Last night we attended the City of Toronto 2013 Urban Design Awards and were honoured to receive, along with Peter and Christine of Studio Junction, an award of excellence for our building, including the front facade restoration, the retail space and home! It was nice to be recognized in this manner because Studio Junction and their crew worked extremely hard on this project, and for us it’s nice to be acknowledged for bringing back the historic live/work aspect of a localized small business strip.
No one knew what big box stores would do to not only our shopping habits, but how we interact (or don’t) with the cityscape. We are so pleased to be a part of a new generation of small businesses working to regenerate the street life that makes our city a vibrant place to live.
Visit the list of winners.
The jury report summarizes the results of the competition.
Last week we took a little road trip, sans bébé, to visit our friends Renaud and Gilbert. They live in paradise and are exceptional cooks so you’re all very lucky we returned. We were ready to give it all up and live the country life. It’s quite a reminder that we don’t interact with nature enough (at all?) in our hectic city life. We will have to make more of an effort to head out into nature more often, especially with our little outdoorsbaby, who collapses in a heap of despair every time we try to bring her indoors.
Gilbert and Renaud (pictured at right chatting with John) are building their own three storey home, with a wood shop on the main floor basement and a lovely ceramics studio just off the kitchen on the second floor. Both are exceptional craftsmen and the details of their home and work show it. We’ll be featuring their studio and home in our next Mjölk volume.
Their property is nearly self sustaining, with a large garden patch, and a beautiful river that runs through it for swimming, contemplation, clay digging or rock hunting.
They have a cat who is a real cat. He goes outside all night long and then passes out exhausted in the morning to sleep the day away. I didn’t realize that this seat was his special place. He made do.
The neighbour down the lane owns the whole big property, and has a donkey, three (?) dogs and about 11 cats.
The neighbour’s guest house (barn) and house.
The house is still under construction as you can see but it has such a nice comfortable vibe. Left over Paella made by Gilbert for lunch before we hit the road.
On our way home we stopped in Montreal for a day. We stayed at Hotel Gault near old Montreal.
With only a day we started at Olive & Gourmande (Renaud recommended it and it was around the corner from our hotel) for some coffee and light breakfast then headed up to Jean-Talon Market.
Feeling kind of lazy we soon found ourselves at Cafe Ellefsen. We had considered doing a feature on it for our next book but found out from the owners that they recently sold it and that it will have to change themes before the end of September. I think the owners are looking for a new location. We had some coffee and then found that it was lunch time so we ordered some Smørrebrød and poutine (when in Quebec…).
With full bellies we walked over to the Mile End neighbourhood. I don’t think I’ve ever been over there! The last time I was in Montreal was in younger years when we went for the nightlife and slept most of the day away. Now it’s the opposite, we’re in bed by 8! Soon we’ll be sporting practical clothing and shoes and backpacks to hike the city streets (never). So I am not sure if Mile End always had things happening or if it’s a relatively newer hot spot. It has some nice design shops, restaurants, cafes and clothing shops (above was my favourite). Worth visiting the neighbourhood as it’s away from the crowds and more youthful.
All in all a relaxing little holiday!
Sorry we’ve been so quiet lately…we hope to get back into the swing of things this fall. We hope that you all had a really nice summer, though didn’t it seem so short this year? We don’t have too much planned for the fall at Mjölk, besides restocking the showroom for the holiday season and focusing our attention on finding new Scandinavian products and the blog. Hope to see you soon!
It’s a little bit tardy to be letting you know that the Junction Design Crawl is in a couple of days (Friday, August 23). This year we partnered up with local design studio MSDS. They are constructing a booth to be placed inside our shop, where we will be selling tasty treats until 11pm, or until it all runs out.
Be Guided by the Lights at the 3rd Annual Design Crawl. Friday, 23 August. 7pm – 11pm:
Hosted by Your Favourite Shops. Start off your Friday night by going out for an evening stroll, where all of your favourite stores will be playing host for the evening. The Junction Design Crawl is organized by a group of independent business owners in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto. Come to participating locations to see innovative design displays, participate in one-of-a-kind installations, savour exotic snacks, and hear great live music. All of the businesses participating in the Junction Design Crawl will have white lights strung up outside of their shops, making it easy to navigate the evening.
