STYLE SPOTLIGHT ON ERIN CHOW OF HAVEN TEXTILE COMPANY

With a creative background in interior design and years spent surrounded by beautiful treasures at our city’s top decor boutique, it’s no surprise that local designer Erin Chow found her passion creating stunning pieces for the home. This week we check in with Chow on what inspired her to take the leap into starting her own textile brand, Haven Textile Company, and what she surrounds herself with to keep the creativity flowing. 

1. Tell us a little about yourself... 
I was born and raised in Vancouver.  I completed my education in Interior Design at BCIT and have been working at The Cross Decor and Design for 5 years.  I developed an affinity for pattern and texture while working in the industry and found myself driven to create.  My weekend dye experiments soon moved into a studio space in Railtown and Haven Textile Company was established. I am always striving to create beauty and balance in my life and I believe that travel feeds my soul.

2. How did you get started in textiles and what led you to where you are now? 
I was looking for a way to salvage a shirt that I had stained and found a DIY while surfing pinterest.  I made an attempt at dyeing at was hooked.  I started experimenting with different Shibori techniques and natural dyes and found myself completely taken with the process.  I attended a few workshops through the Maiwa School of Textiles to further develop my skills and soon outgrew my tiny kitchen.  I moved my work to Octopus Studios in Railtown and shortly after launched my line of hand dyed textiles focussing on one of a kind pieces for your home.

3. What colour best describes your personality? 
Grey, but not in a boring drab kind of way! Think cool, calm and serene. 

4. What is your favourite accessory (for home or personal)? 
Pillows of course! :)

5. When it comes to style/design, what is the one thing you covet the most? 
I have a beautiful carved skull that I picked up in Bali.  It was the start of a 3 week long trip, and I lugged that thing everywhere.  Everytime I look at it I'm reminded of my trip.

6. Do you have any predictions for the future of your industry?  
I see that people are really asking more questions about what they are purchasing: where was this made? how was this made?  what kind of materials were used?  I'm seeing a shift in people considering the global impacts of something they are purchasing for their home.

7. Some people collect old cameras & typewriters. Do you collect anything? 
I'm really not a stuff person, I like to keep my personal space very simple and clean.  

8. Who is your idol or mentor? 
I'm a huge fan of Craig Stanghetta and the work of STE Marie.

9. What is your favourite creative website? 
So hard to choose just one!  Rue, Lonny, Amber Interiors, SF Girl by Bay

10. If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? 
I think I'd make a pretty good detective or maybe running some sort of Air Bnb in Mexico.

11. Is there a song or a musician that inspires you to create? 
Sade gets me in the zone.

12. If you could speak to a room of youth who were considering careers in the arts, what would your advice be? 
Follow your heart.

13. Artistically, what is your favourite part of the city? 
I love the old charm of Gastown, but the eclectic-ness of Main Street.

SMALL SPACE STYLE NAILED BY DESIGNER ANGELA ROBINSON

With our city’s housing market regularly hitting new peaks and density issues reaching full capacity, it’s a near guarantee that homeowners are looking for ways to maximize their homes and seek out creative ways to add livable space, whether for personal use or a secondary accommodation.

For many young families, the idea of affording their own house in Vancouver is just a dream and finding a space where family is close by seems like an event further stretch. When local interior designer Angela Robinson was approached by her clients - a young couple with a baby girl -  she was able to completely rediscover the non-existent basement of their parents  Kitsilano home to create a stunning space that innovatively offered both. 

As the ground was excavated to make room for a lower level suite, Robinson came up with a design plan that worked with the uneven terrain to allow for a functional space that gives no visual indication of it’s partial underground locale. “It’s kind of like two homes in one: the entire front is above grade, but the back is buried and windowless,” she explains.

For this renovation, it was all about location. Opting to situate the kitchen where many would think to locate the living space - the front of the house with all the windows - made an unexpected major difference to everyday life for the family considering it is the highest traffic room during daylight hours. Maximizing the space’s brightness in the kitchen and eating areas meant that Robinson had to get creative when looking to design a living room that didn’t feel like a cave; rather than building a traditional wall and door between the living room and master bedroom, a glass sliding wall was installed to allow the natural light from the bedroom carry through into the family space. Floor to ceiling drapery allows for privacy between the rooms when desired, but otherwise an open-concept feel to the suite.

When working with a small space (this unit is 1,200 sq. ft./two bedrooms) and limited natural light, the right colour palette is essential. To keep the space feeling airy with the illusion of more room, Angela went with an  all white finish. White walls and cabinetry elevate the feel of the natural light where it is available, and eliminate the enclosed vibe of the areas with no windows. While  to some, opting for all-white everything might seem anti-climactic, this space offers a chic graphic appeal as the bright white walls and ceilings are paired with sharp black accents throughout. Sleek black window frames, faucets, hardware and decor details create flow and continuity throughout the space that give depth and interest without overwhelming the suite. 

Smaller pops of blues and greens create a tertiary element through the artwork, which becomes a gallery-esque focal point against all white walls. To truly make the space feel personalized without adding clutter, the artwork is family-focused: an all-white-frame gallery wall of family portraits adorns the living room, while statement artwork in the nursery becomes more than just a stellar image, “it’s a photo of the island of Capri, which is the baby’s namesake” Robinson shares.

Through clever spatial planning and creative customized details, the designer was literally able to create a contemporary home-sweet-home out of nothing for this young family.  

DESIGNING WITH BC'S NATURAL BEAUTY: THE BEST OF VANCOUVER'S LOCAL WOODWORKERS

As I explore BC this Summer, what I have been most inspired by is the natural beauty of this incredible province. At every turn, our local resources make a statement, whether untouched in nature or repurposed for design. This week we are taking note from our beautiful home and looking at five of our area’s top woodworkers who bring the art of wood into local decor.

1. KATE DUNCAN DESIGN.
A self-proclaimed ‘badass woodworker with a serious side of sass’, Kate Duncan has been a frontrunner in the Vancouver design and woodworking scene for years. Her signature nod to the traditions of joinery combined with a beautifully structured modernity has built a fanbase  for her designs that far exceeds our city limits. When I asked Kate what inspires her to create, she shared “The thought that my work will last for generations to come. I always wonder who my work will get passed on to and what kind of life each piece will lead… “. 

2. BOWYER & TOULSON.  
With a studio located just outside the city in Ladner, the team at Bowyer & Toulson has taken the unique design philosophy to work with timber from the local landscape and give new life to trees that have fallen from natural causes or been removed. The life of each tree is respected and lives on within the end product, as each of their pieces are handcrafted from a single board. Offering an array of serving and cutting boards, the brand designs small collections of products that bring the beauty of wood into functional decor. Available at Nineteen Ten Home.

3. MTH WOODWORKS.  
Since 2010, Micheal Thomas Host has reshaped the boundaries of creating high end  wood furnishings. Blending his family history in forestry and years of experience building yachts, Michael has designed a niche collection of furnishings and art combining salvaged wood and resin epoxy. Engaged in the Vancouver art scene, Michael keeps finding unique ways to collaborate and share his work - most recently he joined forces with local real estate duo Ashley Smith and Thu Pham to create a Pop Up Gallery within a luxury penthouse suite that was offered for sale. In a swanky New York-esque take on an open house, Michael’s work was featured throughout the loft as potential buyers mingled over a scotch tasting rather than a traditional condo showing. 

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4. UNION WOOD CO.
Union Wood Co. has become a household name for reclaimed wood furnishings since they opened up shop in 2009. With a heavy utilitarian influence, Union’s custom pieces bring high end, polished designs to market that pay homage to the nostalgia of Vancouver’s forgotten industrial foundries. A go-to for designers, the local shop creates upscale furnishings that add a coveted element of edginess to even the most contemporary space.

