31 December 2010

Shop: John Derian Company

In Target not too long ago, I bought a stack of tan notebooks whose cover art imitated old Italian school workbooks. They were part of the John Derian line for Target and they inspired me to check out what else is available at the original shop in New York city. Though I haven't yet been, I will be stopping in the next time I'm nearby to check out the quirky mushroom consoles, decoupage lamps, paper ephemera, pottery from Astier de Villatte, Hugo Guinness' linoleum cut prints in vintage frames, vintage tees from Rogues Gallery and Moroccan poufs (any excuse to use the word "pouf").

24 December 2010

Work Spaces

Whenever a new book comes out featuring artists' or writers' work spaces, I dissect the pictures for ideas and insight into the people who spend their days in those rooms. I'm fascinated by the places where creative people do their work. A good work space requires a blend of functionality and inspiration. In my own office, I first need a large desk with lots of leg room underneath. As cute as some vintage desks are, I wouldn't last long at a desk that hemmed me in. Once I have room to spread my mess around, I need items of inspiration nearby--an industrial lamp, a bulletin board to pin photos of my latest obsessions, and a cool container with lots of pens. A globe is also a must for the moments when my mind wanders to places outside of my cocoon.

Images: Recycled Home by Mark and Sally Bailey, published by Ryland, Peters & Small 2009. Maisons de Campagne magazine, July/August 2010 issue. House Beautiful magazine, July/August 2010 issue. Living etc magazine, September 2010 issue.

21 December 2010

Vintage Book Titles

I love checking out old books when I'm at auctions and flea markets. Initially, I'm drawn to the cloth covers with intricate designs and cool fonts. I also love turning through the first few pages to see if someone has written their name inside or given some hint about the book's importance to them. (I recently acquired a vintage "See and Say" word-building book in which a child had scribbled "I really hate see and say don't you hate see and say.") Over time, I've come to appreciate the quirky titles I come across--like "The Cheerful Smugglers" above. A search of the etsy shoposphere reveals that I'm not the only one with a penchant for these old gems.

27 November 2010


Though I don't remember it myself, movies from my childhood home in Montreal reveal how much my parents relished creating a magical atmosphere for my brother and me at Christmas. My mother made handmade presents and wrapped them with care, while my father cut out footprints from black card stock and arranged them in parallel lines between the tree and our fireplace. There were always piles of snow outside and warm beverages to be sipped indoors. 

With the early fading of daylight and a marked drop in the temperature, December is a time when we want home to feel even more embracing than the rest of the year. My Christmas decorating scheme changes yearly--one year a large bare branch with a handful of ornaments, another year twinkle lights and ornaments in every room of the house. But I always make room for some of the traditions that developed over my youth. My great-grandmother on my mother's side handmade ornaments for each of us that have become a considerable collection--angels and toy soldiers, Santas and reindeer. This is the first Christmas that there will be no new ornament with her stitched signature arriving in the mail. From my father's parents, a sweet little creche with Provencal figurines--a woman carrying a tied bunch of lavender and a shepherd with a lamb across his shoulders--always holds a place of prominence. Though my tastes alternate from minimalist to all-out celebration, a few meaningful family heirlooms always find their way into the mix.

Images: Fresh Home magazine, Fall 2010 issue. Country Living magazine, December/January 2011. Marie Claire Idees magazine, December 2008 issue and December 2009 issue. Canadian House & Home magazine, November 2010 issue. Unknown.

20 November 2010

Reading Nooks

Some reading nooks are created to make use of dead space--in a bay window, a large foyer or on the landing of a staircase. Others are carved deliberately into the corner of a room. A comfortable chair and good natural or mood lighting are essential. Some folks like to have their books surrounding them, always an arm's length away. Others prefer little embellishment around them. The better to be submerged into the world of their novel. A blanket, candles, flowers or plant life are small additions that raise these small spaces from serving a purpose to inviting us for an extended visit. Some think an afternoon spent reading is a waste of time. My feeling is that time spent reading makes the rest of the day better spent.

Images: House Beautiful magazine, July/August 2010 issue. Marie Claire Idees magazine, January 2010 issue. Period Living magazine, October 2010 issue. Red magazine, November 2010 issue. She Moves the Furniture.

12 November 2010


I've always had a bit of a thing for daybeds. Maybe it's the idea of being able to deposit a bed in any room of the house--I had one in my kitchen once and I could have lived in that room alone. Or maybe it's because they present a good excuse to pile on tons of throw pillows. Whatever my reasons, I know I'm not alone in loving these diverse pieces of furniture. I see a lot of twin beds at auctions and I'm often tempted to buy a pair and combine the headboards to make a daybed. Sometimes all a piece needs is a bit of wax to fill in scratches and water spots. Other times, an ugly finish can be covered up with a coat of paint and the whole look of the piece is transformed. Twin beds are rarely in demand anymore, but a daybed is as modern as it is a classic.

Images: Inside Out magazine, Christmas issue, vol.1, no.1. Campagne Decoration magazine, May/June 2010 issue. Easy Living magazine, November 2010 issue. Living etc magazine, May 2010 issue. Country Living, British Edition, October 2010 issue. Fresh Home magazine, Summer 2010 issue. Recycled Home by Mark & Sally Bailey, with photography by Debi Treloar, published by Ryland, Peters & Small 2009. Period Living magazine, October 2010 issue.

07 November 2010

Photography: Legs and Antlers

Sometimes you just need a good laugh. These auction photos gone awry--usually involving mirrors being shot head on--put a smile on my face. 

Images: Auctionzip.
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