati is a five-day Hindu festival celebrated from December 21st to December 25th.

And many more.

Whatever your beliefs I hope your December is full of happiness.

On that note I thought I would share mine…..


I Believe


In Remembrance

In the 1980’s I remember attending the opening celebration of Designers Walk www.designerswalk.com in Toronto.  The event promised to be an important affair in the design and architecture community as Designers Walk was to be Canada’s leading resource centre for interior design.

Of course an event as important as this required a new dress!  So off I went in pursuit of that perfect dress.

After much searching I found ‘the’ dress.  It was a light grey, soft and supple suede dress that was sewn in a chevron pattern.  Perfect for a design event – on trend colour, great texture, classic pattern.

The Designers Walk event was fabulous and the dress was a hit.  It was a thrill to be present for this landmark occasion.

But the lasting memory I have of this whole affair that to this day still resonates with me is the person I met who sold me the dress.

I was in a dress shop and having a difficult time making any decision and getting frustrated trying to zip and un-zip in the change room when a very kind saleslady approached me offering assistance.  She patiently zipped and un-zipped for me.  It was when I finally tried on the grey suede dress that the saleslady rolled up her sleeves, put her hands on her hips and announced that this was ‘the’ dress.   I suddenly froze.  There on the saleslady exposed forearm was a tattoo.  A number tattoo.  During World War II the system of identifying prisoners at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp was to tattoo numbers on to their skin.  People were not identified by their face or their name but rather a number indelibly stamped on their body.  OMG was all I could think as I stood there trying not to stare at the saleslady’s forearm.  She had been at Auschwitz and had survived.  She had been witness to horrific events.  I have never forgotten this kind, patient lady.

In remembrance to all those who have lost their lives or have been witness to terrible violence during war and fighting I acknowledge their great courage and sacrifice.

Lest we forget.