The Kingdom of Thailand is often a great source of inspiration when it comes to creating exotic interiors that are both serene and luxurious. Discerning fashion and interior designers hunt for local treasures like traditional Thai silk, which has exceptional texture, motives and colours. Each piece of cloth is hand-woven, making it truly unique and non-replicable. And its remarkable sheen combines two colours, one for the warp and one for the weft, making the final result more like artwork than fabric.
It isn't surprising, then, that contemporary artist Pierre Bellemare was enchanted by this ancient tradition. So much so that he now imprints some of his colourful paintings on silk scarves. And we love his artworks that energize minimalist spaces and invite us to explore other worlds.
Along with music, travel is essential to Pierre who enjoys immersing himself in different cultures to renew his creative juices. While he travels for pleasure, Bellemare also exhibits and sells his artwork in several countries. He loves Bangkok so much that we were curious to discover his personal vision of Asia's Venice — a megapole that is deeply attached to its heritage while firmly embracing the future.
Corinne Cécilia: You seem to have a personal interest in Bangkok...
Pierre Bellemare: In my view, the more you know it, the more you learn to appreciate and observe the beauty of this city. We are used to Bangkok as an international transit place for travellers, but it is truly splendid underneath its treasures — the colours, the smells and smiles of all the local people. These hues have greatly influenced my recent paintings. Bangkok is colourful in so many ways!
CC: Where do you like to stay?
PB: At the Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel. Nothing but refinement and beautiful design, and the breakfast is as sublime. The location is very central, near the SkyTrain, which is perfect for travelling through the city.
CC: Where do you like to have dinner?
PB: Bangkok is known for its quality and quantity of food, accessible everywhere. For lunch, I recommend Or Tor Kor Market. The food is authentic and top-quality. Furthermore, it's one of the 4 best food markets in the world. As for dinner, I would treat myself with a Kiew Wan Gai Phad Hang, a green curry chicken, at the Nara Erawan.
CC: Where do you like browsing?
PB: Bangkok is close to paradise when it comes to shopping for clothes or home goods. The Jim Thompson House & Museum is a place you mustn't miss. Jim Thompson was enrolled in the American military, returned to Bangkok after the war and decided to make silk his own passion. Located in the heart of the city, Jim Thompson's house has tours of the living space and garden and tutorials of silk production, from breeding and raising worms to weaving the most beautiful fabrics.
CC: Where do you go to relax?
PB: Bangkok is full of little parks and temples. Seeing the Wat Saket temple at sunset, on the top of a small hill, really touched me. To smell the incense, to see the monks, to hear the prayers and the bells, really makes it the perfect spot for a calming retreat. And nothing beats an evening stroll on the Chao Phraya river. You can enjoy the temples and the city without being in the bustle of the downtown core.
CC: What are some of your favourite places?
PB: Art is accessible everywhere in Bangkok but not always in its usual way. The ultimate experience is certainly the Grand Palace. So much delicate creative work in one single space is definitely breathtaking. Another absolute must-see would be the Wat Arun Buddhist temple: going up its 318 steps will take you to the top, where you can enjoy a unique panoramic view of the city.
CC: What would be your recommendation for local transport?
PB: The Bangkok SkyTrain, undoubtedly: it is easily accessible and has air conditioning, which gives you a welcome break from the heat of the city. You can also enjoy a nice view of the city from the top. I recommend taking the long tail boats and, as incredible as it may sound, a bike ride with Follow Me Bangkok Bicycle Tours. A must do!! Finally, take a tuk-tuk: you can find them everywhere in Bangkok and they are really efficient. Great fun!
Corinne's travel tip: Visiting Bangkok during the dry season, from November to April, will spare you the heavy rains and moist heat of the monsoon season. Take a tour of some trade shows, such as the Thailand International Fashion Fair (from March 11-15, 2015 at the IMPACT Exhibition Centre of Bangkok). Closer to home, join the Thai community in your neighbourhood as they celebrate Songkran, the Buddhist New Year and Water festival from April 13 to 15, 2015.
For more on Thai style, read Gwen Matsell's blog post.
Suzanne Dimma and Sarah Hartill carefully crafted a British Eclectic–style kitchen with Joel Bray, and the results are simply stunning! Here's how they described the kitchen:
"Inspired by cosy panelled libraries, we layered soulful materials and rich colours that give the kitchen a sense of history and romance — white oak herringbone floors, matte black and brass hardware, a vintage stone-top table — then added a little modern quirk with statement lighting and accessories. Lots of smart storage solutions ensure everything is always at your fingertips: set behind clear glass doors, a walk-in pantry is far from hidden, and a classic rolling ladder makes it easy to reach the ceiling-height cabinets. High-tech appliances, a TV and an iPad deliver all the speed and convenience of the multimedia world, but the overall effect is warm and eccentric in a charming British way."
