Le Balconier, a newly opened store (mid-April 2013) in Montreal, fills a need in the market. It is hard for condo owners and urban residents to create an outdoor oasis due to the lack of furniture and outdoor accessories that would fit their balcony. This is where Le Balconier comes to their rescue. Continue Reading
Now that my son is a toddler who expresses his like and taste, I started to decorate his room around him. They are already three drawings on the walls that I used for teaching the primary colors to my son. He enjoys this little moment which it why I’m thinking to add more wall decor to stimulate him.
Since my son says Beep Beep! so often, I am leaning towards a city life theme with cars and buildings. French Bull makes a wonderful wall decal set with colorful cars, buildings, streets, and outdoor elements. Besides the work load, the advantage of using wall decals, instead of a wallpaper, is that you let your imagination and the wall space dictate what it looks like at the end. Continue Reading
Leave it to Umbra to give “pet paradise” a whole new meaning. Made from durable white ABS plastic, these smart designs are modern and sophisticated with their simple square shape and graphic cutouts.
It’s easy to imagine the bird cafe in an urban backyard, and what fish wouldn’t want to live a long life inside the fish condo? Chances are humans will love them too – they’d make a great gift option for the pet or animal lover in your life.
This video starts with: The Netherlands has the world’s largest number of cyclists, but it is also the safest place to cycling. It says a lot about what is possible when you want to. Even if it is just to see how another nation solved an universal problem, I invite you to watch the video (below).
The suburban lifestyle is not for me. I like too much the proximity to great shops, restaurants, and museums and the creative energy that you get in the city to settle for less. But as a new mom, I also want to live in a safe environment for my kid. I sometimes wonder how we can raise a child in the city. I was raised in a small town. Riding a bike is part of my childhood memories. I know that my son won’t be able to enjoy the same freedom than I did. Still, most North American and Canadian cities could be more family friendly.
This short documentary called “How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths?” is the perfect example that we can make our cities more pedestrian and cyclist friendly with will, proper government support and imaginative city planners. Amongst the main reasons that triggered the huge city planning change in the Netherlands was a public outrage caused by the high number of kids under 14 who died due to a bicycle accident. The protesters wanted to stop the killing of those children. And they did!
It takes a lot of courage to limit the number of parking spaces available in a city centre or to restrict the car lanes on our road. But it can be done successfully. The transition, like any transition, would be hard and painful for some. But if the people have the gut to give it a chance, they could see that new habits will take shape. In the end, I believe that it would benefit the majority. In the Netherlands, only 14 kids died from a bicycle accident in 2010. This is the best reason to change the way we design our roads. I would welcome a system that prioritizes even more the pedestrians and cyclists over cars.
+ How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths video
Modern Playhouse will add this November a new model to their collection of wood playhouses. A cool feature is that the maple plywood playhouse will require no tools for assembly. Being sensible to the fact that many urban parents (like me) simply do not have the space to keep a playhouse in permanence, the emerging industrial designer Svend Nielsen designed the Puzzle House to be set up for a day of play. When kids are ready to go to bed, it can be stored under the bed or inside a closet.
Furniture and a puppet theater curtain set will be launched before the Holidays. I am looking forward to see it all.
+ Puzzle House by Modern Playhouse – Price to be released
My husband, our baby and I had a great time at the opening night of Magie des Lanternes. It is truly magical.
Our baby enjoyed the view of the lighted theme lanterns.
The 19th edition organized by the Montreal Botanical Gardens is under the theme of “The First Emperor’s Procession”. The exhibit pays tribute to China’s first Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, and his impressive cavalry. It takes 8 months to the exhibit design team in Montreal to draw about 200 new thematic lanterns. They put a lot of attention to details. For example, each character has its own facial features.
The drawings are send to Shanghai where the lanterns are produced using traditional methods. To withstand our fall weather and the test of time, the lanterns are made with parachute fabrics instead of the traditional silk. The lanterns arrived in Montreal not completely unassembled. They proceed like that to ease the installation of the LED lamps on the metal frame.
You have until October 31st, 2011 to experience the Magie des Lanternes exhibit. Do not miss it; it makes a great family activity or a romantic walk.
Go to my Facebook page to see More photos of the exhibit.
