About

 
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 Ikea (23)

Friday
Jul082011

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.

Monday
May232011

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.

Tuesday
Mar082011

A little bit of B&W

This a.m. - before I headed out to give a talk to design students at Humber College (thx again Jo!) - I discovered the snap below of an Ikea dining table that had been tricked out in a black and white checkerboard. I have to say, I like the look. The hi-contrast combo of b&w seems to be one of those trends that's on the rise again (or did it really ever go away?), so it's kinda fitting that recently I got to play around with the clean and minimally styled Olympus XZ-1 that just happens to come in a lovely white-lacquered body with black detailing. Gorgeous? Yes. And for all you photography wonks out there - It comes fitted with a super-bright built-in 4x Olympus iZUIKO lens, the first ever built-in Zuiko lens on a digital camera. Oh, and just in case white isn't your thing, the XZ-1 is also available in matte black. [Image 1: Ikea/Livet Hemma]

 

Wednesday
Mar022011

Reidar on my radar

Yesterday I was doing the un-fun part of my job that always happens after a big photo-shoot - Returns. So, after getting that business out of the way at my local Ikea, my consolation prize was to walk the store and see what was new. And I'm happy to say that my chair-a-holic addiction was suitably jonesed by Reidar, one of the latest intro's in the dining department. Designed by Ola Wihlborg, the aluminum chairs come in five colours all together (the white and orange aren't shown below), are stackable, and can handle being both outdoors as well as in. Sweet!

Friday
Nov192010

Quick and red and white

Here's a quickie for you since I'm in transit today (more on that later). Okay, the Holidays are a comin', so how about we just try to get through it with a sense of calm and grace, huh? Wobblies and meltdowns will not be tolerated. So, with that in mind, just take a deep breath and remember that decorating in a chic/simple style needs restraint. Take a look at this lovely shot from Ikea - You've got the clean workaday lines of the Sockerart enamel pitcher that's been wound with Snovita sisal twine and then filled with Amaryllis. Glorious and just Christmas-y enough if you ask me. [Image from Livet Hemma, discovered via Tiger Hellström's great Tumblr blog From Scandinavia With Love]