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 interior design (4)


It's (not) a wrap

Fashion designer Diane von Furstenburg is best known for her iconic wrap dress, but here's something altogether non-fashion related from DvF that was just too jammy not to share. Diane (along with best friend and interior decorator Olivier Gelbsmann) is in the midst of working with Claridge's, a posh London hotel, on re-designing 20 suites and rooms that are all expected to be finished by the end of this year. Here's a few snaps from the four rooms that are ready so far, one of which - the Piano Suite - rents out for an eye-watering $13,850 a night. I'm all over the nutty prints and high-contrast shenanigans, but what do you think? [Images: Claridge's]



On the floor, in Paris

Sadly I'm not actually in Paris, instead I'm researching the chic old City of Lights for a project I'm working on. Derrière is one of the restaurants I've been reading up on that's now firmly on my must-see list, and not just because it's all a bit odd - It's a semi-secret place, entered through an unmarked door between busy and buzzy 404 and Andy Wahloo, once inside, the place has the look of a fairly messy apartment filled with flea-market finds (you might sit on a bed, near to a ping-pong table, or you might wander upstairs and head through a wardrobe - very Narnia - to the hidden smoking room). The interiors are by American-in-Paris designer Barbi Sloan, who also did the rather eccentric Jura Lodge on the Isle of Jura in Scotland, but - strangely - it's the snap I discovered of Derrière's bathroom floor that really made me go oooh! They're encaustic cement tiles, and I just love the mismatched effect all done in a single pale grey, cream and charcoal colourway. Smashing! Oh, and that second shot just gives you a taste of where you might be sitting if - and when - you end up for dinner at Derrière. On this side of the pond, if you fancy looking into encaustic cement tiles check out Villa Lagoon Tile. [Images: JasonW for HPRG Blog]


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: Tommy Smythe

If ever you want to meet someone with airs and graces, who looks down their nose and is the dictionary definition of pretentious, don't go knocking on interior designer Tommy Smythe's door. You definitely know Tommy from his work (and his wit) with Sarah Richardson on HGTV, and also from seeing his fab spaces in Canadian House & Home Magazine (check out the kitchen below, picked by the H&H editors as one of the most memorable rooms published in the mag's history), so I thought it would be fun to put him on the spot to answer 5 quick questions. He graciously agreed, and scooted along all the shots below, snapped by the talented Michael Graydon and featured on the pages of House & Home. Lovely, no?

And, to check out more 5 quick questions interviews with a slew of v. interesting folks, click here.

Arren Wiliams: What's inspiring you right now?

Tommy Smythe: Malachite, amethyst, The High Line, my sister Christie Smythe of Smythe Les Vestes, Yves St. Laurent, D Squared, peacock feathers, King Tut, Grace Coddington, Yoko Ono, London - New York - Palm Beach, Crayola crayons, poppies, Glee, Thom Browne, Miles Redd, flags, blogs.

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

TS: Fake.  Anything fake, really.  I'm the kind of guy who would (and has) survived on noodles and Gatorade for a month to be able to afford the real thing.  Knock offs are not fair and they're not design.

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

TS: I saw an oversized crystal and sterling match striker (I collect them) at a shop I love.  It's over $400, so I walked away, but I've been thinking about it a lot.  I have a crush on it.  I am waiting until I can get up the nerve to walk back in.  Then we will be together.  I'll just have to live on noodles and Gatorade for a few days....

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

TS: My look has definitely changed over the years!  It's always evolving as I learn and travel and get exposed to more.  I have always liked an eclectic mix of things - the right balance of vintage, or antique and modern things.  I like rooms that have the feeling of timeless elegance and gracious living.  Style and comfort reflected in furniture and art curated with a sense of personal history.  I am really big on nostalgia...real comfort comes from there.

AW: What's next on the horizon?

TS: For the world of design:  I am so glad to have no idea!  What I love so much about this field is the surprise of it all - creative direction is so delightfully unpredictable.  That said, I think we can all expect to see quite a lot of plaid in the near future....

For me:  I am just about to begin shooting a brand new series with Sarah for HGTV Canada.  We're focusing on the building blocks of a room from top to bottom.  It's a '101' sort of a thing with our usual fun approach.  If it's not fun, it's just not worth doing - life is too short!!!