5. BOWERMAN’S HANDCRAFTED FURNITURE.  
With a history in restoring antiques and artifacts, it’s no surprise that Rick Bowerman has built a name for himself through attention to detail and quality craftsmanship. Located in Squamish, Bowerman’s designs both furniture and custom millwork and cabinetry, making them a sought after choice for homeowners when seeking a full service woodworking studio.

DESIGNING THE ULTIMATE SUMMER STAYCATION

With Canada’s monumental 150th birthday almost upon us, many people have planned a spectacular getaway to commemorate. However, for those of us who have decided to stay close to home in the city, it’s all about finding a way to celebrate in style this long weekend. In preparation for Canada Day, we’ve sourced some of our top picks for ways to design the ultimate backyard “staycation” for the holiday.

Sunnylife inflatable tropical drink holders; available at sunnylife.com. $15 - $20USD.
When you can’t get to the tropics, Sunnylife brings the tropics to you! These playful floaties solve the classic pool party dilemma of how to effectively manage your beverage while water bound. From pineapples to flamingos to palm trees, the Australia/ LA based lifestyle brand  has all your tropical desires covered while providing the poolside’s most essential service.

Falster outdoor dining table and bench seating; available at IKEA, $499.
When we think about long weekend entertaining, having a space to gather and eat together is paramount. The streamlined silhouette of the Falster series is a space saver, yet the benches allow flexible seating. Polystyrene weather-resistant materials allow for easy care and worry-free outdoor living. Set comes with one dining table and two benches (note: two sets shown in photo).

Blush Shibori throw pillow; available from Haven Textile Company, $200.
When warm weather finally hits, it’s all about bringing the comforts of the indoors, out. Creating spaces to lounge and relax are made easy with a collection of throw pillows - I love the muted global inspiration of these locally designed and produced one-of-a-kind pillow covers from Haven Textile Company. With the brand’s focus on natural materials and sustainability, these make a beautiful addition to your outdoor decor that you can get all the good feels about. 

Canada 150 Everyday Essentials Lantern; available at The Real Canadian Superstore, see in store for pricing.
Nothing creates ambiance more beautifully than lighting. As part of the celebratory Canada 150 Collection, the Everyday Essentials lantern is a super easy way to add mood lighting to your long weekend; battery operated, the lantern is family-friendly yet sets the nostalgic backyard feel with it’s classic camping silhouette.

Marshall portable speaker; available at Vancouver Special, 3612 Main St. Inquire within for pricing and availability.
No birthday bash is complete without a stellar playlist. To set the party mood for your Canada Day celebrations, the Marshall ‘Stockwell’ portable speaker meets all your needs. Compact in size, the speaker easy transports from indoors to the backyard to the beach, all while embracing the renowned Marshall standard of sound excellence. Bluetooth enabled, this little party favour easily connects to your phone’s playlist to keep the celebratory vibe on point. 

Acrylic jewel outdoor glassware; available at HomeSense. Prices vary.
Patio parties and your fancy wine glasses are definitely not a match made in heaven. When you want to serve up bevvies in style but don’t want to risk a vibe-killing broken stemware scenario, look to acrylic glasses as a playful alternative. These jewel-toned replicas of your grandmothers coveted crystal add a pop of colour, a serious dose of style and a party-proof makeup.

Plaj Towels ‘Texeda’ towel; available at Nineteen Ten, 4366 Main St. $68.
Turkish cotton towels have long been a scene-stealer  with interior design, but for summer we are seeing the versatile textiles make a run for the outdoors. Hand loomed in Turkey, these ultra soft towels will be your summertime secret weapon - from at home bathing to pool parties to picnics to that evening time extra layer scarf. Eco-friendly, super absorbent and lightweight, the Texeda makes outdoor living easy.

Tropical greenery; available at The Home Depot. Prices vary.
Nothing screams summertime like palm trees and tropical plants. If you really want to amp up the warm weather vibe for your staycation, stop by the garden centre and stock up on ultra easy to manage tropical greens from Home depot. Instantly adding that sense of California dreaming to your home, plants like the Cycad give a sunny sense of life while also offering air purifying health benefits.  

ZOE PAWLAK GIVES US A GLIMPSE IN HER MIRROR

When considering the Vancouver art scene - a community rich with talent, creative minds and thriving artistic careers - one name that always comes up in conversation is Zoe Pawlak. Zoe has not only been one of the longtime forerunners of our city’s fine arts scene, but also a forager of her industry leading the way into fresh mediums, bringing with her a new level of artistic collaboration for Vancouver.

After establishing her career on the West Coast, Pawlak has followed her family, her art and her heart out East and is currently residing and creating in Montreal. Initially embraced for her stunning canvas and paper works, we have watched Zoe join forces with the likes of Jeff Martin for a furniture line and Burritt Bros. for an exclusive rug collection. Now, as she furthers her reach into beautifying interiors, Zoe has recently launched a capsule collection of painted mirrors. I caught up with Zoe and had the chance to discover  a little more about her as and individual and what inspires her to take creative risks. Her full collection of mirrors can be explored HERE

1. We are all familiar with the 'public Zoe'... tell us five things we may not know about you:

  • Some people still don't know that I have kids. I have 2 kids! 
  • I think people perceive me as being utterly fearless, when in fact I spend quite a bit of time deliberating over what to do and where to go next. 
  • I quit drinking 9 months ago. 
  • I love to pray, write and sing; all fairly introverted activities for an extrovert. 
  • I am presently learning how to coach basketball.

2. We’ve seen your art transition through so many aspects of the creative world, from canvas to furniture to rugs, and now into a mirror collection. What inspires you to test your boundaries?
Having spent the last decade in client's homes and working with interior designers, I see a lot of beautiful spaces. I've also been to many design shows. When I see something missing in the market, I want to make it. I couldn't find any mirror that applied fine art imagery on a surface in a palate that I loved and was still functional. There is a thread that runs through all the work I am making. My aim is to have a cohesive career and I want this to be felt in this collection as well. 

3. What was the biggest challenge you found working with a reflective surface, vs previous surface materials?
Photographing them! 

4. What differences do you note as an artist when delving into new mediums, vs. painting in a more traditional format?
The mediums are all new to me. When I paint, I have full autonomy. The process of making the mirrors was collaborative in that it required that I trust many craftspeople along the way to do their part of manufacturing. 

MODERNITY MEETS TRADITION WITH ANARA DESIGN COMPANY

I love the diversity we are seeing in décor this year. From minimalistic chic to over-the-top details, 2017 is shaping up to be the year where everything goes, so long as it tells a story. In fact, the story of a piece is becoming as important as its aesthetic appeal. We are seeing a resurgence of artisanal focus to bring designs that matter into our homes, not just locally, but also on a global level.

Anara Design Company is a home and lifestyle brand that marries modernity and tradition, bringing textiles and housewares to Vancouver that are inspired by fashion, yet speak to the importance of environmental responsibility. Founded by Manjot Bains and Johanna Robertson, Anara unites the organic with the luxurious, resulting in refined, sustainably made textiles and home décor handcrafted in India.

The brand offers a unique multi-faceted approach to bringing its products to market, with a private label line of textiles and an additional, curated collection of home and fashion accessories from Rajasthan. “Our private label of bedding and textiles is designed in-house and complemented by responsibly made homewares and jewelry, created by artisans, designers and architects in India,” the duo writes, by email. “Each product we create, curate or collaborate on has a remarkable story with the well-being of our planet in mind.”

It is this focus on what we can learn from one another as global citizens that makes the story of each piece so unique.

