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!


 Subscribe in a reader

New posts delivered right to your inbox!

Powered by Squarespace
Add to Technorati Favorites

Guest blog / Julia Black: Art Interiors chat and giveaway

Julia Black: For nearly 18 years, Art Interiors in Toronto has been shining a light on emerging and established artists. What started in their parents’ basements has since grown to become one of the most influential galleries in Toronto, if not Canada. Owners, long-time friends (and busy working moms), Lisa Diamond Katz and Shira Wood continue to bring us accessible, enlightening art, and kindly shared their expertise with me in a quick chat, as well as let me in on the art of buying art. 

Julia: Art Interiors is so welcoming to those of us who aren’t art collectors and who frankly, know very little about art. Do you find people are intimidated by art? 

Lisa: Absolutely! Huge intimidation factor with art! People fear judgment for what they put up on their walls- they feel it’s a reflection of them, which it sort of does, but hey, you have to be who you are, and like what you like- you have to live with the artwork, so it should appeal to you! We try to encourage people to buy what they respond to, not what matches the room or fits the space necessarily. 

J: Do you feel there are any rules to follow, or to break, when it comes to blending artwork, or different styles and mediums? 

Shira: No rules! Buy what you like and it will all work together. We encourage an eclectic grouping involving many different artists work, styles, genres, and mediums. It shows your personality and shows confidence. Mix up your frame choices as well! Too much of the same can be dull and boring!

J: Are there any areas in a home that aren' appropriate to hang art, or build a gallery wall? 

L: No way! You can put artwork up in the laundry room! The only caveat is a small steamy bathroom- works on paper or on canvas can get damaged by the humidity. But you can hang smaller works that won’t buckle or crack. Just ask when you buy it. 

J: Finally, for all of us who are looking at introducing art into their lives, any words of wisdom? 

S: Don’t be intimidated when buying art, original art is for everyone and is easily accessible through local art fairs, community centres and hey, our gallery! Educate yourself and ask questions when buying what you like. Starting small is an easy way to begin. 

S: And Canadian artists are so undervalued! They are the best deal in town! 

GIVEAWAY: Aaron Emerson Jones Glory (Revisited)

California native, Aaron Emerson Jones, came to Canada to study Fine Arts at Queen’s University, and over the years has exhibited in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and throughout Canada. His passion rests in creating dreamy landscapes, composed of layers of paint and photographic images suspended in multiple pours of high-gloss resin.  This young artist is undoubtedly one to watch for - Read more about Aaron on Julia's blog here.

Prize: One grand prize of Glory (Revisited) by Aaron Emerson Jones. The 24" x 24" artwork is valued at $550 and is pictured in the last image below.

1. Just 'Like' Art Interiors on Facebook here before Thursday March 24th, 2011, at 12pm EST, for a chance to win. The contest is also open to all Facebook peeps who have already 'Liked' Art Interiors.

2. One grand prize winner will be chosen by a random number generator and will be announced via Facebook and as an update to this post on the morning of Friday March 25th, 2011, at 9am EST. Good Luck! 

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY  Void where prohibited. Odds depend on number of applicants who participate. Participants may enter the contest by following the steps mentioned above by Thurs March 24th, 2011, at 12pm EST. Applicants must be of the age of majority in his/her province, territory or state of residence or older at the time of entry to participate and win. Contest open to residents of the US and Canada, excluding residents of Quebec.  


Just a little rad

So thank heavens for the thaw and rising temps, because it meant we could finally get a slew of art hung. Let me explain - Our big ass extension ladder that we keep outside was finally un-frozen enough to drag in and tackle hanging close to a dozen pieces around the house. The big plan was to take on the blank wall in our mondo stairwell, since the other wall has been looking peachy and art-filled for ages so it was high time that we balanced things out.

