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)


guest blog / Jenn Hannotte: Continuing coffee education

I need to reveal some information about myself to give this post some context. It's not something I'm proud of, but nonetheless, here it is: I am basically inept when it comes to any kind of appliance that when used results in something you're meant to consume. So you can understand that I was a little nervous when I attended the Breville Barista 101 event that promised to turn me from someone who thinks instant coffee is fine, to a coffee connoisseur in one short hour. 

With the skilled assistance of Master Barista Matthew Taylor of Toronto's Mercury Espresso Bar (below helping my neighbor create perfect foam), and the amazing ease-of use of the new Barista Express, I was cranking out cappuccinos  with billowing, frothy foam; latte's with perfect precision and even learning how to make coffee art (okay, so my first, second, and third attempt at that 'art' all resembled a hippo more than the intended leaf or swirl). The Barista Express isn't just for beginners - it has manual espresso options as well, for the more seasoned at-home barista who wants maximum control over their coffee's flavour.

The real test came in the morning at 6am when I usually brew up some thick-as-mud crude and choke it back until I'm sufficiently awake to deal with the day. I didn't know if I'd be willing to make my own espresso, but this thing is seriously so easy (and fun!) for someone like myself that I'm finding the ritual of making coffee beautifuly adds so much to my mornings.

Take a look at some pictures I snapped of that morning at the event, and my creations (don't judge me too harshly!). No, I won't be serving you up a macchiato at Mercury anytime soon, but I will be thoroughly enjoying my own!


guest blog / Jenn Hannotte: A touch of the RT's

Drumroll! Church bells! Fireworks! It's done! After some finishing touches, I was super lucky to have Naomi Finlay come by to take photographs of the final bathroom reveal, and Arren to help style! I am beyond happy with how it turned out - it's got that Royal Tenenbaum edge, but it's got a lot more of 'me' and a whole lot of this houses' heart in it, too. Here's the complete list of materials and other good stuffs used in the shots and in real life:  

Bancroft toilet, Brockway sink with Cannock faucets - Kohler. Daltile Subway and Octagon and Dot tiles, baseboard, Behr Paint in Ashes - Home Depot. Trim tile - Pollock's. Wild Flower wallpaper - Ferm Living. Fords Mill light fixture - Rejuvination Lighting  (Who, I noticed when I went to grab this link have some AMAZING new product). Towels, bathmat, plate - Anthropologie. Shower curtain - Urban Outfitters. Milk glass vases, vintage fan, MOR soap - Russet and Empire. Vintage pharmacy jars - The Arthur. Molger mirror - Ikea. Kartell Componibilii - Neat.

Click here and here to check out the other posts on the bathroom reno (including the awful before shots), and stay tuned, something else is cooking up at the Hannotte house - pun intended. Wink, wink.

For more of Jenn's take on style click here


Guest blog / Jenn Hannotte: The bath equation

Jenn Hannotte: My bathroom renovation began about three months ago, and we're still working on some finishing touches before we can present the BIG REVEAL. But until then (soon, I promise!), I thought I'd recount the story thus far. Trouble is, it's not terribly interesting. Nothing scary jumped out from the walls, there was no layer of black mold ready to poison my children, no hiccups with the contractors or materials. The only reason why it's taken as long as it has is because I had to go and choose things that you can't grab from your local big- box store.

You might recall that my main source of inspiration was the bathroom featured in the film, The Royal Tenenbaums. To get there, we used a lot of classic materials that really fell architecturally into line with the aesthetic of the rest of the house. Always-right and inexpensive Daltile white subway tiles placed 3/4 of the way up the wall from Home Depot, capped with a classic chair rail profile found at Pollock's on Roncesvalles, just down the street from me. For the floors, it was again Home Depot's Daltile in the 'Octagon and Dot' pattern. I sourced a cast-iron clawfoot tub from Craigslist for a steal at $150 including the faucet, shower head and tub surround. The toilet is from Kohler and it's amazing to not be terrified every time we flush like we were with the old one! My favorite piece is the sink - the Brockway from Kohler. It was this baby that we had to wait for a long time to arrive, but it was worth it once installed. 

Without giving too much else away, I found this amazing wallpaper from Ferm Living that looks pretty   much identical to the shower curtain you see behind Margot Tenenbaum that really sets off the entire space. So the question is, class, can this equation be solved?  



Guest blog / Jenn Hannotte: Gettin' greasy

Jenn Hannotte: I don't think I'm alone in this: at the start of a renovation, life is great. Change is afoot. Things are gettin' done. But after a week and a half of the mess and noise with two kids, well, one finds that distraction from the madness is more than welcome. Kristina Moller (aka GreasyChickenFace) is a Toronto illustrator who I first fell in love with when I saw her illustrations of birds last year (you can see the one I'm lucky to own, in that first shot of my daughter Willa's old bedroom). Her work is super-saturated with colour, and can add some irreverence and fun to kid's and adult's rooms alike. I wanted to show off some of her new work below, plus you can check out more of Kristina's stuff at her Etsy shop here, and check out her portfolio here.

For more of Jenn's take on style, as well as to see the beginnings of her own reno project, click here.


Guest blog / Jenn Hannotte: The royal treatment

Jenn Hannotte: Ahh, the sweet, suffocating smell of plaster dust! We're knee-deep in it over here, tackling the family bathroom. When we bought this house, we thought we could live with it for a while. We thought that we could clean it up, and it would be OK. We thought maybe some new towels would help. We thought WRONG. The 'before' picture provides some visual evidence, but the real issue here was the smell. And the strange textures that stained every surface. I won't elaborate, but suffice it to say we are very happy to have it all GONE! It was demo- day here today, and the folks from Cera Stone (who I also used to renovate the main floor of the last house) knocked it out efficiently as ever.

Finding inspiration for the bathroom wasn't a problem. It seemed everything I saw, I loved. Especially anything dark and vintage, with an industrial twist. Like Jenna Lyon's en-suite, or this gorgeous bathroom from House & Home by Connie Braemar. But, I wasn't quite sold on the idea of going to the dark side - something wasn't quite grabbing me. And then, as I do a couple times a year, I was watching The Royal Tenenbaums and there it was, my future bathroom. Nothing dark about it, but oozing original vintage charm with a fresh colour scheme and those great set details found in all of Wes Anderson's films. How close the final product will be to the bathroom Margot Tennenbaum spends  "six hours a day locked up in...watching television and soaking in the tub" remains to be seen, but the hunt is on! [Image 2 via Habitually Chic. Image 3 by Virginia Macdonald]

For more of Jenn's take on style, as well as to see the beginnings of her own reno project, click here.