The other week we visited Winnipeg. Why Winnipeg you ask? Well, firstly I (Juli) grew up visiting my grandmother and family several times a year, even attending a French day camp at St. Boniface for a month in the summer. More recently though, we have made quite a few friends through the shop that are from Winnipeg. Some events were happening all at the same time so we figured it was a good time to visit.
It was Elodie’s first airplane ride and she was surprisingly amazing for a very busy 18 month old. Although I think a 2 hour flight is her maximum, she stayed in our lap and was quiet the whole flight (not as good the way back, but what can you do!). We rented a car and made our first stop The Forks for some lunch. We were going to go to the children’s museum but Mike from Scandinavian Modern told us about this amazing park right next door.The Variety Heritage Adventure Playground had plenty to do to burn off some of that toddler energy.
After a long play session Elodie passed out in the car and we drove around town.
We then visited Little Sister Coffee Maker, a new cafe in Osborne Village, co-owned by our friend Nils Vik of Parlour Coffee and his sister-in-law Vanessa. I am so embarrassed that I didn’t get any proper photos. Travelling with toddler made it hard to get in the zone, and we thought we would have time to visit again (we didn’t), so I only got two shots!
Regardless, the atmosphere is really lovely, and the details are all there, right down to the colour scheme and fresh flowers. Honestly, this is the type of cafe we would go to daily if given the opportunity. They actually use legit Iittala mugs and serve incredible croissants and baked goods. I had a mocha and it was the best I have ever had. John had a pour over, which not many places take the time to do. In order to get Elodie to sit still for a few minute we placated her with her very own cookie. She responded with a fairly adept impersonation of Cookie Monster (nom nom nom) and refused to share even one bite of her cookie with us. She is her mother’s daughter.
A cute post box turned trash bin.
We were pretty tired after our busy day so we headed back to our fancy digs at The Fairmont to grab some room service and put Elodie to bed. We ended up with a double room suite (it was the only room available, I swear) and it was worth every penny. When your kid goes to bed around 7pm the last thing you want to do is sit in the dark for the rest of the evening. Also the room service was surprisingly good for a change.
If you are familiar with Winnipeg then you will know that Stella’s is an institution at this point. I used to go with my grandma to the location in Osborne Village and it’s as good now as it ever was. Best breakfast in town – actually I wish there was one in Toronto!
I know this looks pretty average but they make their own jam and bread which are two huge factors in the best breakfast category. We ate here both mornings.
The Exchange area
Winnipeg City Hall
Centennial Concert Hall
Manitoba Museum and Planetarium
The first diorama in the museum is the bison hunt, a classic. I always insisted on visiting the museum, every single time, dead of winter even (three buses).
A newer diorama of a Ukrainian homestead. Looks like a William Kurelek painting!
Tyndall stone, a limestone rich in decorative fossils, is widely used in commercial applications in Winnipeg. Our friend Thom made a gorgeous coffee table out of this material.
The iconic The Golden Boy, perched on top of the legislature building.
Another post to follow!
Last week we took a little road trip, sans bébé, to visit our friends Renaud and Gilbert. They live in paradise and are exceptional cooks so you’re all very lucky we returned. We were ready to give it all up and live the country life. It’s quite a reminder that we don’t interact with nature enough (at all?) in our hectic city life. We will have to make more of an effort to head out into nature more often, especially with our little outdoorsbaby, who collapses in a heap of despair every time we try to bring her indoors.
Gilbert and Renaud (pictured at right chatting with John) are building their own three storey home, with a wood shop on the main floor basement and a lovely ceramics studio just off the kitchen on the second floor. Both are exceptional craftsmen and the details of their home and work show it. We’ll be featuring their studio and home in our next Mjölk volume.
Their property is nearly self sustaining, with a large garden patch, and a beautiful river that runs through it for swimming, contemplation, clay digging or rock hunting.
They have a cat who is a real cat. He goes outside all night long and then passes out exhausted in the morning to sleep the day away. I didn’t realize that this seat was his special place. He made do.
The neighbour down the lane owns the whole big property, and has a donkey, three (?) dogs and about 11 cats.
The neighbour’s guest house (barn) and house.
The house is still under construction as you can see but it has such a nice comfortable vibe. Left over Paella made by Gilbert for lunch before we hit the road.
On our way home we stopped in Montreal for a day. We stayed at Hotel Gault near old Montreal.
