Winnipeg, Friendly Manitoba

October 13th, 2013


Our main reason for visiting Winnipeg was to see our friends Nils Vik and Thom Fougere (and to make a new friend of Mike from Scandinavian Modern). We met Nils and Thom years ago at IDS (ahhh so young), when they had their prototype on display. Since then Nils opened a very successful cafe, Parlour Coffee, in the Exchange neighbourhood (more on Thom later).

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They offer pour over, which is still a rarity.


A lot of interesting events happening in Winnipeg these days!


The Parlour space is definitely more of a grab and go scenario, however there are some bar stools if you’re lucky to nab one.


A simple menu. I imagine their treats sell out pretty early, as there seems to always be a lot of traffic.




I spy Mjölk Volume II and a much coveted Volume I, probably the only one left worldwide!!!


Tyndall stone facade and some benches to enjoy before the -40 temperatures start.




As if we hadn’t had enough coffee we headed over to MAKE Coffee + Stuff. We were invited to be on the Jury for an international lighting competition they were holding, called 011_SHADE.


Some of the other jury members.


Although this light wasn’t photographed the best in the submission package, it turned out to be a surprise hit for us.


This one we found to be a unique take on the bubble light.





This design is so intriguing, with the weight of the concrete and lightness of the wire.



You know how we love that charred wood look.


We attempted a fancier meal on our last night at highly recommended Segovia. We don’t generally do dinner with Elodie as her bath time is at 6pm sharp and she’s in bed by 6:30-7. Add a time change and well, we were heading towards disaster city. We were THOSE people. The ones with a screaming toddler in a fancy restaurant. But I mean come on, who really goes out for an intimate dinner at 5PM??? Sheesh. We should have had that room to ourselves yet the tables filled up around us. Anyway, Elodie refused to sit with us or eat anything. I had bought her a Thomas the Tank Engine toy so she happily played with it on the floor…well happily until she tried to choo choo it to where all the servers bustle about. Rookie parent I am it took me forever to remember to shove my iphone at her, which let us shovel food into our mouths for about 7 minutes in relative peace. Check please!

I will say that although we crammed the food in (is there any other way with young kids anyway?), the food was incredible. Oh to be savored…maybe next time!



The main event of our trip was the Thom Fougere + Børge Mogensen exhibition.

It was so amazing to see Thom’s work finally available for purchase, taking production into his own hands and working with local suppliers it is very inspiring. It was also a pleasure to meet and have dinner with Mike from Scandinavian.Modern, a kindred spirit indeed. He really knows his stuff and has impeccable taste. He is always pushing designers that tend to be a little less mainstream here in North America, and of course the Danish modern enthusiasts who are in the know have a ton of respect for his offerings.

Here is the images we could muster on a dark and cozy Winnipeg evening:

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The beautiful Tyndall stone table, an iconic stone used throughout the buildings in the prairies.


Charge catch for holding your phone while it is being charged.


Bench coat rack system, and wood and metal side table.



The Parlour portable coffee bar.



Believe it or not, this used to be just like our old apartment. We also have a vintage 2213 sofa in black leather with mahogany legs, as well as Thom’s tyndall table. I think it is a perfect combination.


The newest work on exhibit is Thom’s magazine rack which is to the left of the Mogensen sofa.




The brass detail of a rare armchair Børge Mogensen designed for Karl Andersson & Söner.



Børge Mogensen canvas and oak Easy chair for Fredericia.


An incredible module sofa with wall mounted headrests. If we had a place for it in our life, I would love this for our home.

We had a great time in Winnipeg, and we’re looking forward to our next visit!



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Winnipeg, MB

October 2nd, 2013


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.

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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.

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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.

Some architecture:

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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!

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Old murals

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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!

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September 4th, 2013


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.

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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!

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Souvenirs from Japan, J & J edition

June 10th, 2013



A few weeks ago we shared some of the treasures we brought back for Elodie. This is our small, but lovely haul.

