Covet Garden 60 is Now Live!

[photo by: Donna Griffith]

2016 is a leap year which means we get a whole extra day to spend touring Andjelija and Ivan fun and flexible home. While Covet Garden likes pretty things as much as the next magazine, we are also intrigued by the way people put those things together, this couple's house caught our fancy because of the playful approach they approach they take to life and their living space. Andjelija says they like to fill the rooms with energy more so than objects (although there's plenty of amazing art and books to catch our fancy). And Donna Griffith’s photos really bring this sense of bonhomie to life!

View the new issue now.


Get Centred

Everyone wants to start the year with a clean slate: prioritizing order, goal setting and generally getting stuff done! A good place to begin is by making sure that you have an organizational centre in your home so that your chances of keeping on track with your goals are increased. 

Our own Jess Reid and her Make Good Design partner, Iza Iseri took on a project recently for a client that we thought may inspire you to do the same!

The Problem: The family needed a large calender to keep track of the family's appointments, classes and commitments and a simple paper one kept getting lost in the chaos. They needed place to keep important school and kid-related forms and papers and a place to store smaller vital items in the home like phone accessories, pens, batteries, shopping bags, etc. 

The Solution: It seemed a large, chalkboard wall calendar made the most sense to anchor the space and there was a free nook by a powder room on the way to the kitchen that made the most sense to utilize.

A neutral gray chalkboard paint colour was chosen that would be dark enough for the chalk markers to read and not too dark to overwhelm the space. The wall was taped off so that the wall colour underneath would serve as the frame for the calendar. After the area was painted, the frame border was toned down a bit with a watered down version of the chalkboard paint so that the white area would not get as stained over time by the chalk markers. Each family member got a colour-coded marker to write down their commitments.

A couple of clip boards (one for each child) serve to keep permission slips, school reminders and other important documents in one place. 

A simple organizational unit from Ikea with drawer labels was installed so that small items and seasonal accessories can be easily located.

Finally, a tray with a few containers to hold all the necessary accessories required for the station (pens, chalk markers, paper clips, Post-it Notes, etc.) were added.

Now this family can start the year off on the right foot with everything in its place! What have you decided to do differently in your home this year to make your life easier?

[photos by Make Good Design. Have a room, reno or design project you need help with? Contact Make Good Design.]


Lynda Lets The Light One In

Lately I've been addicted to many Scandanavian shows on Netflix. Sure they have original and intelligent plot lines but do you know what else they have? Awesome home decor! And the recurring character that  really caught my eye is the candle. 

Norwegians, Swedes, Finns and Danes love their fire and candles are lit on the breakfast table, office desks, and in bathrooms at any time of day. Welcoming candles are placed in small dishes and set in the snow by front doors to greet visitors.
Here in Canada we also feel the effects of dark winters. Every year at this time, I start to struggle with the lack of sunshine. So this year I thought I'd channel my inner St. Lucia—the bearer of light. But instead of attaching candles to my head I'm going to fill my home with the warm glow of candle light in beautiful holders like these.

Happy New Year

[ceramic ornament by Xenia Taler]

Wishing you and yours a healthy and happy 2016 (and beyond)!



Melissa Levin 1958 - 2015

[Melissa in her studio. Photo by Donna Griffith]

It's been over a month since we learned of the passing of Melissa Levin. It's taken this long to compose this modest appraisal of her contributions to our world — not just the Covet Garden family but to the art and design world, to the cities of San Francisco, Chicago and Toronto and the creative community in general.

[Melissa in front of the installation she did at a Kitchener library. Photo via the Kitchener Public Library]

I first learned of Melissa from the art world. As the poet R.M. Vaughn wrote in tribute: "When I first moved to Toronto in 1991, I met a handful, a small but bright handful, of artists who were already established in the city.These artists welcomed me, made room for me, and brought me into their spheres. Dear Melissa was one of those artists."

[Vintage fabric from The Melissa finds its way onto a custom cabinet in Nina and Melissa's kitchen. Photo by Covet Garden]

I first met Melissa when she was running a shop called The Melissa in a West Queen West storefront that she was renting from gallerist Katherine Mulherin. It was Christmastime and the shop was well stocked with kitschy holiday stuff. I never bought anything, but it was fun to pop in and talk about the pieces in the shop — and Melissa seemed to have a great story for every item.

When we toured the home of Melissa and her partner Nina Levitt in our July 2014 issue, we learned about their own great story. How they met as grad students in Chicago. How they supported each other's work. How Melissa had been sick before and how she had recovered and prospered with wit and a renewed energy.

[The amazing custom backsplash made by Melissa. Photos by Donna Griffith]

Right now I'm looking at two pictures of Melissa and Nina's place that I took when I interviewed them for their feature. One is of a backsplash collaged together from Melissa's collection of paint-by-numbers. The other is of a wall in her office. It is a gallery of post cards, fabric swatches and other bits of ephemera from friends, family and places that Melissa had visited. The way she brought things together in her art is not unlike the way she brought people together. Not in social media way, but in a physical, actually plugged into the universe way. I like to think that having made such an impact on so many people, those connections will stay strong.

[Nina and Melissa in their kitchen. Photo by Donna Griffith]

At the same time our heart aches for her family and especially for Nina (who is also a damned awesome spirit). She and Melissa fit together like puzzle pieces. We really don't know what to say or what to do. So I'll just steal another thought from R.M. Vaughn: "The best thing one can do with a remembered kindness: pass it on."