Art Games

[via ISO50 blog]

The city of Toronto recently hosted the 2015 PanAm and ParaPanAm games. I admit that I reluctantly fell in love with the event (I’m not a fan of crowds or rampant bootserism) because of all of the arts and cultural events that took place across the city. Townies and tourists alike got to see some provocative theatre, eat Mexican street corn, attend free concerts and explore art from across the Americas.

In between the PanAm and ParaPan events, I found myself in Lausanne, Switzerland at the Olympic Museum. Our tour guide explained that arts and culture were part of the competition in the original Olympiad in ancient Greece as well as the Modern Olympics. In the 1950s the International Olympic Committee voted to stop awarding medals for painting, sculpture, architecture, literature and music.

The spirit of celebrating art and design now lives on in the pageantry of the opening and closing ceremonies and the overall graphic design of the games. I still have fond memories of the look of the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. The clean, graphic identity of those games was led by Montréalers Georges Huel and Pierre-Yves Pelletier. And Amik, the abstracted beaver mascot they created, has had an enduring legacy—I saw a guy wearing an Amik t-shirt at one of the PanAm concerts.

At the Olympic Museum I was also happy to discover the amazingly mod looks of the 1968 Mexico Games. Led by Lance Wyman, Beatrice Colle, Jose Luis Ortiz and Jan Stornfeld, the typography and imagery of the event was influenced by Op Art and Pre-Columbian traditions.

[image via: the gradient]

[above images via The Olympic Museum]

It’s this linking to the past that makes all the difference in the look of Mexico 68. In fact, the event itself was historic in calling out colonialism (who can forget Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos giving the Black Power salute on the podium), but also making note to historical changes (Mexico’s Norma Enriqueta Basilio de Sotelo became the first woman to light the Olympic cauldron). And the Tlatelolco Massacre ten days before the start of the games has been called Mexico’s Tiananmen Square.

Much of the design is very much a snapshot of the times—although I would love to bring some of those Hostess dresses back. In fact, I now find myself searching for a few examples of souvenirs from Mexico—I think a pop pink wristwatch or a triangular melamine plate with the exploded Mexico 68 logo.

[via Etsy Seller Mod Longe Vintage]


Best of Etsy: Sleep in Beauty

[Michael's bedroom from issue 32 photogrpahed by Jodi Pudge]

As we approach our fifth anniversary this September, the Covet Garden team has been looking back at our favourite featured homes. We've noticed that in the majority of places we feature, the occupants will describe their bedrooms as their sanctuaries. And we agree—we'd love to take a nap in any of the sleeping spaces we have visited. 

[Sara and Dan's bedroom from issue 56 photographed by Donna Griffith]

[Shelley and Brendan's bedroom from issue 2 photographed by Jodi Pudge]

[Victoria's bedroom from issue 28 photographed by Jodi Pudge]

[Iza's bedroom from issue 49 photographed by Ashley Capp]

These restful interiors all include beautiful objects, furnishings and fabrics to make us feel wrapped up in good vibes wether we're awake or asleep. Inspired, we of course turned to Etsy to look for dreamy bedroom bits and pieces. And we've created a brand new treasury of handmade and vintage bedroom decor finds to share with you.

1. Vintage Twin Headboard from PourToujours; 2. Hand-woven blanket from TexturableDecor; 3. Felted slippers from SimplicityOfFelt; 4. Vintage Swedish needlepoint cushion from LittleRetronome; 5. Vintage clock radio from MightyVintage; 6. KEM Weber daybed with hair pin legs from ArroyoArtifacts.

And we're always adding to our treasuries as we uncover more amazing materials, so follow our boards for updates!


Issue 57 is Now Live!


September marks our fifth year publishing Covet Garden. We like to think that we are always moving boldly into the future with the spaces we feature, but it never hurts to take a look back and make sure we're still staying true to our original goals.

Which is why we wanted to revisit one of our favourite spaces, the work/live space of John, Arounna, Lliam and Piper, to see how they too have grown and how they keep their creative spirit alive.

Also in this issue: We have even more pages of projects and inspiration including locally sourced kids' clothes, paper projects and botanical beauties. In short, ways to celebrate playfulness and joy every day, not just on our birthday.


