Five Finds for your Valentine

The Famous Heart Desk Collection, available at That Neon Sign ($300)

Lighting is often my favourite element of décor – but for me, nothing beats when creative lighting actually becomes the décor! When Andrew Hibb’s That Neon Sign first hit my radar, I was super impressed; I love his commitment to keeping an old school craft alive, relevant and chic in today’s design industry. It therefore came as no surprise to me to find out his relation to stylista-extraordinaire, Monika Hibbs, and that Andrew’s wife is also a designer. The Famous Heart piece has been a favourite of mine from Andrew’s collection – I think the perfectly imperfect silhouette has a very personal feel, seemingly from the heart. As it turns out, it is: the piece was originally hand drawn by Monika, then traced and created in neon by Andrew, and finally envisioned on a stand as a décor piece by Andrew’s wife. Available in almost any colour, each heart is a custom hand made and beautifully unique way to show your love to your décor-addict Valentine.

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Tiffany Enchant Double Heart Ring, available at Tiffany & Co (pricing available in store)

It’s no secret that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and once again Tiffany & Co. has mastered the art of a perfect collection. The intricate detailing of each piece within the Tiffany Enchant grouping has been inspired by garden gates of the 19th century, offering a quintessentially romantic appeal. The double heart ring has captured my attention – cursive, feminine lines of white gold and diamonds create a coupling of intertwined hearts, making an ideal gift of love for the woman in your life. Old world elegance meets sophisticated modernity with the sought after Tiffany’s twist.

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Couple’s treatment at the Miraj Hammam Spa, 1496 West 6th ($295/couple)

For those of you not yet familiar with the tradition of hammam and gommage, trust me – you want to get acquainted with it. Seriously. And what better way to be introduced to this sensual practice of relaxation and invigoration than with a partner. If you are looking for a Valentine’s experience, the Miraj Hammam Spa – a South Granville landmark for those in the know – is offering a special couple’s treatment; partners will be invited into the marble hammam, which they will have to themselves for a 45-minute low mist, high-intensity steam before being led separately for an exfoliating treatment of authentic black Moroccan soap, as well as face and scalp massages with aromatic rose oil. Afterwards, the couple will rejoin in the Sultana lounge of velvet beds and silk cushions for Middle Eastern tea and sweet cakes. Heightened senses and true pampering at the Miraj Hammam create a memorable experience for both you and your Valentine.

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Neon Pink Heart Print, available at The Cross Decor & Design, 1198 Homer ($50)

Simple, graphic and bright sum up this super cute print, created by Banquet Atelier & Workshop. At roughly 20″x20″, this playful piece makes the perfect everyday Valentine, with just enough statement to shout out “I love You” when you walk in the room. The neon pink heart is given an amped-up chic look with a soft grey background (rather than the expected stark white), allowing it to take on a slightly softer edge to suit any decor. I’m picturing this as an ideal gift for the wee ones this Valentine’s Day – this would be a seriously adorable addition to any nursery or playroom.

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The Joy bracelet, available at Jen Ellis Designs ($38)

Timing is everything, and I love when it comes together like clockwork. Coinciding perfectly with Valentine’s Day, the Joy bracelet from local talent Jen Ellis has just launched as the newest addition to her designs. Chic, feminine pieces have become the cornerstone of Jen Ellis Designs, offering women ultra simple jewellery options that add the subtle finishing touches to an everyday look, or layer together beautifully for an elegant high impact. The Joy bracelet, available in either sterling silver or 14K gold fill, are a modern approach to the identity bracelets of the past; a streamlined interpretation, the Joy allows just enough room for a ‘sweet nothing’ to your love to be engraved.

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Five Finds for a brighter decor

Amulette Pendants, available at Nineteen Ten Home, 4366 Main. $180 – $320.

Lighting is always my favourite part of a project. Once you get past the first level of lighting a space – the task lighting, such as overhead pot lights – you are able to play a lot with the next levels of lighting like pendant lights, table lamps and floor lamps to create the ambiance and enhance the décor style you’ve decided on. I love how these Amulette Pendants (shown here in both the bohemian and craft paper styles) are smaller pieces with a subtle yet statement effect. Handmade in Montreal out of paper, these lights offer a softness that plays easily to boho décor, nurseries or ceiling-hung bedside lamps in a feminine bedroom.

 

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Vintage Dowry Rugs, available at Much & Little, 2541 Main. Prices vary.

