SHOP MY NEIGHBOURHOOD [part one]

Anyone who knows me, knows that I move fairly often. And by fairly often, I mean a LOT. Not necessarily intentionally, but somehow the opportunity for change always comes knocking on my door with the lure of a fresh new experience that I just can’t seem to resist. While I have spent many years living in and around the Main Street strip as well as throughout Strathcona and Chinatown, about a year ago I transitioned into a neighbourhood I had never spent much time exploring: South Granville.

I had previously been over to the Granville hub between Broadway and 16th for work (I’m always in and out of shops like West Elm and EQ3 for my interiors clients), but had never taken the time to properly explore what the area has to offer. After settling in and finding my new go-to’s for all things daily life, I’ve discovered that this neighbourhood has so many hidden little gems that give it a unique charm reserved for those who venture out to find it.

From food to fashion to decor, the shopping along South Granville is diverse, both in style as well as budget. Whether you’re after a high-end statement piece or a daily special, the range of boutiques have something to suit your needs. I hit the streets with my style-savvy bestie, Rachel (who always seems to achieve the impossible feat of looking effortlessly chic - the perfect shopping partner!) to highlight a few of my go-to spots for finding my favourite things.

Whether it be for decor or fashion, I innately gravitate towards consignment and preloved pieces first to create my personal style. Fact: my entire look this shopping day was found at various consignment stores throughout Vancouver - from designer to daywear, outerwear to footwear (and everything in between) - each piece was bought second hand. Not only do consigned finds offer a more individualized look (they won’t likely be the same pieces found in mass production at traditional retailers, but rather key pieces from previous seasons that you can incorporate into your look in a more timeless way), but these items also allow the opportunity to score high end pieces at a reduced price.

Turnabout is one of the city’s largest consignment boutiques, and they have both fashion and home decor locations side-by-side along South Granville. When I’m on the hunt in my neighbourhood for a special piece, I always start here. My fashion weaknesses are designer shoes and handbags, so that’s the first section you’ll find me scouring in the shop; if you are looking at adding to your clothing wardrobe with consigned finds, I’d advise searching for designer label classics that won’t go out of style… it’s all about creating a well-rounded wardrobe, not collecting copious amounts of replaceable pieces.

When I’m not hunting consignment finds, my favourite place in the area to check out is Anthropologie. A power player in the retail game for everything from eclectic fashions to small batch beauty picks to intricate housewares, Anthro literally exudes its own style. While it’s easy to become beautifully distracted by the main floor finds here, I always make my way to the sale section first - I swear it’s often the best in the city! The store often has an additional sale on already reduced items, and over the years I have managed to score some of my favourite garments and decor finds at a fraction of what I originally spotted them for.

I admittedly have a soft spot for pretty stemware, and this shop is one of the few places in Vancouver that can rival the selection of Yaletown’s The Cross… you earn instant ‘hostess-with-the-mostess’ points when you add servingware as pretty as Anthro’s options into your party mix! I feel like the entire store is a complete experience in what beautiful living can be - from your home to your wardrobe to your lifestyle, this is the place to amp up your personal style (or find the perfect gift for even the hardest to shop for friend in your life).

When I’m shopping for decor - whether for my own ever-changing abode or for those of my clients, I have a few must-see shops that I frequent; one sure stop on my list is always West Elm. With an approachable, modern-comfort aesthetic, the store carries almost every item you need to set up a stylish space. In the main store, the lineup includes stellar basics with a twist for dishes & stemware, soft furnishings, lighting and all the textiles and accessories you could hope for; the secondary shop (just two doors down) specializes in affordable luxury for the bedroom and bathroom - think linen sheets, faux furs and chic bathroom accessories you didn’t even know you needed, but definitely do.

I like to shop with West Elm for beautiful staple pieces when designing a space (they have nailed their subtly stunning neutrals for the larger finds) , and then I hit up smaller independent and consignment shops for the finishing details - this way every room has it’s own personality and remains authentic to the people who will enjoy it. One of my favourite finds with West Elm is seating: my current obsessions are the velvet dining chairs in a feminine palette and camel toned leather sofas (full disclosure: I often pop into the store just to sit and enjoy this couch!).

When you move into a new neighbourhood, one of the first places you need to discover is your local grocer. Joining the South Granville community has introduced me to the luxury of having a fine foods shop just a stone’s throw away from home; Meindhardt has been a neighbourhood staple for over two decades, offering it’s customers exclusive finds for probably the best olive oil selection in Vancouver and a variety of gourmet food items. While I admittedly still trek to larger grocery stores with a little less-luxury pricepoints for my major shops and the basic items for home, I head to Meinhardt when I’m after a special item or gourmet dessert when entertaining (I love to host, and including some of the finer finds from this shop into your menu definitely adds an elevated element to a dinner party). It’s also a great spot to find ultra fresh produce and herbs, and offers a beautiful selection of floral arrangements - one of my personal splurges is to treat myself to a bouquet of flowers once a week!

Another major factor in feeling at home in your neighbourhood is finding your local drug store; having a go-to close to home for those last minute TP outages is essential! Not just your traditional pharmacy (although it does have an extended pharmaceutical section), Shoppers Drug Mart has always been my top choice for the home essentials: from cleaning products (including some enviro-friendly options!) to vitamins & medicine to toiletries, this is literally my one-stop-shop for the basics.

Perhaps my favourite aspect of having a Shoppers so close to home is the lineup of luxury brand cosmetics they offer within the Beauty Boutique; while I love the entire experience of shopping for my makeup at Sephora, I absolutely appreciate the convenience of being able to find my favourite brands so close to home with Shoppers Drug Mart. I’m a major advocate for cruelty-free products, and almost my entire makeup kit is comprised of Benefit Cosmetics; while I was drawn to the brand based on its animal-friendly approach, I’ve come to discover that their products ultimately provide the best results for my needs. I’m not one for wearing elaborate makeup trends, but nailing the basics for my everyday look is essential. My makeup bag must-have’s include the Hoola Quickie Contour Stick (it goes on like a cream stick, but has a powder finish that I’m obsessed with!), the Watt’s Up highlighting stick which makes soft-focus highlighting foolproof, and the Galifornina blush that gives the perfect sun-kissed flush to my cheeks that lets me pretend I just basked in a little of that Cali sunshine. Also, can I just add how much I love that Benefit has partnered with local beauty blogger Allana Davidson for their latest campain?! Love seeing Canadian boss babes killing it!

South Granville has so many fantastic spots to shop, dine and explore… too may for just one post! Stay tuned for Shop My Neighbourhood part two, where I’ll share the rest of my favourite spots for daily living, dining and - of course - Happy Hour-ing!

THE ART OF DISTRESSING: A DENIM DIY WITH CTV MORNING LIVE

I  don't know about you, but my go-to picks when choosing what to put on in the morning always seem to fall back on the pieces that look I've loved them and lived in them for years. (Actually, I tend to keep my wardrobe faves for a long time, so chances are I actually have been loving them for years, but that's besides the point). I like to feel at home in my clothes, to wear pieces that look effortless, so the distressed denim look is well aligned with my personal style. 

