Arren Williams is the name, and I'm a stylist, editor and trend reporter. You'll catch my work regularly popping up in print in the likes of the National Post, House & Home and elsewhere. I'm also a guest expert on Citytv's CityLine, and you can occasionally find me on HGTV as well as on ABC 7 News in Chicago.

To keep things fun I've tapped a couple of friends - Julia Black and Jenn Hannotte - to contribute their views on design too. Enjoy!


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See you later!

Hey guys, so it's a dual sad/exciting day around here...

On the incredibly exciting side of things, my new job has been announced - I'm the Creative Director of Home Fashions for The Bay. And on the sad side, it's time to say buh-bye for now to the blog. It'll stay up, though I'll probably have to switch off all the comments (boy, those spam commenters are a giant pain!), but I just wanted to thank everyone for all their amazing support over the past few years of my online adventure. And stay tuned, since I'm sure I'll be back online soon with my new gig!

Thanks again, and I'm leaving you with a lovely print by illustrator Wayne Pate. Seeya!


On my hols

Some of my fondest summertime memories are of spending blazing hot days in Brighton as a kid, walking the promenade eating an ice lolly, checking out all the goings-on on the piers (when I was young there were two!), and being amazed by the absolutely bonkers architecture of the Royal Pavilion. So I was excited to discover these giclee prints by illustrator Sean Sims for sale on Brighton POD that basically encapsulate my summer holidays growing up. Sean created a collection of designs - there are 7 in all under the name The Brighton Line - as an homage to vintage travel posters, and all take a look at quintessential Brighton-esque experiences and places. Love his take on the Royal Pavilion, yes, I have fed chips to sea gulls, and I remember an Oyster Bar just like the one pictured, where my Nan would buy cooked winkles that she'd have to pick out with a pin. Check out all of Sean's work on Brighton POD here, and yep, he's lucky enough to call Brighton home!

All this to say I'm taking a holiday (aka a vacation) from blogging for a bit, so I'll see you guys back here on July 19th.


Finding 'Found' 

So, some smartypants friends of mine are starting a gorgeous new online store called Found that I wanted to give you guys a sneak peek at. It's not quite open yet (the crew are hoping to have everything live in the next few weeks or so), but by the looks of it you're going to want to stop by regularly and check it out. Once things get going you can expect to find a deliciously curated mix of vintage pieces, art and objects, and plans are even in the works to have Guest Pickers stop by with special selections of gear. In fact I heard a whisper of who'll be the first of the bunch and I have to say, it'll be pretty special! Okay, so without further ado, have a look at the pics below (shot by Michael Graydon and featuring some of the items that'll be on offer) so you can really get a feel for Found.


guest blog / Jenn Hannotte: Magic ice and other kitchen stories

Jenn Hannotte: You know how when you're living with something you can convince yourself it's OKAY? Like the old fridge that was approximately 4 feet high and held a carton of eggs, a jug of milk and a loaf of bread if you packed it intelligently? NOT OKAY. And I only realized this after my Whirlpool appliances arrived and we set up the new side-by-side fridge (I put the other guy out on the curb for recycling, I didn't hold that much of a grudge!). It wasn't *just* that the kids squealed with disbelief when I got them ice and water FROM THE FRONT OF THE FRIDGE like a magician (we're simple people), but the fact that it's totally roomy and still counter-depth sold me. And the new dishwasher? Our old one was likened to a garbage bag with a hose attached by the appliance installer - and he wasn't far off. We had to close all the doors to the kitchen and basically vacate the house when that thing was running. My new dishwasher is quiet, yes, but it also has cool features (like Sheer Clean) and is smartly designed - something I can really appreciate after using our completely inefficient old monster. And, then there's the slide-in range that leaves more room for the birch plywood backsplash to do its thing, and which has a quick-heat convection oven to get those frozen pizzas cooked chop-chop! So why white, instead of the more expected stainless? White is fresh and modern and especially in a small kitchen like mine, it helps to unite rather than divide. 

Once the engine of the kitchen was installed, Angus Fergusson and Arren came over to shoot these stunning photos. My perpetual kitchen reno is all done and what's the verdict? For me (the only client who matters!), I absolutely love the ambience of this room, it's less a kitchen in the traditional sense, and more a cozy retreat. *AND* everything works, works well and looks good doing it.

Here are the deets:

Counter Depth Side-By-Side Refigerator, Whirlpool Gold Tall Tub Dishwasher,  Electric Slide-In Range. All Whirlpool.

Vintage industrial bins, Avril Loreti tea towel, Imm Living cruet. All Russet & Empire.

Lighting Design. Matthew Birch for Russet & Empire.

Kitchen Design. Russet & Empire Interiors.

Ikea kitchen cabinets, butcherblock counter, Ringskar faucet, Tral work lamp. West Elm Tripod Table. Breville Barista Express espresso machine. Areaware Numbers LED Clock.

>>> Catch the rest of Jenn's kitchen reno here, and click here to check out Jenn's take on style.


If I had a hammer

Even without including the family of foxes that recently moved in down the road, I have to say I have some very cool neighbours, one of whom is Graeme Cameron. Graeme was one of the co-founders of Best Made Company and is now the dude behind outdoorsy new brand Base Camp X. So, if you're in need of an axe (and who isn't?) BCX is definitely for you, but what about those times when a double-head Cruiser axe just won't do? Well you're in luck, since the other day Graeme brought over his latest tool for me to check out, a very hefty hammer made in collaboration with the guys at Hardcore Hammers.

Designed with a tough 19oz head, this is one hammer that really means business. Oh, and you've just gotta love the Tennessee hickory handle fire-branded with the BCX logo and smart red or green livery. Now, should you swing it at something or simply hang it on the wall? Pick yours up here.