Browsing Tag

luxury

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

USA Bookshelf by Andrei Saltykov

america bookshelf by andrei saltykov

The bookshelf in the shape of America that Russian-born architect Andrei Saltykov designed for his home in south London, UK, certainly qualifies as conversation piece. There is nothing tacky about this design. Because of the many states, his USA bookshelf is both beautiful and practical to store lots of books.

His American bookshelf makes an impression high on a wall of his open dining/living room. As a bonus, you could hold geography trivia game starting with the 600 tiny Christmas tree lights that represent the nation’s major cities. I love it!

+ photo credits: Will Pryce for Grand Designs magazine, January 2013

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

Symbol Audio’s Retro Modern, All-in-one Record Console

modern retro console symbol audio

modern retro console symbol audio
photo: Modern Record Console  

If the man in your life loves music, here is something that will please your design style and give him all the bells and whistles that he is craving for. New-York based Symbol Audio handcrafts modern audio HIFI consoles and vinyl LP storage cabinets in the tradition of fine furniture. If you like its 1950s look, start to save for his Christmas gift because I read on Core 77 that the Modern Record Console will run you about $15,000.

Symbol Audio produces three products, all designed by Blake Tovin and Matt Richmond. The Modern Record Console is an all-in-one American walnut unit that mixes the old technology with the new. You can play vinyl records or switch the selector from turntable to WiFi and stream from any digital source through the built-in wireless router and control music selections from your iPhone, iPod, iPad or computer.

lp storage cabinet by symbol audio

For LP collectors, the LP storage cabinet is available in 2 sizes storing either 320 or 640 LPs. The top can hold your turnable and audio components. Price ranges from $2,750 to $5,250.

ENTERTAINING EVERYDAY entertaining

Hold On Egg Cup by Doreen Westphal

hold on egg cup by Doreen Westphal

hold on egg cup by Doreen Westphal

Every party benefits from a conversation piece. And you are sure to get many “Wow” with Doreen Westphal‘s Hold On Egg Cup. The egg cup is made of concrete. The shape was inspired by an egg cut in half. The most striking feature is a strategically placed magnet where to rest the spoon. Awesome!

I have no news on where you can buy it. What I know is that Hold On Egg Cup is presented at Maison & Objet in Paris this week. Hopefully, it will hit a few stores soon.

+ via MoCo Loco

ENTERTAINING OUTDOOR entertaining

Kim Loves: The First Summer Collection of Dwell Studio

dwell studio summer entertaining collection

dwell studio summer entertaining collection

It is no secret that I am a fan of Dwell Studio. I bought their Owl bedding for my son’s nursery. Once again, I am in awe. This time is with their first summer collection.

dwell studio summer entertaining collection

 1. Summertime Backgammon or Summertime Chess and Checker set $35 USD each | 2. Portable Hitachi $295 USD | 3. Scandinavian Etched Fish Glass and Pitcher from $12 to $46 USD | 4. Laura Windel Sea Life Plates $140 USD for set of 4 assorted plates 

Christiane Lemieux created a range of products that gets the most of summer entertaining. I can’t deicide what I want the most from portable canvas classic board games to the Scandinavian fish etched pitcher and glasses or the sea life plates designed by Vermont artist Laura Zindel.

Indulge a happy bride and groom this summer with a remarkable gift like the Dwell Studio’s table size portable Hitachi. They will be able to savour small treats while looking in each other eyes. The materials made it easy to clean. The dishwasher-safe porcelain bowl with a stainless steel grill and handle stands tall on the wood trivet. It’s gorgeous!

 

DESIGN and style LIVING

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.

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

LIVING TRAVEL

Travel in Style with Design Hotels

design hotels

design hotels

If you are fond of boutique hotels, you are probably familiar with Mr and Mrs Smith‘s hotel booking services. I love their story.

But what if you are looking to expand a little bit the selection of boutique hotels? This is where Design Hotels can help you. They describe themselves as a consulting, marketing and positioning service provider for hotels and small hotel groups listed in the new luxury tourism segment. So far, this German traded company represents and markets a hand-picked collection of more than 200 hotels in over 40 countries across the globe. You can book your room online with a best rate guarantee.

Sadly, only two Canadian hotels and a few US hotels are available on Design Hotels. Nonetheless, I found European hotels where I would like to stay. 25Hours Hotel Hamburg, a sixties and seventies inspired hotel, caught my eye with their pink wall lobby and girlie bike. Family up to four can stay in one of their 6 XL-Family rooms. The 25Hours Hotel in Hamburg has a total of 128 guest rooms.