We found space for stuff picked up in (and dragged home from) Glasgow, London, Buffalo, Tokyo and Hawaii, as well as gifts from friends and vintage finds from our local Goodwill. I love them all, but special mention goes to the largest piece, which is the gorgeous Brooks Brothers Suit (black line) by illustrator/printmaker - and sweetie - Alanna Cavanagh, while another fave is the small RAD print by artist R. Bennett that we grabbed from Chinatown Boardroom in Honolulu. Art is good!


{that one great thing} Lynda's clock collection

Check in on Covet Garden's 'About Us' page and you'll see that stylist Lynda Felton - one of the 3 folks who started the online mag - is in charge of Style Stuff. No big grand title for her or, for that matter, her two compadres Jessica and Rhonda, which is refreshingly laid-back and just how these 3 talented women roll. I asked Lynda a while back for that one great thing, and this gorgeous vintage collection showed up in my in-box. No surprise, since ask her to descibe her house and she'll say - "It's all old clocks, wasps nests, framed insects, and beat up furniture over here." Lovely!

Lynda Felton: My first clock belonged to my grandfather (the Westclox Big Ben, third from the left, with the silver ring on top) it is over 100 years old and still works perfectly. I love the sound it makes when it is ticking -  gentle and reliable - like my grandfather. The Lux Claridge (second from the right) is from the 30's and it was my grandmothers. My grandparents collected clocks and it was my job to help wind them  - all 37 of them, no matter how hard I tried I could never get them to go off at the same time. It felt like there was always a clock chiming off somewhere in the house.

When I see the old clocks I can't help but think about who might have owned it. What was that person doing in the 20's, 40's? Did this clock get them up for work? What kind of work? Most people had these clocks by their beds, they touched them everyday. These old timers have seen a lot.

My biggest splurge was my Early Bird clock (first on the left). I couldn't resist this fabulous little gem, the bird bobs up and down, pulling the worm out of it's hole in time with the ticking - come on - you have to admit that is pretty neat. See for yourself here... Other than the Early Bird I've never spent more than $5.00 on one and I'm always on the look out for a good deal.



Ah, Friday, the best day of the week. And I'm ending it on a high with a new store that's opened up in my neck of the woods - Love The Design. Stationary designer/photographer Christine Flynn is the talent behind the place, which is jammed with tons of covetable gear - both vintage and new - and with walls filled with Christine's photography. I'm loving the shots of Levi the horse in that last snap, not to mention all the burlap upholstery and that newspaper wall (yum). LTD has been open for less than a week and already there's been a nice bit of buzz about the place (the folks from Covet Garden also stopped by), so it's definitely worth a peek. Ah, and talking of Covet Garden, keep your eyes peeled for a that one great thing post from one of the founders next week! Love The Design is at 1362 Queen St E in Toronto.



{that one great thing} Michelle's store clips

While I'm wrapping my head around a particularly difficult bit of writing today (oh, deadlines), I thought I'd hand things over to the talented Michelle Carangi of Montreal design firm, Holley & Gill, who, along with her husband Conrad Buck, creates gorgeous cushions and headboards with hand-printed patterns - love their Feathers design - in water-based inks on 100% cotton. Anyway, after meeting Michelle at the Interior Design Show I bugged her into contributing that one great thing, and she picked some very handy-dandy vintage clips.

Michelle Carangi: On becoming home owners almost seven years ago, Conrad and I have collected many special little items that have allowed us to inject some personality into our decor. 

Most of our finds have been vintage as of late simply because our taste tends to sway more towards the traditional and classic. Having been lucky enough to have traveled quite a bit over the last couple of years, we’ve collected so many different postcards, business cards and photos from places we’ve been and from people we’ve met. And so, when I found this set of vintage wall-mount store clips from Etsy shop AM Radio, I knew it would be the perfect solution to display them all. 

We need to be surrounded by what we love, and we’ve learned, sometimes the hard way, that buying things because they’re on trend will result in pieces that have no meaning and ultimately end up collecting dust. Whenever I walk by this display, I walk by all of our happy and unique memories and can add to it forevermore.