For their custom line of textiles, including quilts, throws, pillows and baby swaddles, Bains and Robertson collaborated with artisanal cooperatives in India to pay homage to their traditional methods of plant-based fabric dyeing and block printing design‚ in some cases embracing five generations of knowledge. But, with neutral colours and tone-on-tone textiles, the range is also understated, satisfying our local draw to simplistic, minimalist style.

Meanwhile, the line is a way to support local artists and choose high-quality artisanal goods, just by shopping for basics.

The designs begin in the Anara studio in Crosstown and lead Bains and Robertson to India, where they are hands on with the sampling, prototyping and testing of each piece. In addition to a beautiful range of neutrals, consumers can expect some more traditional plant-based colourways like indigo and rust red. Anara has also introduced a few pops of vibrant colours (think lemon yellow) to their textiles for a modern twist to their small-batch production.

FIVE FINDS HE'LL LOVE FOR FATHERS DAY

With Father’s Day just around the corner, all focus is on finding that perfect gift for Dad that will make him feel celebrated. Gone are the days of the standard socks and ties - the modern day dad is multi-faceted and scoring a home run gift is all about knowing his interests. Whether your big papa is an art aficionado, a thrill seeker or a stylish homebody, we’ve found our five fave Father-worthy gifts that are sure to please.

1. Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit Package at Villa Eyrie Resort; http://www.villaeyrie.com. $1695.

Let Dad feel like a motorsport superstar for a day with the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit Package from Villa Eyrie. This experience of a lifetime includes a one night getaway stay for two in the Superior Suite at Villa Eyrie, dining at the Summit restaurant by award-winning Executive Chef Terry Pichor, and a personalized performance driving experience for an entire day. Villa Eyrie is a Lake Como-inspired resort nestled into the curves of the Malahat, overlooking the stunning views of the Saanich Inlet; when Dad’s not experiencing a day in the life of a Vancouver Island Motorsport member, he could take some time to brush up on his golf game at the resort’s links, and relax and unwind with some of the Island’s finest wines. This is one Father’s Day gift he’s certain to not soon forget!

2. Decorative ox head wall sculpture; available at The Cross Decor & Design, 1198 HomerSt. $325.

For the dad who appreciates style at home, we’ve found the ultimate art piece to add to his collection. Grand in size and presence - it measures three feet in diameter! -  this ox head sculpture gives a minimalist nod to the traditional trophies of the old school boys club of hunting. Making a modern return with a cruelty-free conscious, this piece is comprised of 100%  poly-resin and finished in a bleached white to complete the sleek, streamlined aesthetic. Whether wall mounted or used as a statement piece for tabletop decor, this sculpture is the perfect balance of manly-meets-modern.

3.  Tera Gear 12K BTU Stainless Steel Tabletop Grill; available at The Real Canadian Superstore. $149.

For the King of the Grill in your family, the Tera Gear Tabletop Grill is the perfect gift for Father’s Day that will keep Dad smiling all Summer long. Small in stature but big on performance, this stainless steel portable grill makes a great addition to any party, from the backyard to the beach. Boasting 12,000 BTUs of grill power and a generous surface size for a mobile barbecue, Dad is sure to enjoy showing off his skills whether for an intimate family affair or the soiree of the season.

4.  Top Shelf Bar accessories set with stand; available at CB2, 1277 Robson St. $74.95.

If Dad’s alter-ego is Mr Entertainer, the Top Shelf bar set from CB2 is a definite winner. Including everything he might need for mixing the perfect cocktail, this bar tool set comes housed in a slim-profile, high-impact gilded stand. Whether Dad likes to mix it shaken, stirred or anything in between, this set has all his ‘bar master’ needs covered. 

5. Oscar Maschera leather storage box; available at Provide Home, 1805 Fir Street. $265.

The age-old dilemma for most men is where to drop their pocket contents when they walk in the door. It seems that the common household battle of where a convenient yet visually acceptable place to leave keys, coins and other such man-goods has remained unsolved. Until now. Oscar Maschera has created a collection of high quality leather boxes in a variety of sizes that provide the perfect hideaway for all Dad’s miscellaneous items. Made of genuine Italian leather and tanned exclusively with vegetable extracts (read: no harmful chemicals used here), these boxes exude a refined glamour that even Mom won’t mind having left out on display. 

GLOBAL STYLE POPS UP IN VANCOUVER

Interior design trends have taken us on a global adventure the past few months, with key styles reflective of nations and traditions from all over the world. While the clean lined beauty ofScandinavian minimalism has been a strong influence on Western design for years, it has been a fun style adventure to see the introduction of palettes, silhouettes and details from more obscure places come into play more recently.

Last year I had the incredible fortune to embark on a six week solo trip exploring Morocco; as a designer I was in full sensory overload and most definitely found my own version of Mecca. The vibrancy of the colours, textured details and layered aesthetics stole my heart and I returned home with a freshly inspired eye for both my own home as well as the clients I work with.

Local globetrotter, Chessa Osburn, is likewise inspired by her travels and founded her curated marketplace Twenty One Tonnes  on the marriage of her passion for beautiful designs with her advocacy for International Development. The result has become the go-to destination for finding treasures from around the world, and insight into what other cultures are coveting and creating for home decor and style. Together with her business partner, Mary Jane Bolton, Osborn strives to do global trade in a way that supports tradition, sustainability, and local economies. Twenty One Tonnes therefore works with small family businesses and indigenous traditional artisans when importing pieces to the Vancouver market, seeking to bring our community authentic global designs made with natural and recycled materials. 

I love perusing the unique goods the design duo brings to our city - I am able to restock on some of my most favourite finds from my own Morocco travels, and explore new designs from emerging artists in other countries. My favourite part is that collections are small and limited - each piece is unique and sure to be the only one of it’s kind. 

This weekend Twenty One Tonnes will be hosting a pop up shop at Little Mountain Shop on Main Street, giving Vancouverites another opportunity to have a hands-on experience with their treasures. This pop up will offer the global treasures followers of the brand have come to love and await (such as babouche slippers, hand-woven baskets, and rustic doum stools), but will also be featuring fresh collections from around the world. There will be new finds like traditional Aleppo soap from France, woven hats from Ghana, and cool pieces out of the United States, such as table linens by San Francisco artist Jen Garrido and an exclusive line of ceramic cups, designed in collaboration with Portland-based Notary Ceramics.

Little Mountain Shop is located at 4386 Main Street; the Twenty One Tonnes pop up runs through Sunday, May 28th from 10am to 6pm. Twenty One Tonnes also has an online boutique at www.twentyonetonnes.com.

THE HOUSE OF LOVE: MY HOME FEATURE IN HOUSE & HOME MAGAZINE

Some spaces are just special, and I believe it is the energy of those who inhabit a house that give it a life and energy all it's own - to everyone who came through these doors, this really was the 'house of love'. This house has a long history within my family; it will truly always be home to me, even though I no Ionger live here. I had originally purchased this house with my (now ex-) husband when my daughter, Sienna, was just a baby; we had dreamed that this would be our family home, the place where Sienna would grow up, the yard she would play in and the place where she would create her childhood memories. As life happens, we didn’t end up staying married but had the incredible fortune to maintain a loving friendship and sense of family for Sienna - rather than sell the house we had decided to keep it and rent it out when we each moved on to our separate dwellings. Four years later, circumstances came up that brought a chance for Sienna and I to move back into the house, which we called home (again) for nearly two years.

Just recently we decided to sell the house and give a fresh opportunity for it to become home to a new family and have it’s own set of fresh beginnings, but it was during the time that Sienna and I came back to living here that we had the chance to be featured in House & Home Magazine. For the full story and what H&H editors loved about my "saves vs splurges" for the Money Issue, grab the June edition on stands now.