Earlier this week I joined my favourite crew over at CTV Morning Live to chat about my top tips for recreating the trend at home; in preparation for the segment, I tried and tested a few researched methods as well as a few different garment options to see what works best for me. I realized quickly that working on my super stretchy skinny jeans  was more of a challenge than I was looking for - the white 'weft' threads with stretch are much more prone to breakage from rubbing than with traditional denim - so I opted to work on a heavier fabric. My standard denim Talula jacket from Aritzia - which in truth has lived in my closet for a few years now without ever seeing the action it deserves because I felt it was missing a little authenticity - became the perfect subject for my DIY distressing adventures.

Once I had my project piece in hand, I had to decide what type of distressed look(s) I wanted to  create and thus, which tools I would need to get going. After some serious Pinterest-ing, I gathered up the top-rated tricks of the trade - some I expected, like a pair of sewing scissors, a stitch ripper and a mat to cut on; however, some of the recommended items took me by surprise: namely tweezers, a lemon zester and a foot loofah (seriously?!). Other suggested tools were tailors chalk, a measuring tape and a sharp blade (which I ended up preferring over the scissors).

With your tools in order, the first step to a successful distress is to decide placement and style of 'wear' you're looking to achieve. To really figure where I wanted to distress my jacket, I borrowed a coveted one from my bestie and observed the aesthetic of it's natural wear marks to copy on my own garment. Just to be extra sure (as the saying goes: measure twice, cut once) I tried on my jacket and used the tailors chalk to mark out exact placement.

I started with the elbows, as it's the easiest place to achieve the worn-to-death look I was after. Also, it's the area requiring the largest amount of wear and tear, which meant it would be the base of the overall look, with the rest being detail work. Once I marked out where I wanted to start, I opted for the blade to make my initial cuts; I could have also used the scissors, but I found that I had more control over the size and delicacy of the slices using a handheld blade. For the cutting stage, it was suggested to insert a rolled up magazine into the sleeve (or pant leg, should you be distressing the knees of jeans) to avoid slicing through to the other side of the garment. I chose not to use the magazine because while it was smart in theory, I found that it made cutting with precision a little tricky.

Once all my major cuts were in place (note: I cut across the fabric, not down the length of it) it was time to employ the two most curious of the tools - the zester and the loofah. At the opening of the cut edges, I used these two tools to fray the threads apart and create some roughness around the clean slices; this not only created a little authenticity to the cuts, but also freed up the thread edges for the next step.

I found this next step to be the most finicky of all the stages of distressing; using the tweezers on the now-frayed cut edges, the trick is to carefully pull the blue 'warp' threads out from their weave within the white cross-threads - this part was easiest between two cuts as both thread ends are now already cut free from the garment. The result of this stage is the probably the most common of the distressed looks - a worn out opening left slightly covered by the white fabric threads.

With the elbow patches now complete, it was time to master the details that finish off the overall effect. While the elbows are a natural choice for distressing, choosing the more intricate areas to break down becomes a little more specific. After re-scrutininzing by BFF's jacket that I love so much (and a lifetime of thrifting on the hunt for the perfect lived-in denim jacket), I chose a few key areas that reflect the natural distress of a well-loved piece. 

Using a stitch ripper to create the tears rather than the blade (in smaller areas I wasn't looking to create full fledged holes, but rather broken threads to show the 'wear'. I worked on the cuffs of the sleeves, the edges of the pockets and a few buttonholes, the lapels and collar points and, finally, the back of the neck at the collar scruff. Once I tore the threads, I once again reached for the zester to soften the rips and create an aged effect to the surrounding areas. 

After I was done with the ripping and softening of the sliced edges, the final distressing step was to pick a few areas to just lightly rub... not to make holes, but rather just to give the effect of the area being a little worn in. I targeted under the arms, along the body sides and just before the side pocket inserts as what I thought to be most likely to get natural wear and tear. The loofah was the most effective at rubbing the fibres without tearing them, although the interior designer in me could see a rough sandpaper working beautifully as well. 

After a quick cycle in the wash to remove the excess fibre fluff from the zester/ loofah action and to soften the tips of the torn threads -voila! I had successfully recreated the jacket I had spent years hunting down - the most perfectly worn-in, looks like it's been loved forever, distressed denim jacket. Happy dances all around. 

 

 

LIVING BOHÈME WITH SARAH SHABACON

In this design spotlight, I am thrilled to showcase one of my own personal style icons, Sarah Shabacon of BOHÈME GOODS. Sarah beautifully captures the essence and allure of bohemian vintage both for decor and personal style, using her own creative vision to curate an artistic aesthetic highly coveted by those in the know. Offering handpicked pre-loved treasures from across BC, BOHÈME GOODS truly encompasses the meaning of local art, telling the story of our province through Sarah’s eyes.

Tell us a little about yourself... 
I’m 25 years old, married to my childhood crush and we have 2 sons and a pup. We live in Maple Ridge and spend our days off taking road trips in the mountains to find new beaches or spots to spend our days together.

How did you get started and what led you to where you are now? 
I used to own a locally made label called IWTHD which I ran for 3 years before slowly transitioning into something I was much more passionate about and meant to do. I grew up preferring thrift shops over malls and have always been fascinated by design and the history behind the treasures I find.

What colour best describes your personality? 
Beige. It’s earthy and neutral. 

What is your favourite accessory (for home or personal)? 
My favourite accessory is a good basket. I have them all throughout our house and even in my car. 

When it comes to style/design, what is the one thing you covet the most? 
I covet a rattan day bed for my boys rooms. They’re so simple but have a really beachy vibe to them and are something they could keep for years.

Do you have any predictions for the future of your industry?  
I hope it continues to grow steadily because I truly believe we can make a difference, no matter how small, to the bettering of our Earth by shopping vintage and choosing to shop ethically made clothing instead of supporting fast fashion.

Some people collect old cameras & typewriters. Do you collect anything? 
I collect rugs and textiles. I have pieces fom Turkey, Africa, Afghanistan, Scandinavia and many more countries. I’m very intrigued by the stories behind all these beautiful things that have stories usually woven right into them.

Who is your idol or mentor? 
Serena Mitnik Miller. She’s a creative in California with a cool family and beautifully designed home. She also happens to run one of my favourite shops, General Store.

If you could describe your artistic style in one word, what would it be? 
Bohème.

Is there a song or a musician that inspires you to create? 
Something in my heart - Röyksopp

Is there one area of your craft you find especially challenging? 
The most challenging aspect of my job is finding space for storage. We’re fortunate to live in a town home with a garage and extra room for my office but boy does stock add up quickly…

What do you wish more people knew about artists? 
How we pour our all into what we do. We are expressing who we are and what we feel into our preferred art form and that it cannot be replicated.  It’s a beautiful thing to be able to put who you are, into a feeling that only you can evoke in others.

