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 vintage (61)


Just a little rad

So thank heavens for the thaw and rising temps, because it meant we could finally get a slew of art hung. Let me explain - Our big ass extension ladder that we keep outside was finally un-frozen enough to drag in and tackle hanging close to a dozen pieces around the house. The big plan was to take on the blank wall in our mondo stairwell, since the other wall has been looking peachy and art-filled for ages so it was high time that we balanced things out.

We found space for stuff picked up in (and dragged home from) Glasgow, London, Buffalo, Tokyo and Hawaii, as well as gifts from friends and vintage finds from our local Goodwill. I love them all, but special mention goes to the largest piece, which is the gorgeous Brooks Brothers Suit (black line) by illustrator/printmaker - and sweetie - Alanna Cavanagh, while another fave is the small RAD print by artist R. Bennett that we grabbed from Chinatown Boardroom in Honolulu. Art is good!



Ah, Friday, the best day of the week. And I'm ending it on a high with a new store that's opened up in my neck of the woods - Love The Design. Stationary designer/photographer Christine Flynn is the talent behind the place, which is jammed with tons of covetable gear - both vintage and new - and with walls filled with Christine's photography. I'm loving the shots of Levi the horse in that last snap, not to mention all the burlap upholstery and that newspaper wall (yum). LTD has been open for less than a week and already there's been a nice bit of buzz about the place (the folks from Covet Garden also stopped by), so it's definitely worth a peek. Ah, and talking of Covet Garden, keep your eyes peeled for a that one great thing post from one of the founders next week! Love The Design is at 1362 Queen St E in Toronto.



{that one great thing} Michelle's store clips

While I'm wrapping my head around a particularly difficult bit of writing today (oh, deadlines), I thought I'd hand things over to the talented Michelle Carangi of Montreal design firm, Holley & Gill, who, along with her husband Conrad Buck, creates gorgeous cushions and headboards with hand-printed patterns - love their Feathers design - in water-based inks on 100% cotton. Anyway, after meeting Michelle at the Interior Design Show I bugged her into contributing that one great thing, and she picked some very handy-dandy vintage clips.

Michelle Carangi: On becoming home owners almost seven years ago, Conrad and I have collected many special little items that have allowed us to inject some personality into our decor. 

Most of our finds have been vintage as of late simply because our taste tends to sway more towards the traditional and classic. Having been lucky enough to have traveled quite a bit over the last couple of years, we’ve collected so many different postcards, business cards and photos from places we’ve been and from people we’ve met. And so, when I found this set of vintage wall-mount store clips from Etsy shop AM Radio, I knew it would be the perfect solution to display them all. 

We need to be surrounded by what we love, and we’ve learned, sometimes the hard way, that buying things because they’re on trend will result in pieces that have no meaning and ultimately end up collecting dust. Whenever I walk by this display, I walk by all of our happy and unique memories and can add to it forevermore.


{that one great thing} Marie-Eve's cabinet

I miss Montreal. In fact, I lived there for 3 crazy/fun years before moving to Toronto. Fellow blogger Marie-Eve Best of Lake Jane calls Montreal home, and I must admit to being more than a wee bit jealous, not to mention that I'm also a tad envious of the lovely little cabinet that Marie-Eve picked as that one great thing. Oh, and if you're planning on heading to MTL any time soon (and you REALLY should) be sure to check out Marie-Eve's Montreal Design Guide that she created for Grace at design*sponge.

Marie-Eve Best: My grandfather worked for the Post Office in High River Alberta for over 15 years. In the 1970's, the Post Office did some renovating and they discarded many of the old pieces of furniture that had been around for decades. My grandfather rescued this antique set of drawers used for storing stamps from being thrown into a garbage pile. He brought it home and it became my dad's bedside table/record stand. Later on, my dad added oak legs to the piece and it became a side table in my parent's living room.  As a child, I remember being so impressed with its automatic locking system. You have to open the bottom drawer in order to unlock the top ones - It still works today! 

When I moved out, I inherited it and used it in almost every room. It was an entryway catch-all, a bedside table, a TV stand, a tiny vanity… Now it sits in our living room and is mostly used as a catch-all for receipts and cables.  Although the piece is over 70 years old, the wood has just the right amount of wear and tear. It's a quirky little item filled with sentimental value.


{that one great thing} Jason Hudson's birdcage lamp

I bumped into Jason Hudson at a party over the Holidays and bugged him about his lovely birdcage pendant lamp that I'd seen over on his great blog These Roving Eyes. Anyway, he was happy to share the story behind the piece, and thus begins a new occasional series on the blog - that one great thing.

Jason Hudson: My partner Jeff fell in love with this old wooden cage when he saw it at an antique shop when he was a kid. He proudly brought it home and it sat in the living room for years. After his father passed away, we found it amongst junk in the garage and I could see that it had a special place in Jeff's memory.  

I'm a firm believer in taking meaningful objects and adjusting them to work in a contemporary setting. Like your Grandma's old piano - the cherry finish isn't working in your mid-century modern dwelling, but it holds a ton of sentimental value, so have that sucker refinished! It's still the same piano, still full of memories, its precious ivories untouched. So make it work! 

Because the honey-coloured wood and sad-Cat-Lady-overtones weren't working for me, I convinced Jeff to let me spray out the cage in a high-gloss black. We wired-it-up with a great Edison bulb and just like that, had our very own, ultra-cool, one-of-a-kind lamp, rife with Jeff's childhood memories but within the limits of our (read: my) personal style. 

It casts lovely shadows on the walls and adds a certain warmth and organic quality the room was lacking before.