When my daughter and I returned to living here, I wanted to create a space for us that would be truly special just for her and I.  I felt it was important to change the look and feel of the space from when we lived here previously with Sienna's dad, so that she could relate to it as a home for her future, not just a place for memories of the past.  I approached moving back to this house as an opportunity to take Sienna’s interests and inspirations, along with my own creative vision, to design a ‘girls pad’ of sorts, and definitely an inviting home built on love. 

When I considered the decor moving back into the home, I knew I had a new sense of freedom within the design; with just Sienna and I living here now, we had the ability to create a space with a strong feminine energy. I firmly believe in fresh white walls, so the first thing I did was whitewash the entire space; by eliminating the darker charcoal walls we previously had, it immediately brightened the house and created a more spacious feeling backdrop for our decor. It also muted some of the stronger traditional elements to the space, like the heavy mouldings and trims, creating a more modern twist to the character of the 1905 era house. My personal taste is a mix of global-bohemian and a little bit of rock ’n roll, and the gallery-white walls allowed the boho accents and eclectic mix of art to pop without needing too much colour to do so; the overall palette is actually quite neutral, yet the hits of colour in the smaller details create a sense of brights and playfulness.  

Shortly after we moved in I had the opportunity to take a solo trip travelling Morocco for six weeks (keep your eyes out next week for the full blog post on my incredible Moroccan journey). I found much of my design inspiration in the medinas, street life and architecture of many of the cities; most predominantly I was influenced by the heavily layered textiles and accents of Marrakech, combined with elements of striking colours from a small town just outside of Tangier, called Chefchouen. I came home from my travels with many elements that have now set the tone of our home - the area rugs, collection of vintage handiras (Moroccan wedding blankets) and layered accent textiles have really created a unique foundation for our decor. 

I absolutely love working with vintage treasures, which is obvious within my decor. I have built the design philosophy of my interior design business around the juxtaposition of mixing old with new, high and low price points, and finding unique pieces that have a history.  I believe that the decor of a house should tell the story of those that call it home - it should create a dialogue of what their interests and passions are, and what they treasure the most. The ‘perfect’ houses are nice to look at, but are ultimately what I considerer to be beautifully stale… I would way rather spend time in a space that embraces it’s imperfections and allows fun one-off decor pieces to ignite a little imagination. I definitely wanted this house to tell the story of Sienna and I - she has spent countless hours coming to work with me since infancy, helping me with sourcing cool finds for clients and ultimately has developed her own love for hunting down vintage treasures that have a history and story to tell us. It’s been a really beautiful experience to watch her discover her own finds and inspirations to incorporate into our house. 

After seeing my space, people often as me what my go-to spots for decor are; I definitely have a few favourites. A fundamental part of design for me is shopping local, so whenever possible I source from locally owned businesses and from the amazing roster of local artists and artisans Vancouver has to offer. For new finds I love to hit up The Cross Decor & Design in Yaletown and Vancouver Special on Main Street - they always have a beautiful mix of local items and international pieces that really become statement elements within any room.

For vintage shopping, however, my first (and often only) stop is a place in Chinatown called The Longwalk Lodge. The Lodge is home to three stellar local businesses: hands down the best vintage/ salvage/ custom furnishings and decor shop in the city, Space Lab; a great little independent coffee shop, Aubade Coffee, a must-stop for carefully cup-by-cup curated java, and; the coolest barbershop in Vancouver, Bootleg Barbers, where you’ll always find the room filled with laughter, tall tales and maybe even a shot of whiskey or two while the charmed patrons wait to see arguably the top three barbers in the city. Space Lab is owned by one of my closest friends, Clint Moroz, whom I met when hunting down unique lighting for one of my very first clients; Clint not only offers the most diverse range of salvaged and vintage curios, but also is a skilled designer who can create stellar custom lighting and furnishings for big impact projects. I’d say that I’ve sourced my favourite finds for almost every project from Space Lab, and definitely many of the cool random elements that I treasure most in my own home. 

Whether for myself or for clients, I firmly believe that great style doesn’t have to cost a lot. I love to find affordable options and give them a little facelift to allow them a new home within mine. Pulling a room together is all about mixing higher end investment pieces with unexpected items that tell a story so that it becomes all about the personality and energy of the people who spend time there. What I value the most within my home is not the bigger ticket items, but the pieces I have collected over my lifetime. When I was young my mom would always joke that I was a little hoarder because I would find random treasures at garage sales or markets that I would become attached to and keep; I suppose my love for vintage and found items has always been a part of me, and I actually still have many of the finds I made as a girl in my home today. I truly have a home filled with pieces I have spent a lifetime collecting that represent a world of memories for me, from childhood to motherhood and everything in between.  

Some of my favourite pieces that I have collected are actually family heirlooms, which I feel very fortunate to be able to give new life to. My coffee table and sofa are both from my grandparent’s home, as well as my dining table (which I opted to pair with mismatched chairs and stools rather than the formal coordinating chairs my grandmother preferred); it’s really fun that now all of my family dinners and parties are gathered around the same tables that I grew up sitting at during Holiday occasions or when I visited my grandparents as a child. A number of my art and sculptural pieces were from my grandmothers collection as well. Not only do the pieces offer us beautiful memories of our family, but also they were upscale purchases when my grandmother chose them so many decades ago. I love that while some current trends are reflective of these original pieces, they are ultimately unique and don’t look like a lot of mainstream furniture options. Style and quality truly do stand the test of time!

If I had to call out the most notable decor elements that we added to this house, there’s a few pieces that literally almost everyone comments on. I didn’t think they were so distinct when I introduced them to the space - the choices all felt very natural - but guests almost always comment on the safe few things:

1. OVERSIZED LIVING ROOM LAMP:  This super large lamp is one of the big statement pieces that people always comment on; I found it at Refind Home Furnishings when it was in it’s original condition: classic 1960’s orange and brown with a gold shade. A few cans of high gloss white spray paint and a new white shade later, the lamp transformed into a chic statement piece and has become one of the focal points of my space.

2. MOROCCAN WEDDING BLANKETS: While travelling Morocco I fell in love with the story of decorating with vintage Handiras; Traditionally, each metal paillette would have been sewn on by hand by a Berber bride’s family in preparation for her wedding day - I cherish the meaning, story and love behind each piece. I have used them as wall coverings, bedspreads and throw blankets throughout my home to bring the sparkly texture to the space.

3. ARTWORK: My art collection is an eclectic mix of thrift store finds, original work by some of my favourite local artists like Zoe Pawlak and Jamie Bizness, and a few pieces from my late grandmother’s fine art collection. Combining all these styles with unifying white frames allow them to work seamlessly together while each making their own statement. 

4. INDOOR HAMMOCK: The fringed, natural cotton hammock that hung between our living and dining rooms brings a heavy hit of bohemian style to the space. I love that it acted as extra seating for us, and was a favourite spot for my daughter and I to snuggle up for bedtime stories.

5. CORK-TOPPED DINING STOOLS: These versatile metal stools are a score from Space Lab and were originally the warehouse utility stools at the main Canada Post facility in Vancouver; these were another spray-paint DIY update and are used as extra seating not only at the dining table, but wherever we need in the house.

One of the great elements of living in a house vs condo (besides having a beautiful backyard) was having a killer little garage. When we lived there previously it had definitely been more of a masculine space used primarily for tools and storage, but I wanted to utilize the outbuilding and therefore it required a little love. I completely whitewashed the garage when I wanted to convert it from a dark, spider-filled storage space into a girl-friendly workspace and cool spot for my motorcycle. It really brightened up the space and also rid it of the bugs and all those crawly creatures I’m afraid of! I added some of my favourite art pieces that didn't fit in the main house, my vintage Wassily chair and a stereo to create the studio vibe - the only thing missing was a bar fridge for champagne ;) My bike is definitely (still) a work in progress, but on it’s way to becoming a stellar bad-ass little ride!  While I like my decor to be pretty, I like my motorcycles to look a bit tough.

