Monthly Archives: July 2011

the friday files-mark+louella tuckey


Do you ever think of switching careers? If so, what would you do?

Ever since I discovered Mark & Louella Tuckey’s home in Melbourne, Australia (back in InsideOut magazine in 2006) I’ve been following their lives and their homes with great fascination. Mark and Louella design, make and sell solid timber furniture along with a selection of handpicked textiles, ceramics and homewares in multiple retail locations throughout Australia.

It’s the kind of place I can imagine myself owning. I love the Bemboka linen quilts, the simple Anatolian kilims, the Anne Ronjat ceramic bowls and the solid timber drum coffee tables. And don’t even get me started on the twig and wire lights! Wouldn’t it be fun to create the vision of your ideal world and then share it with other like-minded people? I imagine there would also be a couple of enjoyable buying trips a year to far-flung places! It’s good to dream…it’s where all journeys first begin. What would your ideal career switch be?

In the meantime, let’s take a look at their Melbourne home which was recently shot by Mikkel Vang for Australian Vogue Living’s Before and After issue. I could walk right in and call it my own!


Image credits:
Store photos from Mark Tuckey website
House photos: Mikkel Vang for Australian Vogue Living Before & Afters


Filed under the friday files

52 objects – no. 30


Brass is definitely the new chrome. You can’t open a magazine this month without seeing it somewhere. It’s funny how these trends come and go. A few years ago you wouldn’t have been caught dead with a brass drawer pull or reading light and now its the leading edge. I think the first time I remember seeing it and liking it was in Jenna Lyons black bathroom. She has a brass shower head and I seem to recall reading that she treated it with salt water to give it that weathered, unpolished look. I admit, I’m also a fan of the tarnished look -no shiny brass for me, please!
How about you, are you liking the new rise in popularity of brass?

Object number thirty (wow, we’re getting up there!)

Filed under fifty-two objects

hello!neighbor – jana and john


Today, I’m happy to invite you into the home of Jana and John. I first met Jana years ago when she was one of my professors at Interior Design school. I worked for her one summer as an intern and I credit her with getting me started as an exhibition designer. I spent a lot of that summer reading texts about exhibition design but I also remember we spent a good amount of time talking about real estate in Parkdale and home renovations! Jana and John had just bought this house and we’re starting the process of turning it from a series of apartments into a generous two family home. What I love most about this house is their unabashed love for colour something you don’t always see when two architects are involved!



Jana & John


Professor & Architect

How long have you lived in your home?

5 years

Any kids or pets?

Tomas (6 yr) and Livi (7mth)

2 Mini Schnauzers

Which room do you spend the most time in? Why?

John: The living room. The evening light through the trees out front creates a pretty magical room. Spending time in there with family just takes it over the top.

Jana: The living room. Just as John says. The light coming in all afternoon makes this a magical room. I love spending time there. Now, just to get a bigger sectional to fit everyone in!

Is there anything you would change about your house? Future plans?

John: I would close out most of the third floor terrace with a fully glazed pop-up. This could become bigger master bedroom with ensuite. The current room is ambiguous and doesn’t work well with the large terrace from a bedroom (it previously had been a living room for the third floor 1 bedroom suite. Immediate future plans we have is finishing off the back yard enclosure.

Jana: I want to redo both the bathrooms as they haven’t been touched since we moved in. And we need to figure out where Livi will be sleeping as she outgrows our room.

How did you end up living in Parkdale?

John: When we first started looking for something as a “group” purchase, larger commercial structures weren’t too readily available. When larger housing stock came into the picture, naturally Parkdale with its numerous detached multi-unit century homes came into the picture.

Jana: We wanted to live in a neighbourhood with great houses, that had access to the waterfront, parks and easy escapes out of the city. And with John riding his bicycle year round, we also wanted to be close enough for him to get to work quickly.

What is your favorite moment/object in your home?

John: I like the connected flow from the bedroom to the living room. It centres around the kitchen as an island. It feels open yet has moments of visual privacy.

