Monthly Archives: January 2011

cast your vote-keri’s table & chairs


Alright, here we go again! Keri, one of my co-workers, needs your help choosing a dining room table and chairs for her urban, Victorian home. Keri very kindly gave away her previous set to a friend who had just moved to the city and since then has been without a place to sit and eat dinner. The home has a mid-century modern vibe with a considerable amount of teak furniture. For this reason, Keri would like to avoid adding any more wood to the open concept space. I agree with Keri that adding a teak dining room set would be too much of a good thing but I think that a little bit of wood could still work. So take a look at my suggestions below and cast your vote. Help Keri buy a much needed dining room table and chairs!

Let’s start with Keri’s empty dining room.

As you can see she has beautiful, old wood floors, a teak wall unit, a teak standing lamp, and a long horizontal piece of art that looks like it might also be made of wood. You can see why she is reluctant to add more wood to this space.

Here are my suggestions:

Option #1 – Teak Table – Vintage Eames Shell Chairs – Dynamic Light Fixture

The moment Keri showed me her dining room I couldn’t stop thinking of Morgan of The Brick House’s living and dining room. Morgan’s dining room is one of my all time favorites and I think Keri could learn a thing or two from her. In this case I think a teak table could work because really it falls into the background when it is paired with the vintage Eames chairs and the DIY Lindsay Adelman light fixture. I would advise Keri to seek out Eames chairs with black eiffel tower bases as Morgan has done to tie the black from the wall unit back into the room. A dynamic light fixture would also bring Keri’s dining room to life. If she feels there is still too much wood in the room a large rug that extends past the legs of the table would help break up the space.

Option #2 – Oval Saarinen Table – Danish Teak Chairs

I think an oval Saarinen table would look beautiful in Keri’s dining room and would compliment the other mid-century modern pieces she has in her home. I like that in these two examples they have paired the table with vintage Danish teak chairs. Again, I think this small amount of teak would work well in the space and tie all the elements together. An interesting light fixture would anchor the space and finish the room off. If you don’t have an outlet over your dining room table an Arco floor lamp would also work well in this space. Oh and is that a fiddleleaf fig (ficus lyrata) I see above? What a nice touch that would be!

Option #3 – Antique Wood Table and Colourful Tolix Chairs

This one is a bit of a stretch but I think it could be made to work mainly because Keri’s floors have this same aged appeal. The key is getting the right antique wood table – it can’t be too rustic or harvest-table like. It should have bold lines and something decorative about it like these corkscrew legs. The hit of bright colour and unconventional pairing is what makes this combination work. I think Eames shell chairs could also work in this scenario. If Keri likes this look I would advise her to change the artwork in her dining room into something larger in scale and more colourful.

Option #4 – White Table – Sculptural Wood Chairs

One way to break up all the wood in Keri’s dining room is to add a large, white horizontal surface like this dining room table. Paired with sculptural wood chairs (not necessarily these ones maybe something more suited to the era) the room would come together.

Option #5 Wood Table – Wood Chairs – Bold Striped Rug

What more wood – you’re saying! Yes, I think you could make it work. By shifting the focus away from the dining room table and chairs and directing it towards the bold striped rug on the floor the effect of the wood is lessened. I love the soft, curved lines of this set of table and chairs and the airiness of the hairpin legs. If you could find a set like this I would snatch it up and then add a bright and colourful rug to the floor to break up the effect of the wood.

Option #6 – Glass Table with Wood Base – Eames Molded Plywood Dining Chairs

My final suggestion for Keri is a combination wood and glass table paired with classic mid-century modern Eames molded plywood dining chairs. I’d love to see the chairs in one or several of the bright colours like the red and the yellow. Again, having a dynamic light fixture above the table would really help ground the room.

So, have you made your selection? If you were Keri which option would you choose? I know which one I’m picking!

(If you have a design dilemma you need help with send me your questions and some photos to and we’ll see what we can do!)

