the friday files

If you saw the post about my favourite interiors over on the House & Home website a few weeks back then you'll now that I'm drawn to homes that skillfully mix historical elements with contemporary furnishings.  There is something about the juxtaposition of an ornate fireplace with a cleanlined coffee table, for example,  that makes you look at both objects in a new light. It's really no surprise that I'm drawn to these kinds of interiors. My own home, a 1905 Victorian with  many of the original features intact, requires the same balancing act between archival and current.  I think we're all drawn to homes similar to our own. I imagine if I lived in a Post and Beam house in Vancouver this blog would be very different!

Luckily for me, there are a few epicenters around the world where housing stock similar to my own were built: London, England, Sydney Australia, and New York, particularly Brooklyn. Each has its own special characteristics (for example, I absolutely adore the marble fireplace mantles you see in Brooklyn brownstones something we don't see much of up here) but the floor plans and details are often quite comparable.

I'm always on the lookout for renovations of these types of homes and I was happy to see this article and the photos below on this Brooklyn brownstone on Dwell's website. The owner, an architect by the name Jeff Sherman decided early on that his renovation policy was "if it's okay than we keep it". This meant that things like pressed tin on the walls and exposed subfloor all stayed. The result is a very interesting juxtaposition of old and new. For the full article (including some great renovation tips like building closets into your kitchen instead of adding costly cabinets) and more photos, check out the story on Dwell.


Image credits:
Single images: Dustin Aksland
Double images: Catherine Tighe

cast your vote: chair update

A few weeks ago I posted about wanting new chairs for my dining room. Nothing has changed...I would still love a new set of seats for myself and our guests. But there are wish lists and there is reality. After having snapped up one to many rugs at the antique market last weekend (did I fail to mention in my previous post that I bought three rugs that day, oh yeah...) I had to get creative. With Myles' parents arriving from out of town and two of our dining room chairs loose at the hinges I had to look around and see what I could come up with. Then I remembered that we had some Eames fiberglass shell chairs in our basement. (Watch this very cool video from the 1970s showing how these chairs were handcrafted. I love my chairs even more after having watched this.) We had bought them for our first place here in Toronto and have used them mainly as outdoor chairs ever since. I brought them upstairs, laid one of the new rugs on the floors and ta da...not bad.

I'm contemplating purchasing some wooden dowel bases to update the Eames chairs.

via Apartment Therapy

What do you think?

hello! neighbor - lorne & yasmin

As promised, I'm starting a new feature called Hello! Neighbor. The community I live in, called Parkdale, is home to many old and beautiful houses that have found their way into the hands of some very creative people. I'm drawn to homes that reflect the individual tastes and personalities of their owners. I think it is fascinating to see what objects people choose to surround themselves with and what makes them happy. First up is my friend and partner in crime, Yasmin. She and her husband live in a Victorian house just down the road from us...


Lorne & Yasmin


Lorne is a Photographer and Yasmin is a Prop & Wardrobe stylist as well as a Designer & Partner at Marion Melbourne (Interiors)

How long have you lived in your home?

5 years

Any animals, kids?

Yes, 2...



What is your favorite room?

Kitchen, definitely – it is so warm and inviting and light, you never want to leave.

What is your favorite object/thing/moment in your home?

We like to bring back souvenirs from our travels. For example large silk cushions from Thailand, a bedspread from Mexico or rugs from anywhere they make kilims. We have a gorgeous lamp from Morocco that creates beautiful shadows on the wall. It is fun to mix these exotic elements with more modern or even antique furnishings. We don’t want our house to feel like a tourist cruise around the world, but accents make interesting touches.

What are your future plans for the home?

Enlarge entry, create a 3rd floor master bedroom suite in the attic, and the backyard needs help….2 dogs and grass don’t mix very well, and the cinderblock garage could be faced with something more pleasing to the eye. Then there is the front yard…Let’s face it, these old houses are great project houses.

Anything you would change?

A couple more feet in width would be nice - a common Victorian complaint.

What original feature(s) of your home will you never get rid of?

Wood burning fireplace, the stained glass, the mouldings…..and we would like to keep as many plaster walls as possible – their slight imperfections compared to drywall makes the house feel more organic.

Best thing about living in Parkdale?

It’s never boring and a lot of our friends live nearby.

How high are your ceilings?

Over 10ft on the first floor, and a little bit lower upstairs.