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August 2008

HOME + GARDEN MODERN architecture

A Family House Turns Into Club Clive

modern architure house of clive wilkinson in los angeles

Can a family house be the ultimate entertaining house? It seems so by looking at the amazing modern house designed by architect Clive Wilkinson in Los Angeles.

Space Planning

This fabulous modern architecture house integrates a sense of togetherness. The house works wonderfully for entertaining because the plan emphasizes the flow of people, like the way nightclubs are designed.

But it is done at an house scale. The space planning encourages people’s interactions in an airy yet cozy environment.

Any family with young children wishes for a long communal dining table with a glass wall wide opened to the backyard next to a kitchen looking at the pool.

The place can accommodate lots of people at the same time without feeling crowded. People can play, swim, take a sunbath, prepare food and eat with the impression of being in the main area.

A Search for the Ideal Urban Starter Home

Even if his friends refer to his house as Club Clive, the house was not designed for partygoers. It was designed to compensate for the drawbacks of dense city life for families: the lack of usable outdoor space.

After you examined the house carefully, you see how it fits into the lifestyle of young families by trying to maximize the indoors-outdoors connection. It is funny because the 53 years old owner lives alone in this house.

The New York Times describes the plan of this 3,300-square-foot home in these terms:
“The house reduces the starter idea to bare essentials: two overlapping stucco barns (one contains a living room, the other the kitchen/dining areas and guest bedrooms) surrounding a pool and social space, with a third barn for a master bedroom suite.”

I would live in a house like that. Get the whole story on The New York Times.


Marimekko Autumn 2008 Collection

marimekko autumn 2008 kitchen :: purnukka terttu mustikkamaa

For Autumn 2008, the new fabric patterns emerged from 5 designers and an autumnal color palette for the classic design of Maija Isola series. Multifaceted depictions of the treasures and wonders of nature best describe the latest Marimekko’s crop.

I particularly like the Purnukka pattern (bottom left) by Erja Hirvi available in shades of beetroot and pickled gherkin, blueberry blue, and tomato red.

Terttu by Aino-Maija Metsola brings happiness to your table all year long. Mustikkamaa (top picture) was designed in 2007 but it is part of Autumn 2008 collection. iPot holders and table linens Mustikkamaa.

Teresa Moorhouse gives a modern edge with her glowing blue-red-orange feline fairytale jungle scene Sininen Gepardi pattern available in fabric, plate and mugs. I want some plywood trays.

+ Interior Decoration by Marimekko


7 New Vases at IKEA and Target

seven ceramic flower vases :: farm and blomster at ikea :: contemporary  silver ceramic vases

We need a bunch of flower vases to accommodate various blooms and update our décor. With a lot of affordable vases on the market, it is a cheap way to decorate.

Glamorous Look

Look for contemporary metallic finishes and high-gloss silvery ceramic vases to instantly add sparkles to any room. Go for the cluster design by arranging them in duo or trio anytime you wish to host a glamorous party.

I split my list into two categories, the high vases (higher than 12 inches) and the standard height vases.

High Vases

Standard Height Flower Vases

I like to display a grouping of identical or almost identical flower vases. I usually vary one element per grouping. The FÄRM series is a great example of that design principle.

The vases of the FÄRM series share the exact shape and color; it is the texture that brings out the individual character. You could assemble your own collection from finds at flee markets or by buying the latest trend from different brands.

If you are unsure about how to arrange your cut flowers, bring your vase with you at the florist. If you cannot bring the vases with you, take a digital photo with your phone. This way, you will get a killer look.

Check out more ideas on Style Sheet.


Contemporary Aesthetics by Snow and Graham

calendars :; gift wrapping papers :: greeting cards :: note block by snow and graham

I have a thing for paper goods. One of the most inspiring brands over the last decade is Snow and Graham. I follow their progress for a while now.

Snow and Graham recently launched a new Web site. The new Web site is beautifully done but sadly they opt for an entire Flash site. It is hard to believe that brands still do that in this age of social community.

I can forgive them because Snow and Graham makes amazing products. As I laid my eyes on their catalogue, I was in awe. The patterns are stunning.

Snow and Graham produces beautiful calendars. I hang several big calendars at home and at the office. I am tired of the square box look with a picture on the top page. I will go for something different next year. Snow and Graham’s calendar collection is lovely.

I adore their everyday letterpress cards. They have models for every occasion from birthdays, anniversaries to newborns, showers and congratulations.


If you wonder why I do not like Flash sites from a user’s perspective, it is because you cannot bookmark a page in or on any other social networks I used. This means, I will lose time to find the info I am looking for the next time I need it. I cannot direct you to the proper link either. In their case, the exact same look and feel can be achieved with a CSS HTML Web site while using a Flash engine for their photo gallery.

If you wish for the best search engine optimized Web site or a site that people will want to visit often on their iPhone to show to their friends, opt for something else than a Flash Web site. That’s it for sharing my two cents in Web design. Old habits are hard to die; I used to be a Web designer.

