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 House & Home (8)


Lilly, hot and hilarious

I spent the morning swimming in stunning fabrics down at Designer's Walk in Toronto, and I hafta say, there's a lot to be excited about (hello, I can't wait to see the Christian Lacroix collection for Designers Guild!). I was there working, scouting for Trendwatch for House & Home, and also dreaming about being somewhere hot and fabulous, since it's so stinking cold here right now. So, how about it? Florida? Palm Springs? The French Riviera?

In the meantime I'm keeping warm with the news that the Lilly Pulitzer collection of fabrics for Lee Jofa will be launching super soon (the snap below from the LP Madison Ave store shows a wall filled with the kind of fun, bright and summery styles we can expect to see). Not to mention imagining a blazingly sunny back yard with one of these hilariously over-the-top vintage Hollywood-esque style umbrellas from Santa Barbara Designs planted right in the centre (I'm currently jonesing slightly more for Flamenco over top of Lilypond). Pass the Ambre Solaire, I am so done with winter... [Image 1: Kravet's Inspired Talk]


{that one great thing} Meg's chair

I've known Meg Crossley, House & Home mag's senior editor for, well, ages. We've shot a gazillion things together over the years including a memorable out-of-town home shoot where the place actually turned out to be haunted. Fun times? Yep, especially with us both squeezed into a twin bed terrified about having another 'visit'. And so, with that kind of history I just had to ask her to contribute to that one great thing.

Meg Crossley: I love love love this chair my father made sometime in the early 60s. It was for the first little house he shared with my mom when they were newlyweds. As they got more established, their tastes changed and the chair ended up in our toy room -- where my brother and I kept Barbie's and GI Joes, games, the record player, the Meccano set, you get the picture. It became part of our "pretend" house or apartment furniture. Then the lovely thing was moved into the garage not to be seen again for years. My brother resurrected it in the 80s for his university pad (the cushions upholstered in something I would call School Boy stripe, very dark and masculine), then back to the garage. I rescued it just a couple of years ago, when I started to reno and furnish my basement. I needed low furniture because the ceiling was so low in the basement and I wanted to fool the eye into thinking it was higher. This did the trick. After a little lemon oil on the wood and a slipcover in white denim (it is a testament to how well it was made that it was so easy to resurrect), it mixed well with some of my quirky vintage things and my more traditional furnishings -- it is all about the mix after all. We shot my basement for a Makeover issue for House & Home and it landed front and centre, on the cover of that mag. Needless to say, my dad was thrilled.


{that one great thing} Susie's Bahamas photo

I'd gotten to know Fashion magazine's fashion director Susie Sheffman a little over the years, mostly by bumping into her around town (as well as catching her lovely home in the Sept '08 issue of H&H). But then, in a curious case of it's-a-very-small-world, Susie's smart as a whip daughter ended up on a work placement with my other half, David. So, with that great serendipitous small-worldness in mind I thought I'd get Susie to share something for my occasional series - that one great thing.

Susie Sheffman: This is one of my all time favorite photos from my all time favorite fashion shoot EVER in Eleuthera, Bahamas. I've been styling and directing fashion shoots for almost 30 years and by the time a shoot is printed and bound I'm somewhat over it and dreaming up the next one!

But not this time.

This photograph taken by my best friend, photographer Gabor Jurina was blown up life-size, framed in white (his suggestion) and is a visual magnet in my home. Everyone who sits on my couch is immediatley drawn to and transfixed by its hypnotic power. From the deep turquoise waves (I have a water obsession) to the haunting sky and the timeless, classic appeal of model Marie Eve Nadeau, we literally sit transported. fantasizing about being there (and being her!). It's hung beside my TV, and I often catch myself watching it instead of whatever show is on.

Here's the backstory:
We named the shoot Swept Away- and trust me we almost were! What? You thought this was all calm and serenity? Trust me it was anything but! Gabor was shooting from a teey weeny dinghy, tied a few feet from the boat. The sun was rapidly going down, the waves were enormous and pitching him every which way. Both of our asssitants were rendered completely useless- lying over the side of the boat seasick and vomiting... I stood (barely hanging on) just out of camera range trying to help him, running in every 2 seconds to adjust the jewellery while bobbing up and down like an apple. Gabor smacked his head on a wayward boom and to this day I have no clue how he held onto the camera much less captured such a moment. But here you have it- one of the most tranquil, serene looking photos and one of my favorite things!


No parking allowed

Yes, our media room used to be a drive-down garage, but that all changed back in the '80's sometime (way before we bought the house) when, in a rather hare-brained scheme, the old owners bricked up the garage door and filled in the driveway to create a v. dingy basement apartment. Oh, it was a delightful surprise when we discovered that that there was only one layer of bricks and some rotten chipboard holding back all the in-fill, take a look here, which meant we had to do a major bit of re-construction.

Fast-forward to now and things are all peachy - That's a Gus* Carter sectional sofa, silk velvet pillows and woven cane hassocks from Constantine, and a fab hand-knotted floor cushion from Bev Hisey. The striped velvet curtains have been discontinued at Ikea, but you can still get your hands on the Kvartal curved curtain rail, as well as the wall-mount Besta Burs DVD storage (topped with a few of my fave collectibles). On the other side of the room you'll catch a white leather tufted chair, an end table, and more of the shaggy rayon rug, all from Elte. Then there's more of that great Ikea Besta media storage, working both as a stand for the LCD TV, and mounted on the wall (we had fun tricking it out with Dioder LED lighting strips). The paint colour is Palais Royal by the no-longer-available Ralph Lauren Paint line from Home Depot. And, thanks again to Angus Fergusson for doing such an outstanding job in shooting the house for House & Home!


Jonesing over a table

I'm totally jonesing over smartypants Karen von Hahn's new outdoor coffee table upcycled from an old Simpson's-Sears department store sign (the lovely vintage script logo hails from 1953). Karen discovered the sign in a junk-filled emporium she dubbed 'the sheds' out in Bayfield, Ontario, and lugged it home. Her handy-with-tools other half then popped a piece of plywood beneath, and screwed on those fancy-schmancy metal legs she'd ordered from Hairpinlegs.com to create, if you ask me, the perfect spot for a tall and frosty glass of Pimm's. Love how the Kelly green of the sign picks up on the green in her outdoor furniture upholstery, and also how Karen so snappily whacks the nail on the head regarding al fresco style - "Everybody is so busy recreating either a Tuscan villa or a South Beach nightclub in their backyard that nothing has any real style." Check in on Karen's blog here, and be sure to check out her new Style Czar column for the Toronto Star's Weekend Living section. Oh, and you'll see inside Karen's home very shortly too, since she'll be gracing the August issue of House & Home along with little old me.