I’ve been meaning to write about this subject for some time, but between summer and the Nakashima exhibition, we’ve been in a bit of a whirlwind. We haven’t shared much of our house yet, mostly because we are still settling in! It takes quite some time to feel comfortable putting art up (or acquiring it) and finding special textiles that take a space to the next level of homeyness.
We have a flex space that is currently Elodie’s bedroom (she’ll move to another room once either a) another baby comes along, or b) she escapes her crib and becomes ready for a big kid bed. She has been sleeping in here since December but we’ve only just felt like the room is complete. It’s a small space that is ALL windows and doors. So that makes for a challenge when it comes to shelving and art. I think ultimately though, this isn’t a play room. It’s a sleeping space and needs to be calm and minimal. There is a nice pop of nature out the window (in Canada you legally need to have an operable window in each bedroom, so Studio Junction made a clever little courtyard, where we are in the process of planting some bamboo).
The second we saw the Leander crib and change table we knew it would be perfect for our new home. I had some serious baby brain going on when I put it together but the craftsmanship is really solid and it’s wearing really well despite the odd bite mark around the edges. We invested in the bed because it also turns into a toddler bed, by expanding by about another foot and a half. The only worry I have is that if I turn it into a toddler bed now, we’ll eventually need another crib. I wish buying the toddler bed wasn’t as expensive as buying the crib. If anyone in the Toronto area is selling or sees one for sale, let me know!!!
We found this mobile via Remodelista (oddly I cannot find the post) and ultimately bought it from the maker as the store they had linked in the story didn’t ship to Canada. Another piece that is perfect for both a baby and an adult space (would look nice in a sheltered garden for example).
Pia Wallen Cross Baby Blanket is now available at Mjölk (though may not be online yet). Adult version also available.
Bunny was a birthday gift from a very lovely customer.
This carpet we bought via Etsy. John was looking for Moroccan rugs and this was added while he was lurking on a page. It jumped out at us for Elodie’s room. Since she lives in a pretty neutral world, we thought it’d be that extra punch of colour necessary to make it a less serious space. And even though it’s kid friendly, I think it’s a rug she could love and use into adulthood (that is, after her inevitable rejection phase).
Needing some storage we turned to the much loved Ribba picture shelves from Ikea.
Painting at top was commissioned by Melinda Josie, of our cats. The elephant picture was made by our friend Hollie as a birthday gift. The wood blocks with Elodie’s name are from our friends over at Ltd. Supply Kitchen Brewery (ok, they are our besties, but check out what they are up to if you’re into craft beer).
The Muji CD player is the perfect little thing for a nursery. The giraffe was a surprise gift from Jake of Machine Age Modern. Some vintage and new Moomin books. A Dala Horse from our wedding. The Chalk Piggy Bank was bought from Ladies & Gentlemen Studio (wow they’ve been busy!). Monkey is from our first trip to Copenhagen together. String is from when we tried to sell it in the shop but it proved too complicated. Portrait of us (just pregnant and not knowing it) is by Phillipa C in collaboration with what was Russet & Empire, during the first Junction Design Crawl (mark your calendar, next one is Friday August 23rd!!).
On the left was a gift from Arounna and John of Bookhou.
The print on the right is a signed and numbered lithograph that I coincidentally bought on the same day the rug arrived. Serendipitously they have the same colour scheme and sealed the look for the space. I happened to wander over to Williams on Keele, and as I was chatting away my eyes kept scouring. The print was originally in a fake bamboo style frame and I could only see a part of the gold section – somehow I knew it was a Japanese print worth checking out. I asked to look at it and was shocked, $45! I NEVER luck out with finds like this. Honestly, we debated putting this piece in our room, but Elodie liked it from the get go. She gave it a kiss.
We immediately took it to our new framing friends over at The Gilder. It costs a bit more to get a custom white oak frame but so much better than all the generic styles that are readily available.
The Hans Wegner J16 rocking chair and Artek Zebra Pillow. We use this rocking chair every day, and once this room is no longer a nursery, it will most likely move up to the cottage to continue to be enjoyed.
Moving away from the bedroom, we all know kids stuff gets everywhere. I was starting to feel like we have too much stuff, but have realized we barely have anything. We have two bins and half the stuff is for babies. Elodie doesn’t slow down much to play anyway. She likes running around and practicing skills like climbing up and down. So books and balls and babies are the only things she really interacts with (not even blocks!). The above cardboard box? Needs to go in the recycling…she’s over it.
Elodie loves her chair by Tomii Takashi. It’s the perfect size.