Pieces with a story, a previous life, are the best way to add personality to décor. Vintage items of any kind, carefully mixed with contemporary designs add an overall layered feel to a space that suggests the design has been well curated over years, and is more of a collection rather than a grouping of functional pieces. Textiles are one of the more interesting items to introduce as vintage, as they offer stressed palettes, pattern and texture that a new version simply can’t match; even in the most modern of homes, a vintage throw or – even better – area rug adds a sense of style that cuts the cold of modern minimalism without being intrusive. These handwoven vintage rugs, originally created as dowry offerings from Turkey, are ideal, as they offer a wide colour range and heavier weight, making them both visually complimentary and functional for most décor.

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Bkr Bottles, available at Float Yaletown, 1059 Cambie. $33.

I’m totally that girl who’s guilty of not drinking nearly enough water throughout the day. Part of the reason is that traditional plastic water bottles taste too “plastic-y” and many reusable bottles are too sporty and don’t tuck easily into my bag, When I first saw these Bkr bottles at Float Yaletown, I was first drawn to the pretty colours; I love the ombre range of the muted blue colour options with fun names like Detox, London, and Dive. But when I actually picked them up, I realized that they were super functional as well – lightweight glass (to avoid that dreaded plastic taste) protected by beautifully coloured silicone covers and a sleek size and shape that allows them to easily tuck away into any bag or purse. Perhaps this year will see a change in my water habits after all, with the style-meets-function Bkr bottle.

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Normann Copehnagan Geo Jars, available at Vancouver Special, 3612 Main. $13-14.

It’s a designer’s delight when everyday household items take on a stylish aesthetic – so often a space can be beautifully put together, but then when the functional items are put to use, the décor is interrupted. When I saw these jars in the window of Vancouver Special, I had to pop in to check out the collection; available in a soft but playful palette range, these jars can be mixed and matched. The line offers a milk jug, a sugar bowl, and a jar with lid (all shown here) and also includes serving trays, larger bowls and other utensils. Created out of a resin type material, these pieces are both durable and totally irresistible.

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Vintage Pink Marble Stoneware, available at The Collectors Vintage India, 4413 Main. $50-65.

I am admittedly a décor junkie for all things beautifully global; so when I recently stumbled across The Collectors Vintage India pop-up shop on Main Street (located in the old East is East building), I was immediately blown away. From trinkets to textiles to large furnishings, this boutique offers a beautiful collection of all of my most coveting things. I was particularly intrigued by the bowls – originally used for mixing flatbreads, these pan-shaped dishes are handmade from marble for a beautiful finish. The shop has a few of these in their collection in a range of grey and natural tones, but I couldn’t resist the muted pink. While they were originally used for cooking, I’m picturing these as layering pieces or trays, adding a touch of global glam to any décor.

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Five Finds: fab up your Winter style

Navajo style rug, Refind, 4609 Main St

Ethnic influence has been a strong factor in design for 2014, remaining strong leading into the New Year. One of my personal favourites is the Southwest style, rich with Navajo and cultural references that allow a broad spectrum of people to discover and appreciate patterns that have represented the original nations of our countries. This area rug, size-suitable for a kitchen or entryway, takes the traditionally inspired patterns and brings them into 2015 design trends with a soft, muted neutral colour way.

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Barter Design Company Pottery, Provide Home, 529 Beatty St

Pottery has been a decor staple for years within certain styles, but we are recently seeing a strong revival of nature  in design that has created a resurgence of clay work pieces in mainstream decor. Barter, known for using natural elements that speak to West Coast beauty, is a forerunner in offering functional terracotta pieces that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are practical. Simple, organic silhouettes in a soft, warm palette create a collection that adds both dimension and diversity to any space.

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Jen Ellis gold stacking rings, Oliver and Lilly’s, 1575 West 6th Ave

While statement jewellery is certainly one of my style weaknesses, I have to admit my favourite accessories are the pieces that I can wear everyday – whether I’m in joggers or a cocktail dress – and add a subtly chic element to my look. I have purchased a number of these pretty Jen Ellis stacking rings over the last few years; I wear them everyday without thing them off and they look just as chic today as the first day I put them on. They create an effortlessly glam touch to my hands, yet are light enough that I can easily layer them with my larger rings for a more dramatic effect.