Whether it was the garage, the outdoor entertaining areas or the main house, creating the inviting, feminine and loving feel of this home was truly a passion project… our hearts and energy naturally guided how we would recreate this space to become what it did. Now as we embark on our next housing adventure (a stellar little loft in Chinatown) we take the experiences, memories and love we built here with us and have had the opportunity to curate it all over again into our next place we call home. It's true: with love, every ending really is a new beginning...

All photography courtesy of my dear friend, Tracey Ayton.

 

BONDING OVER BEAUTY WITH SMASH + TESS

Your vibe attracts your tribe. It’s a cliche term we’ve (over)heard a thousand times, yet the message and the fundamental importance of the words ring more true now than ever before. As we see the shift towards female empowerment translating to female camaraderie - women looking for collaboration not competition - we find ourselves surrounded by the strength and compassionate female energy we were designed to encompass. 

I feel so fortunate to be a part of an incredible creative community, one that is comprised mainly of entrepreneurial, focused and passionate women. Within this circle, there are many wildly talented minds foraging their paths forward in different industries, yet side-by-side, hand-in-hand with each other… by opening ourselves to the natural bond of sisterhood (so to speak), we have innately come to understand that the sum of our collective awesomeness is far greater than the singular abilities of any of us individually. While we each pursue our own passions and praise the personal achievements of one another, there is an underlying knowingness that should any one of us stumble, the “tribe” would be there to catch her. As modern women, having the unwavering belief in and unabashed endorsement of one another creates an overall support network that would I’m sure shock the hell out of female generations of the past who were not afforded our intellectual and social freedoms. 

What I find intriguing (and amazing!) about the metamorphosis of modern ‘feminism’ and our divine tribes, is the ways in which we connect with one another. In previous times we as working women followed the steps of our male counterparts and hosted business interactions with the perceived formality that we thought we needed to in order to be seen as equals, or ‘serious’. Business meetings were held in boardrooms or other such spaces that didn’t naturally allow the beauty of the feminine brilliance to flourish. I love that we have moved past this. We have said ‘f**k it’ to the formalities and structures that stifled our femininity and have created the new ‘boardroom’ in spaces that celebrate our womanhood along with our fierce minds. 

Last week I was included in an evening that completely embodied this new perspective on the female workspace. Not females IN the workspace, but rather the spaces we create that WORK FOR US as entrepreneurial females. Smash + Tess, an incredible loungewear line created by local babes Ashley Freeborn, Mercedes LaPorte and Teresa Freeborn - alongside Erin Sousa of Sparkle Media - hosted a group of girls from their tribes to partake in the celebration of the brand’s first anniversary. In true female form, the event was hosted at Pure Nail Bar and guests were treated to manis, pedis, a guilt-free popcorn bar, pizza and (of course) various wines from Church & State Vineyard. While the evening was obviously designed to be a blast - and it was, the group of women coming together in support of Smash + Tess were also able to talk shop, catch up and network with one another. There was just as much chatter about the goings on of each others creative endeavours and possible future collaborations as there was about what nail polish to choose and which wine label was more hilarious (seriously, the C&S Lost Inhibitions labels are beyond hysterical… I may have been known to pull every bottle off the shelf to choose the one that best suits my mood!). My biggest takeaway from the evening - besides my perfectly polished toes and a few new favourites on my shopping list from Smash + Tess - was that the modern boardroom is really wherever we as women can interact and bond in ways that are natural to our gender. Some days it might actually be the office; but I love that some days the best meetings are held over wine, pizza and pedicures. And that it’s totally, perfectly the new professional.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ART SPOTLIGHT ON GABRIELLE BURKE OF G CERAMIC & CO.

The trifecta of form & function, design & aesthetics and human interaction creates a beautiful- yet often unknowing - relationship that each of us engage in every day. The objects that appeal to us and are invited to serve their purpose in our homes become the pillars of our daily experiences; the furnishings, art, and accessories we choose shape not only the visual elements of everyday life, but the functional way we live as well. 

It is this relationship that inspired ceramicist and Emily Carr graduate, Gabrielle Burke, to pursue her passion and create G Ceramic & Co. , a collection of artisan tableware and accessories handmade in the heart of Vancouver. “I love that people have an intimate relationship with the objects. They pick them up and fondle them. They allow that mug to touch their lips as they sip on their morning coffee//tea everyday. The objects are thoughtful, they have meaning.”

Burke has been invited to participate in this year’s ADDRESS, an annual, curated platform to showcase art and design from over 30 of the Pacific Northwest’s most elite designer/makers hosted by Kate Duncan; the four day limited engagement is taking place from Thursday, May 25th through Sunday, May 28. Tickets can be purchased online HERE.

Gabrielle is also welcoming Vancouver’s creative community and public to the G Ceramic & Co. Open House and Studio Launch Thursday May 18 from 7-10pm at her new digs in The Beaumont Studios at 316 & 326 West 5th Ave.

Tell us a little about yourself. 
I'm a hopeless romantic. I love the idea of designing our lives. Exploring howwe curate a life of beautiful people, things and experiences that create our perception of the world around us.

How did you get started in your craft and what led you to where you are now? I had drawn and painted for years but always felt something was missing. I never felt fully satisfied. I was also wanting to go to Art School- so I thought I'd take a ceramics class to flesh or my portfolio. I was the worst in my class. Everything I made blew up, cracked or simply didn't work. I ended up taking the course again the next term as I needed another elective, and one day I sat down at the wheel and everything clicked. I learned how to touch and understand in a different way. I've never questioned it since. 

Some people collect old cameras & typewriters. Do you collect anything?
I collect mugs. I rarely drink out of one of my own mugs. I feel like using a handmade item is almost like having a conversation with the person who made it. Who wants to talk to yourself all the time? I love supporting other artists (I was a board member of the BC Potter's Guild for 5 years.) The sad thing is I keep breaking them (handwash and dry only!) which is bittersweet as I then get to buy new ones! 

Artistically, what is your favourite part of the city?
All of it. I notice the little things. The old bricks coming through the pavement on Victoria Drive and Powell St. The texture of the shingles on old kitsilano houses. The intricate designs on the bay Center and the Fairmont. I want to do a line of cast work that uses textures from different neighbourhoods- if there are some really amazing ones anywhere in the city I'd love to know! 

LOCAL LOVE FOR MOM: THE BEST OF SHOPPING LOCAL FOR MOTHER'S DAY

With Mother’s Day just a few days away, most of us are in the thick of the scramble to find that perfect gift to let Mom know how special she is. This year rather than opting for the generic, we’ve rounded up five stellar locally-sourced gifts that are as unique as your mom; from functional ceramics to decor and greenery to the ultimate in beautiful relaxation, here are your best bets for an A+ offering for Mother’s Day.

1. GHOST MOUNTAIN CO CERAMICS. Available at http://www.ghostmountain.co; pricing varies.

Flashback to when you were a kid and handmade your mom’s most treasured Mother’s Day gifts, Ghost Mountain Co. offers the grown-up version with a small line of handmade ceramics that Mom is sure to love. With various collections of functional pieces like mugs, serving ware and vases, local artist Simone Littledale brings her love for nature to each piece, drawing inspiration from witchcraft, wilderness, heritage, and mysticism.

2. PIPE DREAM CREATIVE HIMMELIS. Available at www.pipedreamcreative.ca; $32 - $66.

Pipe Dream Creative brings the Swedish art of geometric mobiles to modern decor; originally used as charms for good luck on Swedish farms, the brass creations are the perfect gift of well wishes for mom with a handcrafted appeal. The Himmelis offer a beautiful addition to any space, whether used on their own as decor or as a creative vessel for air plants.

