Monthly Archives: February 2012

on preparing for baby number two


Okay, where did the time go?

If you had run into me a month ago I would have told you that this was the longest pregnancy ever. Honestly, I feel like I have been carrying this kid around for years but yesterday I realized that I only have 12 weeks (or so) left before we welcome our little girl into the world. It’s definitely different the second time around.

28 weeks and counting. And yes, standing on a chair!

During my first pregnancy I read almost anything I could get my hands on that dealt with being pregnant, becoming a mother, breastfeeding and of course labour. My husband and I attended birthing sessions where we reenacted what delivery might be like and plunged our hands into ice cold water in an attempt to mimic the discomfort and pain of childbirth (um, really…that’s the best you could do, cause honestly it doesn’t come close to comparing.) I  religiously attended pre-natal yoga classes twice a week and got in touch with my unborn child. We decorated the nursery, put together our stroller, pre- washed baby clothes and planned and executed our own baby shower. Before we fell asleep at night we tossed back and forth possible names and tried to imagine what the baby would look like.

Minimalist children’s story poster designed by Christian Jackson – Square Inch Design

How times have changed! I’ve made it to a total of one pre-natal yoga class, haven’t cracked a book on the subject of pregnancy and have boxes of baby clothes in the basement I need to sort through. As I lay awake last night thinking of all the things I need to do I thought the best plan of action would be to make a list and try to tackle at least one thing each weekend for the next 12 weeks. I hope you’re reading this, Myles!

Frazier & Wing Lucky Yellow and Sunshine Mobiles.

  • Take stroller to bike repair shop and get brake fixed.
  • Go through above mentioned boxes of baby clothes and sort and clean as necessary.
  • Stock up on diapers, wipes, laundry detergent and other things newborns need lots of.
  • Clean and install infant baby seat.
  • Buy some new change table covers, a new mobile for above the crib, new sheets and an Ergo carrier.
  • Apply for my maternity/parental leave benefits.
  • Make sure we have all the supplies we need for a home birth.
  • Prepare and put meals in the freezer.
  • Buy some good nursing bras. (Does such a thing exist?)
  • Get bassinet cleaned and ready for our bedroom.
  • Design, decorate and get Henry moved over to his new bedroom. (Gulp!)
  • Treat myself to one of these new diaper bags (unless someone else wants to buy one for me!)

Virginia Johnson chain stitched tote bag in Henna Black (currently on sale!)

Virginia Johnson Chain Stitched Tote Bag in Bear Dark Brown

If I can get all of this accomplished, attend a few more pre-natal yoga classes and re-read a few of those chapters on childbirth I’ll be feeling pretty good. I’d love to hear how you prepare for baby whether it’s your first or second (or third, fourth, fifth!) time around.

Filed under baby makes four

guest post – canoe design


Helping me out today is Anna from the great design blog, Canoe Design. Check out some of her favorite things at the moment. I love that bracelet she found!

Hi everyone, Anna from Canoe Design here. So happy to be with Emma and all of you at The Marion House Book today.

Here is a little bit about me: following my graduation from Ryerson with Emma, I moved to London, England to pursue work as an interior designer.  In London I worked for a couple of boutique design companies specialising in high-end residential architecture and design.  I was fortunate to work on projects throughout Europe and the Middle East and see some really incredible projects realised.  Last summer my husband and I moved to Manhattan and I started Canoe Design a blog dedicated to Architecture, Interiors and Design while settling in and interviewing for designs positions here.

I wanted to share with you a few items on my current wish lists.

1. I really love all the tableware collections from Heath Ceramics. The simplicity of their ceramics and colours really means that you can combine across their collections. I think that they are timeless and would make a great set to have an build over time.

2. Peter Lane is an incredibly talented ceramicist who create unique installations, furnishings and lighting. I have admired his work for a while now, and although it is priced out of my budget, a girl can dream, and this textured lamp would look great in our apartment.

