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Reinventing the Shopping Trolley

foldable shopping cart trolley :: use it again sam shopping bags

While I visited the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer’s Market last March, I saw plenty of shoppers with a Hook & Go trolley. I took some pictures because I find them handy.

Needing More Than Reusable Shopping Bags

As many urban residents, I walk to do my grocery shopping. I shop European style, which means that I typically buy food for a day or two. When I find the time, I like to go to the farmer’s market on weekdays to buy fresh produces.

As many of you, I carry a couple of reusable shopping bags on my handbag. But the weight added up quickly. The weight bothers me more since my injury. Since then, I wish for a functional foldable shopping cart.

When I shop in the neighborhood or at the farmer’s market, I buy food for many stores. Having my own portable shopping cart will free up my hands.

Hook and Go Smart Cart

I dug up this morning the distributor of the model I saw at the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer’s Market. It is wonderful because the US retailer Hook and Go links to the international stores. Canadians, Europeans and British residents can buy this smart shopping cart online without having to deal with customs.

Canadians will be pleased to know that NeatOne sells on pair. I just placed my order. I will keep you posted on how fun and practical it is to shop with the Hook and Go.

Another Source for Reusable Shopping Bags

Following my post about My Top 4 Reusable Ultra Compact Shopping Bags, a reader suggests the Use It Again Sam bags. I check them out and they are cute and lightweight. Select from an array of 11 solid colors. Save by buying 3 for $19 or 5 for $30.

Americans: Hook and Go Smart Cart – price: $59.95 USD
Canadians: Hook and Go Shopping Trolley – price: $59.95 CAD
British citizens & Europeans: DeWeNe (Designs We Need) – price: £45 with free UK delivery
Buy online: Use It Again Sam shopping bags – price: $6.95 USD


Opening Night at the Architects and Designers Building

Architects and Designers Building websiteTonight is the opening of the Architects and Designers Building (A&D Building) in New York City.

What is in it for you?

What is great for all of us is that the showrooms at the A&D Building are open to the trade and the public. You will get to see premium products for your home from kitchen and bath accessories, appliances, tiles and furniture.

Stay tuned since Architects and Designers Building will host special events to introduce new products with leading experts and celebrity chefs. I would love to live in New York right now.


The hours of business are Monday to Friday from 9AM to 5 PM. The Opening Night is Monday, May 19, 2008 from 6 to 9 PM. Check out the A & D Web site for Opening Night RSVP or for the showroom listing.

>>> Sourcing:
Learn more: Architects and Designers Building


Designer Wallpapers by Graham and Brown

monsoon wallpaper :: umbra :: Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen  :: marcel wanders collections by graham and brown

Dressing up your room with the right wallpapers adds sophistication to a dining room or living room. I typically prefer to put wallpaper on a single wall or two walls, depending on the room configuration.

British brands have a long history of making great patterns. Have a look at these patterns from Graham & Brown. This is a brand that teamed up with several designers to bring you striking designs.

A Look at My Favorites

Sophia from the Monsoon collection reinterprets Art Nouveau damask. You will be surprised how sophisticated a fuchsia wall can be.

No need to install wall paneling with Phantom from the Umbra collection. In case you did not already know, the uber stylish Canadian brand Umbra teamed up with Graham & Brown to produce its first ever wallpaper collection. The frame illustrations of Huddle pattern can bring something different to a room.

Mystique Avocado by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen takes its inspiration from the delicate lattices and Jali screens that help shade colonial plantation houses on the fringes of the Caribbean Sea. In a typical Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen design, he injected a jet look to this classic design.

The Red/Orange Alice designed by Marcel Wanders is highlighted by delicacy and intricacy in its detailing. The Marcel Wanders collection costs for £35 for a single roll; other collections are available for £30.

Hot pink Midsummer (not shown) adds drama. The beautiful leaf silhouette design fuse silver shine with hot pink matt.

Wallpapers are fashionable once again. The new wallpapers can be a great source of inspiration if you redecorate a room.

>>> Sourcing:
Buy online: Online store of Graham & Brown
Buy online: Huddle Wallpaper at Umbra Online Store – price: $39 CAD


Patricia Urquiola Plays With Wire Frames at the Milano Salone 2008

salone Milano 2008 ::  patricia urquiola re-trouve outdoor collection :: sofa, settee, pouf  and chair for moroso

My friend Jennifer Mitchell of Design Hole is in Milan right now for The Salone Internazionale del Mobile. This is the leading event in the home/contract furnishing sector at global level. If you want to what’s new and really capture the trends, the Salone Milano is the best to go.