With only a day we started at Olive & Gourmande (Renaud recommended it and it was around the corner from our hotel) for some coffee and light breakfast then headed up to Jean-Talon Market.
Feeling kind of lazy we soon found ourselves at Cafe Ellefsen. We had considered doing a feature on it for our next book but found out from the owners that they recently sold it and that it will have to change themes before the end of September. I think the owners are looking for a new location. We had some coffee and then found that it was lunch time so we ordered some Smørrebrød and poutine (when in Quebec…).
With full bellies we walked over to the Mile End neighbourhood. I don’t think I’ve ever been over there! The last time I was in Montreal was in younger years when we went for the nightlife and slept most of the day away. Now it’s the opposite, we’re in bed by 8! Soon we’ll be sporting practical clothing and shoes and backpacks to hike the city streets (never). So I am not sure if Mile End always had things happening or if it’s a relatively newer hot spot. It has some nice design shops, restaurants, cafes and clothing shops (above was my favourite). Worth visiting the neighbourhood as it’s away from the crowds and more youthful.
All in all a relaxing little holiday!
Sorry we’ve been so quiet lately…we hope to get back into the swing of things this fall. We hope that you all had a really nice summer, though didn’t it seem so short this year? We don’t have too much planned for the fall at Mjölk, besides restocking the showroom for the holiday season and focusing our attention on finding new Scandinavian products and the blog. Hope to see you soon!
I’ve been meaning to write about this subject for some time, but between summer and the Nakashima exhibition, we’ve been in a bit of a whirlwind. We haven’t shared much of our house yet, mostly because we are still settling in! It takes quite some time to feel comfortable putting art up (or acquiring it) and finding special textiles that take a space to the next level of homeyness.
We have a flex space that is currently Elodie’s bedroom (she’ll move to another room once either a) another baby comes along, or b) she escapes her crib and becomes ready for a big kid bed. She has been sleeping in here since December but we’ve only just felt like the room is complete. It’s a small space that is ALL windows and doors. So that makes for a challenge when it comes to shelving and art. I think ultimately though, this isn’t a play room. It’s a sleeping space and needs to be calm and minimal. There is a nice pop of nature out the window (in Canada you legally need to have an operable window in each bedroom, so Studio Junction made a clever little courtyard, where we are in the process of planting some bamboo).
The second we saw the Leander crib and change table we knew it would be perfect for our new home. I had some serious baby brain going on when I put it together but the craftsmanship is really solid and it’s wearing really well despite the odd bite mark around the edges. We invested in the bed because it also turns into a toddler bed, by expanding by about another foot and a half. The only worry I have is that if I turn it into a toddler bed now, we’ll eventually need another crib. I wish buying the toddler bed wasn’t as expensive as buying the crib. If anyone in the Toronto area is selling or sees one for sale, let me know!!!
We found this mobile via Remodelista (oddly I cannot find the post) and ultimately bought it from the maker as the store they had linked in the story didn’t ship to Canada. Another piece that is perfect for both a baby and an adult space (would look nice in a sheltered garden for example).
Pia Wallen Cross Baby Blanket is now available at Mjölk (though may not be online yet). Adult version also available.
Bunny was a birthday gift from a very lovely customer.
This carpet we bought via Etsy. John was looking for Moroccan rugs and this was added while he was lurking on a page. It jumped out at us for Elodie’s room. Since she lives in a pretty neutral world, we thought it’d be that extra punch of colour necessary to make it a less serious space. And even though it’s kid friendly, I think it’s a rug she could love and use into adulthood (that is, after her inevitable rejection phase).
Needing some storage we turned to the much loved Ribba picture shelves from Ikea.
Painting at top was commissioned by Melinda Josie, of our cats. The elephant picture was made by our friend Hollie as a birthday gift. The wood blocks with Elodie’s name are from our friends over at Ltd. Supply Kitchen Brewery (ok, they are our besties, but check out what they are up to if you’re into craft beer).
The Muji CD player is the perfect little thing for a nursery. The giraffe was a surprise gift from Jake of Machine Age Modern. Some vintage and new Moomin books. A Dala Horse from our wedding. The Chalk Piggy Bank was bought from Ladies & Gentlemen Studio (wow they’ve been busy!). Monkey is from our first trip to Copenhagen together. String is from when we tried to sell it in the shop but it proved too complicated. Portrait of us (just pregnant and not knowing it) is by Phillipa C in collaboration with what was Russet & Empire, during the first Junction Design Crawl (mark your calendar, next one is Friday August 23rd!!).
