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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5 quick questions: Tommy Smythe

If ever you want to meet someone with airs and graces, who looks down their nose and is the dictionary definition of pretentious, don't go knocking on interior designer Tommy Smythe's door. You definitely know Tommy from his work (and his wit) with Sarah Richardson on HGTV, and also from seeing his fab spaces in Canadian House & Home Magazine (check out the kitchen below, picked by the H&H editors as one of the most memorable rooms published in the mag's history), so I thought it would be fun to put him on the spot to answer 5 quick questions. He graciously agreed, and scooted along all the shots below, snapped by the talented Michael Graydon and featured on the pages of House & Home. Lovely, no?

And, to check out more 5 quick questions interviews with a slew of v. interesting folks, click here.

Arren Wiliams: What's inspiring you right now?

Tommy Smythe: Malachite, amethyst, The High Line, my sister Christie Smythe of Smythe Les Vestes, Yves St. Laurent, D Squared, peacock feathers, King Tut, Grace Coddington, Yoko Ono, London - New York - Palm Beach, Crayola crayons, poppies, Glee, Thom Browne, Miles Redd, flags, blogs.

AW: Is there anything that drives you crazy when you walk into a space?

TS: Fake.  Anything fake, really.  I'm the kind of guy who would (and has) survived on noodles and Gatorade for a month to be able to afford the real thing.  Knock offs are not fair and they're not design.

AW: What's the next thing you have your eyes on for your own house?

TS: I saw an oversized crystal and sterling match striker (I collect them) at a shop I love.  It's over $400, so I walked away, but I've been thinking about it a lot.  I have a crush on it.  I am waiting until I can get up the nerve to walk back in.  Then we will be together.  I'll just have to live on noodles and Gatorade for a few days....

AW: How would you describe your look, and has it changed over the years?

TS: My look has definitely changed over the years!  It's always evolving as I learn and travel and get exposed to more.  I have always liked an eclectic mix of things - the right balance of vintage, or antique and modern things.  I like rooms that have the feeling of timeless elegance and gracious living.  Style and comfort reflected in furniture and art curated with a sense of personal history.  I am really big on nostalgia...real comfort comes from there.

AW: What's next on the horizon?

TS: For the world of design:  I am so glad to have no idea!  What I love so much about this field is the surprise of it all - creative direction is so delightfully unpredictable.  That said, I think we can all expect to see quite a lot of plaid in the near future....

For me:  I am just about to begin shooting a brand new series with Sarah for HGTV Canada.  We're focusing on the building blocks of a room from top to bottom.  It's a '101' sort of a thing with our usual fun approach.  If it's not fun, it's just not worth doing - life is too short!!!


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Reader Comments (8)

Fabulous post, his personality is so apparent in his space- he has such a point of view.

November 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Canning

sometimes I swear Tommy is my style twin

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjessica claire

Love him - he's adorable and so talented.

November 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohanne

Great interview Arren! I think I saw his home in H@H (or some magazine) but these photos are much better! I love everything. The smoky walls, the haphazard accessories.. and esp the kitchen. Swoon!

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChantaleP

I'm on a train going into the city and this is the best post I have read in the whole journey (which is a lot!). Great interview, fab images and an inspiring piece. Darn, I really do wish we had HGTV in the UK. Nice post, buddy.

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWill

Glad you enjoyed the interview and, I hafta say, Mr Tommy Smythe could not be a nicer bloke in person!

May 14, 2010 | Registered CommenterArren

Check out Tommy's new Facebook page. It's taking off like a rocket !!!

August 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBonnie

Sorry Tommy, Knock offs are fair and they can be design. Why is paying too much (re: current housing/money/world crisis) for something "fair"?

May 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMax

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