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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House work

Buying and selling a house takes alot of time. Add in my crazy schedule, that this week included a NY press trip for Samsung, and then deadlines for Flare for October, Canadian House & Home for November, and the National Post for next weekend as well as August, and well, it's a wonder I know what day it is. So, thanks mostly to David's tenacity, we now have the keys to the new place (yay!) and have already popped a cork in celebration with friends. Now the work can begin...

After flying in yesterday from NY I managed to make it to the Holt Renfrew Holday /08 preview. There was, as usual, lots of fabulous things that ranged from blow-the-budget glam (like an Alexander McQueen gold skull and leather tassel keychain) to the affordable (organic spreads from Brit brand Daylesford Organic), and lots of fashionable must-haves in between. And then there was something I was extra happy to find - MOR Cosmetics. Now, before you get in a kerfuffle, no, this isn't turning into a beaty blog. Nope, the MOR line is, hands down, the most beautifully packaged collection I've seen in ages - the creators, an Australian couple, obviously have an eye for intense pattern, inspiring colourways and odd historical references. Love it.


NY heat

After an impressive sneak peek at all of Samsung's fab new electronics for the home (look for it on CityLine in the next couple of months) we walked to 5th avenue for some well needed retail therapy. A short and strong Swedish espresso at Fika and then we headed into Bergdorf Goodman, where I had to practically drag the gals away from the gorgeous glass cases filled with handbags so we could head to the 7th floor. As usual it was an incredible visual overload, with surfaces crammed with covetable accessories and perfect vignettes. I think their's is one of the best home sections in a Manhattan department store...

Next stop Anthropologie. Okay, this place rocks a total over-the-top fleamarket vibe in their home decor section, and while I ooh'd and aah'd over mismatched handpainted patterned dinnerware the gals shopped for bargains in the fashion department (Anita, you really should've bought that silk dress...). Fingers crossed for a Canadian store soon.

With the heat and humidity getting to us we grabbed a cab and travelled 30 blocks to today's final destination - West Elm. If you haven't been, well, you really should, since this store has it's finger firmly on the pulse of design. Affordable (love that) and fashion forward, this season West Elm has ditched their happy Moroccan colours and patterns for something more masculine, clean-lined and textured. One swift look and you get a kind of post-industrial arty vibe. Their accessories are always killer, and I already have a spot for these printed silk satin pillows.  



Hot plate

Apologies for not posting yesterday - We had to spend time at the lawerys signing multiple bits of paper for the new house and then I headed off to the airport for a press trip to NY. After an eventful flight (delays, bumps and then a slight near miss) we finally landed and headed in to the city, checked in and immediately went, ummm, shopping. lol

I dragged a few of the gals along with me, and, with an hour to spare before a scheduled meeting, we got a fair bit done. Uniqlo for a bit of affordable fashion, Japanese style, CB2 for a cool slice of modern housewares and furniture, and then one swift aperitif at Balthazar.

CB2 is right up there for me for well-priced gear for the home (and yes, they can ship internationally) - It's always stylish, on-trend and directional. I thought the plates below were hilarious, and at $2.95 would make for a witty and affordable touch mixed with all-white dinnerware. Good thing I'm here with a small overnight bag, otherwise there'd be a ceiling fixture coming home with me too...



Are we sitting comfortably?

I was on set today with The Style Dept crew when talk turned to sofas. It's a dilemma for me since I'm always torn when it comes to such a pivotal choice for a room - Should you go for safe or go for style? It's a tough one since you'll be living with your choice for quite a while (a good sofa should last a decade or two). Style normally wins out, which is why at home we have a low-slung vintage teak number upholstered in chocolate brown ultrasuede, but it could be time for a change, especially for the new place...

Could this be it? The velvet is stunning, let alone the romantic lines and all that wonderful tufting. This is the Samuel Johnson from Brit firm Chesterfield 1780 (yes, they've been making sofas that long), and luckily - if you're totally smitten - they'll ship anywhere in the world.


Pretty quirky

More packing today, oh joy, as we near the end of the move between the old house and the semi-1 bedroom. Will this ever end? Today it's the basement and all the tabletop props and fabrics I hang onto for when I'm styling (have a look at the Portfolio to see some of the gear in action).

The other day I ended up in Lucca, a great linen store on Yonge St in Toronto. Pattern and colour are the stores trademarks, my favourites were pieces from John Robshaw. Now I'm a huge linen junkie and in the habit of collecting teatowels (maybe it's a British thing) so at Lucca I was in nirvana. This is of course isn't helped by my sister designing for The White Company, which has unfortunately given me a taste for the finer things when it comes to bed linens.

I headed home and checked out John Robshaw to see what else they had on offer and found these pretty yet quirky handpainted pillows. Just the thing to wake up a tired old blah beige couch.