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 istanbul (3)


Checking out the details

I've already posted here about The House Hotel, a cool Autoban designed spot I'd stayed in in Istanbul a while back. Well, I thought it would be kind of nice to share some of the interesting design details of the hotel with you, snapped by me early one morning before any of the other guests were up and about (otherwise they might've thought me kind of odd, crouching down to capture a snap of the hallway floor, lol).

Here we go then - A closer look at the white and gold chandelier, there were a couple of different variations scattered around, including a lovely gold and beige one in the hotel's front hall. Next up, the enamelled steel and glass wardrobe that was in each room, inside was a small two drawer unit for all your foldable bits and pieces. Outside the rooms, each room number was cut out of brass and then spotlit. Staying in the hallway check out the stone floor (I'm loving the pattern), and then finally, topping it all off, you can see the hexagon pattern of the floor mirrored in a suspended trellis panel at the ceiling.


Shoptastic and restotastic Istanbul

Here's a smidge more Istanbul info for you, though it's definitely not the last of it! The two main guides that we definitely wouldn't have survived without, and you should absolutely grab if you're going, are the Luxe City Guide Istanbul and Istanbul Eats. The Luxe Guide reads like it was written by a stylish insider who's downed a bottle of Veuve and then tells you you should see, here, here and definitely here! As you follow the directions you'll be laughing and spinning around to check street names, must-see shops and attractions. It's definitely fun. Istanbul Eats, on the other hand, was an incredible guide to the best places to chow down with the locals. Some spots were fancy, most were not, but honestly, this guide didn't steer us wrong once. It's based on a blog of the same name, which is also worth a look too - have a boo at it here. Oh, and for a more in-depth look at some of the delish places we hit - almost all from Istanbul Eats - check out my world-travelling other half's kid friendly blog here.

We used the Luxe City guide to traverse the higgeldy-piggeldy back streets in the neighbourhood around The House Hotel to shop vintage. And oh lawdy, is there lots and lots of choice. Basically it's an excuse to get semi-lost and have a poke through crammed-to-the-rafters shops that run the gamut from mid-century retro to grand baroque (we saw a stunning crystal hot air ballon chandelier, really!). I could've filled a tractor trailer, let alone a suitcase! Take a look below at a couple of snaps of what I found...


Checking in, checking it out

Ah, Istanbul. That's where I've spent the last week, walking, exploring and - mmm-mmm - eating! We stayed at The House Hotel Galatasaray, designed by one of my fave design teams, the Turkish firm Autoban (read a great Dwell interview with them here). And oh, let's just say it was pretty fantastic, both the hotel and the city!

Built in the 1890's as a 4-storey mansion - in a neighbourhood that's now quite the hotbed of scrumptious vintage and antique stores (more on that later) - the hotel is owned by Alex Varlik, who's also the smartypants behind a chain of chic restos called The House Cafe that are dotted across the city. Each of the hotel's 20 suites are a lovely modern mix between the historical vibe of the building itself, Autoban's custom furnishings, and quirky/cool touches like the street address marble tiles in the bathroom, the standout gold and white chandeliers (oh, I wish I could've crammed one into my suitcase) and the super fun free-standing showers.

I'll be posting more inspirational stuff on Istanbul soon!