3. BARE SKIN BAR BATH BARS. Available at Walrus Home, Neighbourhood Quality Goods and a pop up from May 13 - 22 at Little Mountain Space ; $24 per box of 4.

A local alternative to the ‘bath bomb craze’, Bare Skin bath bars offer Mom the ultimate in luxurious relaxation while amping up her powder room style. Using simple, natural, effective ingredients and essential oils, the bars give an effervescent bath experience, neatly packaged into stellar looking ‘bars’ that look just as awesome before use as they do while creating the ultimate bath water.  Local artisan Cynthia Cyr created four different ‘bar experiences’: Calming Bars (featuring rose clay, cocoa butter, himalayan sea salt, lavender essential oil), Detoxification Bars (featuring kaolin clay, coconut oil, sea salt, lemon essential oil), Restoring Bars (featuring fuller's earth clay, hempseed oil, epsom salt, and eucalyptus essential oil), and Softening Bars (featuring kaolin clay, colloidal oatmeal, coconut milk, shea butter, and lavender essential oil).

4. WOODLOT ‘’AMOUR’ SOAP, CANDLES, ROSE & PAOLO SANTO SPRAY. Available at www.shopwoodlot.com; pricing varies.

If you’re looking to truly pamper Mom for Mother’s Day, don’t forget about ambiance. Designed with a simplistically chic aesthetic that brings a beautiful feel to any room, Woodlot offers candles, room and body sprays and soaps to delight Mom’s senses; the brand has created a variety of scents within their candles and soaps designed for whatever your mom is into, from florals to woodsy to uplifting. 

5. SIMPLY NEGLECTABLE HANGING SUCCULENTS. Available at The Eastside Flea,  1024 Main Street; $15 - $25.

While the automatic go-to gift for Mother’s Day is the standard bouquet of flowers, this year show Mom a little creativity with a stylish alternative. Simply Neglectalbe, is a local company that offers a variety of succulents and unique green groupings. The brand recently launched their line of hanging gardens, knows as Kokedama (Japanese for moss string ball), which make adorably unexpected gifts; The hanging balls are wrapped in rope fornatural appeal, and offer a number of different succulents or cacti to suit Mom’s taste. The best part? These little gems are beyond easy to care for - when they feel light, it’s time to soak them. This gift truly is ‘simply neglectable’. 

ART SPOTLIGHT ON DANIELLE HARDY OF URBANWALLS

My favourite aspect of modern decor is the appreciation for individuality and personality within design. Long gone are the days when everyone coveted the same style and strived to achieve a cookie-cutter aesthetic; now, we seek to share a little of ourselves within the designs we choose and source out brands and decor finds that grant us that freedom. 

Established in 2007 by Danielle Hardy (a local graphic designer turned stay at home mom turned creative entrepreneur), Urbanwalls has become an artistic outlet for people looking to explore unique decor within their spaces. The company designs easy to use, peel and stickwall decals as an ideal (and totally move-and-remove-able) alternative to traditional wallpaper. Not only offering a huge library of their own designs, custom options are also available for the more adventurous client. 

The brand has partnered with a handful of local creative influencers like Leah Alexandra, Erin Sousa and Monika Hibbs to create collaboration collections that are also for sale. My favourite endeavour that Urbanwalls has embarked on is The Creative Collection, through which the brand is partnering with different local artists to create their own collections- one of my favourite artists, Dana Mooney, will be kicking off The Creative Collection, which is set to launch in the next few months. 

How did you get started in your decal design business and what led you to where you are now? 
In 2009, after the birth of my second son, I was searching for a creative outlet where I could put 10 years of graphic design and print experience to work. As a stay-at-home mom with a husband who often traveled, I didn’t have a ton of spare time… but I did have nights and a rather large cutter taking up space in the garage. On a whim, I decided to design a few wall decals―decals that I would actually want to hang in my own home, nothing tacky or dated. After experimenting with the cutter to create my own designs, I listed a few on Etsy. Maybe others were searching for a way to make their homes a little brighter, their spaces more individualized? I woke up the next morning with my first sale and I thought, “Well… I guess it’s time to invest in some vinyl.”

If you could describe your artistic style in one word, what would it be?
Freeform - this is the complete foundation of Urbanwalls. there are no rules. With each install we create for content, or a customer creates in their own space, the finished product ALWAYS looks unique and different. It’s what we pride our business on: being your own designer!

Do you have any predictions for the future of your industry? 
I want our business to be a source of inspiration and practical help. So many people that follow along say "I could never do that" or "I'm not creative enough" and I think that our decals can be something that brings out the creativity of DIY’ing your perfect space. Thanks to the online world (hello, Instagram) inspiration is always around the corner, and more people will be looking for DIY décor solutions, which our decals fit perfectly into.

How would you describe Vancouver’s artistic/creative community?
I love Vancouver because it’s filled with amazing people that love to collaborate and see the value of working together to make a project amazing. When everybody comes together and brings their gifts and talents to the table, magic happens and everybody walks away a winner. Vancouver is filled with people that value collaboration over competition.

 

 

C'MON BABY LIGHT MY FIRE

When you’re setting the stage for the ultimate soiree, the details you choose as a host will set the tone for the event. With last week’s Designer Files, we chatted about the importance ofa stellar tabletop for fresh entertaining. Equally as important in creating the ambiance of your event is lighting. While I love discussing traditional interior light sources (admittedly, I’m a total sucker for a statement lamp), one of the hottest ways to introduce light to your night this year is the fireplace.

Last week design superstar Amanda Forrest hit Vancouver to host an event in collaboration with Dimplex to showcase some of the freshest designs the line has to offer. Held at local go-to for fireplaces, Fireplaces Unlimited (1991 Main Street), Amanda unveiled this year’s most innovative designs and how she loves to work them into any space. While fireplaces may seem out-of-bounds for those of us in condos or rentals, the event shed light on a number of options that are easy to install and electric (read: permit/ strata/ landlord approval free). For this week’s Five Finds, I’m sharing my top five standouts from the event, both for indoor and outdoor entertaining. 

1. The Dimplex Opti-Myst:
One of the big showstoppers from the preview event was the Opti-Myst. From first glance it appears to look like a natural smouldering flame, this electric piece surprises as it is actually a water based flame. The unit uses water to illuminate, and as the mist rises through the bed, light reflects against the water molecules to give the illusion of fire and smoke. A few drops of essential oils into the refillable water basin, and you’ve got yourself the chicest diffuser on the market!

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2. The Dekko Fire Bowl:
When it comes to outdoor entertaining, fire bowls are the ultimate essential. Available in a variety of sizes, concrete finishes and palettes, these lightweight, portable pieces create both ambiance and warmth. Whether for a patio party or backyard bash, the fire bowl is the spot where friends love to gather. 

3. The Dimplex Charlotte Media Console:
As a designer, I have to admit this one was my fave. The Charlotte offers everything I love in a furnishing piece: portability, flexibility and storage all wrapped up in a chic high gloss white design. Another electric option from Dimplex, the Charlotte console comes fully assembled, and not only offers the beauty of the fireplace (which can heat up to 1000 sq ft with the Multi-fire XD flame) but also open storage to display your decor vignettes. It couldn’t be simpler to make a statement with the Charlotte - its as easy as unbox, set in place and plug in.

4. The Montigo PL42 One:
New to the market, this built-in outdoor fireplace is unique as it doesn’t require venting, giving it a much more streamlined presence. The design also allows non-combustable materials to be built right to the fireplace front, rather than some traditional pieces that must have a larger metal trim for fire safety; even wood panelling can be used as the finishing surround, which has been a major design trend for fireplaces this year. 