Being an interior design from Detroit, Jennifer is right in her element. Obviously, she reports daily on what she is seeing at the Salone Milano 2008. Looking at her reports so far, I identify one trend: the return of the wire frames as a key furniture design.

Emu Outdoor Living

The Re-trouvé collection designed by Patricia Urquiola for Emu adds a feminine touch to the garden. The wire is available in several colors. You can see the influence of French classical chairs in the Emu Outdoor Collection. This is not surprising since Re-trouvé translates to To Find Again.

Pattern Excellence for Moroso

The mix of colors and patterns on this settee, pouf and chair is amazing. This is also work of Patricia Urquiola Sushi from Studio Edward Van Vliet (SEVV) for Moroso. Thanks Reinier for the precision. Check out Design Hole for more details.

Via: Marvelous Moroso on Design Hole
Via: Emu and Beautiful Outdoor Living on Design Hole


My Top 4 Reusable Ultra Compact Shopping Bags

Flip & Tumble :: baggu :: reisenthel :: envirosax reusable shopping bags

I intensify my coverage of eco-friendly solutions until Earth Day. I will write an eco-friendly story every weekday until April 22nd.

I am starting the week with cool ultra compact shopping bags. The key is to carry your reusable shopping bags with you all the time. Since I live in the city, I do most of my shopping by foot. Therefore, I need bags that will fit into my purse.

I also prefer shoulder bags because they leave your hands free if you carry a small load. These are my favorites lately.

Flip & Tumble | First place

Flip & Tumble seduced me with their new summer colors and this catchy phrase:

A bag that’s designed for those of us who only seem to remember our reusable bags the moment we need them.

The 24-7 bag fits my lifestyle. The vibrant summer colors look amazing. Flip & Tumble will start shipping tomorrow, April 15th, 2008. Their Web site has a cool visual Add to my Shopping Card applet too. I just ordered three bags like in the picture: a raspberry, an aqua and a lime. I will tell more after a few shopping trips.

Flip & Tumble won because their bags look great and the handle is wide. It seems more comfortable for my shoulder. Hold the stretch pouch and roll the bag like rolling your socks into a ball. This translates in no need for attachment hardware.

Baggu | Runner Up

I like the fact that the Baggu bag has two handles to comfortably sit on your forearms. From the pictures, the Baggu bag does not feel as stylish as the Flip & Tumble. Baggu comes with a 5-inch square flat pouch. Depending on the shape of your purse, you may find the Baggu pouch format more useful.

Baggu target men too. Guys can fit the pouches in their jean back pockets. At last, something he can carry for me. Since the company highlights than men are also shoppers, Baggu won extra points. A cute fact: Baggu was designed in California by a mom and daughter team.

Reisenthel Mini Maxi Shopper | Third Place

This model has been around for a while. I own a few Reisenthel products that I adore. So I know the quality is excellent. Why I did not choose that Mini Maxi Shopper as my first place? I am under the impression that the pouch is bulky. The consumer reviews I read say otherwise.

One thing that I really like about the Reisenthel’s Mini Maxi Shopper is that you can securely close it. None of the others have that feature. For that reason alone, I will probably try a Mini Maxi Shopper bag soon. I am leaning towards the solid orange or the aqua. The neutral like gray is another option.

Envirosax | Four Place

There Envirosax bags are well known and appreciated by many. The new patterns of the Mikado set are adorable. They are several other pattern series to choose from. The individual rolled up bag size is 4″ x 1.5″ diameter. Pretty small! It is probably the smallest of the four reusable bags I introduced.

I met a woman the other day that was carrying a heavy look with the Envirosax. I asked her how she liked her Envirosax bag. She was delighted but she felt the need to reinforce the handle for heavier loads. I do not know if her concern was justified or not. Tell us what is your experience with Envirosax?

Do you have a favorite ultra compact reusable shopping bag? As a matter of fact, giving 2 or 3 reusable bags will make a great impression on the hostess. Select a bag that suits his or her style.

Buy online: 24-7 Bag by Flip & Tumble – price: $12 USD
Buy online: Baggu Bag and Pouch – price: $8 each, $22 for 3, $38 for 5
Buy online: Reisenthel – Mini Maxi Shopper, Long Handle at Reusable Bags – price: $9.95 each, $7.95 each if buy 4 or more
Buy online: Envirosax – Set of 5 Mikado Pouch, Reusable Shopping Bags – price: $37.95 per set, $34.95 if buy 2 sets or more
Via: Flip and Tumble | New Colors on swissmiss


Pure Norwegian Design will be at 100% Design in London

100 percent norway at 100 percent design in london

When we are taking about Scandinavian, we talked mostly about products from Finland and Sweden. In fact, I think I spoke more often about Danish products than Norwegian creations.