Going Back To Paper Goods

I am also due for new noteBLOCKS. I guess I will be visiting Origami Plus on Greene Avenue in Westmount, Quebec pretty soon. I need to go in Westmount anyway to exchange a defective cake stand I bought at Zone for the Corn Roast Cupcakes.

Snow and Graham products are only available through retailers. Check their Web site to locate a store near you.

+ Snow and Graham
Via Paper Shop Ink


Daily Quick Links | Pool Manners and Birthday Party Favors

pool manners :: candy party favors :: black and white dinnerware

This is my daily collection of noteworthy stuff that I saw online.

+ We had a big swimming pool when I was a kid so I am totally approve of the advice given by Apartment Therapy Los Angeles in their post May We Borrow Your Pool? One time, a girl that never spoke to me in school rang my door with her swimsuit. The rules apply to any events. Be a good guest and do not extend your stay.

+ If you are looking for fun birthday party favors, why not filled with candies a mini candy dispenser with scoop or give miniature classic gumball machines by Beau-coup. The double-decker mini candy bins are pretty cool. Via Style Me Pretty

+ The Industrial Hand is an intriguing black and white tableware collection designed by Heather Mae Erickson. Glossy and matte finishes plays against each other in an asymmetric pattern. The Appetizer Platter with 7 Slant Vessels (not shown) and the Cup, Spoons & Saucers on Tray have unique shapes. Via designboom

+ The Taka trunk at Crate & Barrel hides removable bottle dividers. That trunk conveys an old-world steamer trunk. It carries a Spanish mood. NOTCOT refers to it as Pirate Bar Coffee Table and I kind of agree.

+ Supplement the pirate bar decor with the impressive Felted Wool Stones by the talented South African textile designer Ronel Jordaan. They are now available at Viva Terra. I met Ronel two years ago when she came to SIDIM in Montreal. She explained her process to us. Her rock cushions look real and each one is unique since they are handmade. I have seen many lookalikes but Ronal Jordaan’s rock cushions are second to none.

ALL occasions GIFT IDEAS PAPER goods

Personalized Stationery and Accessories by Iomoi

custom paperweights:: coasters :: address labels, note pads and calling cards by iomoi

As I was looking for calling card options, I discovered Iomoi, a small Californian brand that makes calling cards, address labels, stationery, invitations, coasters, paperweights, handmade Lucite trays, memo pads and more.

Iomoi also operates an e-stationery service based on a membership. But what I like is really their physical products.

You can select amongst 90 designs for your calling cards. Most designs are available for any products. You can buy one coaster, a pair or in a set of 4, 6 or 12 pieces.

The oval and dome paperweights are packaged in iomoi’s signature brown box. A personalized paperweight makes a nice gift to someone that just got a promotion or opening a business.

+ Navy Coakley Cay Dome Paperweight – price: $68 USD
+ Circle Pattern Sky Coasters – price: 4 for $95, other quantities available
+ Palm Beach Turtle Oval Paperweight – price: $42 USD
+ Address Labels – 120 for $42 USD
+ Yellow Pagoda Memo Pad – price: $48 with tray and 250 sheets
+ Leaf Pattern Green Calling Card – price: 50 for $68, 100 for $108
Via Absolutely Beautiful Things


Guest Blogging on Desk Chairs


Style Sheet, the blog of, published my latest guest blogger post this morning.

I went on a hunt for three desk chairs that would look great in a home office.

I selected three styles that suit three budgets from home furniture stores across Canada. If you enjoy, leave a comment on Style Sheet.

If you wonder, I sit all day on an Aeron chair by Herman Miller. I felt for this icon ergonomics chair ten years ago. I feel that it is money well spent since I passed long hours at my desk.

Via Style Sheet


Provencal Menu Inspirations from the French Saveurs magazine

tian recipes and family-style service by saveurs

Originally tian refers to a classic ceramic gratin dish than is frequently used in French Provencal cuisine. With times, it moves to what was inside the dish.

A tian is always made with sliced vegetables arranged in altering rows. Meat can be used to accentuate the taste.

A tian dish always looks inviting. It is comfort food at its best that can easily feed a large group. The tian recipes scream alfresco dinner.

The July-August 2008 issue of Saveurs features 4 tasty tian recipes. For a twist, they propose an entrée version of tomatoes, goat cheese and pine nuts. The classic Provencal tian is made of tomatoes, eggplants, zucchinis, anchovies, olives and fresh rosemary.

Tomatoes, Goat Cheese And Pine Nuts Tian Recipe

Recipe by Valery Drouet – translated from Saveurs

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 8 ounces (250 grams) of lightly dried goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of fir honey
  • 4 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 ounces (60 grams) of pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to prepare the recipe:

  1. Heat on the stove the honey and olive oil with some salt and pepper.
  2. Slice the tomatoes and the goat cheese. Aim for a regular thickness.
  3. Preheat the oven grill
  4. Place a sheet of parchment paper (waxed paper is not oven-proof) in 4 individual oven dishes. Layer the tomatoes and the goat cheese in an altering pattern. Sprinkle the pine nuts and pour the honey-olive oil mixture.
  5. Put under the grill for 8 to 10 minutes
  6. Serve immediately with a mesclun salad and a white Bellet wine, if you can find one of the oldest vineyards in France.

