In this month's issue of Covet Garden, Chef Michael's space explores everything we love about diverse decors: unexpected and improbable furnishings, the juxtaposition of found and fancy objects and creative collections. Most of all we love these elements because they the tell the story of Michael's life. We live in a crazy, mixed up world so there's never been a better time to embrace an eclectic interior.
The folks at the Hudson's Bay Company gave us a sneak peek at their outdoor furnishings for spring. I was wowed by all the colour and graphic shapes. And while patio season is still at least a month away, I thought I'd share the following finds. In fact, we think that the following pieces could work just as well indoors and as well as outside.
First off is the seven piece Distinctly Home Corsica patio set. Lately, I've been longingly looking at all-white spaces and this shiny laquered parsons table would be perfect in my futuristic and super clean kitchen. The only drawback is the hole in the centre of the table for the umbrella. Oh well, that's what centrepieces are for.
I also think these colourful Distinctly Home Mild Steel Drum Stools would be a super, all purpose investment. You an use them as surplus seating when entertaining, side tables or plant stands. They come in white and citrussy green and yellow and they look just as good against a chocolate or grey interior wall as they do in a sunny outdoor environment (I'm thinking of a Palm Springs-type setting, myself).
I'm also mad about the mid-century modern shape of this Distinctly Home Tropea chair, loveseat and lounge. The metal frames remind me of the postwar work of British designer Ernest Race. I also test drove the lounger. It is as comfy as any sofa.
If you can't wait for spring, the furnishings will begin arriving at the Bay's downtown and Yorkville store at the beginning of March.
We went to see legendary designer Jonathan Adler speak on the subject of colour and design at the Design Exchange last week. First of all, we have to tell you how excited we are about the DX’s new direction under president Shauna Levy. The museum is dedicated to bringing travelling exhibits such as the upcoming Christian Louboutin show, developing its own shows and holding events with important designers, like Adler.
[Adler's textiles for Kravet]
“Personally I've wanted to see Jonathan Adler in Toronto for 10 years,” said Levy before introducing him to the packed auditorium. The event was sponsored by Kohler Canada, who are producing a collection of colourful sinks for kitchens and bathrooms designed by Adler. The collaboration came about because Adler wanted a green sink for the Shelter Island house that he shares with his husband Simon Doonan.
[Adler and Doonan's Shelter Island home via Architectural Digest]
On top of being a maker of products, Adler loves interior design He had some pretty interesting ideas about how he creates spaces, so we bring you the highlights:
• I know something is good when it looks like it is supposed to be that way.... that it looks uncovered rather than created.
• I like to revitalize under appreciated crafts like needlepoint. Craft is the foundation of good design. If [an object is] beautifully crafted it makes design simple. I like to use the minimum gesture to communicate.
• I like colour a lot. Colour is joy.
• I'm very serious about what I do, but I believe that design should have a sense of humour.
• A space should always have an improbable gesture.
• I like eclecticism. Because of the times we live in, there's never been a better time to be a designer because people can handle the juxtaposition.
• I like the idea of narrative in design. I designed a hotel called the Parker and I imagined a Mrs. Parker when decorating the rooms, but for the bar I pictured it for Mr. Parker — a louche druggie, sex-crazed hipster. Even though I'm a teetotaler, I love drug imagery.
• We live in a high/low world. Anything can be anything.
• I like orange doors. Everybody should have one. If you don't have orange doors you are insane.
• We have an oversized macramé owl by Andy Harman in our living room. I like it when quotidian objects are recontexturalized by working in the biggest scale possible. Scale should make your world weird.
• Our kitchen is very simple. Colour comes from vintage Dansk cookware. I like vintage. Some people think [using previously enjoyed cookware is] kinda gross, but I'm okay with it.
• I think everything could and should be defaced. In our house, we had an old print of George Washington. One day, I told my husband, ‘I'm going to the gym, can you deface George Washington while I’m out?’ I came home and he had drawn on the traditional moustache and eye patch, but he also made him a Prince symbol lanyard.
I first met the Crown Flora team of Adam Mallory and Davis Khounnoraj (brother of Bookhou's Arounna from Issue 18) at the Junction Flea. But I was way late to the party. The design duo were already celebrated in local design circles for their wonderfully arranged succlents housed in vintage mason jars as well as their cool waxed canvas totes and cat-faced fabrics.
Now they have opened a brick and mortar store at 1537 Queen Street West, deep in the heart of Parkdale. Not only is the shop stocked with favourites such as Adam's amazing flower arrangements (stop in for a hanging terrarium or collaborate on something special for a dinner party or other special event) and Davis' silk screened pouches, totes and t-shirts, they are also carrying goods by other Canadian creators such as the preservative-free soaps and lotions of Montreal's Dot & Lil.
The space itself has a warm and woodsy feeling — like you are entering a secret garden when you walk in the front door. Having a resource for new and handcrafted objects is a nice addition to antique road. If you want to make an afternoon of it, you can grab some all-day breakfast at Easy, get great vintage clothing scores at Stella Luna and peruse eclectic vintage pieces at the Queen West Antique Centre before picking up a lovely plant and a neat tote to carry everything home in at the end of the day.
If you can't make it to the store to meet Adam (pictured above) and Davis in person, you can also visit Crown Flora's Etsy Shop to get a feel for this enchanted forest.
[image via: provide home]
Vancouver's Martha Sturdy story inspires her almost as much as her art and designs do. In a nutshell, when Sturdy was studying sculpture at Emily Carr University of Art and Design as a mature student with three kids where she specialized in sculpture. As a sideline, she also made jewellery. Well the jewellery business took off and by the early 1990s, Sturdy was celebrated in magazines and fashion shoots for her chunky, bold bijoux. She followed up that success with a line of resin tabletop and home accessories.
[image via: The Vancouver Sun]
[image via: rubylane]
As an artist, Sturdy was always attracted to metal and interesting textures and finishings. Her resin objects hade subtle and simple forms, but beneath the austere surfaces swirled colours and patterns. Her designs feel both ancient and futuristic. And although her sensibility stays steadfast over the decades, it is also ageless. A celeadon resin bowl from 1995 feels as relevant in an eclectic decor as it did sitting in an ultra minimalis home 20 years ago.
[image via: houzz.com]
This is where the story comes full circle. In 2000, Sturdy returned to her first love, sculpture. Her large, three dimensional works influenced her design business, and her furnishings, blew up into massively scaled pieces such as seven foot steel plates, resin floating tables and sculptural club chairs. And her design work also pushed experimentation with her art, incorporating production techniques suchas resin and acid washes as mediums for painting.
[image via: provide home]
Now in her 70s, Sturdy shows no signs of slowing down. Although she ceased production of her jewellery collection a few years back (she got bored of it), and she finally hired her first management team in 2012 (she used to oversee finances and production herself) it is all to to free up more time to focus on creative endeavours.
To sum up, Sturdy's style — both in her personal life and her creations — is an uncomprimising mix of the functional and the purely aesthetic.