Right Ho! When browsing through some inspiring new designs from the Milan Design Week, I was excited to see these elegant pendant lamps by British designer Jake Phipps, in the form of either a bowler or a top hat, and aptly named Jeeves and Wooster!  Why do they appeal to me so much? Well, I am a hobby milliner (the word is derived from Milan, where the craft originated); one of my favourite British authors is P.G. Wodehouse (main characters in his delightful novels are Jeeves and Wooster); and my style is eclectic traditional; so who could they appeal to more!

For more inspiration from Milan Design Week 2014 follow this link: http://www.milandesignagenda.com


Pendant by Jake Phipps

Pendant by Jake Phipps


Amsterdam’s Marcel Wanders has designed this stunning chandelier made of resin fibres which are air-blown around the spinning frame of the lamp to give it a light and airy appearance, almost as if it was floating above you like a Zeppelin.  Not to worry though – the reference to the Zeppelin doesn’t mean that it’s flammable, but refers to a childhood experience where the designer created a wooden rocking lamp that burned down his room!  His creations are now perfected by years of design experience, of course, and this chandelier in particular was inspired by his uncle, Achille Castiglioni, whose lamps were once ranked among the 10 best in the world.  http://www.marcelwanders.com/products/lighting/zeppelin

Available through Inform Interiors in Gastown, Vancouver, BC.

Cocoon light fixture marcel wanders dutch


Ikea has just launched a new line of space-saving products – the Ikea PS 2014 Collection – ‘On The Move’.  The products were designed primarily for the needs of young urban generations who are frequently moving and require mobile designs that make the best use of small spaces.  Another consideration was for products that were free-standing, due to many rental contracts which prohibit permanent attachments.  This is a very affordable line of products and many are well suited to post-secondary students or young children but, as you will see, these products have a broad range of uses that span most demographics, including commercial and institutional applications.  Available April 1st.

To see the the Press Kit with all the products – http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/pressroom/press_materials/IKEA_PS_2014_press_kit_fin.pdf

To see the launch video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q8aDej6Q0Q

Ikea PS 2014 line


World’s 5th Certified ‘Living Building’ – Bechtel Environmental Classroom

To meet the Living Building Challenge’s green building certification requirements, a building must qualify in seven performance areas, or ‘Petals’: 

Site / Water / Energy / Health / Materials / Equity / Beauty

To learn how Bechtel  approached each ‘Petal’ of the challenge, and to read the very interesting Case Study for the Environmental Classroom, follow this link:

http://living-future.org/case-study/bechtelenvironmentalclassroom / Note – tribute, by way of wood engravings on the building, is made to the Jefferson Salamander – an endangered species whose plight will be helped by Bechtel’s purchase of the land.

Bechtel Environmental Classroom

Aging in Place – Is Your Home Ready?

We are hearing a lot lately about Universal Design.  With so many baby boomers choosing to ‘Age in Place’, or age at home, instead of a senior’s residence, it is becoming increasingly important that our homes be adapted to accommodate our aging bodies.  As we age there are many factors which need to be considered to keep our homes safe and user-friendly.  Changes in our vision, hearing, balance/stability, strength, and mobility are some of the things that will inevitably change, and our homes will need to be designed accordingly.

Citizens for Accessible Neighbourhoods http://www.canbc.org/universal_design.htm have listed the 7 Principles of Universal Design, which establish guidelines for designing ‘Barrier Free Environments’:

  1. Equitable Use:
    The design is useful and marketable to any group of users.
  2. Flexibility in Use:
    The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  3. Simple and Intuitive Use:
    Use of the design is easy to understand.
  4. Perceptible Information:
    The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user.
  5. Tolerance for Error:
    The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintentional actions.
  6. Low Physical Effort:
    The design can be used efficiently and comfortably.
  7. Size and Space for Approach and Use:
    Appropriate size and space is provided for approach and use.

If you plan to Age in Place, can your home accommodate a wheel chair?  Even if you won’t need one, there may be friends or family who will visit and need access to your front door and bathroom.  Here are some other things you may want to consider:

  • Removing carpet or area rugs that could prove to be a tripping hazard
  • Replacing door knobs with levers that are easier to use
  • Adding grab bars/handrails inside your bathtub or shower and beside the toilet
  • Replacing stairs with ramps
  • Replace your bathtub with a walk-in curb-free shower (see photo)
  • Replacing hardwired telephones with portable ones
  • Installing crank-operated windows
  • Replacing curtains with easier-to-operate & maintain blinds
  • Converting cupboards to drawers or sliding shelves for easier access to back items
  • Installing single-lever faucets
  • Adjusting the height of toilets
  • Installing motion sensitive lighting
  • Using contrasting colours, textures, or patterns for depth perception issues

With some thoughtful planning, Aging in Place can be a possible and very positive choice!

shower european-wet-rooms

Condensed High-Rise Community Living

‘Smart’, ‘Dynamic’, ‘Sustainable’ – are all terms that describe the future of high-rise living, and indeed high-rise living is our future.  We must further condense our cities to accommodate our population and when urbania has sprawled as much as it can, the only way to go is up!

According to many forward thinkers, condensed high-rise communities could be the answer to cleaning up our smog.  When everything you need is within walking distance, this lessens and often eliminates the need for vehicles powered by fossil fuels.  This video shows some of the innovative architectural designs coming soon to a city near you!


rotating skyscraper dubai

Exquisite Cabinet Hardware from Rhode Island

For those so inclined, there is a quiet move back to the traditional this year.  Edgar Berebi of Rhode Island creates the most intricately detailed and lavish cabinet hardware, some of it embellished with Swarovski crystals.  Available locally at Cantu Bathrooms & Hardware and Bradford Decorative Hardware of Vancouver.


edgarberebi hardware 2