Stop & Smell the Peonies


Well June (in my humble opinion) felt like it was fleeting but I hope you had time to stop and smell the peonies and enjoy the sunshine between the heavy deluges of rain.

As I write, my morning traffic has considerably petered of now that many of the schools around me have closed for the summer and or kids are taking their final exams. It’s a whole lot better than in May when I feel like the whole of Toronto plus every Uber driver is on the road competing for space. 

I think the end of school, the start of summer, has such a strong pull on everyone’s combined behavior that we all feel the need to get everything done in a short window of time, similar to the rush before the end of the year. Roads are being torn up as summer construction projects start and it can all feel very frantic, combine that with a week-long blistering heat dome and it’s a wonder we are functioning at all.  It’s so important to find time to stop and pause during the day. If you can’t get outside a soothing image can help. I particularly love this one of a Zen garden. 

Studio Collection Popup

June brought our very first (hopefully many more to come) Studio Collection pop-ups. The day rolled along and the city decided to rip up the entire length of Industrial Street…….of course they did! 

We knew it was happening, and had received notice of it occurring sometime this year but a fixed date wasn’t known until the trucks all rolled in! 

Thank you to all who navigated the road closure and made it through our front door. It was lovely to connect with you all in person and do good. 

The biggest seller on the day was our studio collection accent cushions and tissue box covers. These are all made from donated offcuts from our client projects – small bits and pieces that are often paired with something from another project to make a gorgeous designer cushion. All profits from these sales go to charity. 

We always make a single donation at the end of the year but opted to donate all profits in the month of June to one charity in particular – Shelter Movers Toronto. 

This charity helps predominantly women and children fleeing violence by providing transport for them and their belongings. It costs the charity $250 per move and we were able to donate enough from the pop-up to cover a little over three moves, sales are still happening and so I am sure we will make our target of reaching $1,000 – four moves.  Thank you to all who were part of this from the clients who agree to donate the offcuts, to my team who puts all together and to the buyers. 

LA with Lutron

June brought a lovely opportunity to pause and reset with a trip to LA with Lutron. Generally, I don’t think you might use the terms reset and LA in the same sentence, but this trip was really refreshing and so much time was spent outdoors that I truly felt rested after my three-day trip. 

The photo above was taken at The Broad Museum in Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Room. It had been designed to have the participants stand on a platform surrounded by water, but after several viewers got dizzy and fell into the water they have now the exhibit without it. It was beautiful none the less. We were also fortunate enough to have a curated lead tour of the Getty Villa Museum. It now ranks in my top 5 museums and gardens. So unexpected and so divine. 

The villa was designed for guests to experience Greek and Roman art in as true to life setting a possible. 

The villa was modelled on a Roman Villa from the Bay of Naples that was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.  Still partially buried to this day, through architects’ drawings it was able to be recreated on the coast in LA. It really was fascinating. 

I was especially enchanted with the ancient pottery – whose designs look to me like a modern-day Missoni weave and the beautiful jewelry. The curator told us that several of the large design houses from Tiffany to Bulgari visit to study the cases and the jewelry pieces within. 

The trip wasn’t simply just to visit museums we were also there to see the Lutron design studio and see three curated spaces using their new lighting system Ketra

I really loved the space by British glass designer Dawn Bendick. The photos don’t do it justice but when the Ketra lights were turned on, oh my goodness her pieces came to life. Her sculptures are made from dichroic glass and they changed in colour and in intensity when illuminated with different light frequencies. An added bonus of the trip was to visit the new De Gournay showhouse in LA. An entire townhouse filled with De Gournay gorgeousness. It needs a whole newsletter to itself, so I am going to share lots about it next month. 

Currently Listening To

On the flight to LA I managed to finish listening to a wonderful podcast on Hermes. It’s a little over 4 hours long and I have to admit I have now listened to it twice (when I’m in the car I generally have podcasts playing – both for business and for fun) and I’m part way through the one on LVHM.  If you are travelling on vacation or on your drives back and forth from the cottage this is a great collection to download and dive into – written and produced by Acquired, the two-man team – Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal – go behind the scenes and discuss at length about how each company got to where it is. The Hermes story is fascinating and something I will listen to on repeat. I’m also part way through the podcast on Ozempic which is fascinating. 

Hot Off The Press

If you are looking to delve into some summer reading – yes, it’s a shameless plug, we have the new issue of Shelter out. 

The current issue was launched last week on the Summer Solstice and it features a great neighbourhood tour complete with map for Leslieville as well as insight and my loves from Mexico City and Oaxaca.  We also feature lots of summer events to keep you, your family and friends occupied during the summer months. 

Another great read is this months Veranda magazine. Its their Mexico issue too and I am featured talking about my trip there and working with local artisans on some custom designs for clients and our studio collection. It’s a really great issue and if you plan a trip to Mexico some time soon its full of great tips and information. 

What We Are Working On

This year we are working on our first multi-unit home project. A grand old lady triplex in Rosedale that we are in the process of drawing up plans to convert it into three gorgeous residences in one lovely home with a future garden suite above the garage.

We want each floor to be unique yet harmonious with the overall look and feel of building. We expect each floor to attract a slightly different person and so it’s been fun imagining who could live here and what they will need. 

I see the main floor being perfect for someone downsizing and or needing to live on a single floor without the barrier of stairs. We have imagined the bathroom with a walk-in shower without a threshold and have ensured the hallways are spacious and barrier free. 

The second floor is leafy and bright, and I see this as being a great home for a couple – we are adding skylights to increase the natural daylight and there is ample space to allow for working from home as well as entertaining. 

The lower level will be dug down and we will add a walkout. This floor boasts the largest kitchen as well as the largest walk-in closet of the three units. It will be bright and colourful and I see it as a perfect spot for a couple of friends to share and entertain in.

We are in the early stages of working on this project with works due to start on site this fall.  We will be sure to keep you posted with progress as well as share some information on the selections we are making and why as they are easily translated to any home that wants beautiful but durable finishes.

Thank You!!

If you follow us on social media you will know the news but I’m going to share here anyhow. At the end of last month, after the newsletter was issued we got the great news that our design Stockholm was picked to be one of the permanent colours in the Carnival pattern at Christopher Farr Cloth.

 I am so happy and quite chuffed. There were twenty one  participants and three finalists. Not quite the hunger games but almost! Thank you so much to everyone who voted for our design. Your support means so much! 

Wishing you all a wonderful Summer, we’ll be back in your inboxes next month!

Stay cool!

Credits, images, musings and some more contents of my head.

1-All of my favourite things. Blackberry, Avocado and Arugula Salad, from Sourced on Pinterest and found on our recipe board. 2-A soft and flowy summer look from the archives at Dries Van Noten, sourced on Pinterest and found on our board Fashion. 3-Garden sculpture from Sourced on Pinterest and found on our board Pools and Hardscaping. 4-Shaded Zen courtyard – I would stare at this all day if my window view afforded it! Image sourced on Pinterest, source unknown. 5-Studio Collection Rust Aztec & Criss Cross Cushion. 6-The Broad Museum in Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Room. 6.2–8-Garden, sculpture and painted portico ceiling at The Getty Museum. 9-10-Artifacts at The Getty Museum. These rings are literally ancient but oh so modern and desirable. 11-The lovely Dawn Bendick in her space at The Lutron Studio, LA. 12-Hermes. 13–14-Our soon to be Rosedale Triplex. 15-me with our Stockholm design, now part of the Christopher Farr Cloth collection.

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