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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Entries in 5 quick questions (8)


Off and on

I'm not sure whether it's this unseasonably warm weather (the back door is wide open and Spot is in the garden digging holes to Timbuktu), but my get up and go has got up and went. I'm totally in the mood to start this long weekend early with a quick snooze on the sofa, lol, but in the meantime, there's cool stuff worth sharing! Sprout and Slide are the latest in lighting from Jonathan Adler. The shades, realised in a beatifully matte unglazed porcelain, pick up on his Relief collection of pottery with organic references and simple forms. Lovely. For more on Jonathan, click here to read a 5 quick questions interview with him. And, have you hooked up with him on Facebook yet? Check in here to find tons of behind-the-scenes shots of his work in progress, as well as witty Daily Adlerisms



5 quick questions: Bunny Williams

Sometimes Twitter is actually usefull, lol, so when I Tweeted NYC based doyenne of design Bunny Williams to see if she might answer 5 quick questions, and she said yes, I knew I would live to Tweet another day! Bunny is a mixmaster at heart, with the kind of verve and flair to confidently mix contemporary art with antiques and a jolt of unexpected colour. Her storied life in interior design includes writing books - An Affair With A House and Point of View are both bestsellers, soon to be joined by another book that'll hit shelves this Fall - and BeeLine Home, a just launched line of scrumptious furnishings inspired by her own furniture and collectibles.

Below you'll see the BeeLine Chicken Feather lamps (a personal fave of mine), plus an interior shot that gives a peek at more of BeeLine Home (you'll find the line at Celadon Collection in Montreal, and Ribbehege & Azevedo in Toronto). There's also a couple of snaps of Bunny's Kips Bay Show House space from last year and an entryway from Point of View. Click here to read more 5 quick questions! [Images 3, 4: House Beautiful]

Arren Williams: What's inspiring you right now?

Bunny Williams: Colour, I am increasingly drawn to beautiful colour. We have been living with a palette of neutrals and whites for sometime and I feel exhilarated by colour especially as a background on walls. I painted the walls of my Kips Bay Show House room a fabulous turquoise from Benjamin Moore called California Breeze, everyone who walked in was just dazzled by the space. I'm thinking too about brilliant yellow, and working that hue into a space soon.

AW: What drives me crazy?

BW: Bad scale and badly arranged furniture. Most rooms have furniture that is either too large or too small for the space. Good design is all about balance, harmony, and proportion. One needs to make sure the furnishings are in the proper scale for each space. a bad floor plan makes a room uncomfortable. If the furniture is arranged all around the edge of the room, there are no intimate seating groups. If there isn't a place to sit and read with good light next to it - how frustrating that is - if you have no table to put your coffee cup or drink on next to your seat, you'll end up balancing it all night. 

AW: What's the next thing you're buying for your own house?

BW: Buying art from young contemporary artists and editing out some of my 19th century decorative pictures.

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

BW: I have always strived to create beautiful, comfortable, useable rooms and that has not changed. What has changed is the addition of more contemporary furniture, and the paring down and simplifying the details. I'm into less "decoration" but I never want my rooms to lose the feeling of comfort and warmth.

AW: What's next on the horizon? 

BW: I have so many things on the horizon that I am excited about this Spring. My BeeLine Home collection will be expanding to include several new pieces, as well as new lamps. I'm working on a tabletop collection that will include both china and linens, and I'm thinking about other areas of product design. I'm also just finishing a new book called "Scrapbook for Living" that will be published in the Fall.

In my design work I'm working on several projects that incorporate very sophisticated technology both in electronics as well as materials. These projects force me to stay on my toes and keep learning every second. I've just completed the installation of a hallway that has a staircase with a railing made of glass tubes. I love the challenge of solving my clients design problems in surprising ways!




5 quick questions: Alanna Cavanagh

I've had a bit of a design crush on the work of ultra-talented illustrator and printmaker Alanna Cavanagh for quite a while, so I'm glad to have cornered her into answering 5 quick questions. You might have seen her illustrations in the likes of Real Simple and the New York Times, but most recently I saw her work hanging in the home of Bev Hisey, where after years of looking at an - imho - awful painting of a blobby lifeless figure floating in the ether, I was happy to see one of Alanna's gorgeous Big Orange Scissors prints sitting pretty on the wall instead. And for that Alanna, I really really have to thank you.

Below you'll find shots of both Big Orange Scissors and Brook Brothers Suit (Green), plus a behind-the-scenes snap of Alanna tea staining one of her Penguin Books cover prints. Next, a peek at Alanna's own place, a shot of a space that currently inspiring her, and finally a super cute portrait photo/illustration mash up. Click here to read more 5 quick questions! [Portrait photo:Janet Kimber]

Arren Williams: What's inspiring you right now?