Do you have a favourite creative space? 
My living room. It’s filled with light and photos of our travels and favourite things. I turn the record player on and get to work photographing new stock.

Do you find gloomy weather or sunshine to be more inspiring? 
Sunshine all the way! On a cloudy day when the sun breaks through the clouds it’s like this magic moment where I feel all this newfound energy and emotion.

ART SPOTLIGHT ON ALESSANDRA SALITURI OF CITIZEN ATELIER

Art tells the story of the home, and is one of the key essentials to a well styled space. Finding unique pieces that speak to you can be one of the hardest parts of designing your house; working with artists that you can personally connect with allows their art to become part of your home, and something more than just easy adornment. 

I loved chatting with Montreal- and LA-based Alessandra Salituru - the creative mastermind Citizen Atelier. Salituri has designed her business around sourcing the talents of both emerging and established artists from around the globe, and bringing their works and stories to an accessible level for locals. 

A go-to resource for many designers and stylists in the city (as well as homeowners in the know), Alessandra shares her passion for the nature of her business: “Artists who are so committed to bringing creativity and beauty into the world really inspire me in my work.” By connecting artists and collectors through her curated marketplace, Alessandra encompasses the fundamental meaning of Home Is Where The Art Is on a literal level. "One of my favourite parts of my work is when people tell me the art they got makes them happy or inspires them to live their best lives."

1. Tell us a little about yourself. 

I'm an art dealer and Creative Director behind Citizen Atelier online art gallery. We represent a curated collection of art from 30+ local and international artists and photographers. My passion is helping people create homes they love with meaningful and accessible art. 

2. How did you get started in art dealing and what led you to where you are now? 

My mother is an artist and I grew up visiting galleries, art fairs and the studios of her friends. Being brought up in such a creative environment showed me the transformative effect that art can have in a home. I wanted to offer to Canadians a platform that houses the works of photographers and artists from around the world, at a range of prices.

3. Do you have a Vancouver muse? Or a favourite place in or around the city that inspires you? 

My Vancouver muse is definitely the skyline! The mix of the city and the view of the mountains has always captivated me about the city.

4. What colour best describes your personality? 

I love the colour blue. There's something so calming, soulful and inspiring about it. The ocean is my happy place. A lot of the art I source for projects includes tones of blue.  

5. What is your favourite accessory (for home or personal)?

My favourite accessories are definitely fresh flowers, lots of pillows and of course - art. 

6. Some people collect old cameras & typewriters. Do you collect anything? 

Art! I have a number of pieces I've collected over the years. Many of them are leaning on the floor of my place- I love a relaxed approach to displaying art.

7. Who is your idol or mentor? 

I take so much inspiration from business and life coaches. My favourites are Robin Sharma, Tony Robbins and Marie Forleo. 

8. Finish this sentence: my day is not complete without… 

…a latte and phone calls with friends.

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

I would say consider taking some business and marketing classes! I've found this to be so invaluable. Especially if you'll be working independently, knowledge on everything from online marketing, social media, PR and how to develop a business model is so helpful, even if you end up outsourcing some of these tasks. 

10. Do you find gloomy weather or sunshine to be more inspiring?

Definitely sunshine (but weather that is not too hot!). I split my time with sunny California which always invigorates me.  

DINNER, DESIGNED

Entertaining is one of my most favourite pastimes - not only the social gathering and treasured time to catch up with friends, I love the chance to play with different design themes for the event. Whether you’re planning an intimate dinner for two, or playing hostess-with-the-mostess for a group, nailing your tabletop style is key. More than just the meal, entertaining in style is all about the little details.

While in years past there were structured themes, palettes and overall directions that guided the “what’s hot” of tabletop design, this year we are seeing a much more creative flow with an overall eclectic vibe as we move into entertaining season. Colours, patterns and motifs are wildly mixed for the modern table, with the general feeling that “anything goes”, as long as you go for it. It’s all about playing with vibrancy and textiles to tell your own dinnertime story; not the time to shy away from bold choices, we’ve created a cheat sheet to help you tackle the essentials for today’s dinner, designed.

1. Cover Your Bases: 

A stellar tabletop starts from the bottom up: while a bare table can be chic, a big impact setting begins with a statement tablecloth. With nearly every palette and pattern imaginable available, this is an ultra easy way to add some dinner drama. This moody textile from Capra Designs’ Rocky Road Collection instantly adds personality to the table with it’s saturated palette, yet keeps it causal with its 100% linen makeup. The bonus of opting for a linen or cotton cloth is the cleanup - it’s a no-fuss, ‘throw it in the wash when guests leave’ scenario. Yes, please.

2. Go Natural:

While the usual go-to for everyone when thinking about dinnerware is porcelain or stoneware, this is an easy area to amp up your style by thinking outside the box; choosing unexpected materials for your dishes creates an extra layer of intention to your table setting. Options like these teak carved plates from Southbound Living are an ideal choice as we move into the cooler months, as the warmth and natural heaviness of the wood starts to set the mood for a seasonal gathering. 

3. Horse (or, monkey…) Around:

Just when it’s starting to feel a little serious, throw in an element of surprise. I love using mismatched dinnerware sets to spark a conversation, and these West Elm Dapper Animal series serving ware fit the bill perfectly. Using a bold colour way or motif for side plates to contrast your main setting is an easy way to introduce vibrancy and personality without committing to purchasing a full set of dishes you may want to swap out down the road. As with decor, keep your main pieces more neutral and let your (easily interchangeable) accessories take a walk on the wild side. 

4. Go For Gold, Baby:

Even your flatware is an opportunity to keep your tabletop style on point. Gone are the days of basic brushed nickel - today's cutlery ranges from the full palette spectrum to all the metallics. I usually like to stick to the golds, as it adds an upscale element to even the most playful table, but for a softer twist the rose gold or copper palette, like this set from West Elm, is a beautiful addition to almost any tablescape. 

5. Soften Up:

While cloth napkins may seem like a thing of generations past, nothing puts a rough edge on a stellar meal like a paper napkin. Choosing proper, soft textiles for your serviettes allows your guests to have an elevated dining experience, and also provides you with an opportunity to play with even more tabletop style. Again, look for an uncoordinated pattern from your dinnerware set to keep the mood fresh - a tried and true go-to is a classic black and white stripe, like these Wheaton Stripe Napkins from Pottery Barn

6. Drink Up to Double Duty:

With all the rules for stemware seemingly out the window these days (seriously, even some high end spots are serving expensive vino in a basics rocks glass), it opens the door for some seriously playful drinking. Using unexpected vessels for beverages not only takes the pressure off whether you’ve correctly selected your stemware for the occasion, but is also allows for that mix-and-match principle to come back into play. These artistic porcelain cups from Koh Living - available in a variety of stunning motifs -  are sold as both votive cups for candles as well as distinct drink ware collections to further the wild side of your tabletop design, however you choose to incorporate them. 