On the left was a gift from Arounna and John of Bookhou.
The print on the right is a signed and numbered lithograph that I coincidentally bought on the same day the rug arrived. Serendipitously they have the same colour scheme and sealed the look for the space. I happened to wander over to Williams on Keele, and as I was chatting away my eyes kept scouring. The print was originally in a fake bamboo style frame and I could only see a part of the gold section – somehow I knew it was a Japanese print worth checking out. I asked to look at it and was shocked, $45! I NEVER luck out with finds like this. Honestly, we debated putting this piece in our room, but Elodie liked it from the get go. She gave it a kiss.
We immediately took it to our new framing friends over at The Gilder. It costs a bit more to get a custom white oak frame but so much better than all the generic styles that are readily available.
The Hans Wegner J16 rocking chair and Artek Zebra Pillow. We use this rocking chair every day, and once this room is no longer a nursery, it will most likely move up to the cottage to continue to be enjoyed.
Moving away from the bedroom, we all know kids stuff gets everywhere. I was starting to feel like we have too much stuff, but have realized we barely have anything. We have two bins and half the stuff is for babies. Elodie doesn’t slow down much to play anyway. She likes running around and practicing skills like climbing up and down. So books and balls and babies are the only things she really interacts with (not even blocks!). The above cardboard box? Needs to go in the recycling…she’s over it.
Elodie loves her chair by Tomii Takashi. It’s the perfect size.
Not pictured is the Ikea easel, for colouring….
And yes, she colours outside of the box. This has been like this for weeks too. Ohhh we are certainly not perfect over here!
The Brasilia coffee table by Claesson Koivisto Rune is a perfect sort of coffee table. Soft rounded corners and hollow means we don’t have to worry about bumps on the head. Except when she climbs up onto the table and jumps off, a constant fascination.
She barely pays any mind to that Masanobu Ando sculpture. And if she does we just take it and move it up high. But generally she’s not all that interested in the stuff around the house. Now that’s obviously her personality, and not all kids will act this way. I find that she gets into trouble if she’s bored or tired.
In the living room there are some low shelves for Elodie’s toys.
Shhh sleeping bunny. Also, banana hands, everywhere, always.
Finally on this not so kid friendly yet kid friendly home tour, the rocking sheep (contact us for info, not on website), which for some reason ended up in our bedroom but has yet to leave. And really, it’s quite nice in our room. A touch of kid in an adult space.
Note: Based on this post it seems like we get a lot of free stuff, but it’s not usually the case. Babies bring the love.
Last week on Wednesday night we opened our doors for the opening reception of the first Nakashima retrospective in Canada. We had an incredible turn-out and we thank everyone who took the time to visit and say hello to us and the Yarnall-Nakashima family.
An Ikebana bowl specially made by Masanobu Ando, and a flower arrangement by Mira Nakashima with flowers from Coriander Girl. So beautiful!
Conoid dining chairs made with walnut and carved hickory pickets.
Beautiful lounge chairs in cherry with maple burl arms.
Asa-no-ha cabinet with a Conoid coffee table in front. Tea ceremony tools by Masanobu Ando.
Large vase by Uchida Kouichi on the left, and Urushi tea containers, and tooled tray by Shingo Tsukuda.
A Mira box / jewelry box.
Nakashima belongs in our showroom.
The most beautiful wood boxes and trays by Tsukuda Shingo.
The tori arch of the Conoid Bench.
A special vase by Japanese potter Uchida Kouichi resting on the edge of the bench.
Hand tooled wooden trays by Tsukuda Shingo.
Peeking into the rarely photographed back half of our showroom.
Tea Ceremony bowls and trays made by Masanobu Ando.
A unique collection of Calligraphy tools made by Masanobu Ando for the exhibition. Mira Nakashima was nice enough to lend us her Calligraphy brushes for the exhibition display.
One of our favourite collections in the exhibition, the desk, the Captain’s chair and the table lamp are spectacular. Hovering above is a silver glazed cross by Masanobu Ando. Ando-san doesn’t have a connection to the cross, but he saw many on a trip to Europe and thought they would make a nice wall flower vase.
Grass-seated chairs with a wall hanging cabinet.
Ultimo bench with Japanese indigo fabric.
Minguren end table with vase by Uchida Kouichi.
Black copper glazed lidded statues by Uchida Kouichi.