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Metro Table Lamp, EQ3, 2301 Granville St

Lighting might just be my fave element to designing a space, so choosing a stellar light piece takes both time and creative thought. This lamp caught my eye as it happens to combine two of my favourite finishes: copper/rose gold  and white marble. While meeting many of the design trends for the upcoming season, the sleek silhouette and polished effect create a timeless style that easily translates for many different decor styles. I’m picturing it as a statement piece in a monochromatic white  toned room, but it would likewise be an ideal addition to a minimalistic office or heavily layered masculine space.

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Mendes Dining Chair by The Goods, Country Furniture, 3097 Granville St

I love it when ‘playful’  makes an impact on ‘minimal’. The Mendes Chair plays with a more casual approach with softly rounded lines and smoked lucite, while the streamlined overall aesthetic and simple wood legs reference an upscale Midcentury appeal. I’ve seen this chair paired with an ultra modern table to create a chic dining space, yet it would be perfectly placed as a side chair in an eclectic guest room or seating area when combined with interesting textiles; the Mendes offers versatility to the maximum, which is a key factor in any shoppers purchasing priorities considering the small space living we have become accustomed to within the city.

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Five Finds for the Fall season

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1950’s Chinese Navy Diving Helmet

Available at Space Lab, 230 East Pender. $2,995

Every space should have a statement piece – something that draws focus and offers insight into the overall style perspective of the room. This vintage diving helmet takes that to a whole new level; an original, this was the Chinese version of the American Mark V. The piece offers great interest as a historical artifact, but from an aesthetic level, it is simply stunning. Solid brass with some nickel plating, it fits perfectly into one of the strongest design trends for the upcoming season – warm mixed metals. Standing roughly 16 inches in height and depth, this helmet is ready to steal the show in your style story.

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Vintage Kimono

Available at Duchesse Vintage and Such, 430 Columbia. $120

As we move into cooler weather, every girl is hitting the streets hunting down a collection of fabulous pieces to layer up without dragging down her style. Ladies, the hunt is over; add some style to your wardrobe with this vintage kimono. A thin piece perfect for layering, it is made from a mix of raw and soft silk (read: Fits comfortably under your well-loved denim jacket for an ideal Vancouver autumn outerwear combo). Try it as an alternative to a blazer to amp up the style at work, or over your fave little number for a knockout evening getup. The palette adds some summertime warmth with a saturated apricot, perfect for a rainy Van-city day!

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Mantel Blue Area Rug

Available at Burritt Bros, 3594 Main. $9,440 at an 8’x10′ size

Area rugs are one of the fundamental elements of successful design; not only do they offer functional warmth and softness underfoot, but they also visually ground a room, offering a perceived area for room decor to develop. Whether oversized or an accent piece, rugs provide an opportunity to play with pattern and texture. My recent love has been for tone on tone neutral rugs (think – a white on white silk blend for an ultra glam appeal) but I have also found myself attracted to a new palette – muted blues. This Mantel Blue rug from Burritt Bros offers an old-world feel with the distressed effect of the medallion, beautifully accentuated by the soft steely blue and natural colourway. The epitome of handcrafted, this beauty is 100 per cent hand spun, hand dyed, and hand knotted in Nepal from a 50/50 blend of Himalayan wool and Chinese silk.

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Alex Coral Cuff by Loren Hope

Available at LYNNsteven Boutique, 225 Carrall. $95

Art Deco glamour meets modern day edge with this handmade piece by Loren Hope. The stronger elements of the wide antiqued brass cuff are juxtaposed by the feminine Austrian rhinestones and large coral stone; true to the brand’s design philosophy, each piece is handmade, offering both style and quality. This collection by Loren Hope is the only non-Canadian line carried within the LYNNsteven boutique, a must-stop shop for those in the know. This Gastown gem has been bringing the women of Vancouver a fun, flirty, and fashion-forward style selection five years next month.

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Bingo modular table/seat/bed

Available at Vancouver Special, 3612 Main. $395

Bingo is multi-functional living at its finest. Ideal for small space urban homes, the piece is a convertible three-in-one furniture element that solves the logistical dilemma of guest comfort versus floorspace, in style. When completely closed, the Bingo is a chic side- or coffee-table with a metal top tray and cool folded effect. Remove the tray, and you have an accordion-esque pouff for extra seating. The most awesome feature? Unfold it altogether and you’ve got a chic guest bed for one. Constructed of high density polyurethane foam with a (removable) wool felt fabric finish, the Bingo is available in fifteen colours. I love pieces that add functionality with a big dose of awesome! If you’ve got more room to play, try using multiples as statement seating within an open concept space.

