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 Home Depot (15)


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.


A chair story, part one

I'm definitely up for a challenge, so when Virginie Martocq - Chatelaine's Decor Editor - e-mailed to ask me about re-doing a fleamarket chair for the mag I said sure! So, a day or two later when a rather grubby looking chair showed up on my doorstep I knew the game was on. Luckily I'd recently been inspired by a particular DwellStudio fabric I'd spotted at inVU Drapery called Vintage Plumes (you can see a shot of it here) and set to work figuring out the look.

Step one was to unscrew the dusty old red velvet seat and thoroughly clean the chair. Next, I lightly sanded the frame with some steel wool, and carefully painted two coats in a lovely soft beigey grey called Fashion Grey from Behr. Now, I knew that nailheads would be fun but didn't want to commit to nickel or brass. Instead, I'd seen some white painted nailheads at Home Depot and thought that they might be just the ticket. Well, the colour was waaay too bright a white, but that was quickly remedied by pushing the nails into a cardboard fruit box and spraying the whole lot cream all in one go (outside of course). I dropped the chair off at inVU this morning for the re-upholstery job and can't wait to see how it turns out!


guest blog / Jenn Hannotte: A touch of the RT's

Drumroll! Church bells! Fireworks! It's done! After some finishing touches, I was super lucky to have Naomi Finlay come by to take photographs of the final bathroom reveal, and Arren to help style! I am beyond happy with how it turned out - it's got that Royal Tenenbaum edge, but it's got a lot more of 'me' and a whole lot of this houses' heart in it, too. Here's the complete list of materials and other good stuffs used in the shots and in real life:  

Bancroft toilet, Brockway sink with Cannock faucets - Kohler. Daltile Subway and Octagon and Dot tiles, baseboard, Behr Paint in Ashes - Home Depot. Trim tile - Pollock's. Wild Flower wallpaper - Ferm Living. Fords Mill light fixture - Rejuvination Lighting  (Who, I noticed when I went to grab this link have some AMAZING new product). Towels, bathmat, plate - Anthropologie. Shower curtain - Urban Outfitters. Milk glass vases, vintage fan, MOR soap - Russet and Empire. Vintage pharmacy jars - The Arthur. Molger mirror - Ikea. Kartell Componibilii - Neat.

Click here and here to check out the other posts on the bathroom reno (including the awful before shots), and stay tuned, something else is cooking up at the Hannotte house - pun intended. Wink, wink.

For more of Jenn's take on style click here


Guest blog / Jenn Hannotte: The bath equation

Jenn Hannotte: My bathroom renovation began about three months ago, and we're still working on some finishing touches before we can present the BIG REVEAL. But until then (soon, I promise!), I thought I'd recount the story thus far. Trouble is, it's not terribly interesting. Nothing scary jumped out from the walls, there was no layer of black mold ready to poison my children, no hiccups with the contractors or materials. The only reason why it's taken as long as it has is because I had to go and choose things that you can't grab from your local big- box store.

You might recall that my main source of inspiration was the bathroom featured in the film, The Royal Tenenbaums. To get there, we used a lot of classic materials that really fell architecturally into line with the aesthetic of the rest of the house. Always-right and inexpensive Daltile white subway tiles placed 3/4 of the way up the wall from Home Depot, capped with a classic chair rail profile found at Pollock's on Roncesvalles, just down the street from me. For the floors, it was again Home Depot's Daltile in the 'Octagon and Dot' pattern. I sourced a cast-iron clawfoot tub from Craigslist for a steal at $150 including the faucet, shower head and tub surround. The toilet is from Kohler and it's amazing to not be terrified every time we flush like we were with the old one! My favorite piece is the sink - the Brockway from Kohler. It was this baby that we had to wait for a long time to arrive, but it was worth it once installed. 

Without giving too much else away, I found this amazing wallpaper from Ferm Living that looks pretty   much identical to the shower curtain you see behind Margot Tenenbaum that really sets off the entire space. So the question is, class, can this equation be solved?  



Meeting Martha

I was lucky enough to part of a Canadian crew of design media that popped down to check out Home Depot's de-lovely new Martha Stewart Living kitchen collection in NYC, and yep, actually got to meet Martha too! I was trying not to be all goofy and star struck, but as you can see from that kooky grin on my face, that might not have happened. From left to right in the pic is Samantha Pynn, me, Martha, Suzanne Dimma, Deidre Kelly and Karl Lohnes (the delightful Margot Austin was there too, but somehow didn't make it into the photo op). On top of all this - if that wasn't jammy enough - I also got to chat with both Kevin Sharkey and Gael Towey from Martha's team (who just happened to mention that they'll be launching an iPad issue of the mag soon!), as well as Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan and Aaron Able of Apartment Therapy.

The first snap shows how stunning the Martha HQ actually is, all Deco curved windows in a two storey high space with lots of white and polished concrete. Stunning indeed. Next up is a pic of Martha addressing all the folks who attended, standing in front of the very Martha-esque putty toned Seal Harbor cabinetry, with details like the corbels inspired by her own kitchen, followed up with a close-up shot of the plate rack and cabinets. Yum. On the more modern side of things is The Weston, which takes its design cue from Martha's Chief Creative Officer Gael Towey's Manhattan kitchen. All told there are 6 cabinetry styles in a range of painted and wood finishes, 8 exclusive honed marble inspired Corian countertops and a slew of perfect hardware to finish everything off. Expect to see it all in Home Depot stores soon!