A New Design Gem Opens in Leslieville

It’s not everyday that a new design boutique opens within steps of my front door and so I can’t help but get very excited, especially for something that is so fabulous that it reminds me of New York a little bit- which is really something to shout about don’t you think?   And what am I so giddy about?  The opening of Black Rooster Decor‘s first bricks and mortar store on Queen Street East, a few blocks east of Carlaw.  Until recently, most would agree that this side of Queen Street lacked luster until an influx of condos and a reno-boom improved everything.  Now, we Leslievillers get to enjoy the fruits of all the change: great stores are coming too.  Hallelujah.

Black Rooster Decor already has a very successful online business so the new store is a natural move.  Their strength is providing great design to clients who are looking for a well curated collection of items ranging from mid-century modern to European antiques.  While most of their business is currently across the border, they are dedicated to like-minded Canadian suppliers and designers.  They also have a personal shopping service which is fabulous for those who need a little inspiration.  See below for my interview with owner Nina Ber-Donkor.

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How would you describe the over-all style of the store? A mix of what we sell online with some local items thrown-in to make it special for our Toronto clients.

What makes you unique? We’re really lucky to have some local designers and clients in Toronto that have supported us, so we’re coming in with a perspective of what they like and want to see in-store.

Why Leslieville? It’s our favourite hood and close to home. 

What new products are you most excited about? Discovering new artisans that are making affordable and unique everyday home goods. It’s thrilling to offer something not found at the chain stores, something you won’t see in every home.

Where do you find your treasures? Are you off on buying trips all the
time? Not as often as I would like to… many of our purchases are made from visiting with our suppliers, seeing their new product lines, going to trade shows and sometimes blind trust in a product we’ve never seen but can tell will be awesome based on past experiences. 

What magazines are your go-to’s for inspiration? Domaine, Rue, Lonny. They’re killing it right now. And Instagram is a major source of inspiration. 

Why expand from a successful online business to bricks and mortar 
(when many retailers are doing the exact opposite at the moment)? It’s not an expansion but rather an extention of what we do. No one would question us opening a storage warehouse so a retail store is just as important for our business where customers can come in and chat and look and feel and get inspiration. And it’s really nice to actually talk to people and not sit behind a computer all day. 

Where can you be found? Instagram, Twitter, Website

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So long Suzani, it’s all about Shibori.

We all need a little pattern in our lives and when the urge strikes we tend to reach out for textiles made in exotic places.  A hit of lovely embroidered fabric adds depth, character and a whiff of travel to a room that is full of life.  For years it’s been Ikat from Indonesia or Suzani from Persia and as stunning as they are, there is a new kid on the block called Shibori from Japan.  This traditional tie-dying technique is most often done with watery indigo blue dye on white fabric so that the play of light and dark works very well together.  Interestingly, there is a also a bit of an African influence here which I think is wonderful.  Both West Elm and Anthropologie have picked up the trend saving us all from home tie-dying disasters- ahem-I mean adventures.  Anyway, enjoy and let me know what you think!

HeartwareRemodelistaVenice BeachAnthropologieIndigo and Snow on EtsyWest ElmIFPhoto credits: 1. Heartwear photo by Marie Taillefer, 2. Pillows by Rebecca Atwood, 3. Anthropologie, 4. SF General Store in Venice Beach, Remodelista.com, 5. Indigo and Snow on Etsy,  6. West Elm, 7. Heartware at Merci in Paris, Trendtablet.com

 