Get an up-close look at the kitchen this weekend at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (booth #926).
Here are a few of your photos on Instagram:
Visiting the show? Tag your H&H kitchen pics with @houseandhomemag on Instagram using #IDS15.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
- Eastern Promise Fez backsplash tiles Ann Sacks
- Silk Scarf wallpaper for artwork Porter Teleo
- Framing Soho Art & Custom Framing
- Peacock Garden wallpaper Zoffany
- Nolan pendants (over island) Arteriors
- Osgoode pendant (in walk-in pantry) Arteriors
- Waldorf-petit sconces Lambert & Fils
- Elektra espresso machine Zuccarini
- Space/DK stools Hollace Cluny
- Original artwork Art Interiors
- Television Samsung
- Baker’s counter Kantelberg + Co
- Antiques Context Design
- Antiques The Salvage Shop
- Bread, oils, etc. Forno Cultura
- Hague Blue (30) Farrow & Ball
- Oxford White (CC-30) Benjamin Moore
- Tuscany Green (2140-20) Benjamin Moore
1-3. via @IKEACanada on Twitter
TGIF! The acronym has special meaning this week, as the Interior Design Show (January 22 to 25) opens for business at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre today. If you're attending this weekend — and you should — here are a few things you don't want to miss:
Warning: Missoni's wildly patterned sofas and ottomans might make you look at your staid, solid-coloured three-seater with a pang of regret. Giorgio Jelmini, Operations Manager for Missoni Home, revealed that the Italian brand's famous stripes were a happy accident: the first knitting machine the founder bought in 1953 could only produce stripes, so velato! (As they say in Italy.) Check out the timeline that traces Missoni's path from fashion to home to hotels, then pony-up for some pillows at the Missoni pop-up shop, funds from which will support Habitat for Humanity.
This is a new group exhibition at the show that features four artisans producing beautiful, carefully-crafted, small-run pieces. 1925 Workbench specializes in barn-style sliding doors that look great in any space. Husband-and-wife team My Le and Rock made their first door for their own small home in Toronto. When friends and then friends of friends kept asking for one (or two or three) for their own homes, the duo turned their custom-made doors and hardware into a business.
Heidi Earnshaw is also exhibiting in the Makers section. Heidi makes gorgeous wood furniture, which H&H has featured in past issues. At IDS, she's showing a marble-topped dresser with brass legs that immediately went on my wish list.
Heidi also dabbles in smaller pieces; the candlestick holders in her booth are the wood molds of ones that will eventually be cast in metal. I know, you're waiting for me to tell you about the awesome ceramics in her booth. They're by Susie Osler and look even better in person.
In this picture, my thumb is doing its best to model just how thin Sony's new 4.7 mm-thick television is. It will be available in May in 55" and 65" sizes, and is so light it can hang on the wall like a picture frame.
Ikea/House & Home
This year, H&H teamed up with Ikea to design a kitchen and the results are stunning, if we do say so ourselves. The kitchen uses Ikea's new Sektion kitchen system, which will be introduced in stores in February, and is packed with gorgeous ideas and products. I managed to snap this shot early Thursday morning when the space was being photographed. Click here for more info on the kitchen.
The details reveal clever styling tricks, like remembering to include art in the kitchen.
There's even a walk-in pantry that reminds us that storage can and should be stylish.
Each swing seat is made from a different sample of Caesarstone and is the perfect place to take a break and put your feet up — waaaay up — before continuing on to discover all the other great designs at the show.
Check out the H&H talks on Sunday starting at noon. Lynda Reeves, Suzanne Dimma, Mark Challen and my fellow editors will be speaking about everything design and answering questions from the audience and social media. Plus, check out this guide of extras from their talks.
1-10. Kimberley Brown
Last year, House & Home partnered with Nexxus to bring our readers the Timeless Beauty Contest. Those who entered had a chance to win an exclusive hair makeover with celebrity hairstylist Kevin Mancuso, and a design-lover's tour of Toronto's most exciting style destinations with Suzanne Dimma, plus $500 cash.
Johanna Prentice of Ontario was the lucky winner (we had thousands of entries!) and she brought her sister along for the prize! Here's a highlight of their shopping trip and makeover in December:
Suzanne started the shopping trip up in Toronto's Castlefield Design District. First up, a visit to the brand-new Elte MKT followed by a stop at Elte, where Suzanne fell in love with this brass canopy bed. Stunning.
They wrapped up their shopping trip at EQ3, which was loaded with more cool finds.
After a packed morning, they enjoyed lunch at Momofuku.
Later that week, Johanna and her sister were treated to a hair makeover by Kevin at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto.
Love the baskets overflowing with Nexxus haircare products!