It is hard to find a bottle of Bellet wine outside France since it is also one of the smallest French appellations. The Bellet vineyards are located next to the city of Nice. The main grapes are Rolle (80 to 90%) with a hint of Chardonnay. Honey and bananas are the main aromas.

The last two pictures illustrate the charms of using vintage metal pots to serve family-style your meals. Take advantage of the Labour Day weekend to prepare a similar setting.

Calling for Help

If you read French, I encourage you to find the July-August 2008 issue. There is also an interesting article on ice cream. I regularly buy this magazine since it is widely available in Montreal. I am not sure if you can find it on specialty shops across North America. If you know a source in English Canada or the United States, share it by commenting.

+ Saveurs
+ Tians photographed by Valéry Guedes, Styled by Valéry Drouet for July-August 2008 of Saveurs – pages 26-27
+ Bottom pictures photographed by Éric Fénot, Styled by Delphine Brunet for July-August 2008 of Saveurs – pages 56-57


Daily Quick Links | Craft Organization and Old-fashioned Tailgating

martha stewart ribbon storage box :: tailgating by sweet paul :: notNeutral Transport Ceramic Snack Set

This is my daily collection of noteworthy stuff that I saw online.

+ The Archimede Laptop Caddy designed by Leonardo Rossano in 2006 would be handy when I blog in front of the TV. I am tired of putting my laptop on lap. Unfortunately at $950, it is too expensive for my needs. Via Los Angeles Times

+ But the new Ebony Ribbon Storage Box from Martha Stewart Crafts collection is an affordable indulgence. Via Los Angeles Times

+ Rediscovering the simple pleasures of tailgating when it did not mean a large BBQ on a stadium parking. Photos by Studio Dreyer Hensley. Via Sweet Paul

+ notNeutral Transport Ceramic Snack Set is another kid dinnerware set that is neither in melamine nor in vibrant colors. notNeutral sells the 3-piece set for $32. It is more than double the price of Bodum Kids dinnerware set I showed you last Sunday. There is a market for something else than the big movies theme in kid tableware. Via Ohdeedoh

+ I like the German-made Weck Canisters available at Heath Ceramics. Via Hoping for Happy Accidents

+ Pretty amazing of shots from the Beijing Olympics that you never seen. The gallery contains 150 captivating pictures. Via Twitter


My Amazing Epluchette Treats by Clever Cupcakes

epluchette cupcakes by clever cupcakes

Last Saturday, a friend hosted his annual epluchette de ble d’inde (corn on the cob party). This a familial outdoor party where we eat freshly picked corns cooked in boiling water. It is a tradition here in Quebec.

I decided to order two dozens of creative cupcakes from Clever Cupcakes. The first batch was made of a vanilla cake topped with vanilla buttercream and handmade fondant decorations. The second was a more daring flavor; I opt for a chocolate chili cake. The icing was vanilla butterscream colored in bright yellow. I can vouch that the cupcakes are as good as they look.

Michelle of Clever Cupcakes is easy to deal with. We talked on the phone and by email. We selected together the items she will do in 3D: corn, salt, corn holders, and pats of butter. The second patch features the classic red gingham tablecloth pattern. The pictures do not show well the French words that were imprinted. I selected beurre (butter), sel (salt), épi de maïs (corn-cub), blé d’inde (corn), épluchette.

My girlfriends asked me where I got my cupcakes. Everyone was in awe with the corn roast design. I will definitely order from Michelle in the future.

As for the event itself, the weather was fabulous. The food was delicious. Everyone had a lot of fun and we look forward to next year event.

+ Clever Cupcakes


What’s New in Fall Dinnerware at Williams Sonoma

pewter and ceramic bowl with handles :: dashboard trays and coasters :: pear tureens :: autumnal plaid table linens  williamsonoma

September is almost there. We feel the colder air here in Montreal this morning. Therefore, we will be slowly moving towards autumnal hues for our tablescapes.

My first compilation for fall 2008 is from the latest tableware additions at Williams Sonoma.

I would like to get the pewter and ceramic bowl with handles. A bowl like that looks so chic on a table. And the model at Williams Sonoma is about half the price of the handmade Convivio centerpiece bowl with handles by Match.

The Dashboard Trays & Coasters are now available in glass instead of wood surface to add more sparkles to your events. The high gloss wood grain model reminds us of the vintage roadsters and 1940s speedboats.

Williams Sonoma describes its pear tureens as a natural for serving poached pears. It only works if you serve cold poached pears. In reality, this tureen will be more useful to serve hot and cold soups, stews, oatmeal and fresh fruit salads.

+ Pewter & Ceramic Bowls – price: $125 bowl, $225 bowl with handle
+ Glass Dashboard Trays & Coasters – price: $88-$198 USD
+ Dashboard Trays & Coasters – price: $88-$225 USD
+ Pear Tureens – price: $18 small, $48 large
+ Autumnal Plaid Table Linens – price: $52 for 4 napkins or 4 placemats, $48 for table runner
+ Match Convivio Centerpiece bowl with handles – price: $400 USD