The government of Norway with the industry has launched an offensive a few years ago to raise awareness about what they produce. They identify UK as an important platform for their marketing campaign.

Again this year, the visitors of UK’s leading contemporary interiors event will be able to see and touch the best of Norwegian design. The trade show 100% Design is scheduled for September 18 to 21, 2008 at Earls Court in London.

100% Norway viewed over the years

It was announced that 100% Norway 2008 will be once again curated by Henrietta Thompson. The upcoming stand has tripled over the size of last year. In 2006, 100% Norway stand was colossal. The 2006 stand exhibited cutting edge Norwegian architecture including a view at fashion, furniture and city bikes. From macro, the stand went micro as 100% Norway 2007 zoomed in to the creativity found in glass, porcelain and textile design. The theme for 2008 is not yet public. I will keep you posted.

Where to shop for Norwegian design?

One of the glass pieces showcased at 100% Norway 2007 is this beautiful Blue Wing Butterfly vase by Catherine Maske. The artist made a statement since her vase immortalized a national butterfly that is close to extinction. For more outstanding glass ware, check out the 100% Norway: Glass summary on Norway: the official site in the UK.

The desire to draw more attention to Norwegian design does not only come from the government. Two citizens, Marianne Lien and Lasse Altern Halvorsen, opened a store full of Norwegian products called Pur Norsk. My board let you admire the inside of Pur Norsk brick and mortar store in Oslo. Pur Norsk also cater to foreigners through their international online store.

Scandinavian Surface specializes in patterns for any surface: fabrics, wallpaper, building facades, interior decoration details, kitchenware, barware and more. They manufacture ProPiece, a line of coated polyester wall-to-wall decorations. ProPiece looks like a mix between wall decals and wall papers. I like even more their collection of coasters, serving trays, plates and cushions.

I particularly like from Scandinavian Surface their Bread Coasters which are side plate made of laminated melamine. You use them for bread rolls or snack meal. Every one of the six patterns are cool and cheerful. The bread coasters are sold in pair.

I will keep you posted on the development of 100% Design, London as more news arises.

Learn more: 100% Design and 100% Light in London
Buy online: Pur Norsk
Learn more: Coasters and plates by Scandinavian Surface – price: 32 ? for the pair at Pur Norsk


Let the Happy Color Trend fill your walls

happy colors in residences decoration  and cote ouest

If like me you are not afraid of colors, you must be happy these days. For the others you are more timid, I am showing two rooms with pretty strong colors.

Fuchsia wall

I saw several rooms where the focal point is a bright fuchsia wall. The first time I saw a fuchsia room, I admired the audacity of the owner. After seeing several, I realized that every room looks amazing. They were a pretty diverse mix from kitchen, living room, bedroom and even office space. Now, I crave for my own fuchsia wall room.

Green walls

For Spring 2008, green is in vogue. By painting the backdrop of the stairs an Absinthe green the wall, the stairs become more important.

The office space is shared by the four members of the family. Arranged as a workshop, the room feels sophisticated with the traditional American walnut and the classical shape of the chairs. But the Granny Smith accents and the multicolor rug convey an unexpected whimsical mood to the space.


Painting the inside of your bookshelf brings a punch of color without actually living with the color. You can always tone down a color through the choice of material and shape. Here, the vivacity of the Granny Smith green fabric is toned down by the classical shape of the chair next to the brown wood.

If you opt to invest in a colorful piece of furniture or accessories, you are better to select one that you can harmonize in many ways or move to another room. The multicolor rug fits that description. The beautiful wall units, desks and chairs transfer their sophistication to the fun rug.

Being inspired by France

I picked these pictures from two fabulous French magazines: Résidences decoration and Coté Ouest. Both magazines featured a family house with a happy yet stylish interior.

The fuchsia kitchen comes from an apartment located in Le Marais, a neighborhood in Paris that I enjoy a lot. I do not miss the chance to stop by Le Marais with all its antique shops, contemporary galleries and design stores when I visit Paris. Even if it just for window shopping, it is a pleasant excursion.

One particular of the home with the two green rooms is that in fact, three different hues of green coexist. Pink make an appearance in these rooms as well.

It is just paint

If you are not totally convinced, remember that painting an accent wall is a relatively simple job to update if you get tired or if you hate the wall color. As long as you are not pressed by time, I encourage you to give a try, you may be surprised. With the technological innovations, you do not have to go blind either. Simply take a picture of your room, upload it and use a photo editing software to get a pretty good idea of what the room will look like once painted. You can also search for free online services.