The Nexxus team didn't stop at their hair — a bit of makeup completed the look.
Here are the sisters with Kevin!
And here they are all dressed up after the makeover.
Thanks to everyone who entered the contest!
1-5. Suzanne Dimma
6-10. Courtesy of Harbinger
Just as this outfit made its way down the Oscar de la Renta Spring/Summer 2015 runway, we were all in the process of transitioning into cold weather clothes and decorating ideas for Winter 2014/2015. The cycles of fashion and trends can be bewildering! But it occurred to me that buffalo check — and in particular this black-and-white version — is an all-weather favourite that can take on so many different moods. A crop top is definitely not in the cards for me, but a pencil skirt with the print on the bias and spectator loafers — that I could do!
But given current temps, I'd happily cozy up to a check-clad wing chair with a wooly throw and big mug of tea.
Then again, look how fun this mid-century style Jack Chair from Schoolhouse Electric is. I think I might like it even more than the wing chair.
If I were the kind of person who had a ski lodge in the French Alps, I'd also be the kind of person to install buffalo check carpet with emerald green velvet furniture just as designers Joseph Dirand and India Mahdavi did at L'Apogée Courchevel hotel.
On the walls? Sure, why not? It can be tricky to work with a pattern this bossy. I think it's best as either the only print in the room or paired with just one other equally gutsy pattern of similar scale. This striped chair holds it's own in this Bierly-Drake designed space.
Do you remember our Ikea kitchen winner from the October 2014 issue of House & Home? Senior design editor Sarah Hartill really knocked this design out of the park. Her pairing of the bold Verdure Zoffany wallpaper with a check roman blind is the perfect expression of the homeowners' eclectic taste. Best tip: the blind fabric is a steal at $10/meter from Ikea!
And one last thought: It was just a happy accident that Katie Hayden's post on decorating rooms for boys also featured a room done in black-and-white buffalo check. Like I said, versatile, right?
1. Oscar de la Renta Spring/Summer 2015 runway, Vogue.com
2. Maik Rositzki
3. Jack Chair, Schoolhouse Electric
4. L'Apogée Courchevel via A-Gent of Style blog
5. New England Home, photography by Michael Partenio
6. House & Home October 2014 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
7a. KariFisherDesign, Etsy
7b. Buffalo Plaid Fringed Throw, Schoolhouse Electric
I have a new baby nephew coming any day now, and he'll eventually share a bedroom with his almost-2-year-old brother — which has me thinking about boys' bedrooms.
I've always been more partial to warm colours, and I have two girls myself, so my comfort zone is rooms full of pinks, reds and oranges. (Though we painted my girls' room in Farrow & Ball's Skylight (205), which is a really livable pale blue that sets off the bright colours.)
It turns out there are piles of great boys' bedrooms out there — even ones that woo a romantic like me, who thinks whimsy and fun are essentials in any child's room!
My favourites have rustic leanings; they feel almost like you'd find them in a log house in the woods or a summer camp cabin.
Maps always inject loads of colour and pattern, inspire wonder and wanderlust and are fun and educational. In Desmond's Ottawa bedroom, his mom Giulia Doyle set off the blues, yellows and greens with hits of bright red in the wall-mounted lamp, sock monkey stuffie and army-style blanket.
This room takes the travel theme a step further, with the addition of vintage suitcases, a steamship trunk, a stuffed giraffe and kangaroo and scientific illustrations of exotic birds. An old iron bed, understated bed linens and grey-on-grey Union Jack pillow balance the look.
I'm sold ... bright green is great for a kid's room! It's fresh and strong, but not at all overbearing. And set off by buffalo-check bed linens, it looks mod and playful. A patterned rug, strapping-topped stool and toy car add depth and character. I'm not the biggest fan of taxidermy, but it works here — and, of course, it's not real.
The worn wooden beds in this room remind me of old-fashioned sleighs. Along with the painted-wood floors, checked and striped bedding and bright red toadstool, they give the room a fairy-tale quality. And there's lots of space on the floor to flop down and play cars or colour.
I'm not certain many boys play cowboys anymore, but they did when I was a child. I'm pretty sure my nephew, Rafa, would find it fun to have thundering horses on his walls! A horse-patterned bedspread and saddle-blanket-covered headboard cushions continue the theme, while the canary yellow of the bed frame and side table clash a little bit with the rest of the room, keeping it from feeling too perfect.
Animals are a universally loved theme for children's rooms. While the wolf cub on this bedding is charming, the look is graphic, crisp and clean. First-aid-style accents bring in layers of details. (This bedding was from an H&M home collection. I can't find it available anywhere now, but H&M's wild cat bedding has a similar look, as does ByNord's wolf bedding.)
For more inspiration, check out our gallery of Editors' Favourite Kids' Rooms.