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 Breville (5)


guest blog / Jenn Hannotte: Magic ice and other kitchen stories

Jenn Hannotte: You know how when you're living with something you can convince yourself it's OKAY? Like the old fridge that was approximately 4 feet high and held a carton of eggs, a jug of milk and a loaf of bread if you packed it intelligently? NOT OKAY. And I only realized this after my Whirlpool appliances arrived and we set up the new side-by-side fridge (I put the other guy out on the curb for recycling, I didn't hold that much of a grudge!). It wasn't *just* that the kids squealed with disbelief when I got them ice and water FROM THE FRONT OF THE FRIDGE like a magician (we're simple people), but the fact that it's totally roomy and still counter-depth sold me. And the new dishwasher? Our old one was likened to a garbage bag with a hose attached by the appliance installer - and he wasn't far off. We had to close all the doors to the kitchen and basically vacate the house when that thing was running. My new dishwasher is quiet, yes, but it also has cool features (like Sheer Clean) and is smartly designed - something I can really appreciate after using our completely inefficient old monster. And, then there's the slide-in range that leaves more room for the birch plywood backsplash to do its thing, and which has a quick-heat convection oven to get those frozen pizzas cooked chop-chop! So why white, instead of the more expected stainless? White is fresh and modern and especially in a small kitchen like mine, it helps to unite rather than divide. 

Once the engine of the kitchen was installed, Angus Fergusson and Arren came over to shoot these stunning photos. My perpetual kitchen reno is all done and what's the verdict? For me (the only client who matters!), I absolutely love the ambience of this room, it's less a kitchen in the traditional sense, and more a cozy retreat. *AND* everything works, works well and looks good doing it.

Here are the deets:

Counter Depth Side-By-Side Refigerator, Whirlpool Gold Tall Tub Dishwasher,  Electric Slide-In Range. All Whirlpool.

Vintage industrial bins, Avril Loreti tea towel, Imm Living cruet. All Russet & Empire.

Lighting Design. Matthew Birch for Russet & Empire.

Kitchen Design. Russet & Empire Interiors.

Ikea kitchen cabinets, butcherblock counter, Ringskar faucet, Tral work lamp. West Elm Tripod Table. Breville Barista Express espresso machine. Areaware Numbers LED Clock.

>>> Catch the rest of Jenn's kitchen reno here, and click here to check out Jenn's take on style.


guest blog / Samantha Pynn: The juice and the soup


Oh how exciting, this is my first blog post for my dear sweet friend Arren Williams. I realize this is the Arren Williams' Design Lab, but my post has bubkes to do with design, excepting the good looks and sleek lines of the Breville's ikon Hemisphere Blender and Die-Cast Juice Fountain Elite.

Arren's 'Lab', however, is of the utmost relevance.

I spend a good deal of time chez Casa Arren-Williams-David-Pimentel. Naturally, food and drink play a key role in our relationship. They are both great cooks and David is a master baker. In fact, one day they plan to open a bakery in Portugal. Coincidentally, I plan to have a small juice station in a bakery in Portugal owned by two handsome men, funny that. Do I hear the voice of Arren Williams screaming "stay on topic!"? Oh yes, the lab. So my contribution to our get-togethers is alkaline experimental juices made of organic cucumber, kale, parsley, ginger, lemon and celery (sometimes I treat them by adding a beet to the mix). I used to lug my juicer to their house and yell "surprise! I'm making you healthy tonight!" But now that they have their own juicer, I will only have to bring the veggies. If you're wondering what alkalizing is -- as my mother would say "use the Google" --there's lots to research. But in short, it's about eating a whole lotta raw vegetables.

If you're interested in alkalizing yourself, I highly recommend the book on my nightstand, Alkalize or Die by Dr. Theodore A. Baroody.



Last week, Arren and David participated in my alkalizing broccoli and leek soup experiment. Let's use scientific methodology.