5. The Dimplex IgniteXL:
The IgniteXL is the premium piece from the electric collection, boasting the greatest flexibility in its design. Available in a variety of lengths up to 100 inches, this sleek linear fireplace is an easy alternative to the built-in gas fireplaces yet offers the same wow-factor appeal. This piece boasts panoramic fire that can be adjusted for less flame or more flame, has multiple stone or driftwood styling options and offers LED lighting with multiple colours giving you complete control of the ambiance it sets.

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PRESIDENT'S CHOICE NAILS SUPER STYLE FOR SPRING

When I’m on the hunt for fun new finds to create a seasonal decor refresh, I have my roster of favourite shops to hit up for inspiration and it’s not often that I’m surprised by a new retailer for great scores at a reasonable price. However, I recently attended the ‘Spring into Summer’ event with The Real Canadian Superstore where the brand previewed their fresh new Spring/ Summer home collection. Prior to the event, the store hadn’t been on my radar as a go-to for stellar home decor finds - to be honest, I hadn’t realized that the brand even carried such an extensive collection of pieces for decor and everyday entertaining. 

I was pleasantly surprised to see a large number of on-trend pieces for all areas of the home, and I was even more impressed to discover the ultra approachable price points the products are being offered at (ie: a gold rimmed rocks glass with playful motifs runs at $4!). I definitely fell for a few of the pieces that my guests can expect to see the next time they join me for dinner or patio soiree, and I love that it won’t break the bank to get a stellar setup for indoor/ outdoor tabletop styling.

The most notable details about the collection are bright colours and bold patterns - two things that always make any space instantly feel like Spring. There are a few design capsules within the collection, but I personally think the strongest element is the tropical vibe; while palm trees, pineapples and flamingos ruled high end design last year, this Spring the motifs have found their place with mainstream consumers. 

The tropical palette offers a variety of greens to bring to the table, which lends itself to both softer Spring greens as well as this years hottest colour, emerald green, that we have seen take over Pinterest feeds for everything from wallpaper to sofas for 2017. The greens pop against the other brights, which include a hot pink and bright yellow, and the complimentary colourways mean that all the pieces can easily be mixed and matched together for an easy and playful appeal.

Overall, I was most impressed with the attention the brand has put forward to creating continuity within their product lineup for a cohesive design no matter which pieces you choose. Right down to the food you put on the tropical dishes, the colours and overall feel of every new product for the season jive together; at the event, there was a PC Coconut Matcha Green Tea cheesecake served upon the palms platter that showcased the same greens and a PC Golden Beet Slaw that colour coordinated perfectly with the flamingo and pineapple patterns; as a designer, I loved that having food to colour match the servingware created a super chic yet totally easy “finished” look to the table. Martha Stewart, eat your heart out, I just discovered how to look like the hostess with the mostess on a budget!

DESIGNED FOR LIVING WITH SPADE & POINTER

When you mix a creative eye with a green thumb, the beauty of nature is brought to life. Joy Leimanis, Founder and Designer at Spade & Pointer, has channeled her passion for plants into creating a collection of succulents and planters to bring life into home decor. Aptly named after her two loves - her gardening tools and her dogs (Pointers, of course) - Joy has created a business in Spade & Pointer where she can share the art of greenery with her fellow urbanites. 

1. Tell us a little about yourself... 
My name is Joy Leimanis and I'm a Vancouver local with a passion for entertaining and beautiful things.  I work as a project manager by day, greenery designer by night; I create potted succulent art to fulfill my need to be in touch with nature, and bring an approachable element of that to our urban lives. When I'm not at work I'm either in the garden, out exploring the city or hiking on one of local mountains.

2. How did you get started and what led you to where you are now? 
Greenery has always been my passion. Throughout high school and university I worked in garden centres and learned a lot from my time there.  It also helps that my husband works in the landscape industry, so having a home filled with plants is normal for us.  I've always loved creating beautiful planters and just recently, with encouragement from friends and family, I turned this passion into something more.

3. Do you have any predictions for the future of your industry?  
I think that succulents are going to continue to be huge inhome decor because they are such an easy-to-care-for plant and they fit in well with the modern aesthetic.  All you really need to keep them alive is a bright south facing window and a bit of water every few weeks. I also see people continuing to seek out handmade groupings that have been designed to work together - visually, they are an artistic addition to a space, but also adds a local, personalized element rather than just something picked up at the nursery.

4. What is your favourite creative website? 
Succulents seem to still be on trend for weddings and, strangely enough, because of that fact I find a lot of inspiration from wedding websites like Green Wedding Shoes and Style Me Pretty.  They are a great resource for plant colour combinations and inspiration for incorporating other materials like driftwood and precious stones.

5. Artistically, what is your favourite part of the city? 
I've always felt inspired after a trip to Granville Island.  The bustle of the market, the colours and smells inspire me to create. I think it's seeing all the raw ingredients just waiting to be combined to become something more. 

TAKE A (CHIC) SEAT

With the fresh vibes of Spring settling in, we are rejuvenated from Winter hibernation and are ready to get back into full swing entertaining. The new season brings with it the urge to refresh our spaces, and the entertaining decor is no exception. Swapping out your seating is one of the easiest - and often cost effective - ways to add an instant update to the room, whether you go for a matching set of seats or opt for a mismatched selection. In this week’s Five Finds we have sourced our top choices for chic seats in the city.

1. MID CENTURY UPHOLSTERED CHAIR IN VELVET; AVAILABLE AT WEST ELM, 2947 GRANVILLE ST. $249
Modern dining meets old world glamour with the Velvet option of the classic Mid Century chair from West Elm. The luxe fabric pairs perfectly with the sleek silhouette, and is available in a variety of colours, from the elegantly subdued Dove to bolder brights like Wasabi, Berry and Lagoon.

2. LUCY CHAIR BY BEND IN COPPER; AVAILABLE AT PROVIDE HOME, 1805 FIR ST. $875
Minimalist design gets a twist of pretty with the Lucy copper chair. The LA-based brand, Bend, is known for creating furnishings, lighting and home accents that are both functional and playful. Case in point, the Lucy chair uses abstract lines and a powder-coated copper finish to evoke the fresh feel, while the streamlined overall shape speaks to high end simplicity. 

3. THE BAKER CHAIR; AVAILABLE AT THE CROSS DECOR & DESIGN, 1198 HOMER ST. $975
The refreshing neutral palette and curved lines of the Baker chair conjure imagery of a stunning Scandinavian dining space. Furthering the vision, the Baker is constructed of a beautifully pale solid oak frame, with an inviting white goat skin seat. The silhouette of the Baker lends itself to long dinner parties, offering a rounded back and sleek armrests for hours of dinner conversations that linger long into the night.

4. TATAMI CHAIR; AVAILABLE AT BLOOM FURNITURE STUDIO, 495 RAILWAY ST. INQUIRE IN-STORE FOR PRICING.
High style becomes the ultimate in functionalty with the Tatami chair. The artistic shape and design-forward details of the chair are met by the polypropylene constructions, which affords the Tatami to be lightweight, durable and eco-friendly. The material also allows this piece to be multi-functional and used for both indoor and outdoor entertaining; it is resistant to UV beams and rainwater, and is stackable for easy tucking-away when not in use. Available in six colours.

5. ATOMIC SWIVEL MID CENTURY BARSTOOLS; AVAILABLE AT REFIND HOME FURNISHINGS, 4609 MAIN ST. $229ea
In small space living, the features of our homes are often required to be double duty. If you don’t have a traditional dining table and create your entertaining scene around the island, there are still some fabulous ways to amp up the style through seating. These vintage beauties from the city’s top go-to for all things MCM add instant impact via the playful colourway and iconic design. The generous shape allows for comfortable lounging even at the bar.