+ Magie des Lanternes
+ photos: Jérôme Paradis for kimvallee.com
Sometimes it’s good to look at past issues of magazine. I did it online on Dwell and found this inspiring modern house that is built on a forest lot on the border of the Portland. By keeping most of the trees, the couples have no need for drapes for their large windows. Who would want to break the view to the forest?
They play with the stain color to achieve a seamless look with the forest.
The owners were after a loft feel. Their choice of furniture in the living room is not for me, but I can see the appeal for some. Otherwise, their modern great room seems functional and inviting.
+ photos: John Clark for Dwell
The smaller dwellings that are typical of urban living calls for smart design ideas. Daniel Schofield, a newly graduated furniture designer and maker from United Kingdom, shows that he understands that need with his Shifty Desk. His desk/stand would make a great catch-all unit in an entryway. Or use it to furnish an office corner in the living room or the kitchen. It seems large enough to put your laptop.
The Shifty desk is tailored for a narrow interior. Its most impressive feature is certainly storage. Daniel Schofield maximizes the storage space while creating a main, secret compartment. That’s clever!
You do not need to have kids to appreciate the space planning of this backyard. It’s unexpected, fun and practical! One of the a founding principal of 3rd Uncle Design, the architect John Tong built a stage where his kids can sing, and watch or do clown shows. The stage platform could be repurposed for other uses.
City dwellers who become parents often deal with how to transform their home into a space that works for the entire family. The small footprint of a house in a city adds to the challenge. I know that figuring out where and how the kids will play at home could be overwhelming. This is a little bit how I feel right now. What encourage me is that I realized that you can’t anticipated what your kids will like when they get older. Putting too many constraints, limit your options and block your creativity. My advice is to keep things simple by looking for solutions suitable for a couple of years at a time.
For example, I keep a big empty space in the living room as a play area. I plan to add a play rug to delimitate the play area. It sets a boundary for your toddler, which limits the cutter to a specific zone. Plus, a carpet adds comfort if you have hardwood floor. Opting for a FLOR tile carpet provides a more grown-up look than using a play rug; especially if you plan to leave it in your living room all the time.
Yes, living in the city requires to be smarter about how you design and use your home. But the rewards of life in the city (easy access to museums, parks, festivals, restaurants, and more…) far outweigh the amount of hours lost in commuting. Until I found how to design our backyard, I will continue to surf the Web for inspiring urban family houses. A good starting point is to have a look at the pictures and learned the details of this great family house on Dwell magazine. Another well-thought urban family home is the Maison en U by architect Natalie Dionne, that is here in Montreal.
+ photos: Christopher Wahl for Dwell magazine
The Handisleeve by Umbra has an handle, which means that it is easy to hold and drink from. Some textile coffee sleeves can be slippery. It won’t happen with the rubber coated Handisleeve. I see it as a must-have for when you are driving your car. It comes in blue, red, green and black.
Alan Wisniewski designed two two models: the simple Handilsleeve and the Dandisleeve (in black or pink) which shows a flower cur pattern. Both models can fit several sized of cups. You can watch what people have to say about it.
A challenge for couples who live in a small spaces is the office. They often lack the space to put two desks. Since most people nowadays rely only on their laptops, an easy solution is a single long desk where you sit side by side. I scoured the Web and discovered 3 potential solutions for you.
One option is to custom built your desk. This is easy since what you basically need is a work surface and legs. You can find a wood desktop at a home improvement store or lumber store; they will cut it to your specifications. Then, simply apply 4 coats of a water-based wood finish like the Varathane Diamond Wood Finish. Ikea’s VIKA MOLIDEN legs will give you a similar look and feel.
Or you may be lucky enough to find a tabletop that fits like a glove. This was the case of the next couple. They simply had to assemble a 78″ tabletop and five VIKA FURUSUND legs that they bought at Ikea. As you can see there is plenty of space to put two iMac with big monitors.
+ Chalkboard DIY from A Merry Mishap
+ A Desk Transformation on Apartment Therapy – photo by Meg Lewis
+ VIKA MOLIDEN legs $15 CAD | At Ikea USA $15 USD
+ VIKA FURUSUND legs $10 CAD | At Ikea USA $10 USD
+ BESTÅ BURS desk from Ikea $299 CAD | At Ikea USA $249 USD
+ BESTÅ BURS desk combination $449 CAD | BESTÅ BURS workstation $349 USD