Image Credits:
Option #1 images – Morgan Satterfield – The Brick House
Option #2 images – Lonny Magazine & Design*Sponge
Option #3 image – Coastal Living
Option #4 image – Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer via Emma’s Design Blogg
Option #5 image – Door Sixteen
Option #6 images – Design Within Reach
Filed under please, cast your vote

the friday files


Alright, before we get started I need to inform you of a little blogging upkeep that is happening. This weekend I am migrating my blog to another server which means things might seem a little weird over here. I’ve been told that comments might get lost or not appear and that my email address might not work. If you have any problems please bear with me, by Monday morning I should be up and running again. If you’d like to get hold of me directly you can use this email address. I’m hoping this will be as quick and painless as possible.

Speaking of quick and painless, that’s not exactly how my week turned out. That little tooth problem I had turned into a root canal (not fun) and if you follow me on facebook you’ll also know that our furnace broke down on one of the coldest days of the year. Thanks to everyone who sent along the names of furnace repair people. By 8 pm, we had heat again and only a $200 bill! (I was expecting much worse). If you find yourself without heat or in need of some extra warmth you might want to check out these beautiful sweaters made by a Canadian brother and sister team. Thanks Bess for posting about them. What a great find!

The other thing that caught my eye this week was this blog, Reading My Tea Leaves. Erin’s beautiful photography and original posts are a joy to read. Since 2009, Erin has been documenting her life in objects with a series of posts called my week in objects. These posts are really resonating with me right now as I embark on my own year long quest to explore my life through objects.

To send you off for the weekend here are a few images from local Toronto photographer Ashley Tonner. If you loved food stylist Claire Stubb’s place in the February 2011 issue of House & Home you’ll want to take a look at these. There are a few shots here of her house that didn’t make it into the magazine. (EDIT: House and Home has requested that the unpublished images be removed from the blog.) Still lots to enjoy!

Filed under the friday files

fifty-two objects – no.4


Here is object number four in my quest to document my life through objects over the course of one year. I picked up this dress in 2007 at a vintage store in Kensington Market. I still wear it every summer.

There has been some interesting talk about objects around the blogosphere this week. Joslyn over at Simple Lovely talked about honoring your stuff which is definitely worth a read and Paula over at Two Ellie wrote a related post about simplifying her life by clearing out some of her objects.

Filed under fifty-two objects

the carroll street woodworkers


Do you remember this beautiful custom made dresser from the Hello! Neighbor tour we did of Mahshad & Hasnain’s house a few months ago?Many of you were asking for more information about it and I’m happy to say that this weekend I finally got the chance to meet the talented pair behind this piece of furniture . Rob Day and Jeremy Kehoe are the founders of The Carroll Street Woodworkers a local design studio that is producing some of the most beautiful and innovative products I have seen in awhile. On Saturday, I visited their studio and got to see a preview of some of the pieces they will be debuting at the Interior Design Show this weekend.

On the wall behind Rob is a wood block sculpture that is made from all the scraps and off-cuts from their furniture products. In total it took somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1500 pieces of wood to make this sculpture. On the floor, is their new lath coffee table which is made from the discarded lath you find in old houses. These days they tend to get the lath by putting a request for it on craigslist but they have been known to do a little dumpster diving if they see it being thrown away!

The oiled white oak dresser shown above, is one of the new pieces the pair will be debuting at the Interior Design Show, it works on a push button system the likes of which I have never see before. To open a drawer you simply press on the appropriate button in the middle panel and the unit slowly slides out. Brilliant – no need for any hardware!

Also debuting at the show is this push button desk. The three elliptical shapes on the face of the desk pop open to reveal individual compartments in which to store your pencils, pens, and notes. An electrical outlet on the side of the desk keeps electronic cords to a minimum with the wiring running down inside the leg of the desk. Can you imagine having a desktop free of all those pesky wires?

Finally, I couldn’t leave without showing you these stunning light fixtures. What a statement they would make in your hallway vestibule or how about over a round dining room table? It is one of a kind pieces like these that really put the magic in an interior.

Thanks Rob and Jeremy for the tour! If you’re attending the Interior Design Show in Toronto this weekend I urge you to stop by Studio North and say hello to these guys. You won’t be disappointed.

Image Credits:
1) Kristin Sjaarda
2-6) The Marion House Book
7-8) The Carroll Street Woodworkers
Filed under beautiful objects