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)


Stepping out in Tokyo #2

Funnily enough I'm writing this in London right now, stuck here due to weather (oh well, there's way worse places to be stuck!). But let's get back to Tokyo...

Another of the neighbourhoods we totally loved was Shimokitazawa. It seemed worlds away from the buzzy shopping districts like Shibuya, and had a lovely lo-fi charm all its own with - again - tons of fantastic vintage shops, clothing stores and little places selling Japanese crafts and loads of great neighbourhood cafes. I made friends with a local who was hanging outside of a hair salon, and we hit the vintage motherload in a store called Haight & Ashbury which carried a beautifully curated collection and included that completely wacky and craft-tastic huge tree entirely knitted/crocheted of wool in the middle of the store. For more in Shimokitazawa check out BlinkLondon.

Finally, back on the design side of things and back in Shibuya we totally enjoyed a run through a department store called Loft which included a 60 Vision section, a cool collection of re-issued Japanese 1960's designed furniture (that's the Lobby sofa by Karimoku below), accessories and even some rather tasty looking cookies.



Stepping out in Tokyo #1

A few weeks back I found myself in Tokyo, meeting up with my world travelling other half (you can check out his kid-friendly travel blog here) and my little sister (aka Blink London). Well, it was BRILLIANT, and what an absolute culture shock too. We hit all the sights, shopped ours socks off, and generally wandered around checking out as much as possible. One of the neighbourhoods that we thoroughly enjoyed was Nakameguro, a jumble of streets and alleys filled with a boho mix of fashion and interiors shops, much of them vintage.

Oooh vintage, such a magic word... Anyway, of course we spent the whole day just in this one 'hood and found a slew of cool stuff. Those first three shots are from Hiige which was all about vintage Scandi gear (we scored some great fabric which'll be sewn into cushions soon). Pics 4 and 5 show Hatago International, next door to Hiige, an ultra cool mini shop jammed to the gills with vintage airline paraphenalia. Jantique is next in the pics, and was like hitting a French or Belgian flea market, and then finally Acme Furniture, which was a great mix of vintage industrial gear (lots of it from the US) as well as new pieces. For more, read my sister's fashion-y take on Nakameguro here.


A chair story, part one

I'm definitely up for a challenge, so when Virginie Martocq - Chatelaine's Decor Editor - e-mailed to ask me about re-doing a fleamarket chair for the mag I said sure! So, a day or two later when a rather grubby looking chair showed up on my doorstep I knew the game was on. Luckily I'd recently been inspired by a particular DwellStudio fabric I'd spotted at inVU Drapery called Vintage Plumes (you can see a shot of it here) and set to work figuring out the look.

Step one was to unscrew the dusty old red velvet seat and thoroughly clean the chair. Next, I lightly sanded the frame with some steel wool, and carefully painted two coats in a lovely soft beigey grey called Fashion Grey from Behr. Now, I knew that nailheads would be fun but didn't want to commit to nickel or brass. Instead, I'd seen some white painted nailheads at Home Depot and thought that they might be just the ticket. Well, the colour was waaay too bright a white, but that was quickly remedied by pushing the nails into a cardboard fruit box and spraying the whole lot cream all in one go (outside of course). I dropped the chair off at inVU this morning for the re-upholstery job and can't wait to see how it turns out!


Guest blog / Julia Black: A vintage sensibility

Julia Black: I am a confessed scavenger. When on the hunt for just the right thing for a shoot, for a client, for a gift, or even for myself, I will leave no stone unturned. Just about every week I seem to end up rummaging through antique markets, thrift stores and salvaged good shops for those special things that represent an element of old world style; something that brings a measure of antiquity, authenticity and charm. But, when I’m strapped for time and need to shop somehwhere where everything isn't covered in a layer of dust, I’ll turn to a trusted favourite: Anthropologie. On a recent run through I stumbled upon a tremendous collection of all sorts of wonderful home accessories that reflect decades past. This season some of my faves have an Austen-esque Sense and Sensibility feel about them, and include mis-matched bedding, demure ruffles and faux (but romantic) antique books that are actually boxes. Now that's what I call major vintage-inspired satisfaction!

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!



Shoptastic and restotastic Istanbul

Here's a smidge more Istanbul info for you, though it's definitely not the last of it! The two main guides that we definitely wouldn't have survived without, and you should absolutely grab if you're going, are the Luxe City Guide Istanbul and Istanbul Eats. The Luxe Guide reads like it was written by a stylish insider who's downed a bottle of Veuve and then tells you you should see, here, here and definitely here! As you follow the directions you'll be laughing and spinning around to check street names, must-see shops and attractions. It's definitely fun. Istanbul Eats, on the other hand, was an incredible guide to the best places to chow down with the locals. Some spots were fancy, most were not, but honestly, this guide didn't steer us wrong once. It's based on a blog of the same name, which is also worth a look too - have a boo at it here. Oh, and for a more in-depth look at some of the delish places we hit - almost all from Istanbul Eats - check out my world-travelling other half's kid friendly blog here.

We used the Luxe City guide to traverse the higgeldy-piggeldy back streets in the neighbourhood around The House Hotel to shop vintage. And oh lawdy, is there lots and lots of choice. Basically it's an excuse to get semi-lost and have a poke through crammed-to-the-rafters shops that run the gamut from mid-century retro to grand baroque (we saw a stunning crystal hot air ballon chandelier, really!). I could've filled a tractor trailer, let alone a suitcase! Take a look below at a couple of snaps of what I found...