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Five Finds: The Vancouver Home + Deign Show 2014

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With the annual Vancouver Home + Design Show opening at BC Place today, I decided to take a sneak peek at the show, check out the goods and share the inside scoop on what’s hot for this year! Here are my Five [favourite] Finds for VHDS14:

1. Brushed tan oak wood flooring by Kentwood Originals

$6.43 per square foot; Available at Frontier Luxury Flooring

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As a designer, I know what an impact flooring makes to a room. Whether you are jumping into full reno or simply swapping out the old for a fresh take, what you put underfoot changes the overall feel of every detail in your room.

It’s important to work with an awesome flooring team that works with you from selection right through install. Frontier – based in it’s new, ultra-chic showroom – offers the ultimate luxury flooring experience. One of my faves is this stunning brushed tan oak: It offers the warmth of a darker to mid-tone floor, but the layers within the colour stand out with natural light, bringing a whole new dimension to the look. This floor is definitely on my list of “must try”!

2. Orbit Oak Stool

$229; Available at Home Delight

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I love surprises; well, I love awesomesurprises, especially when it comes to double-duty furniture! This super adorable little stool caught my eye with it’s reference to both midcentury and traditional lines. It’s a total space-saver, with only a 17-inch diameter, but at 19 inches high, it can offer functionality all over the house; whether you need a show stool to fill an awkward corner, an extra seat for a party or even a footstool, this little number has you covered. And the surprise? Swivel the top and it has storage! Love it.

3. Linen Bath Sheet by Le Fil Rouge

$65; Available at Le Fil Rouge

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I’m always on the hunt for fabulous towels, whether it be for a client, or for staging, or for my own home. I usually stumble across the usual terry options, which are great for their inherent fluffiness, but offer little in terms of uniqueness. When I saw these 100 per cent European linen bath sheets, I definitely took note – not as heavy as I usually expect from a towel, the lightweight fabric has incredible hand, with a super soft texture. Not only pretty to look at and great to touch, these bath sheets are very practical as well: The linen is highly absorbent, naturally mildew resistant, sustainable, eco-friendly, and (my favourite part) they dry quickly, ditching the need to tumble dry to get the damp out after each use. Handmade in Vancouver.

4. Leoni Necklace by MeiKu Designs

$95; Available at MeikuDesigns.com

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Natural beauty merged with urban chic. Meiku Designs creates sophisticated jewelry for the modern bohemian. The stones and charms used are chosen for their beauty, healing and symbolic qualities. Because Meiku Designs features natural materials there will be slight variations to each piece – making it totally one of a kind. I’m coveting the Leoni Necklace – I love the tones and organic shapes within the agate geode, but I also love how the designer has mixed her metals, which super on trend! This piece is on a 20-inch strand, which is the perfect length to layer or wear solo.

5. Samsung Chef Collection WaterWall Dishwasher

$1,899.99; Available at Midland Appliance

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I love my home, I love where I live, but my current abode has one element that I struggle getting past… I am sans-dishwasher! It seems like a small factor when touring a cool space that offers so many other awesome elements, but when it comes right down to it, not having a dishwasher sucks.

So when I was working with Samsung to choose the PowerSmart appliances for the BC Hydro PowerSmart booth that I designed for this year’s show, I fell head over heels for the dishwasher. Of course I loved the Chef Collection – go for the gusto, right? This piece offers professional cleanliness to even the most amateur kitchen with a linear mechanism that moves along the bottom of the tub to provide consistent high water pressure. Goodbye to the old rotary system, the water wall reaches from corner to corner for full coverage – perfect for a dishwasher over-stuffer like me!

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Five Finds for fabulous Fall style

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Organic Form Wine Rack. Space Lab, $1,995

This unique piece brings the season’s neutral palette into functional home elements. Designed by Mexican architect, Alfonso Bonilla, for Pachydermata Studio, this wine rack was made in Vancouver out of laminated CNC sheets of plywood. Standing roughly 5’ x 2.5’, the piece becomes a sculptural décor element while providing stylish storage for your vino. Multiple units can be used together for larger collections, and the unit can also be positioned horizontally to suit any setting.

