When the invite came to attend the opening of the first Muji store in Canada, myself and a few colleagues were very excited. We were all familiar with the Japanese brand, and love the well-designed, no-frills approach to quality that the company stands for and executes so very well. A trip to New York City was not complete without a visit to Muji.
The media party last November did not disappoint. We were greeted at the door by Mr. Matsumoto, the Canadian PR representative, and ushered into the new store with open arms and Japanese hospitality.
It's definitely a new staple in Toronto for well-designed basics, and worth checking out if you're in the area. It's located across from the Eaton Centre in the Atrium mall.
Here's a list of some of the items we picked up:
Margot Austin bought a great cream woolly sweater and go-to basic white T-shirts.
Lauren Petroff picked up a fab blue and cream duvet cover (which has washed beautifully). It has ties in the inside corners to keep your duvet in place and a zipper instead of the usual buttons.
Sarah Hartill stocked up on great office supplies, paper products and pens.
And I went a bit crazy and bought a ton of stuff including my new favourite wine glasses. They're stemless with a great modern shape and do well in the dishwasher.
Oh, and a hot tip: I will now and forever wear "right angle socks" — thanks Kai Ethier for the head-ups. They are amazing!
For more on Muji, flip to our Style Files section in the March 2015 issue.
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of walking through the Christmas assortment at The Hudson's Bay location downtown. I knew it was going to be a treat as my good friend, Arren Williams, the creative director of home fashions, was hosting with designer Brian Gluckstein (seen below).
They talked about the holiday collections this year, while reminiscing about our own family traditions (so funny, who knew we all wanted a train underneath our trees when we were younger?).
Traditional staples were well represented: the selection of wreaths for example, was varied.
I considered a few pieces, including these graphic candles (and believe you me, I do not need more candles or ornies) but I couldn't resist and bought a felt mushroom. I know it's random, but cute as a kids' room decoration year round. I also bought some Shiny Bright glass ornaments, which are lovely (see our story on Shiny Bright ornaments in the December 2013 issue).
The white tree above shows off this vintage selection really well (some pieces from Lord and Taylor's brand). Arren said he's been trying get a good matte white tree into the Bay's assortment for a couple of years and is really happy with this version.
The collections shown were so well done; the display department at the Bay has done an amazing job.
Another surprise was that Etsy had a small pop up within the holiday assortment. Three artists, ceramicist Alex Boisjoli, wood craftsman Jack Fouracre (Son Of A Woodcutter) and Silver Owl Studio featured very different handmade products for sale.
These ceramics are by Alexx Boisjoli of RCBoisjoli Studios have graphic impact.
These vintage style ornaments are from Silver Owl Studio, a mother-daughter team.
I love the mix of handmade product along with the gorgeous array of holiday offerings inside. I have to say... well done Hudson's Bay! You're keeping the tradition of the fun holiday windows out front the store alive (I had to check them out, and do every year with my own kids in tow).
All photos by Morgan Michener
This year Brian Gluckstein and his team, with architect Michael Pettes and builder PCM Construction Inc., took on the design of the 2013 Princess Margaret Showhome. We couldn't wait to see what the Gluckstein crew had come up with: we knew the combination of great design for a great cause just had to be in the November issue of House & Home.
Brian Gluckstein is a master of classic interiors, and his attention to detail and finishing were evident even before the furniture was installed. Here is a little sneak preview of a few of the rooms (not quite done), and corners of the home that we just did not have room to show in the magazine. Be sure to read Brian's interview in the November issue; he shared many great design tips with our senior features editor Kimberly Brown. Here are some snaps I took to whet your appetite.
Here is the foyer where we grabbed a portrait shot of Brian. Yes, the walls are indeed stone and not just wallpaper (the plastic is still on the painting's frame.)
One of my favourite rooms in the house is the kitchen. I love the classic millwork and finishes. A glass window in the floor looks into the basement wine cellar, which lets natural light filter down — a clever idea for basements.
This is the great room off the kitchen. When I first scouted this space, the bones were pretty much obscured by boxes, but you can see Brian's telltale use of symmetry in the bookshelves.
Here's another example of Brian's use of symmetrical elements in the study, notice how the scale of the window matches the door to frame the fireplace.
Here is a shot of the un-faced drawers before installation in the principal bathroom's marble vanity.
Everything is ready now, so are you ready to move in? Make sure to pick up your copy of the November issue of House & Home (on newsstands early October) to see how we shot this showhome for the magazine. And don't forget to buy a ticket!
1-10. Morgan Michener
January: time to get organized and dive into the new year. I just realized that I must take down my lovely Snow & Graham wall calendar in my office at work. I know, I have iCal on my computer right in front of me, and on my phone, and at home on every screen, but there's something lovely about having a nice paper option close at hand.
I need to find a new option for 2012. The good news is that a lot of the pretty ones are now on sale. Have a look below — there are still a few options out there for you last-minute folks like me.
2012 Fruit Calendar, $16, Rifle Paper Co.
2012 Linen Calendar, $22, Lineacarta on Etsy.
2012 Wall Calendar, $20, Kate Spade.
Snug Calendar, $19, Snug Design.
It says 2011 but the 2012 version of this classic Peter Miller calendar is available online. Stendig Calendar, $38, Peter Miller.
To further prepare for the coming year, check out our top 20 decorating trends for 2012.
I put up a real Christmas tree every year — I love the tradition and how the process brings my family together. I know there are two schools of thought on this subject, but I enjoy the smell and the overall look of a fresh tree. I have so many ornaments that I have often said I could have two trees…well, this year, I do.
My second tree, however, is made of recycled paper. I've always wanted a tree upstairs in the playroom and this option is just perfect (safe and sturdy). It was not messy to get upstairs, and because it won't die, we put it up early — my kids were thrilled. I also did not have to do a thing! I sat back and watched my children sort out the instructions together and build it. It was wonderful. I have the Massimo tree below. It's a great height and comes with fab little multicoloured lights and an essential oil spray that smells just like a fir tree.
I have to say, I think we now have another holiday tradition. Check out boutique.cascades.com for these great recycled cardboard options, and have a Happy Holiday!
I was just at Elte and couldn't help but notice this great pop-up section for kids. This is a first for Elte, as they have never had product for children (aside from bedding). I have to say, I think they've got some really great products — just in time for the holidays! Have a peek at my picks:
This flock of butterflies sets a fun tone in the space. I wish my daughter still wanted to be a princess — these tutus simply tie on. I love the grey.
Pile these fun pillows up on any little person's bed. Simple wooden toys like this guy to the right are hot right now. This polar bear is a great gift idea and would do double duty as a pretty object on a child's bookshelf.
Or perhaps a cardboard doll house? They're more affordable than the wooden ones, and hurray — not pink and plastic! Animal puzzles (right) are perfect for little hands.
You can't go wrong with classic blocks. These little shoes are made from super soft leather — lightweight and completely adorable.
I love these sheepskin bears for their simplicity.
I had to take a picture of these lamps as well. How fun that these industrial cage shades have been prettied up with colourful little birds?
So if you're stumped for children's gifts, head down to Elte.
For affordable gifts for the adults, check out our Holiday Gifts Under $50.
1-6. Morgan Michener