Trend Spotting: Distressed Walls

In part three of my Trend Spotting series I’m looking at a type of wall treatment that I’ve seen pop up all over the place, from hip magazine like Living Etc to the showroom at ABC Carpet and Home in NYC.  Essentially, what I’m calling “distressed walls” are rough surfaces (brick, plaster) with chipped or layered paint that create a gorgeous patina.  Some walls even look like artwork themselves.  While wallpaper has had a major heyday in the last few years, things are shifting to a much less polished look- in some circles anyway.  Think New York loft…actually, make that Brooklyn loft.  Or a Parisian atelier touched by time but not by progress.  Imagine a big open space with drafty windows and a rickety freight elevator complete with metal cage that you have to pull down by hand.  Imagine cement floors and sparse bohemian furniture that could either cost a fortune (Anthropology) OR cost nothing (curb-side find).  And imagine stacks of books, frayed rugs, linen everything, and mismatched kitchen dishes.  Get the picture?  The beauty of this look is that furniture really pops.  Here are a few great pics to give you an idea:

Leslie Dilcock

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Sofa Workshop 3Tom Leighton 2Tom Leighton 3
IMG_2083IMG_2089Photo credits: 1. Leslie Dilcock; 2. Living Etc; 3. Leslie Dilcock; 4 and 5. Sofa Workshop; 6 and 7.Tom Leighton; 8 and 9. My own from the ABC Carpet and Home showroom.

 

Trend Spotting: Pendant Lights Go Low, Low Down

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One of the most common things that I do on set is to hang lighting- which is always a bit of a challenge because I have to find the exact perfect height for each light to make the room look appealing and real.  There aren’t any steadfast rules so it’s a matter of using one’s eye and making an educated guess.  I won’t lie, it usually takes a few tries to get it right.  Fortunately, I never have to call an electrician since most of our fixtures are of the temporary”hang-it-off-a-long-pole” variety.  BUT for those of you who are seeking something new to do at home, a trend has shown up in a few places that I’ve visited recently: very low hanging pendants.  Where did I see it? Fashion and home decor mecca, Merci, in Paris; Toronto’s Interior Design Show and ABC Carpet and Home in NYC.   I guess I feel like I might be on to something when it pops up three un-synchronized times in three unbelievably trendy cities.    Of course, placing furniture under the pendants is key but you’ll see what I mean in the following images:

This first one is from IDS- it’s a concept space designed by Williams Craig.  For a low-slung lounge space the glass pendants worked really well.photo 1 photo 2 My next examples come from ABC carpet and home.  Please forgive the photography- I was a little too excited to slow down and frame up my shots properly.  Notice how low these are- the whole showroom was full of them.  It was raining fixtures!

IMG_2095IMG_2092IMG_2099IMG_2086Here are more cute example I found online:

Black and White Couch

Trend Spotting: Very Patterned Tiles


Since it’s almost spring and change is in the air, I thought I would start a 5 part series on new trends that I’ve spotted on my travels that I think are worth noting.  The first one I want to mention is the use of patterned tiles on floors, backsplashes, walls and even stairs.  This trend is fantastic- and not at all new- but a welcome change from the minimalist effects of subway tiles and simple marbles.  I can’t say for sure that I would have the guts to do a fireplace surround-wall, but I would love to use these in a bathroom or kitchen.  For me, this type of pattern brings a hint of an old world feel; a handmade quality that makes a room feel special.

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Fireplace SurroundRosa PomarLeslie DilcockBack SplashEmma LeeBath Tiles

Looking for a source?

I was first inspired at the Interior Design Show in Toronto where I visited a booth by Mettro with fantastic examples of the exact tiles I am so inspired by.  I’m in love with the vintage series that you see here:

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I also loved a booth by Edgewater Studio that is a little softer in design and made of glass instead of porcelain.  The patterns are very beautiful:

Edgewater Studio

Photos: 1.Leslie Dilcok of Pearson Lyle; 2. unknown; 3. Rosa Pomar; 4. Leslie Dilcok of Pearson Lyle; 5. unknown; 6. Emma Lee of Pearson Lyle; 7.unknown; 8 and 9. myself.

