Mjolk guest cottage!

September 3rd, 2012

This is officially the last weekend of the summer, and we’re currently sitting on our deck after a large pancake breakfast sipping on some coffee. I’ve been asked a bunch of times how the cottage renovation has been, and when we were going to be posting some more photos.

We’ve been holding off sharing it because we let Remodelista have the exclusive to the story. Since there will inevitably be some readers who don’t follow Remodelista, or simply missed the article we wanted to do our own post about it as a nice farewell to the summer.

Of course, I have the feeling we are in store for some beautiful weather in September, we can already feel the cool breeze coming off of Georgian Bay.


I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but the whole inspiration for this cottage was the “Finnish summer home”. There is a large Finnish and Estonian community in Ontario, in fact we have the highest amount of Finns outside of Finland. We liked the idea of bringing back the cottage to it’s original state with natural pine floors, and simple practical furniture. We wanted the pieces we chose to furnish the cottage with to feel as if they had always been there.

Now taking a second to study this photo, you can begin to appreciate what adding a layer of plaster did for the white fireplace. When it was simply painted stone it just didn’t look right. We also added an iron hook and a Japanese palm broom and dustpan to break up all of the white.


The Swedish sconces look just like tree branches.


A pair of Aalto shelves with some Japanese iron sculptures, an old laminated wood architecture model, a milk bottle terrarium, a birch bark box to hold matches, and a brass Wirkkala-esque candle holder.


For the dining room, we settled on a table, bench, and chair set by Ilmari Tapiovaara.


We even picked up a stool for additional seating, or to be used next to the fireplace to stoke the fire.



I think it pairs really well next to the vintage Aalto bar cabinet.


Stacked rocks.


The stool in the foreground is an early 1930s/40s Aalto stool we found at Machine Age Modern in Leslieville. The sofa is a blue Hiroshima sofa by Naoto Fukasawa with beech wood legs.

The sofa choice was inspired by Aalto’s blue sofa we saw in his home in Helsinki.


Aalto also used these Zebra pillows on that blue sofa in his home, so we order a couple for ourselves directly from Artek.


All of the bedding is colourful striped sheets and pillowcases from Marimekko. In all of the bedrooms we have small Aalto luggage benches.



The second guest bedroom with wood blinds from Bamboo Bazaar.


Both of the wall lights are paper and wood lights by Miguel Mila. We’ve started to carry his lighting in our shop, I just haven’t had the time to update our website yet!


The final bedroom actually fits 2 twin beds, both with lime green striped bedding.


An Aalto bench as coffee table, and the beehive pendant light.


Finally the best room in the house. Furnished with two beautiful Alvar Aalto daybeds upholstered in Aalto’s Sienna pattern.


I can’t believe the summer is almost over, but we’re really looking forward to the fall. We’re getting a bit anxious to travel, so hopefully we can line up a trip or two before the end of the year.

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Photos from Junction Design Crawl 2012

August 25th, 2012


Last night was the 2nd Junction Design Crawl, and it was such a nice surprise to see so many familiar faces. Thank you to everyone who came out to explore the Junction and all of its unique businesses.

Our event was the tardy launch of Mjolk book volume 1. We had a bunch of special goodies on hand from Iceland and Hokkaido for people to buy as well as highlighting the makers and designers featured in our first volume.


The wrapwrap by Naoto Yoshida, the wood business card case by Masakage Tanno, and a very special hand carved Ainu bear from Hokkaido.

junction_design_crawl-6 junction_design_crawl-7

Kami cups, Pia Wallen and Iris Hantverk.


An Iba Takahito stool was on hand with our book – bookmarked to the page with an article on him.


This Ainu bear is perhaps the nicest one we have come across, it was kind of heart wrenching to see it go, but we know it went to a good home!


Something we were specifically excited about: all of the small Icelandic goodies we imported.


Opal and Topas candies, as well as Icelandic hot dog mustard.


Very cool wild herbs.


One of my favorite things in the world is show and tell. We thought it would be neat to display some things from our own personal collection, items we’ve picked up during our travels that continue to inspire us.

Many of the works are by artists we admire, or items that lead us to carrying a specific artist in our store.



Some wood spoons by Ryuji Mitani, and ceramic spoons by Nathalie Lahdenmaki.

