Home Reno

Alvar Aalto tea trolley and tiles by Atelier des Cent-ans

April 4th, 2013


It’s another busy week here at the Kitka/Mjolk homestead. We’ve finally gotten to a place where we can start putting our nice things out permanently and hang pictures on the wall. We’ve been working on a little vignette across from our dining table with our baby high chair and Aalto Tea trolley. It all came together after our acquisition of the above tile work by Renaud Sauve (Atelier Des Cent-ans). We commissioned the piece last time we saw him back in the winter, and he dropped off this beautiful work when he came back to Toronto for the spring One of a Kind Show.

He also brought us some new pieces that were not shown at the One of a Kind Show, so if you had the opportunity to see his beautiful booth last week and didn’t get your hands on a piece of his work, don’t fret. We have some amazing unique works for you here at the shop!



The tiles are made of porcelain and feature a hand “tattooed” dyeing technique which originates from Korea. The white oak frame was made by Renaud’s partner Gilbert Garcia.


Very Japanese, but uniquely Renaud.


Some more treasures: Japanese indigo coasters and a birch sake cup by Kota Fukunaga (who we represent at Mjölk). Also, some Swedish matches from our last trip to Stockholm.


Little by little the place is coming together.

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Our bedroom this morning

January 8th, 2013


Hello everyone, I hope you all had a nice weekend.

We get some nice light in our bedroom, so I thought I would take a couple of snaps to share it with you this morning. When we first moved into our home, the upstairs kitchen and living room still were being renovated, so our bedroom became our sanctuary and we kept it nice and tidy while the rest of the rooms were filled with boxes or being worked on.

We’ve developed such a connection to this room that we find ourselves having lunch or a spot of coffee here like we did those first few weeks of moving in.

We lovingly refer to this floor as our apartment. A habit I don’t think we will ever shake.


Rough linen sheets, and Pia Wallen Crux blanket.


A permanent fixture in our bedroom – Isha.


My brother gave me this beautiful Hinoki cedar wood aroma diffuser. It makes our room smell like a Japanese spa. The other little objects are glass paper weights by Tsuji Kazumi.


A set of bowls by our friend Renaud the potter (Atelier Des cent-ans).


Did you know we carry Noguchi lights at Mjölk? We don’t sell them online by request of the manufacturer, but we have some beautiful specimens in our showroom right now. This light we specially ordered for the bedroom because it’s the same one that adorns Mirei Shigemori’s tea house.

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Maison Louis Carré by Alvar Aalto

October 30th, 2012

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I was having a conversation last week about my favourite architect Alvar Aalto, and as I chirped away I mentioned the very beautiful details of Maison Louis Carré. I’m usually not one for taking others photographs and putting them on Kitka, but I’ve been compiling some inspirational photography to keep as a reference for our own home and I felt compelled to share with you these beautiful photographs.

Each set actually comes from very different places:

The first is by Doctor Casino – a Flickr user who has a wonderful eye for architectural photography.

The second was pulled from the Maison Louis Carré website.

And the third – a contemporary fashion shoot by photographer Ben Sandler.

The home itself was completed in 1959 for very famous art collector Louis Carré. Aalto was asked to make a family home in the French country side with an incorporated gallery. Aalto felt that both art and family life are not separated by one and another, in fact the tendency is the reverse. There is a very intimate connection between them.

The other stipulation the client asked of Aalto was that the home be made of materials that had lived.

This was a task that Aalto was pleased with. He sourced the stone work locally from Chartres, and treated the brick with a white plaster lime-wash. The exterior was completed with copper sheeting, pine, and a slate roof.

The exterior is perhaps one of Aalto’s most extensive with regards to landscaping – carving down the elevation from the back of the home like waves creating a visual downward movement.

The elements on the inside are just as beautiful as the exterior.

Let’s take a look…

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An armchair 406 in natural leather.

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Many of the lighting fixtures were produced specifically for this project.