New York Window Display

“I want these windows to be perceived as hallucinations”

“You have to do all sorts of things to make a stream of pedestrians into and audience”

David Hoey, Resident Window Display Artist, Bergdorf Goodman

As promised, here are a few of the fantastic window displays that caught my eye in New York.  I am a bit of junkie in this department, and am in awe of those that do it well.  Window displays are little pieces of theatre without the interference of technology that is so common in everything else.  They combine old-fashioned techniques of staging, perspective, characters and design.  I love that good windows are static, yet create life, movement and magic.  They are their own little worlds with the sole purpose of enticing passersby with a quick moment of “wow!”.  They sell products but also delight and entertain in an old-school kinda way.   Anyway, I won’t get too wordy here as this is such a visual medium.  Here are my faves:

Bergdorf’s:IMG_1990IMG_1989

Not sure where I saw this one….sadly.  But I really loved those soaring flamingoes and hits of pink:IMG_2005

Also at Bergdorf’s, Chinese New Year theme:IMG_1992Simple, yet super special for Valentine’s Day at Tiffany:

IMG_2047Anthroplogy:
IMG_2013Again, sadly not sure what store but I love the simple lyricism of it.IMG_2009Last but not least, a wacky and wonderful display for Moncler in Soho:
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For those who are interested, I want to recommend a film called Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s for a inside look New York’s greatest department store and it’s amazing displays.

And THEN, for the serious enthusiast, check out this website for an incredible archive of windows from the past, Bergdor’s and otherwise.

Best Decor Stores in Montreal

Going to Montreal and wondering where to shop?  Let me help you.  Typically, Montreal is very well known for trendy clothing boutiques and amazing restaurants but it is also chock-full of fabulous home decor destinations that are both inspiring and unique.  On a recent trip I scoured the city for the best-of-the-best in order to bring you this mini shopping guide to use on your next visit.  There is lots here so get ready to have a bit of fun, grab a bagel along the way and pick up a few words en francais.

Zone Maison

4246 rue St Denis  http://www.zonemaison.com/

Absolutely brimming with modern decor finds this store is the mothership of Montreal style. The accessories are fantastic, the furniture pieces affordable and the store itself is bright, airy and full of possibilities.  You will find a million things that you want to take home so for that reason, it’s a must see.

Zone 8Zone 4Zone 9Zone 5

Style Labo

5765 Boulevard Saint-Laurent  http://www.stylelabo.com

This store is a more of a concept-space than a livable environment BUT you will find cool pieces that add personality to your home.  It’s part antique market, part junk-shop, part  trendy downtown workshop.  I imagine adding any number of these things to a modern space to jack up the creative content and provoke conversation starters for dinner parties. LOVE the illuminated letters!

SL4SL6SL10

SL3SL5Maison Corbeil

1215 Boulevard Cremazie Ouest http://www.maisoncorbeil.com

This is the biggest and most furniture-oriented store that I visited.  Maison Corbeil carries the big lines like Ligne Roset and Cattelan but also offers a variety of less-expensive choices that are fantastic.  It has a warm yet minimal feel and covers all the bases.

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V de V

5042 Boulevard Saint-Laurent http://www.vdevmaison.com/

This store is a cosy little boutique full of warm and friendly Quebecois things.  Or maybe that’s just because I visited in mid-November and they were all decorated for the holidays.  Either way, it’s a fun treat to visit and you’ll find lots to see.  Cabin-chic at it’s best.

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Lambert et Fils Luminaires

156 Rue Beaubien Est. http://www.lambertetfils.com/

I don’t know about you, but I can get very bored of seeing the same lighting fixtures over and over again.  Which is why I am soooooo excited about finding this amazing small custom shop that makes everything on-site.  The lights are modern, elegant, simple and (best of all) unique.  They aren’t cheap, but they aren’t break-the-bank crazy either.   Love, love, love this place.

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That’s all for my adventures and I’m sure there are many, many more.  Please write to me with other ideas and I will check them out on my next go-round.  What a fantastic, fantastic city.  Au revoir mes amis!