Problem: Arren and David aren't alkaline enough. I want to make a delicious soup that they will want me to make everyday.

Observation: Arren's grimace at the sight of the two giant heads of broccoli suggests he may only want the soup weekly.

Materials and Apparatus: Every bowl, spoon and pot in Arren's rockin' kitchen and Breville's ikon Hemisphere Blender.

Procedure: Wash veg. Lightly steam veg. Put in blender with veg stock. Blend.

Data and Work: I observed that Arren was quite bossy with me in the kitchen, but he did teach me that you must cut leeks down the middle and wash them. I also observed David laughing his head off at the giant pile of dishes, the green puree in my hair, all over my sweater and on the tile (hey, that's what backsplash is for). The soup tasted slightly bland until David fixed it with cumin and some other secret spice (likely butter and sour cream). I ate three bowls. Arren and David ate one.

Analysis: I shall make the soup weekly and they will grow to love it.

Conclusion: Soup is best when shared with friends.

(Click here to check out Samantha Pynn's new web series for HGTV.ca The Switch)


{giving it} Breville Dual Disc Juicer Processor

{giving it} is all about my take on what makes a good gift. I have a very good friend (hello SP) who is an absolute health nut and is constantly cajoling me into drinking 'healthy' freshly juiced concoctions involving wheat grass and kale. Yep, I know they might be good for me - oh, all those antioxidants. let alone getting more alkaline - but the taste, well, just lets say it's an acquired thing. So, I was uber-happy to hear that Breville's handsome new Dual Disc juicer can handle all the wheat grass and kale that SP can throw at it, plus it can also do soft fruits like berries and such to create fresh smoothies. Now that's more my cup of tea. Click here for more info.


guest blog / Jenn Hannotte: Continuing coffee education

I need to reveal some information about myself to give this post some context. It's not something I'm proud of, but nonetheless, here it is: I am basically inept when it comes to any kind of appliance that when used results in something you're meant to consume. So you can understand that I was a little nervous when I attended the Breville Barista 101 event that promised to turn me from someone who thinks instant coffee is fine, to a coffee connoisseur in one short hour. 

With the skilled assistance of Master Barista Matthew Taylor of Toronto's Mercury Espresso Bar (below helping my neighbor create perfect foam), and the amazing ease-of use of the new Barista Express, I was cranking out cappuccinos  with billowing, frothy foam; latte's with perfect precision and even learning how to make coffee art (okay, so my first, second, and third attempt at that 'art' all resembled a hippo more than the intended leaf or swirl). The Barista Express isn't just for beginners - it has manual espresso options as well, for the more seasoned at-home barista who wants maximum control over their coffee's flavour.

The real test came in the morning at 6am when I usually brew up some thick-as-mud crude and choke it back until I'm sufficiently awake to deal with the day. I didn't know if I'd be willing to make my own espresso, but this thing is seriously so easy (and fun!) for someone like myself that I'm finding the ritual of making coffee beautifuly adds so much to my mornings.

Take a look at some pictures I snapped of that morning at the event, and my creations (don't judge me too harshly!). No, I won't be serving you up a macchiato at Mercury anytime soon, but I will be thoroughly enjoying my own!


Brew your own

If you were to rifle through our kitchen you'd discover we have a whole cupboard dedicated to tea. In fact, if you fancy an Egyptian Licorice, a spot of delish and hard to find Lipton French Vanilla, or even a steaming brew of a rather potent Australian Green Tea & Mint, we've got you covered (not to mention all the sundry other boxes and bags picked up on our travels). But, who knew each tea should be steeped at a different boiling point? Ummm, not me, lol. Well thankfully Breville, one of my fave stylish countertop appliance brands, has just intro'd a brand new kettle that can raise the bar on your tea brewing abilities. Go ahead and push a button on the base of the Variable Heat Kettle to hook up the perfect temp for Green, White, Black and Oolong tea and - not forgetting the coffee-aholics - French Press. Easy peasy and chic. Click here to read more.

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