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A room surrounded by books was very important to the client.


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The exterior with lime-washed bricks.

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The elevations in the landscaping.

Above photos by Doctor Casino.



Some details worth taking a close look at.


Above photos from: http://www.maisonlouiscarre.fr/



This collection of photographs was something I’ve had bookmarked forever, and since it was featured in so many places I didn’t think it was necessary to share them. However, if we’re compiling photographs of Maison Louis Carré, it would be a sin to not include this set.




One of my favourite pendants, the turnip light. I’m hoping Artek will put this back into production at some point.








Photography by Ben Sandler


Just in the midst of finishing up this post our Lime-washer Ben, who is actually from Britain started lime-washing our own exposed brick wall. The elements of wood, copper, and white lime plaster are all inspired by Aalto’s natural palette and we’re excited to incorporate these elements in our new home.

I can’t wait to see what it looks like when it’s all finished.

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New coffee table

March 27th, 2012


I hope everyone’s week is going well. I’m sorry for our blog neglect recently, we are so close to having the baby and there are so many loose ends to tie up before her arrival. Something we’ve been meaning to share with you all that we needed to clean the apartment up first to photograph is our new table by Winnipeg based architect and designer Thom Fougere.

You might recognize it from the IDS coverage we did this year, the beautiful Manitoba tyndal stone was unlike anything we’ve ever seen. We asked Thom during the event if he would consider selling us his prototype, I think our enthusiasm paid off and he accepted.


The table is nice and low, so when you stand over it the stone looks as if it’s hovering above the steel structure.




This is our view of it from the sofa. Don’t worry, we have some very nice Pia Wallen felt coasters that will keep the top looking nice and crisp for a long time.

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Nesting Part 1: Bringing in some nature

February 5th, 2012


Recently we found out that because of the delayed permits, our renovation is not going to be complete until the fall. As a result, we figured we better make ourselves feel more at home in our temporary apartment, because we’ll be spending a lot of time there in the early baby days. So the first thing we did was head over to ecostems to buy some plants!

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On the left are some special edition Kin tea light holders by Claesson Koivisto Rune. Seventy-five were made for disaster relief in Japan through the shop Sfera. Coated with traditional Japanese Urushi, we have a black, red and green version.

Large furry Dala horse was bought off Ebay.

On the right is a Pure Nature Pillow by Dorte Agergaard. We will have more stock in the shop soon (we just need to order pillows for the cases).




Encaustic artwork is by Beverly Owens.


Photographic artwork is by Joshua Jensen-Nagle (our first art purchase).


We bought this wall vase by Masanobu Ando on our honeymoon in Hokkaido. We will be hosting Ando-san on February 23rd at Mjölk for an exhibition of his amazing ceramics. We’ll post the invite this week!

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Man Cave

December 6th, 2011


Yesterday I had a date with our basement. Our apartment walls are paper thin, and with the impending baby arrival I wanted to make a space in the basement that I would feel comfortable playing music in. The mini-reno took me to Home Depot, to buy 80 boards of cedar and a miter saw to clad up this weird little glassed in room. Cedar was ideal because it holds up against the moist basement, looks good, and it smells fantastic.


Here’s a view of the room under the stairs, I think I might frost the glass so I don’t have to look at the mess in the rest of the basement.


Time to get to work, the hardest part was deciding whether to install the slats vertical or horizontal. I ended up going horizontal to stay away from the traditional wood paneling look.


Here’s my new little Ryobi miter saw, only $99 and works perfectly for these little jobs. The only limitation is you can’t cut very wide boards.


I thought I would tackle the most difficult wall first, and it came out pretty nice.


For the next wall I just butted up the ends of the boards against each other, nothing fancy.



The angle under the stairs will be a nice little keyboard nook.


Here it is with all of the walls finished. I still need to decide on flooring, install the baseboards, and decide whether or not to conquer the ceiling.



Can’t wait to get it all cleaned up and move all my old gear in!


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