WALLPAPER REVIVAL

If your last interaction with wallpaper was the unforgettably tacky, impossible to remove and overused versions that ran rampant in decor from the 50’s to the early 80’s, it’s time to reacquaint yourself with the concept. Gone are the days of the kitschy peach or ‘dusty rose’ papers that everyone’s mother and grandmother enveloped her (entire) home in - we’ve entered an era where wall coverings have become an ultra chic feature in decor.

While anyone who knows me knows I’m a strict advocate for all white walls, there is always a time and place for breaking even your own design rules. Wallpaper is one of my only exceptions to a completely whitewashed space - within this type of wall treatment, my design pendulum swings the opposite direction to bring a room alive. With wallpaper, it’s all about pattern, palette and texture.

Today’s wallpaper collections are as diverse as design itself. For prints and patterns, we have seen the introduction of highly realistic faux-finish wallpapers, with which you can recreate the effects of  anything from agate (seen on the moody emerald feature wall of one of my clients) to wood to concrete. There has been a modern revival of florals, ranging in exaggerated scale from ultra tiny to completely oversized, like Roomcraft Design’s playful pink poppies, and has branched out to include other on trend plant life… think: the current obsession with palm leaves and cactus plants. And, we have seen a playful twist with graphic and typographic papers that offer high contrast shapes or lettering on repeat to create a striking effect, as with the Cole & Sons fuchsia geometric print  . 

Modern design has also seen great diversity in the colourways that are most popular with wallpaper - everything from super brights to moody saturated dark palettes to neutral tone-on-tone papers like the Cole & Sons white on white cubes have found their way into some of today’s most stylish spaces.  It seems that while paint palettes tend to follow colour trends, everything and anything goes when it comes to papers. Texture has become another key element to today’s wall coverings; while the effortless glamour of grasscloth has maintained it’s place (as shown by Gillian Segal Design with their client’s stunning bathroom), we have also seen the rise of finishes like metal adornment, sandy texture and, my personal fave, vinyl wallpapers. Vinyls have found their fundamental place in design not just based on the visual effect of their texture, but moreover on the functionality the material offers. With a rubbery, resistant finish, vinyls are easily wipeable (ie: kid friendly) and are also moisture resistant, making them an ideal choice for kitchens or bathrooms, as seen in my last home with a pretty shibori-effect ribbed vinyl. 

At an overall level, wallpaper has become the ‘built in’ artwork to design. It offers a creative foray into expression, colour and pattern combinations to suit any style personality and a broad spectrum variety that is likely to ensure individuality and exclusivity - unlike painting with ‘cloud white’, you’re almost guaranteed that you’ll be the only kid on the block with your chosen paper. With permanent and removable options on the market (making it viable for homeowners and renters alike), wallpaper has embraced it’s revival into modern design. 

STYLE SAVVY GIFTS FOR YOUR WHOLE HOLIDAY LIST

With just over a week until Christmas, the last minute hustle to finish our Holiday shopping is on in a major way. If your “nice list” is long and you’ve yet to find the perfect present for those you love, we’ve got you covered. With style in mind, we’ve put together our top picks for everyone from Bae to the little babes that add style to the home and smiles all around. 

FOR HER:
Whether it’s for mom or the woman of your dreams, this year is all about luxury for the ladies. Giving the gift of relaxation and pampering is a sure-win, but keeping style in mind is key. With small spaces and limited storage a part of urban living, choosing pieces that blend beautifully into a well-designed bathroom (even if left out) is essential. 

BARE SKIN BARS:
Hand crafted in Vancouver (by a team of stellar babes who totally know what women want), these pretty little bars make any bath a luxurious experience. The brand knows the importance of natural ingredients for natural beauty, and also have a passion for keeping our environment beautiful, too - no animal testing, 100% recycled packaging and partial proceeds of sales go to the BC-based non-profit organization, Sea Legacy. This feel-good gift will leave your lady feeling extra lovely as well, with four different bars to choose from: Softening, Calming, Restoring and Detoxifying.

DYSON SUPERSONIC HAIRDRYER
We’ve all heard that beauty comes at a price, but our hair (or bathroom style) shouldn’t be paying it. With seemingly little innovation over the past few decades for our daily hair drying tools, Dyson has brought women around the world a brilliant new machine that not only looks sleek (read: it can live visibly within the bathroom and add an element of visual interest), but the technology behind it is designed to save our hair from damage. Relying on powerful airflow rather than extreme heat, this chic little tool is turning the haircare industry on it’s head. Salon-style blowouts at home? Your lady will love you for it.

FOR HIM:
Everyone is leading busy lives, so encouraging the man in your life to take the time to unwind is a gift he’s sure to appreciate. Finding items that are functional (keeping in mind that men are  often all about the practical gifts), look good within the home (is it fair to say most men would appreciate a little help with amping up their interiors style?) and also give him an excuse to chill out , is priceless this time of year. 

SONOS ONE HOME SPEAKERS:
Technology is always a win-win gift for men, but finding gadgets that wow him and also add to his interior decor is the ultimate score. Sonos speakers can be used together around the home, offering a whole-home sound, or rooms individually controlled with different playlists and volume all via your smartphone. Working off wifi vs bluetooth, gone are the days of phone calls and message notifications interrupting the mood - the music (which combines all his itunes, spotify and other streaming libraries in one place) keeps playing uninterrupted even when his phone is blowing up. The best part? Sonos designed their speaker collection to seamlessly blend into any decor: with a minimalistic appearance and sleek design, these speakers literally let their sound make the style statement.

IN BED SHEETS
After a hectic Holiday season, giving the gift of comfort is sure to be a hit. For all the post-Christmas lounging he’s sure to want to do, IN BED has created a stellar collection of washed cotton sheets that offer up the ultimate in softness and comfort, but come in an array of colours that he’s sure to be into.  The Australian label has made bedding less something that you want to tuck away behind closed doors, and more something that you can haul out to the sofa for those extra loung-y nights in front of the tv without compromising on style. 

FOR THE LITTLES:
While the majority of kid-related gifts are seemingly designed to overwhelm us with noise, loud colourways and overall obnoxiousness, we’ve found a few  kiddie finds that are style-approved, too.

DOMESTIC OBJECTS PLAYTENTS:
Every kid loves to hang out in a fort, so this year Domestic Objects (founded by a Vancouver mama who was hunting for stylish play areas for her own littles) is bringing you decor sanity by offering a super cool tent that will save your living room cushions and blankets from old-school fort making. With a chic, minimalist aesthetic (I’m loving the neutral unbleached cotton, but they also offer a variety of colour ways and patterns for the more fun-loving parents) the tents come in a smaller teepee style silhouette and also a larger size that can come with a mattress, allowing it to double as an extra bed for sleepovers. Don’t have any human littles in your life? The Domestic Object tents also make super stylish beds and hang outs for your fur-babies, too

GINGER LIFESTYLE CACTUS TOSS CUSHION:
When it’s time for the little ones to snuggle up, give them a place to lay their head that looks good around the home. This Ginger Lifestyles toss cushion is ultra-soft and brings a playful pattern, making it a fave for wee ones, but it also has been designed with current design trends in mind: the indigo-dye pattern and colourway is complimented by this seasons hottest motif, the cactus. So whether in the nursery or dragged out to the living room, this cushion is a stellar score.

