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 modern (58)


Spring forward with West Elm

Before the Hols I got to meet up with the always inspiring Alex Bates, West Elm's creative director, to get the lowdown on what was happening at WE for Spring, and what we can look forward to for - dare I say it - Summer!

Alex's current influences centre on both the art world and artistic expession - Art Basel in Miami and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo - as well as architecture and the move towards greener materials, and then travel, she absolutely LOVES the Jaipur region in India. In store, terrariums and indoor gardening is big news at West Elm this coming season since they are, as Alex explains, healthy, wonderful and calming and we should all be living with plants (and the collection designed by stylist Shane Powers is gorgeous). There'll be more antique influences, like in the rather swank Modern Windsor Chaise (here) and the Scroll Headboard below, which takes a trad form and re-interprets it so it can be layered into an interior to give it what Alex would descibe as soul - it really is all about the mix this year at WE, and how you personally interpret their pieces.

One of Alex's most fave pieces from the new line is the artist designed rug collection, expecially John-Paul Phillippé Art Rug, a fantastic modern design which is woven using natural un-dyed wool (it's lovely enough to hang on the wall). Tabletop steps it up too, as does a whole new look at bath, which encompasses three different looks that you'll see hinted at throughout the store - Swedish, Globalist and Naturalist - and then for Summer keep an eye out for WE to move into the kitchen and really get into cooking and entertaining in a big way, as welll as intro-ing the first David Starck Summer collection. Phew!

From the top - Here's one of the Shane Powers layered indoor garden pieces. Next is the Scroll Headboard, as well as some lovely block printed bedding. Then there's the John-Paul Phillippé Art Rug, see what I mean about hanging it on the wall? LOVE this mixed-up tabletop shot. And finally, here's a bathroom to definitely get stylishly wet in...


Were you in Milan?

I was not. In fact, during the gigant-o Milan furniture fair I think I had laundry to do, which must've been the reason why I didn't get over to Italy. There was some fabulously barmy and brilliant stuff on show though from, well, just about everyone who's anyone. One of the big names who exhibited was Vitra, who intro'd the new customizable Suita Sofa by Antonio Citterio in a series of cool room sets styled up to give you the design equivalent of the warm and fuzzies. Whadya think? The first is sweet (love the owl pillow), but then, that shade of blue is pretty great in the second shot, not to mention that tie-dyed rug, and oh, last but not least, that lemony yellow is pretty darned fresh and yummy... Check out more on Vitra at plan b. [all images: Vitra]


California dreaming (again)

There’s probably not too many folks you can name that have worked on projects for both the Beastie Boys and Trina Turk, and published their own book, not to mention had homes show up in Dwell and the LA Times Magazine practically simultaneously. That person is California based architect Barbara Bestor, who was nice enough to say yep when I e-mailed her about running some of her work here on the blog. The book (which you might already have a copy of) is Bohemian Modern: Living in Silver Lake and her projects are – from my point of view - just about a perfect combo of modernist sensibilities and a laid back style of living. Take a boo below at Bestor’s home Glendower, uh-huh, that exterior shot shows it sitting beneath Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis-Brown House in Los Feliz, and the following image is a peek at the shaded back patio and pool. Next up is a couple of shots of the Floating Bungalow (check the March issue of Dwell to see more), and finally an exterior and interior of the Surf Shack, designed for photographer Dewey Nicks, which popped up here in the LA Times mag. Seriously, with this kind of inspiration I could so easily be talked into buying a one-way ticket to LA... [Image 2: Vårt Nya Hem. Image 3,4: John Ellis. Image 6: Dewey Nicks. All other images: Bestor Architecture]


Simply gorgeous

Okay, after a slight fashion-y detour in the last post, we're back in a particularly gorgeous all wood architectural space. While I'd like to think I could live this kind of simple, uncluttered life in the snap below I just don't think it would be possible. Where would all the collectibles go, and what about some art? Anyways, this is the rather lovely new Raleigh line of sofas and chairs from the folks at DWR. The seating, designed by Jeffrey Bernett and Nicholas Dodziuk, has a swish streamlined Danish modern feel to it (the cantilevered walnut frame is extra sweet) and looks awfully nice with DWR's Skagen coffee and nesting tables.


Julia Black: Staying in the closet

With New Year’s resolutions and must-do lists in mind, just the thought of tackling my closet gives me a headache. This January, not only do I need to clean mine, I also need to source an entirely new closet system that can smartly handle all my clothes and accessories, all while staying within a relatively thrifty, post-holiday budget. Thankfully, West Elm has once again managed to answer my prayers in efficiently chic home décor, this time with the Bergen Closet Collection. All the shelves, drawers and racks within the line are both stackable and portable, so I'll get that posh custom look and can always take it with me should I ever want to move! The icing on the cake: The collection (available in chocolate & white) is made with FSC-Certified wood veneers (which means it’s using material from sustainably managed forests), uses eco-friendly hardwood construction (so no MDF and therefore less glue and other icky stuff) and is finished with water-based stains and lead-free lacquer. If that isn't good news enough, most of the hardware is made from recycled materials. Love!

To read more posts from Julia click here, and to check out her cool blog click here.