Fuchsia Photo credit: Résidences decoration – March / April 2008, number 79 issue – photo by Didier Delmas
Green Photo Credits: Coté Ouest – February / March 2008, number 74 issue – photos by Patrick Van Robaeys


Picks of the Week on the blogosphere | 080316 issue

mid-century modern : eco highway wallpaper : nelson swag leg desk : eurofase ether light pendant

This week is all about mid-century modern furniture and an amazing chandelier. The feeling is soft and airy.

My 4 picks of the week

Design to Inspire for My favourite Canadian magazine

Design to Inspire is a blog that features to die for home interiors. I visit Design to Inspire for a moment of day dreaming. This time, Kim (just like me) talked about Canadian House and Home magazine, one of my monthly must read. I select a room that would make an exquisite eye candy girl bedroom or a modern nursery.

Canadian House and Home magazine produce a digital issue of its magazine. In fact, my digital issue arrives in my inbox before I receive the print version. I like being able to access the entire magazine online anytime, anywhere. But I subscribed to both versions because I still like flipping the pages of a magazine.

Minor Details for what walls want

This is from a blog I discovered a few days ago. Being about creating space for children, Minor Details presented design oriented products for infants and young children with a twist on promoting imagination.

Show here is Eco Highway. This sustainable wallpaper for children was designed by Amélie Labarthe for Graham & Brown’s Eco Collection.

Apartment Therapy Chicago for CHI Good Questions: Home Office Credenza?

Yes, another post from the Apartment Therapy but I love the works of these guys. I am also a fan of the Nelson Swag Leg Desk. In fact, I wish I own one. The Herman Miller’s reproduction of this vintage desk is efficient if you work with a laptop. And the brightly colored dividers create convenient storage cubbies. The original 1958 design has been modernized to handle cable management. So if you want to use it as a laptop desk, get the new Nelson Swag Leg Desk.

There is a Swag Leg Armchair but I prefer the Eames Molded Plastic Armchair and Side Chair. So this was picture perfect for me. Now that DWR Studio is opened in Toronto, I can drive to satisfy my cravings.

Roadside Scholar for ether ceiling light by eurofase

An ethereal interpretation of transparencies and reflections that looks stylish and modern. Available in two heights, the luxurious Ether Light Pendant by Eurofase is a conversation piece perfect for a contemporary home décor. Prices vary a lot so shop around. It is about $7000-8000 for the small Ether and $11000-12000 for the large Ether pendant.

Gigi Leonard of Roadside Scholar has a good eye to spot beautiful things. I encourage you to visit her blog.

Buy online: Canadian House and Home
Buy online: Eco Highway at Graham & Brown – price: £30.00 / each
Buy online: Nelson Swag Leg Desk at Design Within Reach – price: $1799 USD
Buy online: Eames Molded Plastic Armchair and Side Chair – price: $349 USD


Urban Colors brought fashion to Emile Henry

urban colors cookware and tableware by emile henry

It is not because you are born in 1850 that you are not young at heart. Urban Colors shows a younger, hipper side of Emily Henry.

The Urban Colors collection injects a sense of fashion into the traditional ceramic cookware brand. And to stay current, Emile Henry adds two more colors and new shapes to the Urban Colors collection.

You now have a choice of five tasty colors, each named after a food: Muscade (nutmeg), Poivre (pepper), Figue (fig), Granny and Litchi.

Accessorize your kitchen

With the open shelving trend in the kitchen, you need remarkable vessel. We may admire the bold and lively kitchens that we see in the magazine but must people are not ready to commit. Kitchen cabinets are such a huge investment that we select materials that we can live with for a long time. This fact typically translates into neutrals.

The easiest way to update any neutral kitchen is by infusing a punch of colors through accessories. Why not do it through your everyday oven and tableware? When you get tired to see them, you simply hide them in your closed cabinets.

The quality

All Emile Henry cookware are made using Ceradon, an exclusive process which improves the qualities of traditional pottery. Three good reasons to buy Emily Henry:

  1. A highly resistant glaze which does not scratch or craze
  2. Highly resistant to chipping
  3. Highly resistant to heat and cold

Learn more: Emile Henry


Purple, Khaki Green and Yellow Green | More Color Trends of 2008

living room and storage by habitat :: purple khaki yellow green of 2008

These pictures from Habitat illustrate well the trends I saw at the Interior Design Show (IDS) Toronto 2008 last month. It also demonstrates that a little color goes a long way.

Deep Dark Luxury

The purples, chocolate browns, deep blues and khaki greens of 2008 are colors that you do not have to be afraid to commit. Darker hues feel luxurious. In fact, most of the luxury market favors the darker tones right now.

