January 28, 2010

My parents are originally from England and emigrated to Canada 30ish years ago. So while my sisters and I were raised as first generation Canadians, we also grew up with a strong sense of British culture and values. I think that out of all my friends, I most strongly identified with my cultural background, and it is something that I continue to incorporate into my persona now. Actually, one of the things on my to do list is to spend the day as someone else, with a british accent, naturally.
So it comes as no surprise that I am drawn to very classic british fashion. Here's what I am digging lately:
These gorgeous duffel coats from Gloverall. Swoon. Forget pea coats. Those toggles is where it's at. (link found via Wikstenmade)
And I know that Hunters are all trendy right now, or maybe that's already passed? Either way I would love a pair of shiny red wellies.

On the other hand, I might just end up looking like this guy:

One of the first concepts I learned about during design school was the idea of the elegant solution and that really successful design imparts a sense of delight in the end user. It is an idea I have carried with me to this day. In fact when I am working on a project, I'll often take a step back from my work and question whether I am creating something that could impart that sense of joy in someone. While I do feel that for some areas of design can more directly access the emotions of their target market, like industrial or graphics for instance, I still think the concept is relevant for interiors. Obviously some interiors can incorporate that sense of delight more readily than others, but it will always be something I strive for in my interiors.
Sometime last year, I was introduced to the essay "Since Then" by Milton Glaser from his AIGA National Design Conference appearance, where he says the following:

"If we need a definition of Art, the Roman literary critic Horace provided an elegant one. “The role of art is to inform and delight”. Form and light are hidden in that definition. It’s an idea I enthusiastically embrace. Of course, informing is different than persuading. When one is informed, one is strengthened. Persuasion does not guarantee the same result.
Delight is the non-quantifiable part of the definition that speaks to the role of beauty. What artists make is a gift to humankind; a benign instrument that has the possibility of affecting our consciousness through empathy and shared symbolism. We are affected not through logic but by a direct appeal to our limbic brain, the source of our emotional life. Although we don’t fully understand how it functions, I’m drawn to this mysterious part of our work, which we frequently describe as metaphysical or miraculous. These words may simply mean that we still do not understand what our brain is capable of."

Last week I was reminded of this essay when I attended a lecture that was presented by ACAD, and featured Sandy Chilewich of the Chilewich brand of products. She spoke a lot about her product design and the importance of the marketing and branding of her products. She spoke about her reluctance to use the words artist and designer in reference to herself and her work, and that it was something that she would likely never reconcile for herself. I was most interested in some of the discussion that came about after Sandy had finished her presentation, on the topic of art and design, artist and designer. It was the first time I had heard that discussion between both artists and designers. I guess I always considered a designer to be someone who creates with a function and user in mind, and that an artist is simply more about creative expression. Really naive now that I think about it. There is just so much grey area, and really so much creative work falls into both of these categories. And it was so great to hear so many people express that.
I didn't bring this up to ignite debate or anything, just to express that at the end of the day, it felt so good to be with like minded souls. And that I guess I felt a little less lonely in my little world.

January 15, 2010

Ahh, the end of the week. I am especially grateful for this weekend, as I have been working for 12 days straight. Nice way to start off the new yeah, eh? Anyway, here are a couple of things that kept me going this week:

My new HBC Point Blanket! After coveting one for years, I used my Christmas money on this delightful heirloom. Pictures soon!

I love Selvedge magazine, but never buy it as it's a bit costly, especially for something that is basically just a picture book for me. I was on their website earlier this week and found their drygoods section. Some beautiful things over their.

Maggie has been documenting her friend's wardrobes, and her latest on her friend Rachel Brune is my fave so far. I covet everything. That pink vintage dress is to die for, and I am wondering how I can add tiny shoulder buttons and ruffles to my wardrobe.

And then I thought I would fill this space with a little introduction of my constant companion. Pictured above is my lovely dog, Margot. She is a 1 1/2 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and is the most delightful thing to come home to everyday. And I am quite looking forward to some quality time in the park with her this weekend. I hope you all have good plans for the next couple of days too.

January 13, 2010

Over the christmas holidays, I had a bit of time on my hands, so I decided to do a bit of home improvement and update my bathroom. We are thinking of moving in the near future, so part of the reasoning was to make the house more neutral and sellable, and partly because I was just so tired of looking at the aqua blue it had previously been.

The bathroom is tiny, so I couldn't get any good overall shots, but I took a couple pictures of the artwork I have in there. Above from left to right: vase from Ikea (who doesn't have these?), peacock ring holder from Urban Outfitters, Art is a notecard from Loop in an Ikea Frame, sea urchin from a trip to Oregon awhile back, perched bird from Love of Mine Boutique in Toronto, milk bottle from my grandmother in England, with a feather from a feather duster. The shelf was just picked up at the hardware store.

Artwork by Yelena that I picked up on Etsy.

Artwork by Christina Norberg that I picked up at Portobello West.

I had decided awhile ago that I wanted to paint the bath a nice milk chocolatey brown and have been on the lookout for the perfect colour for quite awhile. I think I found it! I am so pleased with how the colour turned out. As an interior designer, I am constantly on the lookout for colours just like this: good neutrals with no obvious undertones. I was so afraid that this paint would come out with an orange or pink undertone. But it is just the perfect milk chocolately brown that I was looking for.

The colour is Light Chocolate, by ICI Paints. However, I went over to my local Benjamin Moore dealer and had them colour match for me. I love Benjamin Moore products, and had them mix this in the Ultimatte finish for me, which is super durable and washable, which is really difficult to find in a matte finish. I also want to use their Aura line of products, but the Aura matte finish didn't have the durability I was looking for in a bathroom application.

January 5, 2010

These days I have mostly taken to skimming through pictures on my favourite blogs, but this post today on design*sponge made me halt in my tracks. I would love to see what goes on at the art department of Mad Men. Could you image walking through the furniture inventory there?!?

Also, a link to Matt Warners son, Arlo, in case you haven't met this little fashionista. I wish I dressed half as good as him!