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 Samantha Pynn (7)


Sign that Panton!

So tonight is the big Opening Night fun-fest for the IDS, and one of the funnest (is that a word?) parts of the evening is the unveiling of all of the customized white Panton chairs that will be auctioned off in support of Casey House. You'll see twenty of the modern classic chairs re-interpreted by everyone from Anwar Mekhayech, Matt Davis and Allen Chan of The Design Agency (get a sneak peek at their chair here) to Sarah Richardson and Tommy Smythe. Sarah, Tommy and their intrepid team have been lugging their Panton chair all over the place asking just about everyone in the design community to lend their support and sign it. Take a close look tonight and you'll see the signatures of folks like Miles Redd, Glenn and George of Yabu Pushelberg, Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong of Greta Constantine, plus - as you can see from the caught-in-the-act snaps below - Tommy, Samantha Pynn and Suzanne Dimma. That is one well travelled chair! For more deets on the auction click here.

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled - I'm working on a fun Sarah Richardson giveaway for next week!


guest blog / Samantha Pynn: The juice and the soup


Oh how exciting, this is my first blog post for my dear sweet friend Arren Williams. I realize this is the Arren Williams' Design Lab, but my post has bubkes to do with design, excepting the good looks and sleek lines of the Breville's ikon Hemisphere Blender and Die-Cast Juice Fountain Elite.

Arren's 'Lab', however, is of the utmost relevance.

I spend a good deal of time chez Casa Arren-Williams-David-Pimentel. Naturally, food and drink play a key role in our relationship. They are both great cooks and David is a master baker. In fact, one day they plan to open a bakery in Portugal. Coincidentally, I plan to have a small juice station in a bakery in Portugal owned by two handsome men, funny that. Do I hear the voice of Arren Williams screaming "stay on topic!"? Oh yes, the lab. So my contribution to our get-togethers is alkaline experimental juices made of organic cucumber, kale, parsley, ginger, lemon and celery (sometimes I treat them by adding a beet to the mix). I used to lug my juicer to their house and yell "surprise! I'm making you healthy tonight!" But now that they have their own juicer, I will only have to bring the veggies. If you're wondering what alkalizing is -- as my mother would say "use the Google" --there's lots to research. But in short, it's about eating a whole lotta raw vegetables.

If you're interested in alkalizing yourself, I highly recommend the book on my nightstand, Alkalize or Die by Dr. Theodore A. Baroody.



Last week, Arren and David participated in my alkalizing broccoli and leek soup experiment. Let's use scientific methodology.

Problem: Arren and David aren't alkaline enough. I want to make a delicious soup that they will want me to make everyday.

Observation: Arren's grimace at the sight of the two giant heads of broccoli suggests he may only want the soup weekly.

Materials and Apparatus: Every bowl, spoon and pot in Arren's rockin' kitchen and Breville's ikon Hemisphere Blender.

Procedure: Wash veg. Lightly steam veg. Put in blender with veg stock. Blend.

Data and Work: I observed that Arren was quite bossy with me in the kitchen, but he did teach me that you must cut leeks down the middle and wash them. I also observed David laughing his head off at the giant pile of dishes, the green puree in my hair, all over my sweater and on the tile (hey, that's what backsplash is for). The soup tasted slightly bland until David fixed it with cumin and some other secret spice (likely butter and sour cream). I ate three bowls. Arren and David ate one.

Analysis: I shall make the soup weekly and they will grow to love it.

Conclusion: Soup is best when shared with friends.

(Click here to check out Samantha Pynn's new web series for HGTV.ca The Switch)


Meeting Martha

I was lucky enough to part of a Canadian crew of design media that popped down to check out Home Depot's de-lovely new Martha Stewart Living kitchen collection in NYC, and yep, actually got to meet Martha too! I was trying not to be all goofy and star struck, but as you can see from that kooky grin on my face, that might not have happened. From left to right in the pic is Samantha Pynn, me, Martha, Suzanne Dimma, Deidre Kelly and Karl Lohnes (the delightful Margot Austin was there too, but somehow didn't make it into the photo op). On top of all this - if that wasn't jammy enough - I also got to chat with both Kevin Sharkey and Gael Towey from Martha's team (who just happened to mention that they'll be launching an iPad issue of the mag soon!), as well as Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan and Aaron Able of Apartment Therapy.

The first snap shows how stunning the Martha HQ actually is, all Deco curved windows in a two storey high space with lots of white and polished concrete. Stunning indeed. Next up is a pic of Martha addressing all the folks who attended, standing in front of the very Martha-esque putty toned Seal Harbor cabinetry, with details like the corbels inspired by her own kitchen, followed up with a close-up shot of the plate rack and cabinets. Yum. On the more modern side of things is The Weston, which takes its design cue from Martha's Chief Creative Officer Gael Towey's Manhattan kitchen. All told there are 6 cabinetry styles in a range of painted and wood finishes, 8 exclusive honed marble inspired Corian countertops and a slew of perfect hardware to finish everything off. Expect to see it all in Home Depot stores soon!


Up and at 'em

Well, what do ya know, my crazy/funny/talented friend Samantha Pynn's website is finally up and running! And it's not just all pretty pictures either (though they're stunning, btw, all shot by Virginia Macdonald), nope, she and her team - Julia Black and Malcolm Patterson - are also launching her Design Binders service that'll help you get your own place all sorted out and decorated, room by room. She calls it a paint-by-numbers approach to decorating and, if you ask me, I think it's a brill idea! Take a look below at one of the binders, as well a snap of one of her recent projects, and then click here to watch the design_lab webisode I shot with Sam.


Julia Black: Capturing Heidi Leverty

One of my favorite aspects of working on Pure Design is searching for local artists to feature in each episode. Several of us on the team would brainstorm and research that perfect creative type for each episode at hand, and with countless talented and passionate artists out there discovering them was such a memorable journey. One of my absolute faves this season was Heidi Leverty, an astounding photographer and enlightening artist. Her exceptional ability to convey, through her lens, the beauty in discarded objects is amazing. Within her four collections of photographs, Heidi shines a light on transformations, cycles, and lifespan, which causes us to reconsider and appreciate the value and beauty of all that is around us. Take a close look and you’ll see the ordinary material of our everyday routines becomes an extraordinary photograph. You can catch Heidi's inspired work on this week's episode of Pure Design on HGTV.

For even more of Julia's point of view check out her cool blog here.