A beautiful ceramic jar from Zakka (sorry, I can’t find their website…zakka is used in a lot of shop names).

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A Boro or Japanese Patch work Tea bowl coaster in various indigo fabric with beautiful quilt stitching.


Minä Perhonen socks. Yup, just socks! What a gorgeous shop though. Classic mid-century modern interior (see the website, I felt uncomfortable photographing it).




We were planning on buying a Chemex so we grabbed one of these measuring sticks from Farmer’s Table (who incidentally moved locations and no longer have a cafe). We have since purchased our Chemex and have been enjoying it every morning.




The most stunning hand towel we have ever found. It is so nice we can’t even bare to use it in our water closet, so it sits on our bench. It’s made of hand spun cotton with natural indigo dyes. The best part is, we’ll be carrying these textiles in our shop very soon!


A wabi towel holder. It even hangs crooked. For the cottage…

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We absolutely love this stoneware oven dish. They only had three available but we’d love to pick up one more (or three more!). Everything cooks perfectly in it, and it’s ridiculously easy to clean. So far we’ve made meat pie and mac and cheese.

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Terunobu Fujimori

May 20th, 2013




Every trip we have had to Japan has been a wonderful one, but we always fill our itinerary too much and we are embarrassed to say we rarely get the chance to visit museums, gardens, or temples during our visits. We do sometimes come across beautiful gardens and buildings by mistake (it’s not very difficult in Japan), but during our next trip we have to create a more leisurely schedule and try some touristy stuff for once.





Having said that, through our work we had the opportunity to visit some spectacular architecture projects by one of my favorite architects Terunobu Fujimori. I guess the first time I was acquainted with Mr. Fujimori’s work was around 5 years ago when we first started to have a conversation with Peter and Christine from Studio Junction. I remember right away being smitten with his work, and enamored with his use of materials and craftsmanship. I would be even more impressed as I learned more about him, that he almost always uses amateur craftsmen for his projects, and was an architecture historian for decades before being commissioned his first project.

As luck would have it, we visited one of the handful of public architecture works by Fujimori, and his very first commission which was completed in 1991.

The Jinchokan Moriya Historical Museum.

We hope you enjoy the photos!



Cedar timber peaks extend through the roof to the entrance of the museum.


All of the metal components of the museum including the handles and hinges on the windows and doors were forged by a very famous metal worker in Kyoto.


Of course you have to take your shoes off to enter the museum.



A handmade window looks as if it has rain constantly trickling down.



The interior walls and floor are a mix of mortar, straw, and mud.



Because the walls, ceiling, and floor are the same colour there is a visual softness to the space. All of the lines are blurred.


The collection of taxidermy represents the various sacrifices during the festivals in the region.

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The exterior cedar paneling is actually hand split log, by a master who unfortunately has since passed away. We were shown two boards, one attempted by Fujimori-san, and the other by the master and it was incredible the difference between the two. The hand split log follows the natural texture of the wood grain, as oppose to a saw which cuts straight through the wood. The texture on the wood is incredible, and the owner of the museum told us if one day they must replace the cladding they will not be able to do it with hand split logs.



The building resonates perfectly within its surroundings.



In other news, we are happy to say our 2nd book is going to print very soon. Please stay tuned!

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Souvenirs from Japan, Elodie edition

May 8th, 2013


As anyone who has been away from a loved one can attest, the more you buy the more you are thinking about them, am I right? At least that’s what we told ourselves every time we bought something for Elodie. Actually in the end it seemed like we bought more than we actually did. So that’s good, at least for our wallet.

A book about a cat (we surmise). A wooden car that plays music when you move it.


This happened. Mother / daughter hats. Couldn’t help myself.
Last year we went to see the cherry blossoms in High Park. It was about a week after Elodie was born and she was asleep in her car seat. This time proved more difficult with a toddler. It’s just so amazing how much they change in the first year. From tiny blob to fully mobile and four times the size. Elodie became more preoccupied with pushing her stroller around than looking at the blossoms.

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