new pure green

The latest issue of Pure Green Magazine is out and it features a home well loved by readers of The Marion House Book. I'm sure you remember Rachel and Paul's Hello! Neighbor tour of their whimsical country home filled with vintage and flea market finds.

I love how different the house looks in these photographs. It's a testament to the crafty skill and decorating prowess of the homeowners. There is honestly so much to feast your eyes on in this space.

For more images of Paul and Rachel's house plus other great features, visit Pure Green to see a sneak peek of the new issue or subscribe to the magazine here. If you live in the Toronto area, you can pick up an issue at Coriander Girl in Parkdale or at Love the Design in Leslieville. Or check out this complete list of stockists.

By the way, if you love Rachel's aesthetic you should stop by her recently opened store in Orono, Sunday's Child. It features a selection of vintage goods hand selected by her and her partner Jude Allison. Even better, the store also offers hands-on workshops where she and other experts will help you craft, knit, sew, crochet, felt or hot glue your own creation. If you live in the city, make a day of it. It only takes about an hour to drive to Orono from Toronto. Spend the day strolling the numerous vintage stores on the Main Street and then book yourself into a workshop at Sunday's Child. I can't think of a better way to spend a winter's afternoon!

Ever Images


a creative space

Is anyone else out there pining for a mini-vacation? A break from all this snow? I know I am. And while I would love to take off to somewhere warm and summery it's just not in the cards at the moment. Instead, I'm making do with small jaunts away that just shake up the routine a bit. Last weekend, Kristin (my Hello! Neighbor photographer and friend) and I left behind our collective four boys with our two husbands and headed east to a small town in Ontario called Orono. We have a mutual friend who moved up there a few months ago who has been renovating an old house. Rachel, is a super talented women who has an eye for detail and as a result has a very specific look. In fact, her downtown Toronto home was the second house I profiled for Hello! Neighbor before Kristin even started shooting for me. In a few weeks, I'll give you a tour of Rachel's new house (it is going to knock your socks off!) but today I thought I would you show you a few snapshots from her design studio where she creates amazing illustrations and graphics.

Rachel is a consummate collector. Every time, I visit her home I'm in awe of the things she has gathered around her. It's a feast for the eyes! Her studio is no exception and is packed floor to ceiling with fabric, ribbon, crafting supplies, magazines, books and interesting collections.

Wouldn't you just love to have a space like this where you could create and make things? Imagine all the things you could get up too!

I also spotted this teacup in another part of  her house that she made last year for her twin's 3rd birthday party. It was the topper for their cake. How's that for impressive? I bet the other moms in Orono dread seeing her at the local bake sale!

Lucky for us, Rachel has a blog where she lets us in on some of her design secrets and crafty solutions. Oh and did I mention she has a way with words. She does! She'll have you laughing out loud at work - no joke.

A visit to Rachel's is the next best thing to an island escape!



hello! neighbor - derek & kristin

Hello! Neighbour this month visits Derek and Kristin and their three sons, Emmett, Cormac and Wyatt. Derek and Kristin have lived in the neighbourhood a long time but they only recently moved into this house. It's not uncommon for people in our community to move from house to house as their families grow larger or their needs change. However, it is very rare that anyone ever leaves the neighbourhood.

Derek and Kristin's house is a blank canvas that they have filled with interesting art, beautifully made furniture and bursts of primary colours. I love the way the children's toys, objects and books merge seamlessly with the whole house. And I absolutely covet the Dutch vintage blanket on Derek and Kristin's bed. Does anyone know if these are still being made?

Enjoy the tour.


Kristin Sjaarda & Derek Shapton



How long have you lived in your home?
8 months

Any animals, kids?

3 kids: Cormac 2 yrs, Wyatt, 7 months and Emmett 4 yrs.

What is your favorite room?

The back mud room because it is very sunny and it holds all our useful, everyday, messy stuff.

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

The books on the teak sideboard including the wooden books that Derek's sister, Leanne Shapton painted.

What are your future plans for the home?

Kristin: front lawn landscaping and front porch reno.

Derek: open up the third floor.

Anything you would change?
Kristin: I hate the mantel place. It was chopped down and painted black by the previous owners. I'd like it to look more original to the house. We are also in search for a new dining room light.

Best thing about living in Parkdale?

Kristin:I have everything I need in the neighborhood, I never have to leave.

Derek: Roncesvalles Ave.

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

Kristin: the front door.

Derek: the banister.

Links, acknowledgments?

All photographs for this post by Kristin Sjaarda for The Marion House Book.

Photo of Chinese lanterns in living room and prints on bedroom wall are Derek's.

Children's alphabet prints above fireplace from Thrasher and Wren etsy store:

Master bedroom bed by Bruce at Wood. Their old house is on this site.

Leanne Shapton's article about Derek:

The piece in the dining room is by Steve White:

The popsicle piece in the baby's room is by Jenny San Martin. watch this cool video:

The chairs in the dining room were given to them by Kristin's brother who is an Emeco dealer:

Vintage darkroom easel on living room wall (above sideboard) found in a junk shop in Penatanguishene ($10.00!)

Sunflower painting on dresser in kids room is by Doris Purchase.

Wooden pull toy (same shot) -- made by Derek's father, Bob Shapton, as a school project when he was an industrial design student at OCAD back in 1965.

Derek also made the little blue robot pillow (in the rocking chair) in Grade 8 Home Economics class.

hello! neighbor - paul & rachel

For this month's edition of Hello! Neighbor, we are visiting with Paul and Rachel and their twins Shep and Georgia who live one street north of us.

Paul and Rachel live in a Victorian house that was formerly owned by an etiquette teacher. There is so much to look at in their home from the objects they collect to Rachel's hand crafted projects. It seems to me like Rachel is always creating whether it is the bunting that runs along the top of a wall or the cookies coming out of the oven or the chandelier that looks like a magpie's nest.

She is also a very talented illustrator and makes these beautiful alphabet prints, perfect for a kid's nursery.

N is for Nestabet

O is for Owlabet

P is for Poppabet

These lovely works and others are available at Rachel's etsy shop, thrasher&wren. Take the time to browse through her site, you won't be disappointed.

Here's their house.....


Rachel Riordan, Paul Riss


Illustrator, Art Director

How long have you lived in your home?

9 years

Any animals, kids?

Twins - Georgia and Shep

Dog - Lucy

Cat - Francis

What is your favorite room?

The Kitchen - backyard patio

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

Family time, usually happening in the kitchen and involving a meal, or baking.

Fav objects: Various religious portraits, Gary the deer, kids tee pee and the antique chandelier hanging in our living room.

What are your future plans for the home?

Overhaul and landscape the backyard, and down the road I would love to open up our attic and make it into a loft bedroom/playroom for the kids.

Anything you would change?

Bigger closets and more storage space!

Best thing about living in Parkdale?

So many great galleries, coffee shops and restaurants within walking distance...important with twin toddlers.

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

The antique chandelier in our living room, I had to fight to keep it when we bought the house (owner wanted to take it)...I persevered and it stayed. And of course original crown molding in both the living and dining room...I paint it, but will always leave it.

Thanks Rachel and Paul.


Giraffe photograph by Chris Gordaneer.

Kids teepee from Baby on the Hip.