Not pictured is the Ikea easel, for colouring….
And yes, she colours outside of the box. This has been like this for weeks too. Ohhh we are certainly not perfect over here!
The Brasilia coffee table by Claesson Koivisto Rune is a perfect sort of coffee table. Soft rounded corners and hollow means we don’t have to worry about bumps on the head. Except when she climbs up onto the table and jumps off, a constant fascination.
She barely pays any mind to that Masanobu Ando sculpture. And if she does we just take it and move it up high. But generally she’s not all that interested in the stuff around the house. Now that’s obviously her personality, and not all kids will act this way. I find that she gets into trouble if she’s bored or tired.
In the living room there are some low shelves for Elodie’s toys.
Shhh sleeping bunny. Also, banana hands, everywhere, always.
Finally on this not so kid friendly yet kid friendly home tour, the rocking sheep (contact us for info, not on website), which for some reason ended up in our bedroom but has yet to leave. And really, it’s quite nice in our room. A touch of kid in an adult space.
Note: Based on this post it seems like we get a lot of free stuff, but it’s not usually the case. Babies bring the love.
We understand that shipping can be expensive, and we really wish it weren’t so. Please meet our stockists! We are so happy to be working with such an interesting variety of cafes, book stores and retail spaces. If you live near one of the following, we highly recommend you pay them a visit, if only to check out what they are bringing to their respective cities.
Analogue Books – Edinburgh, UK
BooksActually – Singapore
Fredericia Shop – Copenhagen, Denmark
Kiki – Stockholm, Sweden
Magic Pony – Toronto, Canada
Monocle Shop - Toronto, New York, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong
Parlour Coffee – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Post Espresso – St. John’s, Newfoundland
RosaBooks – China
Your Mind – Seoul, South Korea
If you live in a city that is not represented above, and know of a shop that you think would be perfect for our book, please let them, or us know!
Last week on Wednesday night we opened our doors for the opening reception of the first Nakashima retrospective in Canada. We had an incredible turn-out and we thank everyone who took the time to visit and say hello to us and the Yarnall-Nakashima family.
An Ikebana bowl specially made by Masanobu Ando, and a flower arrangement by Mira Nakashima with flowers from Coriander Girl. So beautiful!
Conoid dining chairs made with walnut and carved hickory pickets.
Beautiful lounge chairs in cherry with maple burl arms.
Asa-no-ha cabinet with a Conoid coffee table in front. Tea ceremony tools by Masanobu Ando.
Large vase by Uchida Kouichi on the left, and Urushi tea containers, and tooled tray by Shingo Tsukuda.
A Mira box / jewelry box.
Nakashima belongs in our showroom.
The most beautiful wood boxes and trays by Tsukuda Shingo.
The tori arch of the Conoid Bench.
A special vase by Japanese potter Uchida Kouichi resting on the edge of the bench.
Hand tooled wooden trays by Tsukuda Shingo.
Peeking into the rarely photographed back half of our showroom.
Tea Ceremony bowls and trays made by Masanobu Ando.
A unique collection of Calligraphy tools made by Masanobu Ando for the exhibition. Mira Nakashima was nice enough to lend us her Calligraphy brushes for the exhibition display.
One of our favourite collections in the exhibition, the desk, the Captain’s chair and the table lamp are spectacular. Hovering above is a silver glazed cross by Masanobu Ando. Ando-san doesn’t have a connection to the cross, but he saw many on a trip to Europe and thought they would make a nice wall flower vase.
Grass-seated chairs with a wall hanging cabinet.
Ultimo bench with Japanese indigo fabric.
Minguren end table with vase by Uchida Kouichi.
Black copper glazed lidded statues by Uchida Kouichi.
Hand chiseled black urushi coated tableware by famous wood craftsman Ryuji Mitani.
A collection of hammered silver works by Mami and Takejiro Hasegawa.
The Opening reception with Mira Nakashima in her summer Yukata.
A collection of woodworkers (including our architect Peter Tan) nerding out ;)
The two Johns – John Baker & Jon Yarnall (Mira’s husband, woodworker and head of the Nakashima chair department).
A big thank you to:
Fielding Estate Winery - your wine was highly complimented all evening. Thank you for helping make our evening a special success.
Sali Tabacchi – we adore your innovative program design!
Mira and Jon Yarnall, Maria and Maya for coming to Toronto to be a part of this historic event.