3. While working in London we used these stools in a clients kitchen and have not stopped thinking of them since. They are The Tractor Stool and I just love the integrity of material, simplicity of the design and their beauty.

4. We spent 6 months renovating the apartment we bought in London, and alas moved out only six months later to come to New York. I am constantly thinking about what we will do with the next home and I am currently loving embossed metal tiles. I think that they work well with many different styles of kitchens and interiors.


1. This Deux Lux Sequin weekender seems to be making it’s way around Pinterest, and I have to say that I am guilty of adding it to my list. I love the combination of leather and sequins (rustic meets chic) and this would make my getaways even more special!

2. I came across this copper piece from Urban Outfitters and fell in love. I think that the patina and simplicity of shape means that I could wear this casually or dress it up, exactly what I am looking for as I am not a big jewellery person.

3. I have been in the market for new glasses for quite a while now. While I like the look of large black plastic frames on others, the scale combination of scale and darkness are just too severe on my face. These Oliver Peoples glasses are the perfect combination for me – rectangular plastic frames in a tortoise shell.

4. Bryony Shearmur has created a line of accessories where she screenprints digital images on silk scarves. I am a huge scarf fan (wear them every day in the winter) and think that her Sea Sky print is something I could enjoy all year round.

Image Credits:

For the Home -
Heath Ceramics
Chahan Gallery 
Bassam Fellows 
For Me -
Deux Lux 
Urban Outfitters 
Net a Porter 
Silk by Bryony 


Filed under guest blogs

jason wu for target canada


A few weeks ago, I received an email from David Stark Design based out of Brooklyn, New York. They told me they were working on a one day pop-up shop in Toronto for Jason Wu and Target and needed some help sourcing furniture and props for the store. They wondered if our design studio, Marion Melbourne, would be interested in helping out.

Um…yeah I think we could help you out with that! I mean first of all it’s David Stark whom I have long admired for his amazing event work, stunning book and collaborations with brands like West Elm. And then add to the mix the First Lady’s favorite fashion designer, Jason Wu and style setting American retailer Target. Yeah, we can help you!

With only three weeks to the store opening we quickly got to work sourcing sofas, chairs, coffee tables, chandeliers, wall sconces, mirrrors and props for the store. Emails and photographs flew back and forth between Toronto and New York as we waited on approval for items.

The transformation of the former condo showroom was outstanding. Vinyl window treatments were added to each window to create the look of a Parisian Beaux Arts Building, a new billboard was temporarily erected, new flooring was laid, sets were constructed and installed, landscaping was added and of course the store was completely merchandised and styled.

When they told us they needed a chair for Bullseye, Target’s mascot, to sit on, I never imagined it would be a real dog. The store opened at noon to the public and by about three in the afternoon the store was sold out. All of the money raised was donated to The United Way. Truly an awesome experience to be part of! A big thank you to everyone at David Stark Design for inviting us to the party.

Image credits:
1 & 2 – Jason Wu for Target ad campaign
3 & 4 – The Marion House Book
5 & 6 – David Stark
7 & 8 – Andrew Lupton for CBC


Filed under design work

hello! neighbor – shannon & wil


Hello! Neighbor is back after a little hiatus last month and this first home of 2012 has something special going for it – it’s on the market. That’s right as of this weekend (or soon thereafter) this home could be yours! We can’t say that very often. This home is the loving result of the owners, Wil and Shannon. If you live in the neighbourhood you might know Shannon from her charming market store, The Mercantile. Wil  is a talented home remodeller and spends his time lovingly restoring old homes that have seen better days. Since Wil knows renovations first hand, I took the time to ask him a few questions about what he thinks makes a home renovation successful. I think it is very telling that his favorite tools in any home remodelling project are rubber gloves, abrasive pads and paint stripper.

Enjoy the tour!


Wil Crothers and Shannon Doyle


Home remodeller and owner of The Mercantile gourmet food shop.