FIVE FACES TO WATCH AT THIS YEAR'S EAST SIDE CULTURE CRAWL

With the annual Eastside Culture Crawl kicking off today, getting a game plan on where to be, and who and what to see during the four day festival is essential. More than 500 creatives are opening their studios to over 30,000 visitors this weekend, showcasing artistic talents ranging from handcrafted furniture to mixed media artwork to artisanal housewares and beyond. We’ve nailed down our “must-see” shortlist if you’re looking for local artists with offerings to amp up your style at home; we asked our five faves to share a little about their creative inspiration, as why they feel the Crawl is an integral part of Vancouver’s artistic community.

1. JAMES KEMP OF HAND EYE DESIGN CERAMICS: 112 E. Hastings Street, Studio 140. Map code: B17

How would you describe your work?
My work is bodily and exploits basic human senses. It’s physically non kinetic in its final state, but as it operates through an evocative nature, using textures and form, its gestures engage with our primal human anticipation of movement.

2. MIRIAM AROESTE: 1000 Parker Street, Studio 221. Map code: D3

What keeps you inspired to continually create?
So many things... traveling, talking to interesting people, other artists, observing life from different lenses. I love newness and the way it stimulates my senses. I create based on what I feel in the moment drawing attention from my own stories and experiences.

3. JUSTIN WILLIAMS OF BISON FURNITURE + DESIGN: 1000 Parker Street, Studio 101. Map code: D3

Why do you think the Culture Crawl is an important part of our creative community in Vancouver?
The Crawl helps connect the general public with local makers. With the vast amount of information and images available on internet/social media, it’s such a rare opportunity to see and feel something in person. It also helps keep artist places like 1000 Parker Street alive, which is especially important in a city like Vancouver where spaces available for public or creative use are rapidly disappearing.

4. AMANDA BULLICK OF BRUTALLY BEAUTIFUL:  651 E. Hastings Street. Map code: A13

How would you describe your work?
Pondering the cycles of life, death, and rebirth, my work aims to conjure a feeling of earthy connectedness as well as a sacred sense of magic; like altars honouring the dearly departed and the stories of their wild lives that they took with them. The natural world, although it is all around us, never ceases to dazzle with its quiet secrets and mysteries. If you look hard enough there is beauty all around us, even in the decay. 

5. LOUISE FRANCIS-SMITH: 1000 Parker Street, Studio 108. Map code: D3

What keeps you inspired to continually create?
I am inspired and am drawn to the juxtaposition of perceived beauty alongside the harsh reality of the undervalued and neglected. I love light and the complexity of what my images reveal or uncover. Put simply, when I photograph, I feel completely alive.

AHID X PROVIDE

One of Canada’s most sought after interior designers, Amanda Hamilton, has just unleashed her creativity on our city. Hamilton is the Principal and brilliant eye of Amanda Hamilton Interior Design,  as well as the director of The Loft in Calgary - a unique space that double duties as a showcase of curated goods and an inviting place for design workshops, seminars and private functions. Cementing her influence on the Vancouver design scene, Amanda recently opened the doors to her Vancouver office, as well as unveiled her self-titled home accessories collection.

In celebration, Amanda hosted a style savvy evening earlier this month at Provide Home - one of our city’s go-to stops for beautiful decor - with the local industry’s who’s-who to launch her lifestyle goods line. The collection is a full extension of her brand and offers Vancouver a look at Hamilton’s twist on how to create wow-factor design at home.

Looking at what decor pieces are key for this season, Hamilton’s line is offering up some of the must-have essentials for Fall weather living: sleek candles and statement ceramics for a warmer entertaining vibe. With cooler temps outdoors, our gatherings and parties are moving indoors - it’s now all about creating curated ambiance through standout decorative pieces with big impact, and this collection nailed it.

Hamilton’s signature scent - NO. 001 Virility candle - sets an instant-sultry mood with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, black tea, lavender and tobacco leaf while gently lighting the home. With a seductive, marbled black appearance (my favourite palette for accessories this season), the inspiration behind the scent is described as “reminiscent of a single moment in time. The smell of a man’s collar that is perhaps sweaty, rich and warm. An aroma that lingers upon the pillow top the morning after. Curiosity and longing”. Yes, please.

My favourite aspect of the collection lies with the custom ceramics line Hamilton created in collaboration with btw Ceramics’ Brooke T. Winfrey. The artisanal pieces have an overall playful vibe, yet maintain an underlying level of chic with a polished nude, black and white palette. Bold colour blocking and organically graphic elements make these pieces a definite conversation starter around your table, but still offer up the functionality of everyday dinnerware. When asked about her inspiration and thoughts on the collaboration, Amanda shares, “Originally I was attracted to Brooke’s mantra of ‘embracing the irregular’ which aligns with our brand philosophy and how we approach design. The inspiration behind the collection represents the duality of both of our personalities. The patterned portion embodies our eccentric and playful side, while the colour block portion is much more thoughtful. I also love the practicality of this collection; you are getting something that is hand tooled without giving up the beauty of convenience, as all of these pieces are dishwasher friendly”.

If you’re looking to explore the collection, Amanda’s line is available at Provide Home, located in the heart of the Armoury District at 1805 Fir St. For interior design services, Amanda’s by-appointment only Vancouver studio is now open at 1275 Venables, Suite 330. 

CHATTING 2018 COLOUR TRENDS WITH AMANDA FORRREST AND ERIKA WOELFEL

Design inspiration is in full swing. With IDS Vancouver recently kicking off the season and the Vancouver Fall Home Show coming up later this month, style at home is top of mind. An easy (and affordable!) way to give your space a major update without a massive overhaul is paint; tackling a feature wall or a whole room refresh is a simple weekend project and offers up a serious style statement. Looking to what’s going to be on everyone’s must-have colour wish list as we move into 2018, I checked in with a few style experts to see what the 2018 colour trends are looking like. Erika Woelfel, Vice President of Colour and Creative Services at BEHR, speaks to the brand’s recently revealed 2018 palette and Colour of the Year, while design darling Amanda Forrest shares her faves from her collaboration with The FAT Paint Company and how she’s loving them paired for the upcoming season.

What were the primary inspiration factors behind the Behr 2018 Colour Trends collection?

EW: Each year, our team is inspired by what’s happening in the world around us and how colour comes to life in new ways―in fashion, pop culture, travel, home décor and more. We spend months imagining a palette filled with colours that will reflect what’s to come. This year, we were specifically drawn to lifestyle trends of awareness, mindful living and the Danish concept of hygge―the feeling of cozy, comfortable conviviality and well-being. People are organizing and decluttering to prioritize experiences over material items. They are searching for balance amid their busy schedules, while trying to escape technological overload.

