About

 
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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Tuesday
Jun072011

Carmen - a lover or a fighter?

This'll have to be quick-sticks for me, since I'm about to slap some fresh-caught Chinook salmon on the grill and uncork a lovely red - It's been that kind of day. I did want to taken a sec to share my favouritest (I know, it's not a word) lamp that I spotted at the ICFF a while back. It's Carmen from FontanaArte, and comes in the lovely table version below, as well as a pendant option too.

I think it's the witty shape, and the crisp lines in white powder-coated steel that make me just love it so. Funnily enough Héctor Serrano, the designer behind Carmen, was inspired by medieval armour, but if you ask me I see more of a frilly bathing cap thing happening. To each their own I guess. Oh, and I also scored a snap of Serrano's notebook with his initial sketches for the line. Don't you love getting a peek into the creative process?

 

Monday
Jun062011

A couple o' owls

Can I hear a hoot-hoot? Okay, apologies for the punny intro, but owls are just not going away. This morning I caught a behind-the-scenes Facebook snap of some prop owls that Dwell Studio will be using on an upcoming shoot (here), then there are some incredibly cool owl bookends that Indigo will be intro'ing in August - along with the rest of their fantastic new home collection, not to mention Uhu, the cool wall-mount lamp from Contraforma that's pictured below. I caught the Contraforma line at the ICFF and I hafta say, I was super impressed by the Lithuanian crew behind the line.

And then there's the rather sad looking owl vase in that second shot. It doesn't have a name, and has probably been languishing in a shady corner in my mother-in-law's garden for at least 10 years. Well, I decided to stage a rescue, and its now been brought home, washed and is on its way for a bit of a fix-up. So keep an eye out for more owl pics soon!

Friday
Jun032011

West Elm and Etsy's love-in

Hey there. Yep, I know I've been barely hanging around here recently (I'm blaming it on a combo of being blisteringly busy with work, travelling to both New York and Chicago within the past couple of weeks, oh, and getting kinda sick too), but here's something that you guys can really sink your teeth into>>>

West Elm's Toronto store will be hosting an Etsy We Heart Handmade Art pop-up event curated by Fieldguided - that's her smashing carryall pictured below - which'll feature a slew of other local Etsy craftspeople, as well as promising both drinks and tunes. I was in the store yesterday and they were being busy bees getting prepped and clearing space for what promises to be a very busy Saturday. All the deets are below, and yep, Bookhou (a local design fave of mine) will be there with lots of gorgeous gear, including the pillows and artwork pictured below, too.

I'm hoping to make it, but might be entirely exhausted after participating in our mega local neighbourhood yard sale (shout out to everyone who lives in The Pocket!).

Monday
May232011

Guest blog / Jenn Hannotte: The perpetual kitchen reno

Jenn Hannotte: Last October, after my youngest pulled what looked like 1930s underwear out from behind the radiator in our kitchen, I called John at Cera Stone. "GUT IT," I said. Really, I didn't *want* to renovate the kitchen, I wanted to live with it and save up for the real-deal. 

But after the underwear, and because earlier in the summer I had removed all the cabinet doors because they were covered in SLIME, and because after the bathroom renovation we had a big ol' hole in the kitchen ceiling thanks to the old toilet losing it's shhhhh all over the place - well, it wasn't a kitchen anymore. And so, like I do, I started to rip things apart myself and discovered the original asbestos-tiles, and while not exactly good for the lungs, they were in really good shape which gave me hope for the pine-plank subfloor. Yes, we were going to gut the kitchen, but, no, we weren't going to spend much putting it back! Once everything was out, I decided to have a wall framed out over the messed up plaster that held the old cabinets in place, and we clad it in beautiful birch plywood. The sink, stove and fridge all stayed in the same place to keep costs down. A couple of base cabinets from Ikea, an inexpensive butcher block countertop, rough-pine shelf from Home Depot ($12!) and bingo, we had a kitchen. 

Okay, it didn't go that smoothly - I have hung different cabinets and shelves, moved the fridge around, painted the floors after resolving not to, and painted half a wall black before deciding (surprise!) white it was! This is a temporary kitchen - if temporary means 5 years or more to you. So, because we'll be living with it for quite some time, we figured that we might consider getting some appliances that work. I know people go on about "function and form" all the time, but sometimes I like to ignore that and spend money in places we shouldn't instead of... .getting appliances that work.

And so, this week a new crop of appliances that will bring harmony to the kitchen are set to arrive. Appliances that marry form AND function. I know, what a concept. Once they're here and installed I promise a full kitchen tour. For now, here are some shots of the before and during - and a sneak-peak of the 'after', shot for the Marion House Book last month! (which, incidentally, already looks different!)

For more of Jenn's take on style click here.

Saturday
May142011

New York whirlwind

As I write this I'm close to comatose on my bed at The Hudson hotel in NYC. Yep, it's been a bananas couple of days running around Manhattan checking out everything that's going on during New York Design week and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, and it's not over yet. Below is a snap of all the catalogs, postcards and mags I've collected so far that caught my eye - and yes, before you ask, I've already edited it down to the stuff I really, really like. Luckily it all fits in the Tom Dixon bag that I snagged, which seems to have gotten the vote of the coolest ICFF bag around (hot on the heels of the gold metallic bag Tom Dixon doled out last year). And keep your eyes peeled, I'll be posting lots of my NYC design faves over the next while...