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May flowers confused, arrive early

22 Apr

All of this lovely sun over the past week or so has duped many a bud in the city into blossoming a fortnight early. Since our “garden” consists of an itty bitty pile of soil tossed in a corner and our household consists of one far-from-green thumb and one indoor plant enthusiast, here spring has sprung in a different way.

Late last week, we gained five new leafy, trunky, bulbous, or petal-bearing pals, bringing our total to 15 or thereabouts.

The current inventory of domestic flora is as follows:

  • Tropical Monstrosity (referred to as such for excellent reasons – however surely lovely for a pretend day at the beach, piña coladas not included)
  • Actually rather endearing Umbrella Tree
  • Cute Little Fat House Plant in Funky Vase
  • Bathroom tulips (still shy and tucked away) in sleek silver holder
  • Kitchen tulips
  • Vines/hanging plants (x2)
  • Single white orchid (tall and lovely, behind kitchen sink)
  • Three fuzzy aloe type things
  • Small red and yellow leafy potted plant
  • Other leafy green house plant
  • Thin-leaved excited potted plant
  • Mini rubber plant
  • Mini wannabe Christmas tree (out-of-doors)

*Note: May not be actual scientific names.

With all the sun and all this green (minus the thumbs), it might not be May yet, but it sure feels like it.

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High-End Window Shopping

12 Oct

I’ve never been too picky about furniture. Hand-me-downs, IKEA– when you’re a student and you’re moving again in eight months anyway, it doesn’t much matter. But I’ve just moved back in with my mother, who believes in choosing home furnishings for their quality and design, and I could be here a while. So it is that I started my search for a desk at The Art Shoppe, featuring “the finest furniture & home furnishings available from around the world” rather than at a garage sale down the street. The Art Shoppe, for those who have never been, is a sprawling location on at least three levels on Yonge St., south of Eglinton. I found a nice solid wood desk, actually in the children’s furniture section. It was plain, had tressles, was painted yellow, and I liked it. It was an Italian design on sale for $700. Steep, I thought. How wrong I was.

Perhaps a week later, after more window shopping around town, we picked up a copy of what was to become our Window Shopping Bible, Design Lines Toronto, Fall 2007 issue, which lays out all the go-to places for designer furniture in Toronto, organized by neighbourhood. I don’t know that we realized the calibre, and price range, of the vast majority of locales covered in this magazine. Once we started browsing, it didn’t seem to matter. We were going to furnish our space the way we liked. Money no object.

Since we were, at that time, in designer mode (or La La Land), we didn’t bat an eyelash before stopping in to Klaus by Nienkämper as we made our way across the King Street East stretch of high-end furniture stores. Klaus is a designer furniture showroom where, should you have the funds and interest, you can acquire your very own set of Daniel Liebskind chairs exactly like the ones on display at the new entrance to the Royal Ontario Museum. It was here I was almost convinced that designer furniture was for me. One look at this TAFEL Table Bench and I was intrigued.

Tafel Table Bench

When my mother and I sat down across from each other (not without some balance issues– it felt a little bit like being on a see-saw), I was hooked. I hadn’t been aware of the existence of a single piece of furniture that combined table, wall and seating, and I wouldn’t have thought I would have a use for a diner-like unit in my bedroom, but all of a sudden it seemed like the perfect piece.

Until I saw the price tag: approximately $10,000. So that was out. Continue reading