“Constructions” Contemporary Norwegian Arts & Crafts

November 23rd, 2010

Last week we went to the opening of “Constructions” a new exhibition at the Design Exchange highlighting contemporary Norwegian designers inspired by traditional folk crafts.

“This exhibition of contemporary Norwegian arts and crafts is based on the concept of “construction” – in the sense of the way something is put together. The term is used in many fields, including architecture, engineering and geometry, music and language. In the field of arts and crafts, “construction” is used to describe methods for both building three-dimensional forms and creating patterns in surfaces, or a fusion of these. There are many construction methods, ranging from work on a single object to the joining of different elements.”

Here is a small sampling of the show:

Crocheted jewlery made from mass produced ceramic figurines by Anne Lene Lovhaug.

Embroidered wooden boxes by Lars Sture

Burled birch bowl by Havard Larsen

Antler knife.

Bowl in Cherry wood with crushed eggshell lacquer interior by Lillian Dahle.

Contemporary Anorak bag inspired by traditional and ceremonial Anorak bags. By Marianne Moe.

A deconstructed quilt by Anne-Gry Loland.

Felt applique by Inger Johanne Rasmussen.

Embroidered wooden butterfly.

Antler Chain marked with plastic year markers used to mark reindeer, by Aslaug Juliussen.

The show is on from November 19th to January 23rd, check out the Design Exchange for directions and hours!

Filed under: Toronto | 3 comments


November 1st, 2010

Before there was Mjolk, there was a groundbreaking modernist store on Bloor Street West Front Street East called Karelia. It was a store that introduced modern Finnish design to Toronto. You could find high-end pieces by Yrjö Kukkapuro and Eero Aarnio, designers that still haven’t returned back to the Toronto modern retail scene.

The store existed before our time, but we have a lot of customers and former employees of Karelia that come in our store and reminisce about its time as a store.

Let me back track a little — Every Monday on our day off we visit a neighbourhood in the city. Today we trekked over to Leslieville, on Queen St. East. We visited Jake at one of the best stores in the city, Machine Age Modern. After talking obsessively about Tapio Wirkkala he took out an old poster he had from Karelia. He mentioned he had visited Janis Kravis, the owner of Karelia who is still working as an architect in Toronto.

He told me the owner has a whole wall of modernist glass, one of which was signed “Thanks for having me over for dinner – Alvar Aalto” A one of a kind piece created by Aalto to mark the occasion.

Imagine getting Finel coffee percolators for $15.95?

Jake gave us an early wedding gift, which are little mementos from the old Karelia store.

Two stainless steel hearts.

Which come together to form a sculpture. I’m not sure who the designer is but Jake thinks it’s from Sweden, I still need to do some research…

Filed under: Thrifting,Toronto | 12 comments

Happy Canada Day!

July 1st, 2010

What did you do to celebrate?

Apparently we ate our faces off.

Starting with last night. John was feeling like exercising his culinary chops, so he made his very first risotto. Perfection (and looking forward to the leftovers tonight).

An unusual midweek day off for us meant heading over to the Annex to visit a favourite brunch spot that has been off our roster lately. At Insomnia, we always sit at the bar, and I secretly am peeved when someone is sitting in our precise spot, as there was today (bar was otherwise empty). Our favourite waitress was there which made up for that! By the way, Insomnia has great coffee. You just want to sit there and drink and drink and drink. I got the eggs florentine. They put dill in the sauce, and their potatoes are crazy ketchupy and strangely yummy.

John got the waffle with fruit. I took it to the extreme and had one quarter of it for dessert. What is my problem?

Because we slept in this morning (luxurious!), we literally headed home after brunch and packed up our stuff for a picnic in the park. We met Aprile and Jory, and Chloé and Adam at the busy High Park entrance. I proceeded to lead them into uncharted territory in the search for the perfect picnic spot. We ended up near the restaurant (charted territory). John brought his trusty splint basket!

A nice little spot.

Aprile and Jory are using the Furoshiki paper gift we brought back for them from Japan!

And the eating begins again! Aprile roasted pork this morning and we had sandwiches. Delish.

Jory’s potato salad.

A musical interlude.

Chloé’s blueberry scones, Aprile’s apple and raspberry pie, and oh no! I forgot to have Aprile’s granola bar for the road. Dang. Recipes please. Chloé had the bright idea of putting whip cream and strawberries on the scones to make them into impromptu strawberry shortcakes and my stomach approved.

Food coma.

Aprile’s homemade raspberry lemonade. Pretty!

That was my first ever High Park picnic, and it was so relaxing and fun. So glad that we live nearby! Thanks to everyone for all the delicious food that you brought. Sorry we kind of free loaded. Heh…..