Sponsor Love: Room With A View


After almost five years of writing about spaces big and small for Covet Garden, I have become obsessed with the concept of space. And while my partner and I loved our little house, it's many small rooms started to feel claustrophobic (and prone to collecting clutter). Inspired by the open concept condos we've featured in the past, we decided to downsize in order to gain a more spacious feeling.

We fell in love with this garden flat (pictured above and below) in a co-owned building (pictured above and below). The clincher was this amazing terrace. The question then became how to make that space feel like an extension of the inside of the apartment with flexible outdoor patio furniture.

With the help of the Covet Garden team, we turned to Pinterest for some inspired, outdoor living ideas. Here are some of our favourite, au naturale looks. 

Even before we decided to move, I've been a little obsessed with the outside. Whether it's been eating dinner al fresco, painting plein air watercolours or even just taking in the cool evening breezes in the park. I plan to use this space well into the fall, so I plan on finding weatherproof, flexible pieces furnishings to really turn this terrace into an extended living space.

Now that I am armed with with inspiration of how my new patio could look, the next step is sourcing places where I can find great outdoor furniture. During the research phase, the Canadian company Jardin de Ville contacted us about sponsoring a blog post, and the timing couldn't have been more perfect. The store is filled with collections of clean and sophisticated designs. Full disclosure: Once we decided to downsize, I went a little overboard with the purging, so I don't have much indoor furniture either. Which is one reason I was drawn to the pale, neutral palette of the pieces pictured below — in a pinch I can picture some of these pieces migrating indoors during the winter.

Road Two Seater Sofa


Road Club Lounge


Network Left Sectional


Dansk Club Lounge

Apollo Side Table



The Art of Staging

[This spare room formerly served as a place for storage, and was staged as a dining room.]

If you are wondering why our blog post output had been a little lean lately, it is because I (Rhonda) and my partner, Andrew, decided to sell our house and the move has pretty much taken over our lives.

Why are we moving? One of the hazards of touring so many inspirational spaces and meeting so many creative folks is that you want to work on your own interior expression. And while we loved our house and everything in it, we were also finding that it was just too much for two people, and the extra areas were just filling up with stuff. For all of our square footage we didn't feel like we had a lot of space.

So we decided to downsize to a co-op. While I was already purging (inspired by our Lynda's Square Foot project), I really got in the spirit of downsizing when we staged our house for selling. Staging seems like a relatively recent phenomenon in the world of real estate, but results show that it works. In fancier neighbourhoods, the listings will sometimes namedrop the designers who staged the home as a selling point!

But we're not like everybody else. After spending 13 years writing the story of our lives through our art and furnishings in this home, we now found ourselves in what felt like an exercise in erasing our history. I'd be lying if I didn't say the process brought on a bit of an identity crisis. But while we advocate feathering your nest creatively, we needed some extra help to get our home ready to appeal to as many prospective buyers as possible, and I'm certain that staging our home helped us get the best possible price for it.

Andrew and I enlisted Covet Garden's Jessica and our friend Iza (whose spaces we featured in Issues 49 and 23) of Make Good Design to help us out with the staging. The hardest part was that we had to essentially pack-up our place months before moving to get it listed in time. At first it was strange living in a place that was so spare and unfamiliar (even though Jessica and Iza tried to use as much of our own stuff as possible). But over time, the stripped-down aesthetic has grown on us.

[What was formerly Andrew's home office was set up as a kid's room.]

I want to make clear that this was not a standard staging job. Our agent told us flat-out that prospective buyers in our area would most likely want to knock down walls and redo the kitchen and bathroom, so we needed to showcase the good bones of the home without sinking a lot of money into renos or elaborate staging. Says Jessica, "Many buyers today want to make their mark on a home and plan to do extensive renos once they buy, and when staging a home, this needs to be taken into account. Our goal here was to highlight the great light in the space and suggest some more standard uses for the rooms, while using some fun, but spare furniture and accessories to appeal to creative types". Iza and Jessica pride themselves on working with all kinds of budgets and coming up with creative solutions to design problems and we were extremely pleased with what they did with very little time or money. I'd recommend contacting them if you are planning on selling your home or need some interior design help in your current space!

We were inspired by the staging process in many ways. It helped us to visualize how our treasured things could work in a different context, and, by selling off or giving away much of our furniture, clothing and bric-a-brac, we definitely feel more free to explore the future in our new home.

[The master bedroom now looks airy, bright and peaceful.]

[The paired-down living room.] 

All Photos by Jessica Reid.