Wednesday
Aug272014

Jessica In The Garden of Eames House

I was in California recently and had the opportunity to visit the Eames House in Pacific Palisades and it was an experience that I will never forget. According to the brochure published by the Eames Foundation "The house that they created offered them a space where work, play, life, and nature co-existed."  Charles and Ray Eames believed that nature acted as a "shock-absorber" to modern life and was carefully considered when designing their home (aka Case Study House #8).

We didn't go inside but rather stuck to the grounds of the Eames House. I was struck not just by the innovative design of the living and working spaces, but the extent to which the natural landscape and plants were part of the overall design.

Eames House was completed in 1949 and Charles and Ray lived here for the rest of their lives. I was so excited to have the opportunity to see where this dynamic couple worked and lived. The home is currently in the state that Ray Eames left it when she passed away in 1988. As a visitor, you are permitted to walk the grouds freely, but not enter the home. I found myself peering into every window seeing piles of objects and treasures and almost anticipating seeing Ray walk into the room. I was amazed by how the space was not minimally decorated, but was an accumulation of things of meaning and a was well-worn, lived-in space. I had always associated the Eames with a very paired-down aesthetic with room for things of function only, but their space was filled with objects that told the story of their lives: of travels and experiences that informed their lives and their designs. 

The location is also the home of the Eames Foundation, whose mission is to provide educational experiences that celebrate the creative legacy of Charles and Ray Eames. The staff were lovely and always ready to answer questions. We visited with my 6-year-old and her friend and they loved hearing about the importance of play in the Eames' approach design. The kids  were delighted to be set up in the meadow next to the house with a deck of Giant House of Cards to play with while we continued to explore the grounds and take it all in. If you have a chance, you should definitely visit! Call at least 48 hours in advance at 310-459-9663 to make an appointment (and if you're not in the neighbourhood, check out their website).

[photographs: Jessica Reid]

Friday
Aug222014

We Covet: Lindsay Stead's Incredible Quilts

Recently, we were invited into the home/studio space of quiltmaker Lindsay Stead. If you're not familiar with her work, she has taken the traditions of quilting — hand stitching, piecing and patterns — and made them her own by playing with the scale of the shapes and by emphasizing the use of negative space through blocks of solid colour. The resulting quilts are truly works of art, which have been exhibited across North America (she took first place minimalist design, second place hand work and judge's choice at QuiltCon in Austin, TX in 2013). And three of her quilts will be featured at a special exhibit in Yokahama During Japan's International Quilt Week in November.

Lindsay started out studying furniture design at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. "By the end of third year, I realized I didn't want to pursue furniture making," says Lindsay. She had taken a course with textile artist Rachel MacHenry, which introduced her the quilt work of the women of Gee's Bend, Alabama. "Their quilts were so beautiful," she says. "I never thought they could be traditional and personal."

Inspired by the improvisational piecework of the Gee's Bend Collective, Lindsay set out to find her own quilting voice. "It took about four years to figure out what my aesthetic was," she says. Her training in furniture making informed some of her style: "Use of negative space and low contrast is important to me." Another lesson she learned along the way was "letting go of the idea that you have to make something that has not been made before." While her work is minimalist, there is a personal connection in the hand stitching — the tiny variations and occasional imperfections of the needlework is like writing a secret message in code to the quilt's eventual owner.

[photos by Lynda Felton]

Currently, Lindsay works out of the living room of her pretty, one bedroom apartment in Toronto. "I make the best of this tiny little space," she says. Her work space is a foldup table and the couch is on wheels so she can roll it out of the room when she needs to shoot a quilt for her online store. Her favoutite space is the backyard, which was an overgrown jungle when she moved in, but is now a beautiful oasis of greenery. "It's a really great environment to get creative inspiration from," she says of her home.

We were inspired by Lindsay, her home and her work. We're so excited that on top of her sublime quilts, she'll be adding pillows to her shop next month. In the meantime, check out this portfolio of her past works and simply swoon!

Wednesday
Aug202014

Five Minute Tour with Justina Blakeney

Welcome to the first of a new series that we're calling 5 Minute Tour. Covet Garden magazine has always been about poking around the spaces of creative Torontonians, but we also wanted to share the homes and thought processes of movers and makers around the world. And we're thrilled beyound belief to begin our series of interviews with Los Angeles-based designer and blogger Justina Blakeney.

If you're not familiar with Justina's work, her style is bold and bohemian. She a graduate of UCLA's World Arts and Cultures program, and her home, is decorated with amazing objects from all over the world. Her first solo book project, The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes, (Abrams) hits shelves in 2015

1. Why did you start your blog?
I originally began blogging to motivate myself do something creative everyday. I loved blogging right away as it was a natural way to combine so many of the things that I love, including writing, photography, graphic design, crafting, styling, collaging, curating and decorating. Now, My blog is truly an extension of myself. I blog about all the things that I love—my family, my Jungalow, my closet, my obsession with plants and global textiles, wild patterns, thrifted finds and bohemian dwellings.