You will see purples mixed yellow greens, gold and lilac in 2008. Whenever you select a color for your home, choose the tint in function of the type of room, the time of the day where you use it and the lighting. For example, the purples of the casual outdoor room are of medium values because they sit outside.

Punch Colors

I feel that the most interesting lesson that you can learned from these fabulously styled rooms by Habitat was is that the big expensive pieces can stay pretty neutral. The top picture is the perfect example that you do not need a huge investment to follow the trends.

Khaki green is perfect for a family room. Yellow green feels fresh in the kitchen. If you live in an open concept kitchen/ dining room / living room, you can mix the two colors but always give more importance to one or the other in each room.

Defining Your Open Space

Even though you want to create a cohesive look in a concept space, you need to clearly define each space. Otherwise, your house will lack dimensions. For that reason, I do not recommend to carry around the same, identical color palette over the entire open space.

As I told you in my review of 10 years of design, successfully decorated rooms mix several trends. It is the end of the package theme. You sculpt your design by playing with the shapes, the finishes, the textures, the contrast, the lighting, the symmetry and the styles of what everything that fits into the room. The goal is to create dimensions in an eclectic but harmonious way.

Learn more: Living and Storage at Habitat

+ Spring 2008 yellows
+ Home Color Trends for 2008


A study on color interactions via the Spring 2008 yellows

dining + kitchen collection : peake picnicware by Habitat

What I am talking about today is how the presence of others colors can modify the perception of a color? It is an important element when you are designing a room or creating a tablescape.

I select kitchen and dining pictures from the latest catalogue of Habitat. They illustrate current trends in decorations.

You could easily spot how the same yellow accessories create a different mood whether they are placed in a crisp white room, next to vibrant colors and with black wood furniture.

The Peake is the latest picnicware collection by Habitat. Nigel Peake designed a collection with distinctive urban-inspired illustrations and bold colors. I love it!

Coordinating Principles

How the overall room or tabletop look depends on several elements. The first thing to remember is that any color is influenced by their immediate neighbors. The impact can be up to a point that a color can take a totally different hue depending on the colors that sit next to it or the lighting. So before making a final decision, I recommend you:

  • analyze the relative proportions of each color in your design
  • analyze how the colors looks next to each other – try several ways to dispose colors next to each other
  • try to insert a neutral (white, grey, brown or black) between two colors and see how if it enhances or not the results

How to live with the Spring 2008 yellows?

The lemon yellow, canary yellow, mustard yellow, curry, marigold are the hot yellow colors of Spring 2008. Some tones evoke bright and lively while the ones with reds feel warmer.

I cannot be happier that the warm and cheerful yellows are hot again since I opted for bright sunny yellow walls on the entire second floor of my house. I love colors in home decor. My house is mainly decorated in darker and richer colors with a few bright colors for punch in specific rooms. I cannot live in a crisp pure white house, even for a day.

Living in a bright yellow room makes me happy. I like to use colors but I wish nonetheless to create a sophisticated atmosphere. So I toned down my sunny yellow in several ways.

First, you need to consider the level of natural light that you normally get. My row house does not provide a lot of natural light. Second, several lamps, wall sconces and ceiling fixtures allow me to modify the level of light intensity at will. I can go from a subdued mood up to the brighter task lighting level. From an architectural point of view, my space features a long, antique reddish bricks wall and an extensive use of warm medium brown wood. Both bring a rich feeling to the open spaced room.

Going back to the pictures from the Habitat Spring 2008 catalogue, you see three hot color trends for Spring 2008:

  1. The crisp white room with yellow used as the accent color
  2. The colorful, fun almost child-like yellow, orange, pink, and red scheme – you can also do the acid citrus
  3. The black theme with yellow accents, done here as casual chic for the patio


You can read on the PANTONE Fashion Color Report of Spring 2008 – download the pdf at the bottom of the page:

Warm, cheerful Freesia, like an uplifting ray of sunshine, is a friendly, inviting color to which people are instinctively drawn. It is also a color that allows for diverse accessorizing opportunities.

Since not everybody is ready to commit to these lively hues, my next post will be about how a small amount of a punch color can go a long way?

+ PEAKE city illustration dinner plate in melamine – price: £2.50
+ PEAKE picnicware collection at Habitat – starting at £2
+ SADIE champagne glass at Habitat – price: £3
+ SADIE tumbler at Habitat – price: £3
SADIE wine glass at Habitat – price: £3

+ Purple, Khaki Green, Yellow Green of 2008
+ Home Color Trends for 2008