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Lubbock Aluminum Cast Skull. Mint Interiors, $1,169.

Another major fall trend is for faux animal references; faux furs, feathers, and modern twists to taxidermy are hot accessories for the home. We’ve seen ceramic skulls, but this season, fresh materials are making an entrance. This cast aluminum skull is a standout piece at nearly 24 inches, available in a bronze or silver finish. With intricate details and heavy texture, this piece will hold it’s own as a table centrepiece, or act a bold addition to wall décor. I’m picturing it nestled up on a fireplace hearth with a collection of vintage books.

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The Blanche Sofa. EQ3, $1,999 as shown.

This season the look of refined elegance with a fresh, youthful twist is the major direction. We are seeing a softer palette and comfortable silhouettes for larger furnishings, paired with edgier metallic accents to keep the cool. The Blanche Sofa offers the perfect fit for any space – it is available in a ton of sizes, from single piece to full sectional. The chic slip-covered version (shown) is casual yet leaning toward traditional, and the Belgian linen fabric provides that upscale appeal.

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The Late Greats Accent Pillows. Moule, $34.95

These stuffy historical figures are a super fun way to add a little playful personality to your decor. Whether it’s for a stylish nursery or fun family room, these little pillows are sure to start a conversation. Handmade in the USA by designer Chen Reichert, the famous figures range from Coco Chanel to Ghandi to George Washington. My personal fave? It’s a toss up between Frida Kahlo and Nikola Tesla! 

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Modular Adjusto Chairs. Scott Landon Antiques, $375 each.

Salvaged from a factory just outside Detroit, these super cool chairs are making a statement here in Vancouver. In the popular Eames style, these 1960’s chairs are some of the most interesting I’ve seen: They are height adjustable, the off-white colour is perfect for this season, and the molded fibreglass finish is both sleek and maintenance free. With 14 available, you could deck out your bar, your table or even a cafe!

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Five Finds: Dorm Decor

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Hand-painted mugs; Anthropologie. $14 ea. 
Whether your vice is coffee or tea, caffeine has allowed most of us to survive the university years. Hip mugs not only provide a vessel to get the goodness down, they offer a stylish statement. I’m super into the global chic appeal of these hand-painted mugs from Anthro; lush colours and texture create visual interest and add an element of design to even the most mundane routine. I’m loving the merchandising display of these mugs as well – with little or no cupboard storage, why not take advantage of wall or shelf space to showcase your fab ceramic-ware?

Graphic art prints, framed; Chapters Indigo. $31-$62. 
Fun art doesn’t have break the bank and makes an ultra chic impact to a dorm room that can easily read as drab. These graphic typography prints come in a multitude of palettes and styles, offering up a modern decor piece with words to live by. With the streamlined white frames, they make a statement grouped together in various size, or are simple yet eye-catching with one or two hung gallery style.

Ikat area rug; Home Sense. $299 for 6.7ft x 9.6ft size. 
As Jeff Lebowski knows better than anyone, a good rug can really tie a room together. This becomes especially key with ultra small spaces like a dorm room. I love this muted Ikat piece because it reads as fresh and fun when paired with stronger graphic elements and high contrast colours, yet can be super chic if paired with a more elegant, sophisticated palette. In a dorm setting where many of the larger pieces are already provided (and definitely non-negotiable), using floorspace to make a design statement can be high impact.

Handmade all-natural soaps; LUSH. Priced by weight. 
One of quickest luxuries to disappear in a dorm is a lavish grooming routine. While you won’t be able to transport a fabulous claw-foot soaker tub to the school grounds, you can bring a little touch of “spa” with you. LUSH soaps are handmade, 100 per cent vegan and cruelty-free (a must in my world), and are created from natural soy, vegetables, fruits and essential oils. With names as creative as their ingredients, I’m all over the Karma Soap (spicy patchouli, lemongrass, and orange) and Honey I Washed The Kids (honey and caramel? Delish!).

Hipster Glasses toss pillow; Urban Barn. $29. 
A high contrast colour scheme, a graphic social reference, and a soft place to lay your head is the ideal trifecta for dorm design. Pattern, texture and layers are what create successful design. I love neutral bedding (I’m a total white-sheet-fiend) so throw pillows are my fave way to dress up a bed. This 17”x17” toss is a fab find at only $29 including the insert, and is totally school appropriate with the scholastic-meets-street-smart imagery.

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