2. How has blogging changed your life?
Blogging has changed my life in so many ways. I have had the opportunity to collaborate and create unique content for so many amazing people and brands. I have been able to shift from doing mainly client projects, where I often feel stifled creatively, to being my own client and really pushing myself to explore creatively.  I get to work from home. I get to share my thoughts and ideas with millions of people around the world. It's empowering and exciting.

3. Where is your favorite place in your home (and why)?
My favorite space is a corner of bedroom in my home that I fondly refer to as the "Jungalow." I created the space by designing a window seat that fits snugly in the niche. The cushioned bench allows me to sit and read, listen to music, and daydream while staring out the big windows. I use my favorite pillows and textiles picked up from my travels to make the place cozy and fill the corner with color a bit of spirit of adventure. The window seat is opposite my bed and it's the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning. My house can get messy (especially since we have a toddler running around) but I always make an effort to keep the windowseat clear of clutter so I always have my little sacred spot in case I need to free my mind from the clutter (both mental and actual) and think with a clear head.

We live in a very urban area of Los Angeles, so from our jungalow, sounds of sirens, helicopters, traffics, school bells, are omnipresent. But from my little window seat I can focus on the birds chirping right outside the window. Sometimes I hear the pitter-patter of squirrels racing up and down trees. I love the feeling of the fresh breezes that come in through the windows, and even the sounds of the Mariachi music that my neighbors across the street often play brings me joy and makes me feel at home. I also spent a lot of time here when I was pregnant with my daughter.

Life can be go-go-go so much of the time and it's so important to have a place during the day to have a quiet moment. When I'm in this place I allow myself to relax, and for my personality type relaxing isn't always easy. The windows face south so the natural light is gorgeous the whole day. I can breathe here, I can feel calm and free. I also work at the little desk a lot and I use the drawers to stow away all kinds of things. I love how multi-functional the space is.

4. When you were little, how did you picture your dream home?
When I was little I thought I'd live in a super modern all white penthouse in NYC, with a ton of windows and space-age style furniture. The only thing about that vision that has come true is in that space I imagined a ton of plants and indoor greenery, which is the case with my current, crazy little Jungalow.  


5. What's your favourite possesion?

Probably the ring that my mother gave me when I graduated from college. It was my great-grandmother Ida's wedding ring. (I named my daughter after her.) It's an heirloom that  I hope to keep in the family forever. I wear it every single day.

[portrait: Jessie Webster. shelves, bedroom and kitchen: Bret Gum. Nursery: Justina Blakeney]

Thursday
Aug142014

Best of Etsy: Road Trip Special


Covet Garden had a blast visiting the Toronto stop of the first ever Etsy Road Trip! It was a joy meeting makers in person. For example, we chatted with Grace Design's Alison Gledhill who was just back from sourcing Mexican and Moroccan fabrics for her textile and leather bags. It was inspiring to learn that she was able to turn her passion for textiles into a business. And it was great to be able to examine her cool pouches and purses while Alison provided a back story for each one.

We wish we could have travelled to all of the  Road Trip cities—Etsy Canada's Erin Green told us that Montreal in particular was a fantastic party. Instead, we picked these favourites from vendors across Canada to create our own cross-country tour.

1. Nicole Tarasick Map Painting; 2. Here and Now Shop Third Eye Necklace 3. The Angry Weather Night Sky Rose Gold Stud Earrings; 4. Burrowed by Caryne Make-up Brush Case; 5. Campy Home A Great Conversation 8 oz Soy Candle; 6. Grace Design Belinda pouch.

To discover more Canadian makers, visit our Covet Garden curated "Road Trip" treasury.

Wednesday
Aug132014

Challenge Accepted: Lynda's DIY Tile Coasters

The other day Rona sent Covet Garden their latest Home and Garden preview package, which included their new look book, some Sico Paint samples, ceramic tiles and various other goodies. They aslo asked if I could come up with a DIY project using any of the included items. I came up with these tile coasters. 

You'll need:

• square ceramic tiles (I used 4 x 4" ones)
• decoupage glue, (I used Mod Podge)  
• paint sample cards
• foam brush
• cork or felt (I used cork)
• cutting pad
• X-Acto knife 
• ruler
• glue gun
• glue sticks
• waterproof acrylic sealer (I prefer the spray variety and I used a gloss finish)

Instructions

1. Clean tiles then set aside. 

2. Cut your paper into various widths of strips, each the length of your tile.

3. Brush the tile with a generous amount of decoupage glue. Then, center your paper on the tile and press the paper to the tile firmly, beginning in the middle and working your way outwards eliminating air bubbles.

4. Continue to add strips and allow 15 minutes to dry.

5. Apply a layer of decoupage glue to the top of the paper making sure your brushstrokes run in only one direction. Let dry dry completely. 

6. Once dry, add a light coat of  waterproof acrylic sealer and allow to dry completely. Repeat this step until you get a sheen you are happy with.

7. Cut cork to the appropriate size to match your tiles. For my 4 x 4" tiles, I cut  4 x 4" pieces of cork.

8. Using your glue gun, affix cork to the bottom of the tile. Once glue has dried your coasters are ready to use.