What colours are you feeling inspired by for the coming year? 

AF: Sensual earth tones reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour have got me really excited for the season ahead. Colours like deep plum, luscious teals and my paint colour Can't See Me Camo are all perfect paired with this past seasons pastels. The mix of light and dark give the colour combos strength and presence while feeling luxurious.

What made ‘In The Moment’ the standout colour for the year?

EW: Throughout the process of researching and curating our BEHR 2018 Colour Trends, cool, spruce blues popped up at every turn. From furniture to décor to fashion, stylists and designers across industries are finding new and beautiful ways to incorporate this usable blue-green. It’s so versatile, bringing a sense of sanctuary to almost any room―kitchens, bathrooms, dining rooms, you name it! We couldn’t resist giving In The Moment T18-15 the spotlight this year.

Do you have any favourite colour combinations or trends for 2018?

AF: Absolutely! Anything Camo Green Coloured paired with blush-I would love to design a room around these colours with a little gold sparkle thrown in for good measure.

How do you predict the public will connect with and interact with this palette? What feelings do you think the 2018 Colours will evoke for people?

EW: The 2018 Colour Trends palette is all about the intentional use of colour to enhance the energy of your most meaningful spaces. We hope these 20 new colours will work to create personal sanctuaries, inspiring consumers to relax, disconnect and simply be present. The hues encourage people to capitalize on the positive effects of colour by using it sparingly or generously throughout their home. We often can’t wait to get home and just be―so it’s about choosing colours that allow us to do just that.

What were the driving factors behind your palette collection with FAT paint?

AF: Each of the 6 colours in my FAT Paint collection are inspired by parts of my personality. Blushing Bombshell is the sexy version of my personality while Navy State Of Mind plays homage to by inner girl boss. Orangeapalooza is a party in can sparked by travel to the Caribbean. 

What do you feel your clients are most excited about when it comes to colour selection?

AF: Clients are generally afraid of using too much colour but Navy has been a great all around colour for both men and women. I have used it on painted cabinetry, on dining room ceilings and in dining rooms. It's a timeless colour that packs punch. Navy State Of Mind is my best selling colour.

GETTING INSPIRED WITH IDS VANCOUVER

It’s back: the time of year our whole design industry waits for. IDS Vancouver returns this week and the city is alive with anticipation and creativity. The annual design show , once again taking over the Vancouver Convention Centre West, brings industry forerunners to the front lines, and designers, influencers, experts and aficionados alike under one roof to see what’s what for the future of design. Running September 28 through October 01, the show offers everything from speaker series to artisanal shopping to cutting edge installations to leading exhibitors. With so much to take in, I’ve narrowed out my faves for this years show, and what features I’m most looking forward to checking out. 

STUDIO NORTH
Studio North brings Canadian and international designers together to present custom pieces from a variety of disciples of the design world: furniture, lighting, glass, ceramics, textiles and surface design. The gallery-like installation allows the industry, media and design-savvy show-goers to explore the fresh perspectives of the participants creativity. This years exhibitors include the 2016 IDS Vancouver Prototype Winner, Chop Value - the  name stemming from the use of recycled chopsticks as raw material for product development and design, as well as Vancouver-based furniture designer Will Morrison, who focuses on sustainability with flat-packable heirloom pieces with a non-toxic makeup.

CLAY & GLAZE
Modern ceramics are given the spotlight with Clay & Glaze. Artists from across the globe bring their innovation forward in this curated installation. Victoria-based  Amanda Marie Ceramics, whose terracotta and milk-glazed works derive inspiration from nature, as well as Italian ceramicist Matteo Cibic - a creative mind with featured collections shown worldwide in various galleries and museums - are just a few of the invited artists to showcase their pieces in this must-see show feature.

THE MIX
A unique concept new to IDS Vancouver this year, The Mix is an international, interactive connection between three leading Vancouver designers and three established Netherlands-based designers that includes both on and off site talks, show displays and collaborative installations. Vancouver’s own Brent Comber partners with Eindhoven-based designs duo Studio OS & OOS to discuss the similarities and differences in preferred materials, and how geographic factors may play an influential role in their creative processes. We will also see local artist Bobbie Burgers pair up with Studio RENS designers Stefanie van Keijsteren and Renee Menen to talk, amongst other elements, how they are each influenced by colour within their work. 

THE DISTRICT
One of the most bustling areas of the show each year, The District is the marketplace where guests are able to meet and take home treasures from local artisans showing and selling their work. Some of this years most prominent curated artisans include Saige & Skye, which brings unique handwoven pieces from fibre artist Jolynn Vandam, as well as Urban Walls, which offers up a modern, playfully chic alternative to wallpaper with their fashion forward, removable wall decals. In am also beyond excited to see some of my design go-to’s in the industry, Haven Textile Company, G Ceramic & Co., Anara Design Company and Bloc showcasing their incredible talents and wares in The District. 

SPEAKER SERIES
The biggest buzz about the show amongst the industry is who’s taking the stage to share their expertise. This year has a stellar lineup to satiate the crowds, with a wide variety of local and international style stars set to speak. Friday, September 29 brings us, among others, Spanish artist/ designer Jaime Hayon; Hayon is multi-disciplinary, with his creative services in high demand for commercial interiors worldwide, as well as design of furniture, lighting and fixtures.  TIME Magazine and Wallpaper Magazine have included Hayon as one of the most relevant creators of our times. Saturday, September 30 will see world renowned Camille Walala take the Ceasarstone stage to bring us a little peek at what life in Walaland is like (she is also creating the Walaland Central Bar installation in collaboration with Ann Sacks); Walala originally began as a textile designer and expanded her colourful, energetic pattern designs to grace interiors and public spaces across the globe. Perhaps the talk I am mist looking forward to is taking place on Sunday October 01; gathering some of our city’s most talented designers and influencers to discuss the meaning of West Coast Luxury. Moderator Fiona Forbes will be joined by an inspiring group of creative women, including Karen Bohn, Gaile Guevara and Gillian Segal to chat everything luxury, from design to decor to entertaining.

FALL DECOR REFRESH

With the feeling of Fall setting in, it’s time again for a seasonal decor refresh. As we look to swap out our airy Summer vibes and channel the comfort of warmer pieces, there are a few key elements to look to that give the illusion of a full makeover without committing to a major design overhaul. Textiles, accessories and ambient lighting are the easiest way to add a sense of layered softness to a space, so for this weeks Five Finds I’ve rounded up my current faves for nailing your Fall style with ease.