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Nikole Herriott’s home

June 9th, 2010

Did everyone get a chance to see Nikole Herriot’s home on Design Sponge this week?

Nikole and Celine (Bonjour Celine) got together to photograph the space and the result is just fantastic! Nikole definitely scored a perfect apartment in one of Toronto’s older buildings, my guess it’s a low-rise. It just goes to show it’s not about how much space you have, it’s how you choose to use (and accessorize) the space.

We love the simplicity of Nikole’s bedroom. The wonderful black painted wall, crisp white sheets, and Eames rocker with a reindeer hide draped over it.

We’re still waiting on a few things to come together before we reveal our own finished bedroom, but it’s really coming along.

A beautiful white kitchen with ceramic tiles and open shelves.

Does that glass brush looks familiar?

Make sure you check out the full post here (love the bathroom!).

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Mitzi’s cafe

May 28th, 2010

Today we got up early to have some breakfast before opening the store. We were headed to Grapefruit Moon but because of the crazy Gardiner closure (for the whole summer, no less!) the traffic going cross town was horrendous. Regardless, it was a beautiful day and we wanted to be outside so we went to one of our favorite localish haunts “Mitzi’s” on Sorauren (the College St. location is equally great).

Juli was wearing her new outfit from Robber.

I had my summer hat on.

This brunch is by far the best bang for your buck in Toronto! We always get the “Mitzi’s breakfast”: the best ever sour dough toast, two eggs, bacon, greens (we substitute the potatoes for greens), and a good amount of fruit, X 2 and two cups of coffee costs around 20 bucks.


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Spaces: Juliana Neufeld, version 2.0

May 18th, 2010

Hey Everyone, we hope all of you had a great weekend!

Ours ended with a very nice email from one of our first Kitka submitters, Juliana Neufeld (click to be sure to check out her old space, to see how things have evolved!).

She’s got a new place and sent some photos to share! BTW, we love the idea of using a black board wall as a large mural canvas, to be changed up once and awhile. If only we weren’t so graphically challenged here at Kitka!


Me, Juliana Neufeld, illustrator and painter and Sammy Rawal, music video director and photographer both lived in a basement prior to our current apartment and were craving hardwood and light when we started our search for a new dwelling. We found a lovely 3rd floor Apartment at College and Gladstone with skylights in the kitchen and bathroom and a nice sized patio. Sammy and I have similar graphic sensibilities so we were both so excited to decorate the place, combining our love of thrift and antique store finds with bold textiles, graphic lines and colour.

We knew when we moved into a larger space that we wanted to do a blackboard wall. Right now we have a Keith Haring-esque drawing going on, but we like to change it up every month, to give the whole kitchen/living room area a totally different vibe. I’ve got plans to draw a giant owl mural next.

Everything displayed on these shelves are gifts from friends and loved ones over the years. The combination of sentimental value and good design make these items pretty priceless to both of us.

The table was a good find at Cindiloowhoo on Ossington.We have plans to paint the chairs a glossy white but haven’t found the time yet. A good summer project, I guess. The image above the table is a beautiful photograph of a silver toy sail boat by  friend and fellow Ryerson photo graduate Chris Boyne.

We had a little wall space snuggled in between the hall dividing our bedrooms, so we decided to throw up some of our old favorite books. We have more globes than we know what to do with, so the floating shelf was a perfect space to balance one of them.

My bedroom is still a work in progress..I get so excited about textiles and can’t help picking them up wherever I travel. It’s always a fun challenge trying to balance and layer them in ways that still project a sense of calm.

The chair was a $15 Roncesvalles find and the framed poster I found (and fell head over heels for) at The Public Butter in Parkdale.

I found this adorable old ketchup squeeze bottle at the downstairs of 69 Vintage on Bloor, which is now a perfect dispenser for dishwashing soap.

The living room is an eclectic mix of our finds over the years. The apartment is by no means big, but we’ve managed to get lots of “stuff” in here. The newest find was a vintage film poster advertising the sixties films “Seven Thieves” and “Tall Story” that I picked up at Queen West Antiques in Roncesvalles.

A major work in progress…We have plans to let greenery take over the space. Would love to get vines, some potted trees and plants scattered around the patio. And of course a BBQ!

This pup is one half of a salt and pepper duo that I found at a friend’s garage sale. I kind of like him better all by himself.

Sammy painted this awesome Keith Haring  mural on his wall. And the the poster above the bed is Artist John Todd’s adaptation of the Keep Calm Carry On poster from Function 13 in Kensington market.

Thanks so much for sharing!

Filed under: Toronto | 5 comments