Hand chiseled black urushi coated tableware by famous wood craftsman Ryuji Mitani.
A collection of hammered silver works by Mami and Takejiro Hasegawa.
The Opening reception with Mira Nakashima in her summer Yukata.
A collection of woodworkers (including our architect Peter Tan) nerding out ;)
The two Johns – John Baker & Jon Yarnall (Mira’s husband, woodworker and head of the Nakashima chair department).
A big thank you to:
Fielding Estate Winery - your wine was highly complimented all evening. Thank you for helping make our evening a special success.
Sali Tabacchi – we adore your innovative program design!
Mira and Jon Yarnall, Maria and Maya for coming to Toronto to be a part of this historic event.
Please mark your calenders! Next Wednesday on June 26th we are presenting the first North American exhibition for Japanese wood artisan Tomii Takashi. The evening reception starts from 7:00 – 10:00pm, and Tomii Takashi is flying here all the way from Japan to attend the opening and meet you all.
We just received a sizable collection of work that will be making it’s debut next week, and everything is incredible. I took the liberty to photograph a sampling of what to expect come opening night, all of the pieces in this post and many more will be available for sale (and not before).
Anyone who loves wood should be in attendance to this show, please invite your friends.
Here is our little write up for the exhibition:
Tomii Takashi is known as a prodigy in Japan and is quickly becoming one of the most recognized wood workers in his field. His work exhibits very clean modern forms that are contrasted by soft tool marks. These marks leave a connection to the maker, and also reveal that such refined work can be made by the hand.
Tomii Takashi’s interest in woodworking began during his one year stay in Vernonia, Oregon where forestry is the key industry. After coming back to Japan in 1995, he started to carve kitchen tools such as butter knives, spatulas, and spoons out of twigs he gathered in the nearby hills. Although he dedicated himself to science experiments throughout his student years, he was inclined to cook and collect kitchenware, ceramics, and wooden tools and furniture. Gradually he started to dream of living by making wooden tableware, and finally in 2002 when he was 25, left graduate school and entered the “Shinrin Takumi Juku” where he learned solid wood furniture making for 2 years. He then worked for Oak Village in Gifu.
In 2008, Tomii moved to Shigaraki, Shiga prefecture and started creating wooden tableware for daily use in his workshop in Minamiyamashiro, Kyoto. All of his pieces are hand tooled or turned on a lathe into very simple and beautiful shapes.
Tomii lives with his wife, Miyuki who helps his work, a daughter and a son. They are enjoying their everyday lives surrounded by rich nature.
Incredibly deep bread trays made from one solid block of chestnut.
Hand chiseled oak tray, with small sakura dish and lotus spoons.
Large Japanese white urushi lacquer-ware bowls
Tomii Takashi will see you next Wednesday!
What an exciting week! We received the printed copies of Mjolk Volume II, and I’m always so amazed at how good the photos look after being printed. Photographs must long to be printed because there is just something that doesn’t translate to screen viewing.
After grabbing a copy for ourselves, it is a ritual for us to go over the entire book as if we are reading it for the first time. Of course we have read the book over and over, but there is something about turning the pages of the finished version that is like experiencing the book for the first time, and getting into the head space of a new reader.
There are some notable changes, we went from around 104 pages in our first book to a whopping 144 pages in the second. Of course we are still advert free, so it’s 144 pages of pure content. We’ve also learned a lot from the first book, and know what we liked and what we didn’t like. Based on these decisions we decided to focus on editorial content only, shifting from a magazine / catalog hybrid to a proper book. Last but not least I think the overall voice is clearer, as this time we set out to do the interviews and photographs while the first time was more of a mosaic from our personal travel photos.
We’ve started sending our books to our faithful stockists already, so if you’re in a city and want to get a copy of the new issue we appreciate you being patient to support your local retailers. If we’re not carried in your city yet (and there’s a good chance that we aren’t) please let your local book or special interest shop know! We’ve been picked up numerous times because of customers who wanted to buy it locally.
Above: The Nakashima article, with a tour of the Nakashima studio and houses complemented by an interview with Mira Nakashima. The Nakashima exhibit at Mjölk is July 24 (runs for about a month). Mira Nakashima will be in attendance.
The cover which is the entrance to wood artisan Tomii Takashi’s home. I hope to introduce you all to Tomii when he visits us next week on Wednesday, June 26th, for his first solo exhibition in North America!
To pick up a copy of Mjölk Volume II, visit our webshop or come into the store!