Jana: As much I love the living room, I get the most joy going into Tomas’s room. It’s jam packed with all of his toys, books and is so awkward in its layout that it has always been the perfect kids’ room. It’s the only room I don’t mind tidying. In terms of an object, I love the dining room table. It was bought as a lab table from UBC Swap, then John had it as a work bench in BC, before we moved it here to be in our office and now with a douglas fir plywood top, it seats 10 and has been our dining table for 10 years. We thought of replacing it with a Saarinen table, but I can’t part with it.

Where did you come up with the name for your company?

Jana: We used to have a design company, but now it’s an avenue for creative and artistic projects, like last year’s Come Up To My Room.

John: Aether came from Jana’s focus at the time in exhibit design where the substance of the exhibit had to be communicated well through tight integration of movement and graphics. I related it to an antiquated physics concept a substance called Aether was assumed to permeate all space. It was the substance of space. The poetics of it felt right.

What influences you? Where do you get your inspiration from?

John: In my own work, I like to let the design “problems” present their solutions through rigorous analysis, all the while keeping an eye to pragmatism and aesthetics. Our home is a mix of Jana and me, and all that we collect.

Jana: My love of typography and graphic design influences me the most. My father was an architect and an academic. My time travelling and living in Europe as a child have resonated with me to this day. It’s also influenced the way I approach my design work. My design research is to extend the realm of spatial experiences to be a link to one’s identity and to be expressed to others as an extension of their relationships with the building and the spaces and people within. That means it’s not always pretty, but it tells a story. So does our home.

Where is your favorite place to visit?

John: My memories of growing up on Vancouver Island are pretty vivid, with rainforests and vast stormy beaches. It’s those kind of places, and weather conditions I take solace in. Something about being on the edge of control and chaos, this kind of works well for architecture!

Jana: Paris and the Nova Scotia shores. Growing up in Halifax, I could quickly drive out of the city and be ‘lost’ with the ocean. I miss that feeling.

What are you reading at the moment?

John: I don’t get a lot of time to read these days but I currently have Organising Genius (Warren Bennis) on the go, and I’m looking forward to starting The Information by James Gleick.

Jana: NY Times. I’m a computer geek and have a 7 month old. Who has time to read!

Any links, acknowledgments?


Living room art: Hydrological Map – Joy Carbonneau

Bedroom art (not shown): Christopher Griffin

We want to thank Glenn “Uncle Glenn” MacMullin for putting up with the thumping footsteps above his head everyday and being part of the family.


Thanks Jana and John for welcoming is into your home!

All photographs by Kristin Sjaarda for The Marion House Book

Filed under hello! neighbor

open kitchen shelves – an update


You all remember the before, it looked a little something like this; dark green mirrored cabinets (that showed every fingerprint!) surrounded by a glossy white frame.

Well, here’s a little look at the in-between. This is after the the entire cabinet ripped off the wall crashing to the floor below.  Unbeknownst to us, once we unscrewed all the nuts and bolts the only thing holding the shelves on the wall was a little bit of caulking we used to seal the edges of the white frame. When this gave, there was no way we could stop the heavy weight of the cabinets from hitting the floor.

(I failed to get a true “after” photo because honestly we were all a little shaken. Let’s just say, our son was in the room when it happened and it could have been much, much worse. I still shudder at the thought.)

Amazingly, we sustained very little damage to  the drywall even with the shelves ripping off the wall. You can see that there was some tearing to the wall on the far left side but it was nothing a little filler and some paint couldn’t fix. I had also planned for this possibility and designed the new shelf to cover the same area that the old one had.

The next step was to repair and paint the wall so it would be ready for the new shelf. I used the same Benjamin Moore chalkboard paint in Black as I used in our office. There is a rich, matte effect to this paint that I absolutely love. It is also not pure black which can often come across as flat and gloomy. Instead, this paint ranges in colour from an inky blue to a dark grey to a sooty black depending on the time of day and angle of the light. I only wish it came in bigger cans!

The other advantage of this paint was that I was able to note in chalk where the studs are in the wall and where I wanted the new cabinet to be placed. I wasn’t going to be home for the installation so I wanted to make sure it was clear!

As for the those new shelves…well… what I can tell you is that I chose a wood species that is native to Ontario, that I designed something that didn’t have any visual brackets or supports and that I added an unexpected element that didn’t appear in any of my inspiration files.  Any guesses?



Filed under house projects