Monthly Archives: April 2012

kristin sjaarda photography


I’m sure many of you are familiar with photographer Kristin Sjaarda. If you don’t know her by name then for sure you know her work. She has been photographing the Hello! Neighbor stories for me for over a year now. She’s super talented and I’m so lucky to have her on board providing beautiful photos of interiors for me (and you!)

It all started when I asked her to shoot her own home. I’ve known Kristin for a few years now and appreciated that she was a professional photographer before three boys under the age of seven put that pursuit on hold. Her home was only the third in the series and up until that point I had been shooting the homes myself (or asking my husband).

Kristin was excited to get behind the camera (as any mum who has been changing diapers incessantly can testify). She took the whole day to shoot her own house and loved every minute of it. When the time came to shoot the next month’s house she volunteered to shoot it and our partnership began.

Since that time we’ve photographed over 26 houses together. We’ve also seen our stories picked up by 2 for Couples Magazine and several of the homes we first featured here have ended up in major print publications like Per & Elana’s (Style at Home), Rachel & Paul’s (Today’s Parent) and Jana & John’s (Toronto Life).  None of that would have happened without Kristin!

This weekend Kristin had some shots in The Globe and Mail (pictured here). In fact, her shot made the cover of the Style section. She’s also just launched her own website built using 4ormat dedicated to her photography of interiors. If you’re looking for home inspiration than you will definitely want to check it out. It’s chock full of goodness!


For more on this kitchen and its owners, John Bell is the host of HGTV’s The World’s Greenest Homes and his wife Patsy is a stylist, check out The Globe and Mail story. The space features many green features you might be interested in learning more about.

Filed under beautiful objects, hello! neighbor

soft moodboard for spring


I’ll let you in on a little secret. The moodboard below which I just finished for HGTV actually comes more or less from a palette we (Marion Melbourne) are currently working on for a dream cottage on Georgian Bay. Isn’t it gorgeous?

For more details on where these materials are from and how you can apply them to your own home. Head over to the HGTV blog.

Have a happy weekend everyone!


Filed under colour trends, design work

home tour with local filmmaker


Sometimes I come across spaces that are so spectacular and so realized that they blow my mind. Rob Pilichowski’s home, in a converted car repair shop in my neighbourhood, is one of those places. When I saw his place I knew I had to share it with a wider audience than just here on my blog. I contacted Toronto Life magazine and they agreed that it would make a perfect story for one of their Great Spaces pieces. The full article is available on newsstands now but I thought I would share with you a few photographs of the space today.

About three years ago, Rob, a documentary filmmaker who also dabbles in interior design (he’s currently working on a restaurant in Brooklyn) and his father started stripping this four storey loft of all its generic and commonplace features. Out went the pre-fab kitchens and bathrooms (there are four) and in its place went fixtures and furnishing that are full of character and history. There’s a definitely a cinematic quality to his loft.

Inspired by the work of Lindsey Adelman, Pilichowski and his father made three of these asymmetrical light fixtures for the loft with the help of glass blower David Thai.

Throughout Rob’s loft are family photographs and artifacts of his family’s life in Poland before they moved to Canada. He has a collector’s eye. Walking into his loft is like opening the door to a large cabinet of curiosities.

All of the walnut furniture in Rob’s bedroom was made by his father Roman. Rob says, “he’s old school and could build an entire house from scratch.”

While I was visiting Rob he told me that he actually has big renovation plans for the loft including moving the kitchen to the second floor and possibly adding an all glass extension to the roof. We’ll definitely have to go back for another visit then.



Image credits:
1, 4 and 6 – Michael Graydon
2,3,5 and 7 – Rob Pilichowski
Filed under hello! neighbor, in the press

canadian designer tea towels


It appears like I’m already a little late with this post even though I just found out about these beautifully designed tea towels yesterday! The Bay (Canada’s biggest department store) commissioned three very talented Canadian designers to make limited edition linen tea towels for them. The three artists, Alanna Cavanagh, Bev Hisey and Virginia Johnson have each come up with their own unique and whimsical designs.

Alanna Cavanagh’s tea towel

Virginia Johnson’s tea towel

Bev Hisey’s tea towel

I say, I’m a bit late because Alanna’s tea towel has already sold out! If you’d like one of the other ones you had better move fast. They’re only $14.95 each. By the way, the tea towels are made by Ulster Weavers who have the Royal Warrant to Queen Elizabeth II for kitchen textiles. I hope someone in the Canadian Embassy sends her a few!

**UPDATE – Arren Williams, creative director, at The Bay let me know that Alanna’s tea towels are still in stock in lots of Bay stores and will be available back online early next week. You can sign up for email alerts on The Bay website if you want to make sure you get one!**

Filed under beautiful objects