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I Embrace Stylish Living and Friendly Luxury. Do You?

the loft project in london

the loft project in london

At Home with Kim Vallee reached its fifth anniversary when I went to the Toronto Interior Design Show. When I pressed the Publish button on January 27th, 2007, I didn’t know that I started a new chapter of my life. So much has happened in my personal life and my professional life. The fifth anniversary also coincides with the end of maternity leave.

For a while, I felt the need to update what At Home with Kim Vallee stands for. I blogged less over the last months because I needed time to absorb and enjoy motherhood. I also took the time to explore how I want to spend my time and to update my business plan. Attending Conversations in Design, the launch of Kimberly Seldom’s Business of design online courses, BlogPodium and the Canadian Design Bloggers meetup enabled me to be immersed in the design world again.

Authenticity, be true to yourself, great storytelling, innovation, and creativity have been a recurring themes at these events. When I came back from Toronto, I formulated my unique selling proposition. I put in words what distinguishes my blog from other design/lifestyle blogs.

Embracing stylish living and friendly luxury summarizes what readers can expect from At Home with Kim Vallee.  “Stylish living” has been my trademark for years and it will continue to the heart of what I do. I added “Embracing” to bring the sense that we are in it together.  I tell you in a minute why “friendly luxury” is so important to me. I owed that piece of the puzzle to Claus Sendlinger of Design Hotels that spoke at Conversations in Design.

Claus Sendlinger introduced me to the Luxury Matrix. Although I always talked of a certain type of luxury, I never include the actual word when I presented At Home with Kim Vallee. I was afraid that people would misinterpret it as flashy opulence. Hearing Sendlinger explained the 5 stages of luxury gave me a new perspective of the word.

What are the 5 stages of luxury?

Stage One: Acquisition and value (that is the flashy opulence)

  • At this stage luxury is used to demonstrate wealth, define social position and to visibly separate the buyer from the mass market. They show off what they are spending and wearing.

Stage Two: Discernment and worth

  • At Stage Two, the customer uses his or her wealth to buy brands, products and services that allow them to articulate higher levels of taste, discernment and discrimination. Tradition, values, heritage, craftsmanship, and true quality are key factors.

Stage Three: Emotion and experience

  • At this stage customers are less concerned with brand and value, and more with the uniqueness of the experience on offer and the emotional impact that this can deliver. Stage 3 luxurians desire a hushed and pared-down sense of luxury, and want to feel that this is shared by like-minded people.

Stage Four: Responsible and aware

  • Customers are concerned with a brand’s values as well as its financial or experiential value. Sustainability is a concern, while a dominant consideration is how resources need to be nurtured and controlled.
  • Luxurians at this stage seek brands that they can trust, with which they can have a dialogue, and develop and enjoy a relationship that is meaningful, intimate and increasingly altruistic.

Stage Five: Intellectual and poetic

  • This is a stage of passions, journeys, adventures and deep-rooted and meaningful experiences. It is not about brands, seldom about products, and less about service. It is about challenge, isolation, learning and the need to be changed spiritually and emotionally.

What Does it Means for my Blog?

I connect to the last 3 stages of luxury. Stages 3 to 5 lead to my Friendly luxury philosophy. Time is the ultimate limited resource. What you do with your free time can be seen as a luxury. From urban beehives, to city chicken, terrace vegetable gardening and the local food movement, these activities are all part of the new definitions of luxury. They are examples of unique experiences and values, just as staying at an eco-resort in the middle of the Rainforest.

As you can notice, friendly luxury was already a part of this blog. I simply put it into a statement. I will continue to inspire you with beautiful things and good design for your home and for entertaining at home. But you will read more often about what makes our life feels richer/fuller as individuals, parents and entrepreneurs. In short, I want At Home with Kim Vallee to be about what meaningfully makes us happy and stylish.

I’m still figuring out how to package the series. It will be in line with what I told you last October. I hope that you will follow me and embrace this updated direction.

+ The Future Laboratory report on Luxury Leisure for Design Hotels
+ photo: The Loft Project


London Festival of Architecture – LFA 2010

lfa 2010 events :: love your street and open studios

event maps of the london festival of architecture 2010

If you are in London, UK from June 14th to July 4th, 2010 do not miss the London Festival of Architecture. This city-wide celebration of architecture proposes over 404 events and counting.

lfa 2010 events :: love your street and open studios

From exhibitions, installations, talks and debates, open studios, up to cycling tours and walks, including audio described tours, tours for dogs, treasure hunts and even tours on your iPhone. Love Your Street is an initiative that invite everyone to participate in cleaning and beautify the streets of London. Love Your Street brings together building and landscape professionals with local communities to pro-actively improve streets, spaces and places. I think that every city should do that.

+ image of map: Abitare
+ photos: London Festival of Architecture – LFA 2010


The Luxury Paper Creations of Zoe Bradley

flower mobile by zoe bradley :: window installations for kate's paperie

silk pom poms and floral wall reliefs by zoe bradley

Based in London, UK, Zoe Bradley is a showpiece artist and display designer who works for upscale clients. Many brides would love to hang her exquisite silk pom poms at their wedding venue. Zoe definitely knows how to bring a theatrical element to her paper creations.

flower mobile by zoe bradley :: window installations for kate\'s paperie

Zoe Bradley mostly works on window installations, editorial displays and event design. Her signature paper sculptures include the wall reliefs, floral canvases and mobiles. You can admire and be inspired by her intricate floral mobiles. This photo showed a window installation she did for Kate’s paperie.

If you are looking for a rose bouquet that will last, check out her 12 long stemmed bouquet (£165). More party items are available at her online boutique.

+ photos: Zoe Bradley


Heather and Ivan Morison: I am so sorry. Goodbye Tea House

Heather and Ivan Morison I am so sorry. Goodbye double-domed pavilion at Barbican Art Gallery

This is a beautiful organic shape art installation. With their I am so sorry. Goodbye double-domed pavilion, Heather and Ivan Morison explored the relationship between the built environment and nature. The interior has a few chairs and tables and a service bar where you can have a tea.

Heather and Ivan Morison\'s Balsa Wood Dome Tea House on Display at Barbican Waterside in London

If you are passing by London, UK until October 18th, 2009, pass by the Barbican Waterside to see this amazing Balsa wood structure. Looking inside the doom is supposed to bring a futuristic feeling. Another reason to go in, they are serving hibiscus tea inside. The admission is free.

Heather and Ivan Morison: I am so sorry. Goodbye at Barbican Art Gallery
+ Via Trendir