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 Jenn Hannotte (17)

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.

Wednesday
Apr062011

{that one great thing} Jen's (two)one great vintage chair(s)

Can someone please explain to me how it's already Wednesday? I'm having a really work-y week and time is just whizzing by, which is why I'm super glad Jenn Hannotte's *that one great thing* pick popped up in my inbox, since she's always such a smartypants whilst I am - right now at least - feeling awfully fuzzy in the brain department. And yes, before anyone says anything, I know Jenn is slightly cheating by picking 2 things, but that's just how she rolls...

Jenn Hannotte: My One Great Thing is actually Two Great Things, but their stories are the same and I didn't want to leave either one out! When I was living in Winnipeg (holla!), I was working as an art director for a specialty advertising company. I was 20 years old, and while I cared a great deal about how my various apartments looked, I didn't really *know* anything about the history of industrial/furniture design. In a corner of the office sat these two chairs, stacked and dusty. I thought they looked cool and asked the boss if I could buy them, but he generously (it turns out!) gave them to me. This was my first experience exploring the history of an object; I turned over the chairs and discovered they were Fritz Hansen chairs and went to eBay (pretty much the only source at the time!) and learned their worth. From there, armed with a little more information I soon found myself hooked on learning about the history of design. I consider the discovery of these chairs the fuel for my passion for design, and on the downside, the impetus to my chair addiction! They always make an empty corner pop, and they've always worked with whatever look I'm loving. Here's round-up of their recent history of resting places in my various homes as an homage.

 

Tuesday
Mar292011

Guest blog / Jenn Hannotte: Feeling scrappy?

Jenn Hannotte: In our last house, we got a little creative and made a scrap-wood wall in our upstairs-kitchen-cum-nursery (take a look at the first snap below). We found all the wood in the rafters of our garage and cut them down into different sizes and just screwed them into the plaster. The result was a little unusual for a nursery (or a kitchen!) but it really gave the whole room a really warm, rustic vibe. We toyed with the same idea in our current house - in our actual kitchen - but fancied more of a cleaner Scandinavian cottage kinda feel (more on that soon...).Needless to say, I'm a big fan of the whole raw-wood look, so when I saw this wallpaper by Piet Hein Eek I got a little flustered. 

Scrapwood is a series of paper's that give the illusion of...well, duh...a scrap wood wall.. but without all the hassle of the cutting and screwing AND in perfectly complementary hued woods. So while I think of some where to hang my latest obsession, take a look at these images and figure out where you'll want to use it, too.'Cause you will - Obviously.

For more of Jenn's take on style click here.

Wednesday
Dec012010

guest blog / Jenn Hannotte: What's behind door #1?

Arren has been Christmas-ized since July when the magazines do their holiday shoots. Thankfully for the rest of us we don't have to worry about the holidays until about...well...NOW. I've rounded up some out of the ordinary advent calendars to keep the countdown looking cool. 

This trendy pennant look finds its way into the holidays and on to the mantel doing double duty as an advent calendar and taking care of dressing the fireplace. You fill each number with your own treats and can re-use it each year. The second one here is more traditional, but I love it for its patchwork look and shot of turquoise. And for a little irony - if you love these last two you better hurry since they are limited to 50 and the seller says they go quick. For good reason, these gorgeous Amsterdam or Brooklyn streetscapes with a little holiday image behind each door or window will bring a little grin to even the grinchiest of us!