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 Sarah Richardson (5)


Don't try this at home

Getting a custom sofa made is normally a looong process, landing somewhere between 8-12 weeks is pretty standard, and hey, good things are worth waiting for right? Well sometimes I get thrown a curve ball and have to get things done in rather more of a crunched timeline. Take the set I did for the recent revival of RapCity on MuchMusic, where we decided to go with kind of a messed up but cool 'gentleman's club' feel. I'd found the perfect chair at UpCountry - the diamond tufted Kensington armchair in Vintage Cigar leather - and they happened to have two that I could snag, but the sofa was another matter. The one I fancied was the same style, the Kensington, but wasn't ready to go in the colour I needed (a slightly aged red) so, ummm, I had to get it custom made - in 10 days - to meet the show's launch date.  

After a bit of convincing the lovely team at Silva – who make the fabric version of the Kensington for UpCountry - said it could be done, and I have to say they did a stellar job. No surprise really, since over their 30 years in business they've worked on projects for the likes of Brian Gluckstein and Sarah Richardson (as well as a gazillion other great designers). So, without further ado, here are the results. And yes - major PHEW - everything was delivered in time. Devon at Silva kindly snapped a few shots for me of the sofa in progress, just to give you a bit of an idea of what’s under all that fabric (all those strings in the shot of the back show just how tedious and time consuming it is to pull and tie each button into place), and then the final screen grab shows the sofa and chairs on set with RapCity host T-RexXx, interviewing Cory Gunz.

Big thanks again to everyone at Silva and the crew at UpCountry for making it all happen!


{giveaway} Sarah Richardson fan decks signed by Sarah + Tommy

Hot on the heels of the fantastic/exhausting/inspiring IDS I have a super-duper fun giveaway for ya! Yep, you have the chance to win one of three Sarah Richardson Designer Palette by Para Paints fan decks personally signed for you by both Sarah and Tommy. Not only that, one grand prize winner will walk away with a gift certificate for enough Para Paint in Sarah's scrummy colours to re-paint a whole room - 1 gallon of ceiling paint, 1 gallon of primer and 2 gallons of eggshell. The other two winners will receive a gift certificate for a gallon of Para Paint in one of Sarah's tints (which comes in 75 lovely shades, available across Canada at Lowe's and select retailers), plus all three winners will receive the addition of a little fun extra swag from SR's hit shows on HGTV. Sweet indeed!

Here are all the deets:

To enter for a chance* follow these easy steps -

Prizes: One grand prize that includes a Sarah Richardson Designer Palette fan deck personally signed by Sarah and Tommy, a Para Paint gift certificate for 1 gallon of ceiling paint, 1 gallon of primer and 2 gallons of eggshell (redeemable at Para's dealer locations), and assorted other items. Two other winners will receive Sarah Richardson Designer Palette fan decks personally signed by Sarah and Tommy, a gift certificate for a gallon of paint (redeemable at Para's dealer locations) and assorted other items. 

1. Leave a comment below the contest blog post (please include your email where asked) explaining why you'd like to win, before Tuesday Feb 8th, 2011, at 12pm EST. 

2. One grand prize winner and two other winners will be chosen by a random number generator and will be announced by email and as an update to this post on the morning of Wednesday Feb 9th, 2011, at 9am EST. Good Luck! 

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY  Void where prohibited. Odds depend on number of applicants who participate. Participants may enter the contest by following the steps mentioned above by Tuesday Feb 8th, 2011, at 12pm EST. Applicants must be of the age of majority in his/her province or territory of residence or older at the time of entry to participate and win. Contest open to Canadian residents, excluding residents of Quebec. Contest winner will be announced on ArrenWilliams.com, contacted via blog post comments, and must correctly answer a skill-testing question to win a prize. 


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!


On the wall with Sarah

One of the week's highlights for me was hanging out at the v. exciting launch of the Sarah Richardson Designer Palette paint collection. Sarah, if you didn't know, is just crazy about paint and colour in the same way some people are mad about peanut butter cookies (and that's saying something), so her brand new palette of 75 handpicked colours, designed exclusively for Para Paints and available at Lowe's Canada locations, is the kind of project that's very close to her heart. All the colours in the line are smashing, and represent a perfectly edited collection of what Sarah, with the assistance of the always witty Tommy Smythe and the rest of her glam team, think are pretty much everything you'll ever need to decorate with. Take a boo at the chic Sarah Richardson designed bedroom below, with walls painted in both her Bloom /SR8 and Citrine /SR63, and the ceiling in Dreaming /SR68, and you'll get the idea. Oh, and I don't know about you, but I'm totally jonesing for that fabulously nutty headboard.


5 quick questions: Tommy Smythe

If ever you want to meet someone with airs and graces, who looks down their nose and is the dictionary definition of pretentious, don't go knocking on interior designer Tommy Smythe's door. You definitely know Tommy from his work (and his wit) with Sarah Richardson on HGTV, and also from seeing his fab spaces in Canadian House & Home Magazine (check out the kitchen below, picked by the H&H editors as one of the most memorable rooms published in the mag's history), so I thought it would be fun to put him on the spot to answer 5 quick questions. He graciously agreed, and scooted along all the shots below, snapped by the talented Michael Graydon and featured on the pages of House & Home. Lovely, no?

And, to check out more 5 quick questions interviews with a slew of v. interesting folks, click here.

Arren Wiliams: What's inspiring you right now?

Tommy Smythe: Malachite, amethyst, The High Line, my sister Christie Smythe of Smythe Les Vestes, Yves St. Laurent, D Squared, peacock feathers, King Tut, Grace Coddington, Yoko Ono, London - New York - Palm Beach, Crayola crayons, poppies, Glee, Thom Browne, Miles Redd, flags, blogs.

AW: Is there anything that drives you crazy when you walk into a space?

TS: Fake.  Anything fake, really.  I'm the kind of guy who would (and has) survived on noodles and Gatorade for a month to be able to afford the real thing.  Knock offs are not fair and they're not design.

AW: What's the next thing you have your eyes on for your own house?

TS: I saw an oversized crystal and sterling match striker (I collect them) at a shop I love.  It's over $400, so I walked away, but I've been thinking about it a lot.  I have a crush on it.  I am waiting until I can get up the nerve to walk back in.  Then we will be together.  I'll just have to live on noodles and Gatorade for a few days....

AW: How would you describe your look, and has it changed over the years?

TS: My look has definitely changed over the years!  It's always evolving as I learn and travel and get exposed to more.  I have always liked an eclectic mix of things - the right balance of vintage, or antique and modern things.  I like rooms that have the feeling of timeless elegance and gracious living.  Style and comfort reflected in furniture and art curated with a sense of personal history.  I am really big on nostalgia...real comfort comes from there.

AW: What's next on the horizon?

TS: For the world of design:  I am so glad to have no idea!  What I love so much about this field is the surprise of it all - creative direction is so delightfully unpredictable.  That said, I think we can all expect to see quite a lot of plaid in the near future....

For me:  I am just about to begin shooting a brand new series with Sarah for HGTV Canada.  We're focusing on the building blocks of a room from top to bottom.  It's a '101' sort of a thing with our usual fun approach.  If it's not fun, it's just not worth doing - life is too short!!!