On the left a plastic box, cherry wood cooking shovel, and box of air by Masanobu Ando.


A mix of objects including a copper Tapio Wirkkala bowl, Lisa Larsson fox, hand carved wood fox from Asahikawa, Japanese lacquer coated kin tea light holders by CKR.



We were so busy that we didn’t really have much of an opportunity to visit all of the shops in the neighborhood! This is just a sampling, but I’m sure there will be a lot of photos on the Design Crawl blog shortly, so stay tuned.

Mason’s beautiful cup light installation and harpist in the train platform across the street.




Russet & Empire and Phillipa C‘s picture booth.




Articulations front window – there was more inside but it was too busy to get a quick peek (same for Opticianado). Sadly never made it over to Narwhal or Telephone Booth Gallery. Hopefully their exhibits will be up for a little bit longer!

Until next year……


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Junction Design Crawl 2012

August 24th, 2012


Be Guided by the Lights at the 2nd Annual Junction Design Crawl: a
Night of Special Events for Your Pleasure, Hosted by Your Favourite

Is there a better way to start off Friday night than going out for a
nice 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 from Keele St and Dundas
West to Pacific Avenue in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto. Come
to participating shops to see innovative design displays, participate
in one-of-a-kind installations, savour exotic snacks, and hear great
live music.

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August 18th, 2012


Last weekend we hosted Oji Masanori, and Mr. and Mrs. Hira of Studio Prepa for our latest exhibition “ISSHO”.

We had the opening party on Saturday, and the public viewing all day Sunday. We hope you enjoy the photos we took!


A new porcelain series made in Arita Japan.


Special Kami wooden plates.



New walnut bread trays.


On the left, black urushi coated brass trays, and above a unique glass bowl by studio Prepa.


Glasses by Studio Preppa.


A collection of crafts from Asahikawa.




A new Japanese lacquer ware set by Oji Masanori.


Little droplets at the bottom of each glass.





The party begins…



We picked up some big bottles of Ontario brewed sake from the Distillery district and kept them cool in this cypress wood bucket. All the sake was consumed within the first 30 minutes, but we still had plenty of beer left!


Silver cutlery by Oji Masanori, and new clear glasses in collaboration with Oji Masanori and Studio Prepa.








John’s doppelganger dropped by.


Mr. Hira of Studio Prepa, and Peter Tan of Studio Junction.


Oji and Taku.




We listened to Japanese surf and 60s rock all night thanks to Blue Jeans, and Yuzo Kayama.



A big thank you to Oji Masanori, Takuya Matsuo, and Studio Prepa for traveling all the way to our store for the opening. I think the concept of ISSHO -together- was felt by everyone that night.

Thank you for everyone that visited the exhibition! Next up is the Design Crawl on Friday, I hope to see you there!

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Gift for Elodie

August 11th, 2012

Oji Masanori arrived last night with a collection of beautiful and thoughtful gifts for Elodie.

Takahashi Hidetoshi made the beautiful plate, bowl and mini Kami mug.

We have always admired Oji’s children’s glass.

The red lacquer baby spoon is an item that Oji bought when his son was a baby.

Yes, before you say it, we realize young children are especially reckless with stuff but it is an important learning opportunity. These items will be used under supervision until she is old enough to control her motor skills and appreciate the specialness of these pieces. This is such a wonderful set that Elodie can enjoy for years. And we’re coming on five months and the introduction of cereal very soon. Perfect timing!

If the items themselves weren’t enough, the wooden pieces have been stamped with Elodie-chan. Kawaii!

Domo arigato Oji Masanori and Takahashi Hidetoshi!

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ISSHO – Oji Masanori exhibition

August 11th, 2012

Tonight: Saturday, August 11 for the opening party, exhibition is August 11-12.

We are super excited to host another exhibition by Oji Masanori & friends.

ISSHO : together
OJI Masanori’s New Works & Handsome Glass Tools by STUDIO PREPA
Co-Exhibition: Wooden Handicrafts from Asahikawa
August 11, 7-10pm party with artists in attendance
August 12, 12pm-5pm, exhibition with artist in attendance

We have worked with Toronto artist Melinda Josie to create the gorgeous event poster above, which will be available in a small run limited edition (25) giclee print at the event and online for $175.


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