DESIGN DARLING TIFFANY PRATT COLOURS VANCOUVER HAPPY

It’s always an exciting time for designers when the celebrities of our industry come to townto chat about the ins and outs of what we do; often we are looked to as the experts with all the style know-how, so it becomes a serious treat to have the opportunity to be inspired by our peers that we don’t often get to see. I love when the strongest design personalities hit Vancouver and bring a striking perspective to the relatively safe aesthetic Vancouver traditionally embraces. 

A true ‘Jane of all trades’ with all things style, Tiffany Pratt will be taking on our city’s muted design palette and making her premier appearance at the BC Home and Garden Show on February 25th and 26th; she will be hitting the show’s Main Stage to share her connection to rainbows and how it influences her renowned designs. Famous for her fearless approach to colour, Tiffany personifies the energy of bringing colour into your life through design.

As a colour-minimalist designer, I’m always intrigued by fellow creatives who embrace the full palette spectrum and make even the boldest colour pairings seem like the obvious choice. Tiffany’s inspiring use of brights and patterns have not only influenced designers like myself, but many decor-enthusiasts as well; Pratt has hosted numerous shows on HGTV and is a regular style expert on CityLine, through which avenues she encourages people to follow their imaginations to create spaces that are truly free from traditional design boundaries and speak to their personalities.

Guided by her connections to colour, Tiffany recently launched her first book entitled after her personal design mantra, “This Can Be Beautiful”. The vibrant pages take readers on a personal style journey via 45 beautifully photographed projects, ranging from home decor to DIY to styling a party. While I have an admitted weakness for design books, I particularly appreciate this publication because it shows readers how to use what we already have to create beautiful end-result items for the home; from refreshing your old sheets to giving new life to old wallpaper, Tiffany shows us how we can give our spaces a facelift without breaking the bank on design.

With a saturated creative expertise, Tiffany not only reigns in the interior design arena, but also has numerous product collaborations including stunning stationary and jewellery, as well as her own clothing line. From her interiors to her book to her various product lines, Pratt will be bringing elements of her multi-faceted style to our city for the upcoming BC Home and Garden Show, sharing themagic of rainbow palettes in all aspects of her designs in a must-see presentation.

FIVE FINDS FOR YOUR VALENTINE

With the year’s most romantic day just around the corner, love is in the air and retailers are in full swing with the best swag for your sweetie. If you’re looking to get a little something for the decor-lover in your life, we’ve sourced our top five picks for setting the romantic vibe at home.

1. Follow Your Heart pillow; available at The Cross Decor & Design, 1198 Homer St. $75.

Any designer can attest that there’s no such thing as too many throw pillows, and what better way to snuggle up with a message of love than with this awesome linen toss cushion. Subtle in both size and messaging, the 100% linen pillow has a simple stitched message of “Follow Your Heart”. Sweet and to the point is where it’s at with this lovely little piece, which lends itself as a great gift for anyone on your Valentines Day list. 

2. Heart Mylar; available from Zoe Pawlak, $600.

Whether for a gift, for a client or for myself, artwork is my favourite part of decor. Specifically, local art - I love the beauty in supporting and growing the incredible art scene in Vancouver. One of the most sought after local fine artists in recent years, Zoe Pawlak has transitioned to Montreal and opened her new studio to offer her collections to the East side of the country. With an ever-growing following, Zoe’s pieces remain in constant demand here at home, and everyone (including design darling Jillian Harris, who’s home is shown here) seems to swoon for the Heart Mylar. A literal representation of the heart, the mixed media pieces offer Zoe’s signature softness with an edge of metallic detailing. Custom orders available.

3. Hay Colour Vases; available at Vancouver Special, 3612 Main St. $124 - $260.

If you opt to give the quintessential Valentines gift every girl loves to receive - beautiful fresh flowers - you can score a few extra brownie points by opting to include a stunning vase to deliver them in. Hay offers a family of coloured vases, in a number of shapes and sizes to suit whatever your bouquet needs, that bring a modern twist to the traditional glass vessel. The subtle surface detail lines add that extra little wow factor without overwhelming the main event.

4. Mini Hearts Tea Towels; available at Nineteen Ten Home, 4366 Main St. $22.

For a super functional gift that still says “I Love You”, my current fave is this sweet little heart patterned tea towel. Made from 100% cotton,  this one is easy to wash and wears beautifully; the best part is that your message of love is refreshed every time your sweetheart gets down to work in the kitchen. Definitely a gift that keeps on giving!

5. Hawkins NY Louise Brass Bowls; available at Provide Home, 1805 Fir St. $100 - $190.

 They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… well, if you’re braving putting on a romantic meal at home this Valentine’s Day, you should also consider the importance of presentation. If your current serving-ware is anything like mine and telling the tales of hand-me-downs, the Hawkins NY Louise collection has got you covered. Super simple yet ultra chic, the brass plated exteriors offer a high glam romance vibe, perfectly downplayed by the white enamel interior. Ranging from small side bowls to large serving bowls, you can choose to have the whole table or just the statement pieces giving the perfect backdrop to your culinary efforts.

HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS: HANDSOME MOUNTAIN

When designing the perfect space, it’s essential to remember the practical role of décor: who will be using the room, and how. Some of the most overlooked details are the needs of our four-legged family members. Even the most perfectly styled room can be easily disrupted by a typical bed for Fido.

Jesse Nightingale, founder of local brand Handsome Mountain Pet Supplies, has created a line of pet beds and accessories that’s so chic, you may want to bring some of her wares into your home whether you have a fur-baby or not. For instance, one of her beautiful beds can double as a super-stylish floor pillow.

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Jesse Nightingale and I’m the founder of Handsome Mountain Pet Supplies. The company was created shortly after I adopted by beloved dog, Beaumont, from the SPCA in Kelowna. It was on the drive back home that I named him and, ultimately, my brand, Beaumont. Quick translation: Beau = Handsome + mont = Mountain. Et voilà!

Weaving my design skills from being a fashion designer and a textile-arts graduate together with my love for animals, I starting dreaming up [Beaumont’s] perfect pet bed. I decided to develop the brand to share with others what I felt was missing in the pet industry: high-quality, well-designed and all-around-fun pet accessories. Looking back, the decision to follow my passion was life-changing. No other words can describe it. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Do you have a Vancouver muse, or a favourite place in or around the city that inspires you? 
Our favourite place is among the trees, and on the mountains for a good outdoor adventure and hike. But we also really love going down to the dog beaches in the summer and catching those sweet sunsets. That’s the beauty of this city: We have it all!

What’s your favourite accessory?
I'd have to say one of my favourite and most practical accessories that I use on the go is the Handsome Mountain P**p Bag Holder. Because Beau and I go everywhere together, I never know when I’m going to need a baggie.

Source: Andrea Fernandez photo

How would you describe Vancouver’s creative community? 
I absolutely love it! There are always things to attend, and people doing amazing things. The more people you get to know, the more you hear about and can discover.

Do you collect anything? 
I’ve actually started collecting small vintage dog figurines, and dog-related décor items that are really original and not cheesy, that keep the studio looking fun by adding these elements of pets all around. 

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?  
Hmm… good question. I’d probably be working on some other kind of creative endeavour, and would love to do something that involves more world travel.

My day is not complete without… 
…a good snuggle with my BeauDog!

Do you have a favourite creative space? 
I work out of my live/work studio and really do love working here. It allows for me to not have to commute to work, and I quite love the big windows and light that I get in there.

If you could speak to a room of youth who were considering a career in the arts, what would your advice be? 
I would definitely ask them if they think they could get up in the mornings and get to work without their alarm or parents having to wake them up. I would obviously highly recommend that they follow their passion in the arts, and to know that it may be a bit of a struggle at first to reach their goals, but to never stop trying and to never stop creating.