SOURCING:
Design Hotels
25Hours Hotel

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

Design for Kids: Puzzle Playhouse

modern playhouse puzzle kids wood

Any parent will tell you that toys, books and gear have a way of taking over the home, and that there’s a constant battle to find clutter-busting solutions.

Small and versatile, this puzzle playhouse by Modern Playhouse was created by industrial designer Svend Nielsen with design-savvy, eco-conscious parents in mind. Made from sustainably-sourced natural maple wood, the playhouse assembles (or disassembles) in less than 10 minutes without any tools, so you can set it up for the day and store it away when kids are on to something else.

modern playhouse puzzle kids wood

And since kids have a style their own, Modern Playhouse offers a couple of other models. Though they won’t disassemble quite as quickly as the Puzzle Playhouse, their Circle Playhouse was a finalist for design in the Play category at the 2011 Dwell Modern World awards.

modern playhouse circle wood kids

Though they’re built to last for generations, these well-designed playhouses aren’t for everyone’s budget. Modern Playhouse also offers accessories like playhouse furniture sets and sustainable felt storage options.

SOURCING:
+ Puzzle Playhouse from Modern Playhouse, $650

 

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

Kyle Bunting’s Stylish Cowhide Rugs

alhambra rug

alhambra rug

These luxurious rugs from Kyle Bunting freshen up the rustic of cowhide rugs. The modern and geometric design brings a modern feel that I appreciate. His creations will look great in a modern or a contemporary interior.

glamorous carpet

You can specify any design, color, and size for rug, wall covering and upholstery applications. The dye catalogue is huge and includes bold colors. I love it!

jet stream hide rug

SOURCING:
+ Alhambra and other cowhide rugs by Kyle Bunting

FAMILY KIDS rooms

The Puzzle House by Modern Playhouse

puzzle playhouse

puzzle playhouse

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.

SOURCING:
+ Puzzle House by Modern Playhouse – Price to be released

LIVING TRAVEL

More Comfort in Economy-Class Flights

Qantas footrest

Occasionally, I browsed the Web for articles on what are the innovative ideas from airline companies around the world. While the more impressive upgrades happen in first-class, there are still cool things that are implemented for the economy class travelers. I am always sad to notice to see no Canadian or American companies. It seems that passenger comfort has been forgotten by us. But comfort is not a luxury, it reduces stress and improves our quality of life. In a tiny attempt to revive a sense of style for the average travelers, I will share the best innovations from my reading.

Today, I present you the foot hammock, a little net that act as a footrest. Elevating your legs like that will provide you better circulation, which is an important things to do when you are in the sky.

Air New Zealand economy class 3 seats bed for 2

Then, an economy row of three seats could convert to a “comfy” bed for 2 with the touch of a button. The arms retract, the seat base extends and the seatbelts lengthen to buckle up when reclining. Air New Zealand says that two passengers can snuggle horizontally, leaning against the wall or lying flat. I do not know if you can pay extra to guarantee this option or if you need to be lucky to enjoy this feature.

See more innovations in economy-class flights at BBC.

SOURCING:
+ photo: Qantas
+ photo: Air New Zealand

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

A Look at Upscale Outdoor Playhouses + My Modern Favorite Playhouse

custom cape cod playhouse

custom cape cod playhouse

I was surprised when I read this article from The New York Times by the spread of high-end, custom playhouse makers. I would have never imagined building a playhouse with air conditioning, a kitchen with running water and a 32-inch flat TV on the second floor. The article clearly depicts the world of the rich and super rich niche.

But more than that, the article made me realized that the playhouse market is not only parents but also for grandparents who wish to provide their grandchildren with the best entertainment. For example, it makes perfect sense for a family gathering place on a lake. And the best thing is that the family members can pitch in (money and/or labor) to build a fun play zone for the kids.

Modern Style Playhouses

illinois modern playhouse

Personally, I would pick a modern style for my son like the ones made by Smart Playhouse. I like the clean, airy lines of the Illinois model with its eight large windows.

hobikken maxi

The Hobikken playhouse model is available in three sizes: mini, junior and maxi. It becomes a playroom outside your home.

SOURCING:
+ Child’s Play, Grown-Up Cash from The New York Times
Illinois model from Smart Playhouse $12,485, including interior lighting
+ Hobikken playhouse by Smart Playhouse