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!


 Subscribe in a reader

New posts delivered right to your inbox!

Powered by Squarespace
Add to Technorati Favorites

Entries in New York (6)


{that one great thing} Cobi's ashtray collection

Back when she was Editor of Canadian House & Home Cobi Ladner was one of my many bosses (oh, the life of a freelancer). Now, as I'm sure you've seen, she's just launched her very own witty, colourful and happy line of fabrics, furniture and accessories called cobistyle. As you can imagine she's been a little busy, so I've patiently been pursuing her for a *that one great thing* pick, and here it finally is. And seriously, will you ever look at Cobi the same now that you know she's a little light fingered?

Cobi Ladner: I wonder what it says about a person if their 'one great thing' is a collection of stolen hotel ashtrays? Especially if that person has never smoked! I guess I have to admit here, in front of the entire world, that yes, I did personally steal one of these little beauties myself. It's actually my least favourite of the bunch. It's the one from The Plaza hotel in NYC. I was lucky enough to stay at the Plaza for business  (back in the day when Ivana Trump briefly owned it). The crest is only cheaply printed on, probably in China, but I had to have it as a memento. 

I use these little dishes all around the house -  in the bathroom to hold loose jewellery; at the kitchen sink and bedside for my watch; on my desk for business cards (some days I need to remind myself of who I am); on my husband's dresser to hold change. I look for them whenever I'm in junk stores, the Sally Ann and flea markets. It's a total high to find a lovely little dish that originally sat in a beautiful room in Paris, on a dusty shelf in a thrift store in Southern Ontario. Who's suitcase did it travel in and was it a sentimental impulse to bring it home as a memento of a fabulous holiday?   

Although I love to see kitsch in other people's homes - pillows from Niagara Falls, shot glasses from Florida - I'm not into that myself. No, I love the idea of elegance - Paris - London - New York - Darlin', I love ya, but give me Park Avenue.... and the notion that a hotel would have fine bone china from England printed with their fabulous address. 

My favourite little dish isn't here unfortunately. It was from the Hotel Scribe in Paris and was a little fluted square with a fine orange line around it. I loved it so much I tried using it as a soap dish in our powder room and my clumsy 13-year old broke it. So much for the elegance of Paris in our house.  I guess that's what makes it all the more appealing.


guest blog / Julia Black: Stark the halls!

We all appreciate the elbow grease behind planning a really fabulous party. From weddings and bar mitzvahs, to red carpet galas and grand openings, orchestrating and executing a positively memorable soirée takes talent. So as the season creeps up and you’re realizing it’s your turn to play host/hostess, who better to turn to for inspiration then one of New York's most esteemed party planners, Mr. David Stark. David is an extraordinary designer who’s been creating hot ticket parties for over twenty years, and now - for the second holiday season in a row - his distinct approach for transforming everyday materials and spaces into complete magnificence can be yours. The David Stark Holiday Collection is available at your favorite West Elm store, and this time Mr. Stark has repurposed recycled paper and cardboard, and even vintage garden books, into garlands, trees, and witty objects and accents to help you create a brilliant party. Furthermore, the collection is distinctly eco-smart and eco-chic. Careful though, by adding Stark to your halls you might just be voted into another hosting gig sooner than you’d like. Check out the video below to see how the collection came about.

To read more posts from Julia click here, check out her cool blog click here, and click here to see her new Get Fresh online videos for CTV!



guest blog / Julia Black: Ceci, you're invited!

Julia Black: Ceci Johnson’s luxury invitations are absolutely irresistible. The chic designer is the founder of Ceci New York, an award-winning luxury invitation and corporate design company. Ceci knows style and knows perfection, so when it comes to fashioning an everyday occasion into something special she's definitely your go-to girl! Starting with a mood/inspiration board (which to me is art in itself), she and her team have created luxe invites (and even custom postage stamps) for clients like Sean “Diddy” Combs and Sarah Jessica Parker. If that isn't enough Ceci New York just launched an exciting partnership with LUXE Destination Weddings, a Toronto-based luxury destination wedding planner, where Ceci will provide exclusive ready-to-go and couture designs for their clients - LOVE the Vintage Postcard designs! For more info on Ceci NY for LUXE, and for all things related to weddings, be sure to click here.  

To read more posts from Julia click here, to check out her cool blog click here, and click here to see her new Get Fresh online videos for CTV!


Spectacular and charming

Out of all the gazillion things that passed in front of my eyes at the ICFF, two were standouts for me for very different reasons.

First up, let's deal with the spectacular side of things with the Steel Cabinets designed by Sylvie Meuffels for JSPR. You'll know JSPR from these rubber covered baroque chairs, but Sylvie, a cum laude graduate from the Design Academy Eindhoven, is a bit newer on the scene. The handmade cabinets she's designed are wonderfully barmy, with a nod to both architectural forms and dusty old museum displays. They're brill, and I can imagine them filled with collectibles or turned into a terrarium - I just wish I had the space for one!

On the charming end of the scale is the work of Brit designer Matt Pugh. While Matt is well-known for his signature Owls (which I wouldn't mind a flock of some day), it was his playfully simple - and entirely anti-serious - Cat and Silly Duck lamps that managed to plaster a grin on my face, even after a very early Porter flight from Toronto to New York. Can't you see these looking ever-so-cute in a kid's room?


Patching it up in NYC

I'm in NYC right this second, check-check-checking out the world of design in and around the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. After walking the show (and interviewing folks like Amy Butler, Kelly Hoppen and Matt Carr) I ventured further afield to have a look at all the off-site exhibits. There's been some awful stuff (sorry, but I really don't want wall sconces and table lamps made of real squirrels and mice), and there's been some fantastic stuff, like the chance to see the tribute by artist Tal R for the 50th anniversary of the Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair at ABC Carpet & Home. There are masses of the quilted patchwork covered chairs on show at ABC, and each has a different feeling. I've included a couple of my faves below, one of which feels really quite nutty, while the other has almost a preppy vibe to it. Then, for the crafty types out there, there's a close-up of the fabrics from one of the other chairs. Finally, a shot of the man himself, surrounded by some of the tonal chairs he produced. Yay for patchwork!