1. LIMITED EDITION WAFFLE DIP DYE THROW. Available at www.aurahome.com; 140cm x 200cm, pricing available upon request.
The quickest indicator of the seasonal shift is the need for a blanket to wrap up with in the evenings. Not yet time for the heavy wool throws we crave during the winter months, this lightweight waffle version is the perfect transition piece. Made of 100% cotton, it offers a soft, breathable layer while the waffle act as little pockets to help train heat; the dip dye effect adds a hint of visual interest and keeps a fresh, modern feel.

2. VANCOUVER CANDLE CO. WEST COAST CANDLE. Available online at www.vancouvercandleco.com and various retailers; $42.
With their recently launched Great White North Collection, Vancouver Candle Co. offers a signature series of candles and diffusers handmade in chic all white vessels to represent the beauty of our country’s incredible landscape. The West Coast candle offers the inviting scents of fir, spruce and oak moss to evoke a woodsy, sweet ambiance; made with premium soy wax, perfume grade essential oils and boasting a 70 hour burn time,  this little flame naturally adds the warmth we're searching for this time of year. 

3. COLCA WOOL RUG. Available at West Elm, pricing varies by size.
A quick way to warm up a space for the season is to add softness underfoot. While I always love  the ease of bare floors during the summer months, I definitely look forward to breaking out my textured rugs for the cooler weather. Finished with a warm, neutral palette the Colca Rug suits any decor and lends itself as an easy transition from summer brights and whites; the natural fibres of the wool and cotton blend make it easy to clean and low maintenance, which is always something to consider when rug hunting. Not just beautiful, the Colca is a feel-good purchase as well: each rug is handcrafted by a Craftmark-certified artisan in India and is Fair Trade Certified™, which ensures the support for better living and working conditions for the artisans.

4. WHITE MUDCLOTH CUSHION - RHYTHM. Available at Nineteen Ten Home, $115.
While we keep it simple for the warmer months, Fall is the time of year to step up your pillow game. Adding in extra layers in varying finishes creates an inviting atmosphere for you (and your houseguests) to relax in; keeping on the vein of warm neutrals and natural fabrics, the White Mudcloth cushions offer up an ideal place to cozy into during the cooler evenings. The handmade, hand dyed block prints keep a playful edge to even a sophisticated decor and make each piece one of a kind. 

5. KLEIN REID MIHARA LARGE BOWL IN SULFER GOLD. Available at Provide Home; $390.
Texture isn’t just found in textiles - another easy way to amp up the visual interest and sense of layers within the home is through decorative accessories. I love the high impact tactile effect of this Mihara bowl from New York based studio, Klein Reid - the collection offers an organic take on pattern while the saturated neutrals of the sulphur gold colour way create visual warmth. Stunning craftsmanship is inherent in this unique piece, as the studio’s work is known for gallery and museum showings.

DESIGNING WITH LIFE: FIVE STYLISH HOUSEPLANTS TO INCORPORATE INTO YOUR DECOR

When styling the perfect room, the details don’t stop with furnishings and hard finishes. For most designers, adding literal life to a space is essential and choosing the right greenery is just as important as the right piece of art. While we work on an aesthetic level and would love to choose all the details based simply on how they look, there are other considerations with plants  - light requirements, temperature limits, potential growth and definitely how much work they will be. This week I’ve shared my own go-to’s for indoor plants and weighed in with a few local creatives who have shared what their favourite houseplant to work with is, and why. 

1. Rachel Harrison of RoomCraft Design: The (indoor)  Palm

“Palms are a great way to bring the outdoors in. They add a tropical vibe to even the most urban home, which sets a relaxed and beachy tone,” Harrison explains. “I loved using this Butterfly Palm because I find it also keeps a visual reference of warmer destinations for future getaways and daydreams.”  

Light requirements: a bright room but no direct sunlight (they can actually get a sunburn!)

Watering: moderate, allow the top soil to become dry but do not overwater

Size: Butterfly Palms (aka Areca Palms) can grow up to 8ft indoors, so are an ideal space filler.

2. Erin Sousa of Sparkle Media: The Fiddle Leaf Fig
Erin shares, “I love the freshness that my Fiddlehead Fig brings into my living room - it’s the perfect shape and size to fill an empty corner, plus, it’s super modern and on trend!”

Light requirements: a bright room with minimal direct light (early morning direct light only)

Watering: moderate, allow the top soil to become dry but do not overwater; water less during the Winter months

Size: another great focal point for any space, the Fiddle Leaf can grow up to 9ft in height

3. Joy Leimanis of Spade & Pointer: The Succulents
“Succulents are a stylish and easy way to add plant life to any home,” Leimanis explains. As a greenery designer, she shares why these little plants are so versatile:  “I love working with succulents not only for their unique appearance, but also for ease of care. They  thrive on a sunny windowsill where other plants may suffer (as they would dry out too fast), require little water so they are low maintenance and they are less attractive to pests than many traditional house plants. Succulents are available in an array of colours, shapes and textures which can make for uniquely attractive planter combinations which add visual interest to any decor.”

Light requirements: bright window spots are best, especially if South or West facing. 

Watering: light watering. Allow the soil to dry between waterings.

Size: varies depending on type of succulent

4. My Pick: The Cactus
“I feel like in many ways the cactus is my spirit plant - I’m a sun-seeker, I love hot, dry temperatures and am adverse to the rain. My personal aesthetic currently has a very California desert vibe going on, so adding a variety of cacti really helps set that tone. The biggest bonus? These plants are almost impossible to kill… even during the Summer months they require very little water, and even less so while they are dormant in the Winter.”

Light requirements: your sunniest spot will do nicely - remember, these are desert plants. They can handle direct sunlight, but it’s best to turn the pot every so often so that all sides of the plant is receiving equal light (and to avoid burning one spot).

Watering: very minimal regular watering through the warmer months, and less watering during with Winter allows the plant to go dormant while it’s cool. Overwatering quickly causes rot within cacti.

Size: varies depending on type of cactus.

5. My Pick: The Bromeliad
“Design is all about texture, layers and details. That’s why I love using Bromeliads - they offer a lot of layers and organic movement, which makes each one a little different. With the larger varieties like this Urn Plant, I enjoy the presence they bring to a room… they feel somehow elegant and ominous at the same time. I find them a little tricky to get to flower, but once they do, it’s super cool and again, adds a whole new element of texture.”

Light requirements: very bright rooms with no direct sunlight

Watering: these are unique because you water the ‘vases’ created by the leaves (replace every 2-3 weeks) and only water the soil when it is dry to the touch

Size: typically grows up to 18in. in height (although this very mature urn plant has exceeded that)

STYLE SPOTLIGHT ON CELINA DALRYMPLE OF FABULOUS FURNISHINGS UPHOLSTERY

Fabulous design is the sum of it’s details. While there are many areas to ‘save’ on budget and score a deal, there are a few key elements that are worth the splurge. From a designer’s perspective, textiles and upholstered goods (especially the sofa) are perhaps across the board the items to put a little extra into… the quality, feel and longevity is worth investing in. Within the design community, our go-to resource for top notch upholstery (alongside custom built furniture and stellar window coverings) is Fabulous Furnishings. I sat down to chat with one of our industry’s sweethearts and serious boss babes - owner, Celina Dalrymple, about the history of this family business and how her love of creation keeps her at the top of her game. 

