July 17th, 2013
After years of conspicuous consumption, we decided to do a hardcore clear out, and get rid of our junk once and for all.
We started with The Minimalists, a website dedicated to living a meaningful life with less… stuff. Thus began an epic de-clutter which has not only tidied our home but, most important, satiated our thirst for "stuff." After a series of mentoring sessions with Ryan Nicodemus, we attached a purpose to our drive for simplicity, and understood why it was important, which gave us the momentum to clear out another shelf, drawer, and cupboard.
A set of four sessions ($300) can address two topics of your choice, including career finances, simplicity, and habits. While there is practical advice on how to do things, Nicodemus also gives you the guidance to make decisions on your own.
This year, try reverse back-to-school shopping; pick up a box of garbage bags, fill them, and distribute accordingly. Imagine opening your closet and finding an edited selection of clothing you know you love? It is a very nice feeling, and then you’ll be ready to face the new term. —Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
Skype mentoring sessions with Ryan Nicodemus from The Minimalists, starting at $75/hour, www.theminimalists.com
October 16th, 2012
As temperatures drop, we look for quiet evenings at home, hot cocoa, a good book, and a great throw to snuggle in.
Meet Pisolino (meaning “nap” in Italian), a new linen shop in Yaletown’s ever-growing home design strip on Homer Street. This gorgeous store is home to their in-house label’s luxurious faux fur throws ($425) and pillows ($100), which are so cuddly they could be mistaken for the real deal. You’ll also find the softest sheets ($190 for queen sheets and $380 for duvet), made here in Vancouver using Italian cottons, to give your bed a little seasonal makeover.
Winter is all about hibernating after all. —Anya Georgijevic
Pisolino Designs Inc., 1068 Homer St., Vancouver, 604-682-1688.
September 5th, 2012
Good design, and its increased accessibility, has meant that everyday household products like dishracks, toilet roll holders, and door handles are all available in stylish or modern versions. But we’d never seen a cool smoke detector, until now.
Instead of a flat, circular device on the ceilings of your hallways, the Chick-a-Dee smoke detector is a little bird that perches on a branch, and tweets gently if there is a small detection of smoke. In more serious circumstances, the bird will shout, "Dee-dee-dee."
At $80, it’s more expensive than a normal smoke alarm, but we also know that good design rarely comes cheap, and this one is more forgiving if it’s just the usual case of burnt steaks. We are chirping with joy. —Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
Chick-a-Dee smoke detector, $80 at Kanvass.ca
April 17th, 2012
It takes one hell of a cleaning accessory to get us excited about handwashing dishes and pots, but these Iris Hantverk handmade Swedish brushes are so beautiful, pot scrubbing almost becomes pleasurable. Almost.
Their dish and pot brushes are made from natural Swedish wood, and use goat or horse hair which cuts through grease and won’t scratch surfaces. And Iris Hantverk is a non-profit organization that employs the visually impaired in Sweden to make these gorgeous utensils. So if the natural materials didn’t sell you, this last fact certainly did.
Get your rubber gloves on. —Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
Starting from $18 from Orling & Wu online, or at 28 Water St., Vancouver, 604-568-6718, www.orlingandwu.com
March 21st, 2012
Technology has come a long way, but until someone figures out a way we can go wireless forever, we won’t be impressed.
Sorry, printer, scanner, speakers, and all the other things attached to my desk, but your power cords are a giant pain in the…you know what I mean. The genius designer behind CableDrop must have been equally annoyed when they thought of this adorable little cable pod that sticks to just about anything, holding those pesky cords in place. From simple black and white to bright neons, with these little pods we are one step closer to office serenity (just let me dream, okay?). —Anya Georgijevic
$9.95/pack of 3 at www.bluelounge.com
March 13th, 2012
We have measured out our lives with coffee spoons.
And not just any coffee spoons, but those engraved with custom messages by the Vancouver-based artisan behind the Loving Spoon. Stamped with personalized sweet nothings like “Good morning, sugar” or “Stir it up, little darlin” these antique pieces would make beautiful gifts for new moms, newlyweds or your new love.
Now that’s our kind of poetry. – Kelsey Dundon
From $22.50 at The Loving Spoon, www.thelovingspoon.net
February 4th, 2012
Being scared of the dark is no longer an excuse for putting off bedtime.
Meet the Glo Nightlight, a bedside lamp with removable glowing balls that act as portable nightlights. The phosphorescent balls aren’t electronic and don’t get hot, so they are safe to snuggle with when the room goes dark.
The balls’ light will fade 30 minutes after they’ve been removed from the base, and you can select one tone, or have a rotating array of colours. We suggest you choose the colour that will best ward off any monsters lurking in the closet.
Boon Glo Nightlight, $84.99 from Saf & Benjamin, 1081 Marinaside Cres., Vancouver, 778-328-8194 and online at www.safandbenjamin.com —Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
January 20th, 2012
In the land of coffee known as Yaletown, a teashop emerges.
Teaja, the neighborhood’s littlest gem, is a slick, contemporary tea boutique, carrying its own loose-leaf tea infusions. Options are plentiful and so eloquently presented on the “tasting wall” encased in elegant glass jars. Among the flavours are the irresistibly aromatic Genmaicha Grace, the luxurious Double Cream Earl Grey, and the heavenly peony concoction Bai Mu Dan. This teashop does have a small sitting counter, ideal for people watching. Too busy? Take a cup of tea ($3.00) to go. — Anya Georgijevic
Teaja, 1072 Mainland St., Vancouver, 604-558-3252, www.teaja.com
January 5th, 2012
A visit to any department store in Sweden is frustrating: Unless you are traveling with 18 suitcases, there is never enough room to properly stock up on their gorgeous homewares.
But now you won’t have to go to Sweden to stock up on beautiful Scandinavian kitchen accessories. Lu Prints is a Pemberton-based print company whose soft textiles and serving platters are inspired by the founder’s Swedish heritage and her Canadian surroundings. We love the Napanee print. It looks very Scandinavian, but features moose, snowshoes, and bears. We suggest you serve Swedish meatballs and a side of poutine. —Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
Napanee napkins ($36 for four), coasters ($22 for four), placemats ($36 for four) and teatowels ($16) are made in Canada and available on the Lu Prints webstore, www.luprints.bigcartel.com
December 7th, 2011
Normally we hate folding. Laundry, napkins, poker—you name it, we’d rather not.
But these folded ceramic platters from Vancouver company Butter & Fly caught our eye. Available in two sizes (medium, $89 and large, $109), they’re modern and so very delicate-looking. We’re envisioning them on our coffee table as we entertain our guests pre-dinner party or on our dinner table as we serve dessert. In other words, they’re beautiful and versatile.
So we have a reason to get bent out of shape. —Kelsey Dundon