new kitchen stools

At last, my new kitchen stools have arrived! You might remember back in January of this year I started my search for some new counter stools for our kitchen island. After much deliberating, I settled on these leather stools from Spain. marionhousestools2

I first spotted the chair version of this stool at a store in Toronto called Green Light District. I fell in love with the classic and timeless form and that yummy caramel leather.


When I asked whether or not they came in a stool version I was surprised to hear a resounding yes. They fulfilled all my criteria which was: a stool with a back, not prone to tipping over when little people jump out of them and easy to wipe clean. I ordered four of them and sat back to await their arrival from Spain.


We tend to eat most of our meals in the kitchen mainly because it makes cleanup that much easier. Orla's in that stage when at least half of her meal ends up on the floor. Getting rice off a carpet is no easy task not to mention tomato sauce.

marionhousestoolsIt's perfect in the summertime because we can open up our back doors practically living inside/outside. I've come to really love seeing those doors with the black finish and I'm convinced that painting the interiors in the same black would make a big difference.

marionhousestools4A friend of mine picked up this amazing Knot basket for me in Los Angeles. It's made by hand in Japan by artist Shigeki Fujishiro. It truly is a work of art. The fact that I can use it as a practical fruit basket makes it all the more interesting to me.


Here's one last look at the stools. I absolutely love them. They were worth the wait.

What do you think? Worth the wait? Next question do I change those pendant lights to these?


open kitchen shelving revealed!

The wait is over! Today, I'm happy to reveal our new open wood shelving in the kitchen.

What do you think? I decided to use raw, unfinished black walnut for the shelf and that surprise element I alluded to in my last post is a long, horizontal strip of mirror that reflects back the marble backsplash and light from the windows on the opposite wall. In part, the reason I went with the walnut is to compliment the Limited Edition Eames Hang-It-All which hangs beside it. I originally thought I would use white oak but when I saw the soft but rich tones of this wood I changed my mind. The whole room now looks something like this:

If you remember, I was working with a couple of restrictions on the design of this shelf. First up, I didn't want to spend more than $500, second, I was working with a really tight turnaround time as I wanted the shelf ready for a photoshoot and finally I wasn't sure if there would be any damage to the back wall. I called up my friend Dawson of Relik Design who made my bed and asked him whether or not he thought this was feasible. Luckily, he agreed that if I produced the design, he would get me the shelf, on time and on budget! The mirror actually ended up being a helpful design element as it provided a way for us to hide the hardware we were attaching the shelf to the wall with.

Here's a look at the before and after.

Pretty big change, right? I'm really happy to finally have some wood in the kitchen. I would urge anyone who is thinking of doing an all white kitchen to consider adding some wood elements to the room whether it be the floor, countertops or shelving. It really warms the whole room up and provides some contrast against all the white. In fact, the whole room feels much lighter and more cohesive since we added the open shelving.

I've also had a few people ask me whether or not I'm worried about the dust but I honestly can't say it is a problem. These are the glasses and dishes we use on a daily basis so they are constantly in and out of the dishwasher. Wiping down the inside of the shelf is no harder than wiping the countertop below it.

I"m very happy with the way this shelf turned out. I love being able to see all of our plates and glasses on display and to be able to reach them easily. Might just be the best $500 I've ever spent. I think my little helper would agree!

Image credits:
All The Marion House Book (except images 1 and 2 - Kristin Sjaarda)



before and afters

Are you like me? Do you love a good before and after? Two years ago, this March, we moved into The Marion House. Since that time the house has gone through a lot of alterations and renovations. I have tried to document the changes along the way. The other day, as I was going through my archives I came across this selection of before and afters. What amazes me is that many of the rooms have already changed since these photographs were taken! The living room in particular looks quite different. I guess I really am a serial renovator.

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.