Tell us a little about yourself...
I am a furniture freak obsessed with perfection, proportion and textiles. For nearly 18 years have run a unique custom furniture and drapery manufacturing company carefully named " Fabulous Furnishings" with a talented crew by my side. 

How did you get started in your furniture manufacturing company what led you to where you are now? 
As a second generation upholster, and the child to entrepreneurs running this business is what I was meant to do. Over the years Fabulous has evolved into a very custom shop that works with some of Vancouver's top Designers and Architects. As things have shifted over the last few years, working more and more with the trade we have been putting together a new program geared towards simplify things for everyone. Stay tuned!  

What colour best describes your personality? 
Oh I love the perfect emerald green. It speaks to my glamorous side, and maybe to my envious side, but hey...I'm a Scorpio what can you expect! 

When it comes to style/design, what is the one thing you covet the most? 
Furniture or objects with personality. I love to think of the furniture I am working as having a personality or character that I am helping to bring out and let shine!

Do you have any predictions for the future of your industry?  
Folks going back to the roots of what is good and right.  People are definitely more conscious of sustainable furniture built locally, with local healthy materials, that will last generations. Thinking of our interiors in the way our parents generations did.  Investing in something of quality that will be passed down through generations and is worthwhile just recovering when you want to. Recently I read a post by local designer Kyla Ray about wanting to start a movement called #savetheantiques . I am in! 

How would you describe Vancouver’s artistic/creative community?
I feel us coming together to build a more prosperous community for everyone, shows like The ADDRESS ASSEMBLY are proof of that. Less competition, more alliance and everyone becomes better at what they are doing. I remember when I first started out, I needed guidance and had so much to learn. I knocked on the doors of my " competitors" and as the new kid on the block basically forced some of the older generation of upholsters into friendships and mentor-ship!  It has been a beautiful thing for the both of us through the years and has taught me how important it is to have a community. 

Some people collect old cameras & typewriters. Do you collect anything? 
Good humans. I like to think of there being this invisible umbrella over me and everyone being under the "fabulous umbrella". My crew/clients/delivery crew/suppliers etc. just collecting the good humans together with good vibes. And great earrings! 

What do you wish more people knew about artists?
That we bleed for our craft.

Do you have a favourite creative space? 
My big warehouse/studio.  I have a full carpentry shop, a studio loft with room to do whatever I want, an upholstery workroom with every tool you can think of, all the sewing machines and bits and bobs to put together anything together that tickles my fancy. 

If you could speak to a room of youth who were considering careers in the arts, what would your advice be?
Expect to work harder than you could ever imagine you could, then start to work smarter. Just keep your head down, put the blinders up and keep going. Eventually you'll have been doing what you are doing for so long that, A. you will be good at it and, B. everyone will know you for doing it. The rewards are great if you stick it out because you are able to sculpt your own future. 

Artistically, what is your favourite part of the city?
I am most inspired by the sculpture of nature which is why I worked my ass off to move my business and life to North Vancouver. I am so grateful to have the forest in my back yard. 

GETTING BOLD IN THE BEDROOM WITH THIS SEASONS HOTTEST BEDDING

Our homes are our personal sanctuaries, yet it seems that the first spaces to get attention with decor updates are the rooms that we share with the public eye and our houseguests. The entertaining areas of a house take top priority for design, with our intimate spaces often left last on a never ending list. One of the most essential elements to creating a haven for yourself at home is allowing focus to be placed on the private rooms that we look to for rest and rejuvenation. This week we are jumping into what the upcoming months are offering for sleeping in style; from the mattress to the covers, it looks like things are about to get bold in the bedroom.

1. Ted Baker London Pink Ombre Floral Collection; available exclusively at Hudsons Bay Company concessions. Prices available in store. 
This season marks the Canadian launch of fashion powerhouse Ted Baker London’s luxurious bedding line. With four different collections within the launch, the product lineup includes comforter sets, throw pillows and coverlets to either coordinate or mix and match to create the ultimate in on trend sleeping scenes. The pink floral collection embraces the summertime vibes with the ombre palette, while the oversized flower pattern carries the set into the height of Fall fashion. Stunning now yet enticing for the seasons to come, this collection hits all the high points of luxury bedding. 

2. Slip Pure Silk Pillowcase; available at www.slipsilk.com. Prices vary by size.
This is my number one secret weapon for a beautiful sleep (and wake up!). With over 20 years of our lives spent in bed, opting for a pillowcase that works hand-in-hand with our beauty routine feels like a no-brainer. The Slipsilk technology uses Grade 6A long fibre mulberry silk to reduce friction and retain your skin’s moisture to provide an anti-aging, anti-sleep-crease and anti-bedhead sleep… seriously, what more could you ask from a pillowcase?

3. Samantha Pynn X Simons Fall 2017 Collection; available exclusively at Simons. Prices available in store.
When an HGTV superstore launches yet another stellar home collection for one of Canada’s largest retailers, it’s time to pay attention and get ready for a revamp. Design darling of the TV world, Samantha Pynn, has just unveiled the upcoming Fall bedding line she designed for Simons; using fresh whites with patterned pops of colour, the pieces are an easy transition out of summer and will keep life bright in the bedroom well into the Winter months. The full collection will be available in store this September.

4. The Endy Sleep Mattress; available at https://ca.endysleep.com. Prices from $675.
No matter how stylish your sheets, without a good nights rest the bedroom is nobody’s haven; embracing the infamous “keep it simple” model, Endy is revolutionizing the way Canadians sleep. Offering just one mattress model (and similarly, one pillow) in a full range of sizes, the fully Canadian brand designed the ultimate place to sleep with four main principles in mind: comfort, firmness, temperature and motion. The mattress design has three levels  - a gel infused top coat for comfort and temperature control, and middle layer to gently transition energy from comfort to support, and a bottom layer of high-density foam to maintain optimal posture and support. The breathable, hypoallergenic and micro quilted cover - hand sewn in Montreal - is easily removable to make cleaning and care a cinch. 

5. Sheets on the Line Pure Linen Collection; available at www.sheetsontheline.com.au. Prices vary by size. 
The ultimate classic sheet, pure linen is a luxurious sleeping material as it keeps you cool in the warm months and warm when it’s cool outside. The organic, perfectly-imperfect aesthetics of linen bedding have made it a must-have favourite amongst designers for years, and is one of those magical materials that gets softer and more appealing over time and washings. Sheets on the Line offers a wide array of pure linen bedding, with generous top sheets that offer a wide border on all four edges (read: no more hunting for the top!) and tailored corners that allow it to look just as chic as a lightweight bedcover. Fitted sheets are designed with deep pockets to give space for even  pillow-top mattress.

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.

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. 

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 10.10.53 AM.png

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. 

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.