Alanna Cavanagh: Josef Frank Textiles, Illustrations from the 1950s, the colour limey green, swiss miss blog, springy tulips, Selvedge magazine, Graphic designer Paul Rand, Decoupage artist John Derian, The Workroom on Queen West and most especially: my new 'hood Parkdale.  

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

AC: If it's too white and minimal I don't feel comfortable. For me I need to be surrounded by lots of warm wood, cozy textiles, and piles of books to feel at home. 

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

AC: I would love a velvet tufted couch in a jewel tone like turquoise - I'm on the look out for a used one. In the meantime I have my eyes directly set on Benjamin Moore's 'Florentine Plaster' paint. It'll soon be on the walls of my bathroom.

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

AC: Fleamarket Chic with a dash of New Romantic! 

I absolutely love a MIX: of high and low, traditional and modern, and new and old. I also love to include whimsical pieces like old birdcages, and vintage signs to make sure the space never feels too serious.

In terms of colour I always paint my walls grey (Benjamin Moore Chelsea Grey is a fave) and then add lots of juicy tones like pink and orange which really POP off the grey.

And of course I love displaying a lot of art. I've always been a sucker for a salon wall. Every time I see one in a magazine I rip it out. My style has always been the same but happily these days I have a bit more high to add to the low. :-)

AW: What's next on the horizon? 

AC: I've just completed 3 new silk screen prints which you can find here on my website. I've also illustrated a campaign for Air New Zealand, and a book cover for Penguin books, and am now working on a tote bag design for Good Egg ( the wonderful food shop in Kensington market). Look out for it in June!


5 quick questions: Munge Leung and Charles Khabouth

So, the Ultimate space that designers Munge Leung and Charles Khabouth of Ink Entertainment are collaborating on for the IDS is quite the showstopper. I've had a sneaky look during construction and I can't wait to see it finished, especially since I've heard it'll launch their latest venture - a swish hotel/condo project. Now, this isn't the first time these guys have worked together, within the past year they've made a splash with Ame, the swanky re-do of the Rubino brother's famed Rain restaurant, as well as Ultra (yep, the one with the chickens, more here), and have even re-done Khabouth's own condo.

So, to get a slightly more in-depth take at what's going on I cornered both Charles Khabouth and Alessandro Munge, one half of ML, and asked them 5 quick questions. The first two snaps shows what's what inside Ame (the cocktails are stellar btw), the third is a peek inside Khabouth's condo.[Image: Condo interior, National Post. Portrait,  Arash Moallemi/IDS]

Arren Williams: What's inspiring you right now?

Charles Khabouth: My recent trip to paris, France.

Alessandro Munge: My travels!

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

CK: Bad lighting or an unwelcoming/unfriendly host.

AM: Low ceiling heights and no natural light.

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

CK: Art.

AM: Art, and lots of it.

AW: How would you describe your style - personal or design - and has it changed over the years?

CK: I want to say that my look is simple and edgy, though I’ve stopped trying hard to look my best because I just don’t have a lot of time. Now I just wear what’s simple and comfortable – and the result is actually my best look yet.

AM: Eclectic. Timeless. Modern.

AW: What's next on the horizon?

CK: I have four serious projects on the horizon in the near future – but the most prominent and exciting for me right now is a residence and hotel development in the heart of Toronto that will be the launch of a new brand. This brand will represent the ultimate lifestyle in design, comfort, amenities and access.

AM: 5-star hotels worldwide!


5 quick questions: Barbara Hulanicki

You possibly won't stumble across too many folks who have launched a capsule fashion collection for Brit fashion fave TopShop, as well as rustled up a stunner of a wallpaper line (all gorgeously flocked) for Graham & Brown and designed the interiors of a slew of hotels in Miami, let alone had someone write a musical based on your life, and have a documentary about you debut to rave reviews. I'm talking fashion and design icon Barbara Hulanicki, who first stepped into the spotlight in the mid-Sixties when she opened the doors on Biba - her incredibly influential boutique - in London, and who kindly said yes to answering 5 quick questions.

Below you'll see a couple of snaps from Flock, her swish collection for G&B which - yes - includes flocked skulls, as well as Marie Antoinette-ish portraits. You'll also spot a pic of the kind of inlaid bone furniture that's inspiring Barbara right now (found here), as well as a trailer for November Film's Beyond Biba documentary.

For more on Barbara Hulanicki click here, and to check out the rest of the 5 quick questions interviews click here. And! Be sure to check out the Interior Design Show in Jan '10, when I'll have the pleasure of talking design with Barbara on stage. 

Arren Williams: What's inspiring you right now?

Barbara Hulanicki: The tropical weather and Indian bone inlayed furniture.

AW: Is there anything you hate to see when you walk into a room?

BH: A white sofa.

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

BH: A Colombian sisal rug which has a silver metallic weave.

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

BH: I am very eclectic. I become a chameleon with each client or project.

AW: What's next for you?

BH: I would love to start coordinated Biba Home shops!