A visit to the Umbria region of Italy

June 27th, 2017

A week and a half ago I spontaneously took a much needed solo trip to Italy. My friend Kiko was posting some beautiful photos on Instagram and I commented, and she suggested I join her. Normally I wouldn’t follow through, however I was in the process of trying to work through some things (as one is want to do when they have children pushing their buttons every ten minutes). The next thing I knew, I was on a plane, on my own for the first time in 10 years (!).

I arrived in the exact place I needed to be. Locanda del Gallo is located in the mountainous Umbria region of central Italy. Specifically, I was there for a yoga retreat run by YuMee Chung and Pat from Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Centre. If you ever have the opportunity to attend something run by these two, I suggest you do it. I am relatively new to yoga and felt included and supported. Not only that, these two teachers really surround themselves with likeminded, kind people, so socially there was a really nice open vibe. The day started with two hours of yoga, then free time, lunch, free time, two hours of yoga, dinner. There were opportunities for one on one sessions, massage therapy and even a pasta making class. Mostly I just did yoga and hung out by the pool.

The main stone house (John and I are a bit obsessed with stone houses).

Where I spent all of my free time, reading, lounging and swimming.

So heavenly it deserves two views.

My spacious room, with several different views and a lovely cross breeze.

 


 

Day trip into Gubbio, about 30 minute winding drive away.

Obligatory gelato.

We stumbled across a cable car to the summit of Ingino Mount, where we found St. Ubaldo’s Basilica which hosts the remains of the saint.


 

We also visited the town of Bevagna during their Mercato delle Gaite Medieval Festival. Here I am with my friend Kiko, looking uber relaxed.

 

We found a cute little bar/cafe called La Bottega di Assu’ for dinner. It has an artistic youthful vibe (picture of Frida Kahlo marks the entrance) so it was right up our alley.

This restaurant was in the best location, looking over the main square where some performances were happening.

 

After dark, romantic Italian side street wanderings.

Italian scaffolding.

Some kids dressed up, working the outdoor patios.

The town was really dressed up for the occasion.


 

A picture window I would pass many times a day.

Although sunny the entire trip, the last day we awoke to fog.

What an amazing opportunity this was. Thank you to my inlaws who took care of the kids for the week, and to John for encouraging me to seize the day. I may just have to make this a yearly thing…

The soundtrack to our stay. All day long.

Filed under: Travel | 1 comment

House update: exploring wallpaper

May 10th, 2017

It’s been awhile since we’ve featured any home renovation / decorating, and quite frankly I miss it. Thankfully we have a number of areas in our home that we’ve been living with for the last five years, that were left open to new interpretations.

Our sleeping quarters are uniquely constructed in that they are all connected via gorgeously crafted shoji style sliding doors. We did things this way because our bedrooms are on the second floor and run alongside two entry points. This internal corridor of sorts provides for more privacy and a sense of containment and intimacy that the more open entry corridor lacks.

Although it felt frivolous to have two full bathrooms, we knew we were having two children and that one day they would become teenagers. A space was created between their bedrooms that contains a bathroom and shared closet area, only accessible via their bedrooms.

I really wish that I had taken a before photo of the space but I’ll describe it for you. On one side there is a wall to wall oak closet unit from Ikea, and on the other are two Snow cabinets which flank the bathroom door. The walls were white (barely, I think the painters only did one coat of paint!) and there were two random and mismatched small carpets on the floor. On top of the dressers was a mess of boxes containing diapers and other random things, tons of jewellery, hair accessories and nik naks. The space felt unfinished, and we treated it as such, an inevitable dumping ground.

We are huge fans of the classic Swedish shop and design institution Svenskt Tenn. In particular, we have been trying to incorporate the patterns of Josef Frank into our life, with little success (at one point we had some curtains made for our daughter’s room, but a mistake was made with sizing, and our daughter was scared of the more mature print that was chosen).

We finally took the plunge and bought a couple of rolls of Josef Frank’s Vårklockor print. I looked on HomeStars for someone who would be willing to do this small job and found Vlad, who was great! He communicated well, was tidy and did a perfect job, considering this type of wallpaper is not the current convention and more tricky to work with.

WOW! It has totally transformed the space–and possibly our bedtime routine. Not only is it a joy to behold, but it’s also keeping us in line with regards to maintaining the space.

After the wallpaper was installed, we did a little shopping for accessories. The reversible blue/grey Nomad runner rug is from Ferm Living.

Finally, we were able to use our very own Doverail Mirror by Hallgeir Homstvedt, which is adjustable while the kids grow. Funny enough, the kids are still a smidge too short at this lowest setting, thanks to the taller dressers, but soon enough they will be able to start using them!

Norm jewellery stand from Menu. This is it at its most restrained…

We were at the ROM on Saturday and the kids FINALLY enjoy going into the rocks and minerals room. I almost had a problem on my hands when Elodie fixated on acquiring a gemstone for herself (she cleverly mentioned that the ROM shop would have them…I managed to keep her moving along, crisis averted). As luck would have it, this amethyst piece showed up in the shop on Monday, from one of John’s antiques orders.

Wavy Planter from Svenskt Tenn.

