hello!neighbor - anja and andreas

Well, here we are in the final week leading up to Christmas. No doubt, most of us still have lots to do! If you have a moment, take a look at this special Christmas edition of Hello! Neighbor. Anja and Andreas kindly welcomed us into their home a couple of weeks ago, hours after they finished decorating it for the holidays. It's a really stunning house with many of the original details still in tact including beautiful woodwork in the hallway and the most amazing radiator covers I have ever seen. You'll also notice throughout the house, Anja's own deft sewing skills. She made the pouf in  the living room, the quilt in the master bedroom (styled after a Hudson's Bay Blanket) and the blinds in the upstairs bedrooms. As we head into the New Year, I'll be on the lookout for more homes to feature in the Parkdale neighbourhood. If you think your house would be a good fit, drop me a line.

Enjoy the tour!


Anja, Andreas and Oscar Duess


Client Rep and VP at Marsh Canada Limited  and  Partner and Chief Creative at fisheye corporation.

How long have you lived in your home?

 About 4 years

When was your home built?


Any kids or pets?

Our son Oscar is 18 month and we have three cats, Oswald, Felix and Bella

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

Anja: Living room, just love hanging out at the fire place

Andreas: The kitchen. I am the cook in the family, cooking is my way to relax after work.

What were the major changes you  made to the house?

It used to be a rooming house, so slowly over time taking over apartments and returning it to being a single family home. We're carefully peeling back the layers and were lucky enough to find some of the original features, such as cast iron radiator covers and high baseboards.

How did you end up living in Parkdale?

We moved to Canada in 2004 and always lived in the West End, first Roncesvalles, then the Brockton Triangle and finally fell in love with our house on Melbourne Avenue.  We met and got married in London, UK; Parkdale has a very similar vibe to the part of town where we both lived at the time, Islington. When we first looked at Parkdale, we felt at home immediately.

What are your favourite holiday/Christmas traditions?

Love the advent calendar. Candles, yes we have real candles in the tree. Gluehwein (mulled wine), Christmas songs, dinner with family and friends. We are big Christmas nerds.

What is on your Christmas table? Do you have a traditional meal you serve each Christmas?

Andreas: Every Christmas my dad used to make a herring salad for Christmas eve. It's a meal in itself, with beets, walnuts, diced roast beef and sour creme. Every Christmas I plan on making it myself, but it's ton of work, so far I've never got around to it.

Anja: Our tradition is roast version with red cabbage, pan fried Brussels sprouts and mashed or roast potatoes. Dessert is usually bread and butter pudding but this year I'll make a chocolate and red beet cake.

What is your favourite Christmas song?

Winter Wonderland

What are you hoping Santa brings you this year?

Anja: In general that my family remains healthy and happy. If you mean presents, I'd love to find a bag from Sarra Tang' s Hoi Bo design firm under the tree.

Andreas: Materially, we try to reduce clutter and stuff in our lives, so we're not big present people. I love reading, we both love and collect art, that kind of thing. I also love cooking and last year Anja got me a stove top smoker, which was pretty much the best Christmas present ever.

Thanks for welcoming us into your home Anja and Andreas and Happy Christmas!

All photographs by Kristin Sjaarda for The Marion House Book


gift guides - for kids and for him

Let's kick of the week with my second and final installment of gift guides. Today, I'm presenting a few ideas for the little ones in your life and for him. How is your holiday shopping coming along? I think I'm almost finished although there are always seem to be a few things I never get around to until the very last minute.

1 - Red Bonnet with Flower - Patouche
2 - Manimal Moccasins - available at Sweet William
3 - Felt Egg Cozy and White Egg Cup - Cozies come in set of three - available at Indigo
4 - Eco Kids Eco Dough - available at NonChalant Mom
5 - Jess Brown Homemade Rag Doll - available at Sweet William


And a few ideas for him. I got the idea of having a custom Cowichan Valley Sweater made for that special guy in your life from my own Mum who bought Henry the most adorable Cowichan knit sweater the last time she visited. I actually really want one for myself!

1 - Wine Rack - range of options available at The Arthur
2 - Old World Leather Journal - available at Indigo
3 - Crazy Canuck Toque - available at The Drake General Store
4 - The Bay pillows by Yahbag - available at The Arthur
5 - Custom made Cowichan Sweater - Quw'utsun'



bit of an update

Last weekend was truly memorable. Not only did I celebrate a birthday but I spent a few lovely days with my parents and family. We certainly got into the festive mood attending an outdoor Christmas market, drinking hot apple cider, decorating a gingerbread house (or jingle bell house as Henry called it) and listening to Christmas carols.

The highlight of the weekend was definitely our visit out to Horton Tree Farm to cut down our Christmas tree. We bucked tradition this year and went with a soft, feathery White Pine tree instead of our usual short needled Frasier Fir. It just looked like the perfect tree standing out there in the woods and I was willing to try something new.

The arrival of the Christmas Tree always means a bit of rearranging in our home and I convinced Myles that perhaps this was the perfect opportunity to try an even bigger change - flipping our living room and dining room. (Something, I've been wanting to try for awhile!) After much discussion he agreed and we spent the morning moving all of the furniture around. I LOVE the new setup. Not only does it increase circulation space in the two rooms but it makes our living room much more inviting and comfortable. I'll have some photo updates for you shortly.

(in the midst of the move!)

We spent the evening eating cheese fondue (in our new dining room) and celebrating my birthday. Henry chose a delicious chocolate cheesecake and some electric coloured cupcakes as my birthday treat. He was so excited and his enthusiasm was absolutely contagious. There was so much goodness all around.

And for those of you who are curious, I'm happy to say that my not so subtle birthday wish list post was a success. Myles and Henry picked up the Iacoli & McAllister No. 5 necklace for me along with a beautiful selection of air plants to which my sister-in-law added even more.

(this is only part of my new collection!)

I also somehow managed to find myself the owner of this stunning Stewart + Brown Freja Blanket Coat in Black Marl which I have been ogling for months now.

A friend of mine purchased it for herself but then found it was too big. When she asked me if I wanted to buy it off of her I couldn't say no. It was like the coat had heard me talking to it and decided to give itself to me as a birthday present. It will look perfect with the new Salvatore Ferragamo Hobo handbag my parents bought me.

Yes, I was a lucky, lucky girl. But the best part was spending all that time just doing things with my family, completely in the moment and enjoying the smallest gestures. Simply a lovely weekend.