Photo Gallery: Stylemakers
The artistic and industrial vibe of Ministry Of The Interior helped redefine Toronto’s Ossington strip long before the trendy bars, clubs and clothing shops opened in its wake. Jason settled in with his edgy accessories, Jaime Hayon art pieces and contemporary furniture, then watched the neighbourhood take his lead. Unique design items from the store regularly appear in House & Home.
Jason opted for dark walls and a look-at-me ceiling, then filled Ministry Of The Interior — once an industrial workshop — with fun furniture and accessories from Established & Sons, Autobahn, Jaime Hayon and Paul Loebach, just to name a few. “I like to mix new and vintage pieces,” he explains. “I bring in companies and designers that are doing something interesting — that are telling a story.”
“I bring pieces into the store that I know will sell — if I don’t like something, chances are the customer won’t,” says Jason of his buying strategy. These well-made tables from De La Espada fit right into his aesthetic, and the wallpapered accent wall adds character. Jason also works as a residential and commercial designer, and designed a well-received concept space at IDS 2009.
Jason travels to Milan, London and New York for design inspiration. “I like to think my store’s identity is predicated on the newest designs — before they become trends,” he says. He gravitates to this eccentric gallery/café/shop nestled in the inner courtyard of a traditional Italian palazzo. He’s even spotted Anna Wintour browsing the aisles.
“I still have the hand-scratched list of the first items I opened the store with,” says Jason. “The Wrongwoods dresser by Established & Sons was really exciting for me.” And coming up for fall 2010? These recycled aluminum stools from Mater Design. “They’re actually made of pop cans — how is that for upcycling?” he asks.
After working at Caban, and a memorable run-in with Ralph Lauren himself, Peter resolved to climb his way up in the design world. Vancouver’s decorating and design emporium, The Cross, invited Wilds to join them as in-house designer. “I had very strong ideas about what I liked, and now I have creative reign to consult, design, style and accessorize in my own way,” says Peter.
“The retail space gives the public an idea of what you’re interested in as a designer — it’s a brilliant way of starting a conversation with someone that’s totally different than if we were sitting in an office,” explains Peter. The luxurious linens, warm lighting and glamorous accessories here exemplify his more-is-more philosophy.
Peter admires the interior of this J.Crew location. “It sums up design today,” he explains. “I love the feeling of walking into a space and the ideas start flowing.”
Peter takes inspiration from the design style of Vancouver architecture firm, Battersby Howat. “One of my favourite signatures is a white backdrop. You can fill it with colourful accessories or strip them all away and have this blank canvas,” he explains.
When consulting with clients, Peter always gives this advice: “Surround yourself with the things you love, and buy the best you can afford.” He applied that wisdom when he designed his first condo — complete with come-hither cushions, curated artifacts and splurge-worthy artwork. “And every space should have great lighting,” he insists. Enter the Bourgie lamp from Kartell, a modern accent atop of stack of books.
With a passion for carpets and rugs, these sisters decided to keep their family tradition alive. Katherine (left) is the designer for Oliver Yaphe rugs, and Alexandra owns Y&Co, a Toronto rug and fabric showroom. “I help Katherine with the manufacturing, but she’s the more creative one,” explains Alexandra. “But you say what you like and what you don’t like!” adds Katherine.
“There are a lot of carpet people in Toronto — fabric was a great way of differentiating us,” explains Alexandra. Like their rugs and carpets, the fabrics are whimsical, quirky and fun.
Katherine and Alexandra take day trips to NYC for design inspiration. “I can go to NYC for one afternoon and come back with a million ideas,” says Katherine. “Traveling opens your eyes to so many different things,” agrees Alexandra. “I visited the Crosby Street Hotel, and that’s my aesthetic right there — every inch is a visual sensation,” she adds.
Mid-century modern designer Billy Baldwin (left) was revered for his clean, pared-down aesthetic. “I love the personality of Baldwin’s spaces. His style may be 60 years old, but it can still be pulled off today,” insists Alexandra. Meanwhile, Andy Spade’s Partners & Spade showroom (right), epitomizes quirky and cool design for the 21st century. Katherine admires Spade for “living the story — he started out copy writing, and now he has an art and accessories showroom in New York.”
Sandra worked for House & Home's merchandising department (and also developed her aesthetic at Club Monaco, Caban, PC Home and The Bay) before venturing out on her own with La Merceria. &
The shop is dotted with glasses, dishes and carefully chosen, reclaimed wood furniture. “My baker husband always had the idea of opening a café, and I would source the dishes and products,” explains Sandra. “We kept coming across venues that were straddling both coffee and tableware. This store’s concept is all about lifestyle — the quality of the coffee is as important as the quality of the cup,” she adds.
The shop is just the spot for gifts, dishes and kitchen accessories. “I love objects that tell a story — I look for sustainable products made by artisans from around the world,” says Sandra. “Less is more: surround yourself with meaningful pieces instead of buying items all at once.”
Sandra explains the influences behind her clean and simple design aesthetic: “Twig Hutchinson can do no wrong — her interiors are my idea of perfection,” she says. “Consuelo Castiglioni of fashion house, Marni, is also someone who stands out for me. Her accessories, her consistency — I don’t know how she manages to make a statement every season.”
Sandra conceived the idea for her café and tableware after visiting this acclaimed hotel restaurant. “I was influenced by their approach to entertaining — it really is the ultimate lifestyle experience,” she says. “Banquettes with ticking stripes, white painted woodwork, simple table arrangements, luxurious white linens and menus that resemble family albums. The dining area captivates all the senses in simple ways — that’s what inspired me,” says Sandra.