Plant from new local flower shop Wildhood. Elodie picked orange, Howell picked yellow.

Brass trays from Ferm Living.

 

We are super happy with the results, and will be updating two more small spaces with a splash of Josef Frank colour in the coming month.

Filed under: Home Reno | 4 comments

Back in Stock – Jurgen Lehl

May 9th, 2017

Jurgen Lehl most popular products are back in stock. Get them online now or at the shop!

Basil Soap

The blend of lavender, patchouli and lemon essential oils and a powder ground from fresh basil gives a clear, invigorating scent.

Jatamansi Shampoo and Rinse Conditioner

Both made from the oil extracted from the root of the Jatamansi flower, this shampoo and conditioner smell incredible.

Jurgen’s Tea are back in stock too!

I. Hojicha Roasted Green Tea, $15 CAD
Roasted green tea from Japan, made from the sun-grown tea known as Bancha. Hojicha tea is roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal at a high temperature, which alters the colour from green to reddish brown. Aged 3 years.

II. No. 1 Tea Blend, $20 CAD

High quality roasted herbal tea from Japan. This blend consists of a sun dried Bancha base, Tear Grass, a tall grain-bearing tropical plant from Southeast Asia, Lizard Tail, a flowering plant native to Japan, and Senna leaves. This tea can be enjoyed both hot and cold.

III. Japanese Mint Tea, $15 CAD
Mint contains one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any food. It also contains menthol, which is a natural decongestant that aids in relieving sore throats. Mint has been used for thousands of years to aid upset stomach or indigestion. Grown on a small farm in Okinawa, Japan.

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New in store!

April 25th, 2017

 

A few new additions to the store. They will be soon available online at mjolk.ca but we couldn’t wait to share these beautiful items.

We are very happy to have 3 pieces from Matthias Kaiser. Matthias studied at Parsons school of design in NY and at Vienna’s university of applied arts, and apprenticed with two japanese master potters in Seto and Karatsu.

He focuses on the inherent qualities of the material and the succession of steps that constitute the process of creation.Trying to reveal, not hide, what is there and has been done. By subtracting industrial processes as far as possible from the refinement of the raw materials and totally from manufacture, the finished pieces retain a heterogenous appearance. His creations are a sum of parts, with infinite possible combinations of shape and surface, texture and colour, weight and size. The pots contain more than a functional and decorative aspect, their poetry lies in the balance of intent and accident as well as in the interplay of physical attributes.

This antique is also new this week. This is a Japanese Sueki Eathenware Ikebana Flower Vase.

Mourne Textiles

  • We love Mourne Textiles, and are really excited to carry more of their products. These placemats and coasters create the perfect harmony with wood elements and Japanese dishware.
  • Created by Gerd Hay-Edie and used by designer Robin Day for Hille in 1951, the Mourne Check was to become a signature fabric widely used for much of his furniture during his ten year period designing for the brand. This durable linen, wool and cotton mix is carefully handwoven on the Kentish looms originally imported in the 1950’s, with colours matched from original heritage palettes.

 

 

 

  • Set of 4 placemats, each 45cm x 30cm
  • Fabric – 50% Linen/ 25% Cotton/ 25% Wool
  • Set of 4 coasters, each 10cm x 10cm

 

SOON ON MJOLK.CA

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Currently in the Showroom ~ New arrival from Neri & Hu for De La Espada

April 19th, 2017

Last week we received some beautiful new pieces of furniture from Neri & Hu for De La Espada.

Frame is a sofa system supported by a wooden frame structure to which various accessories can be clipped, such as a tray or light. Designed by Neri & Hu and manufactured by De La Espada for the Neri & Hu brand. Brass trays can be ordered to attach to the wooden frames.

Available in American black walnut, American white oak, or European Ash in a range of finishes, and a range of fabrics. Optional brass Tray available separately.

The Frame Sofa also comes as a sectional.

 

The Frame sofa in Mjolk Showroom:

 

The Trio Series by Neri & Hu

The Trio series is a tectonic exploration where the composition of the table’s legs is the design focal point. The tables stand on three legs, with each leg attached to another leg with an intermediate horizontal substructure. The tables express a purity of form and material, with the unexpected design focus under the table, where an intricately composed lattice work brings a hidden elegance to the otherwise simple and unassuming table ensemble. Designed by Neri & Hu and manufactured by De La Espada for the Neri & Hu brand.

The Trio Side Table

Available in American black walnut, American white oak, or European Ash in a range of finishes with a solid brass, copper and marble tabletop.

 

 

Photos via De La Espada, unless otherwise noted.

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Finding Inspiration: Josef Frank–The Unknown Watercolours

April 13th, 2017

Kitka_josef_frank_book-4

John picked up this beautiful book from Svenskt Tenn. It’s interesting to delve into how a creative mind works, from still life exploration to timeless and delightful patterns for the home. The book also covers his life and various relationships and how they inspired his work.

Kitka_josef_frank_book-3

It showcases Josef Frank’s watercolours of nature, still life and street scenes.

Kitka_josef_frank_book-1

Tulip inspiration for his famous Primavera print.

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A Greek myth painting and Svenskt Tenn pattern based on Greek poet Anacreon.

 

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