Shannon in her store The Mercantile on Roncesvalles Avenue.

How long have you lived in your home?

We have lived here for 6 months.

When was your home built?

It was built in approximately 1910.

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

Shannon: Our favourite room would be the kitchen.  We both love to cook and entertain.

What do you think are the easiest or most cost effective ways to update a home?

Wil: In my opinion the least expensive way to update a home is to embrace some of the elements that you believe make it outdated and juxtapose them with clean modern accents. To use a simple analogy, if the doors in your home are tired and abused, take off the hardware, give them a quick sand and a fresh coat of cloud white paint. If the hardware is more than 50 years old strip off all of the generations of paint and replace them bare. If not buy some ultra modern brushed nickel or chrome hardware. Suddenly the beaten up old door becomes the back drop for the fixture. On a grander scale, the same can be said for every aspect of the home. If the tile in your bathroom is lime green or purple from 1962 find a modern complementary colour or a very cold neutral colour and paint your bathroom to match. Throw in a sleek mirror, high style bath fixtures and an piece of art. Pow! Those nasty old tiles and vanity are ultra cool retro. My best friends in any renovation are rubber gloves, S.O.S. pads, and paint stripper. A home, in my opinion, is sort of like a classic suit.  Don’t throw out the suit change the shirt and tie.

What were the major changes you  made to the house?

Shannon: When we first looked at 77 Campbell Ave. we knew the home had great potential. Unfortunately, it had suffered many decades of neglect. Split into apartments it was essentially in rooming house condition. The house has been completely gutted, re-wired, remolded and put back together.

How did you end up living in the Junction?

Shannon: When we purchased out first home in the Junction Triangle in 2007 it was the one of the few neighbourhoods we could afford. We have since fallen in the love with the community. The area is wildly diverse, our neighbours range from the original Polish and Portuguese blue collar to members of a vibrant film and arts scene.

Are there certain elements of a home you always try to keep in tact when renovating?

Wil: People love older homes for many reasons but for me it is the craftsmanship. The trims, window casings, banisters, doors and accent pieces are so beyond anything that is available today. Add to that the bumps and bruises of time and it is impossible to reproduce. Generally when renovating I try to remove all of the existing wood work as carefully as possible. Once all of the new drywall, flooring and cabinetry has been installed the contrast of the old ornate mouldings and their patina really pops.

Could you tell me a little bit about the chandelier in your dining room? I understand you made it.

Wil: The craft projects in every renovation are always my favourite part and I try to build unique pieces into each project. Lighting in my opinion is one of the most integral components when setting a mood within a space. Our homes are always open concept so the dining room fixture, in relation to the space, is always the focal point of the main floor. Generally the light fixtures in my dining rooms cost between $50 and $150 to build but their unusualness creates all of the drama. I had seen many variations of bottles, jars and glass containers used in chandeliers and love both the whimsical look and the prismatic light they cast. For this light fixture I used 34 clear wine bottles hung from small gauge aircraft cable. I wanted to use a great many bottles strung closely together to give the feeling of a bouquet and soften the look. I then cut the bottom off each bottle in a somewhat haphazard fashion so that the chipped and cracked ends would both increase the prism effect and break up the monotony of 34 same objects. I then enclosed three cylindrical light bulbs within the most central wine bottles so that the light would have to travel through all of the surrounding bottles to escape. Finally I wrapped the supporting chain in white cotton rope in the fashion of a hangman’s noose.

What would your dream house look like?

Shannon: We have always dreamed of creating our own dream home rather than looking for a property that fit our criteria. Our dream home is an industrial cinder block box with a decent amount of property in the vicinity of the Junction Triangle.

What was the last thing you purchased for your home?

Shannon:  Our latest purchase was two grey wool easy chairs from Julien Armand on Sterling Ave.

Thanks Shannon and Wil for inviting us into your home and good luck with the sale!

All photos by Kristin Sjaarda for The Marion House Book.

Filed under hello! neighbor