February, 2009

Vintage Board Games

February 24th, 2009


It seems winter is far from over, and we’re looking around the house for things to pass the time.



TinTin! is Juli’s board game from when she was a kid in French Immersion. She tried to play once with her Grandma, but they gave up because their French wasn’t up to par. C’est la vie.



An old Magnetic play set from Czechoslovakia, magnetic wands move characters from under the cardboard stage. We’re missing the king, so we came up with an elaborate story where the Queen was having an affair with the Spear man which ultimately leads to the murder of the King, and the usurp of the crown… Hilarity ensues. (purchased from Value Village)


Remember high school? Prom, boyfriend stealing, skipping school to go to the beach. Wheee! Life was so carefree! (purchased from Value Village)



Sure everybody wants to be one of the twins, but Lila is just so tough looking, with her vintage dress and umm, party refreshments…you know what I’m talking about….


What I’ve really had the craving to play is a good game of chess, I’ve been playing online a bit but can’t seem to win one game! The height of my chess career was probably grade 5, and it’s pretty much been downhill from there. I have been interested in some of these great modernist chess sets from the 20s to the 60s. Below is a Danish set designed by: Svenhugo Karlsson




A fantastic reissue of the 1923 Josef Hartwig chess set for Naef, this Bauhaus designed chess set appeals to our modern sensibilities and is available at Fawn&Forest.

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Product Review: Magisso

February 23rd, 2009


We met Finnish designer Miika Mansikkamaa near the tail end of our night at the 2009 Interior Design Show gala in Toronto, but he was still in high spirits and enthusiastic and we were glad that he pulled us into his booth to share with us his ingenious Magisso kitchen gadget.

No matter how you slice it, dish cloths are ugly. And dirty. And always falling into the sink when you don’t want them to. So why it took so long for this product to be invented is beyond me. I mean, the closest thing I can think of is those wide-mouthed ceramic frogs that hold dish scrubbing pads, but really, unless you’re into ceramic frogs, they’re kind of not helping the situation. Plus, to top it all off (literally), is that somehow the faucet has become a glorified cloth hanger. Lately, I’ve been reading in magazines about spending and saving in a kitchen reno, and one recommended splurge is the faucet. So why would one want to cover it up with a ratty ugly J-Cloth?

Our favourite thing about the Magisso holder is that when one is even as close as a foot away from the sink, the unsightly cloth is hidden from view–making the area less cluttered, and clearing the sightlines for what’s important (apparently, it’s ceramic children’s heads and some random Soviet certificate for excellence in athletics – see below).

magisso-1 magisso-2

The facts: Secured using a strong magnet that is placed on the underside of the sink, installation takes seconds and doesn’t produce any damage if you wish to remove it. The arm of the gadget is curved to fit the rounded corners of a sink and moves so that you can easily hang a cloth on it. The result is that your wet kitchen cloth has a place to dry that is out of sight but still within reach.

The product will retail in Canada for around $60, however they are working on a plastic version that will cut that cost considerably, to about $20. Honestly though, it’s worth it.


Now you see it.


Now you don’t. Simple but brilliant.

UPDATE: Canadians can now buy Magisso online at Urban Butik.


Photo credit: Miika Mansikkamaa by Magisso

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Ebay find! Breakfast with Rosti

February 22nd, 2009


John picked up some super cute Rosti melamine egg cups recently on Ebay. He got 6 of them for about $10. So for the first time ever, we strayed away from the usual fried egg and made some soft/hard boiled eggs (healthy!), accompanied by a baguette sliced up for toast soldiers and some Chabichou bacon (the best bacon ever).Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for my coffee – we are on an off week and I have thus just replenished my Starbucks card. If anyone has any tips on coffee makers or brands or anything that will help me in this department, I desperately implore you to save me.


Also starring in this breakfast spread is a Rosti juice pitcher. John insists on colour coding everything so you guessed it, we use it for OJ (I am uncertain and a little bit afraid of what will go in the black version, as we got 5 of them for a steal off ebay). As you can probably surmise, we love how the yellow and off-white mimic the colour of eggs.

You can find vintage Rosti in many places like Atomic, Upsidedive, and Rogue Gallery (416-462-1800) and new at modern cookware shops or online (the mixing bowl is the most common product).

One thing is for sure, having special serving dishes makes brunch at home that much more fun.

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Craigslist Find!

February 21st, 2009

sunbeam mixer

Up for grabs is this great retro Sunbeam Mixer complete with stainless steel bowls, dough hooks, and an extra set of beaters. Yours for only $25 bucks!

Click the picture for a link to the original posting

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Questions and Answers #1

February 21st, 2009

One thing about building community is putting questions out there and hoping for an answer. Yesterday I noticed a comment on a past post that you may miss so here it is:

P Segal asks: I’ve been searching the internet for years now, looking for the mid-century chairs that look a whole lot like Fishbol’s bungee chair. I have some, but can’t figure out who made them. The mid-century chairs (purchased in 1950 by my aunt) have a light wood boomerang-shaped support on each side, and are threaded with black patent leather rope across the seat and back. The legs are slightly splayed. Today I spent a whole day in San Francisco’s architectural bookstore looking through books on mid-century chairs (hundreds of them) and couldn’t find a single reference. Does anyone know who made them and what they’re worth? I would be terrifically grateful for the information. See P Segal’s chair in the photo below.


If anyone has an answer then leave it in the comments section of this post. If you have a related image you would like to share then email it to us at info[at]kitkadesigntoronto[dot]com (can you tell we’re paranoid of spam?).

Also, if you have any questions of your own, please let us know and we’ll put it out there to the universe! Submitting an accompanying photo helps immeasurably with getting a response.

Thanks for starting the dialog P Segal!

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Around the house: Teak Wall Unit

February 20th, 2009


[bull figurine by Royal Dux from Czech/Bohemia, plant by IKEA, teak candlesticks purchased from ebay]

My mom bought a Danish teak wall unit in 1971 from the Cado line designed by Poul Cadovius. Even then, it was an investment piece, costing over a thousand dollars so if you ever find a solid teak modular unit and it’s $1000-1500, it’s not that crazy a price. She lived in downtown Toronto back then, but has since moved into a condo and the wall unit just doesn’t work anymore so I was fortunate enough to have it passed on to me. It fills a space in our eat-in kitchen perfectly, and allows us to display our many objects.

Which leads me to vignetting. This is such a tricky art, and although I would not dare to assume that we are experts on it, I must say John has a certain ability with it. So knowing how hard it is, we thought we’d offer up some inspiration.

But first: a breakdown of the wall unit, because it’s a remarkable piece of furniture. It comes with four vertical pieces (one not shown) that use the tension of springs and a couple of screws into the ceiling to stay in place. We’re pushing the limits of these pieces right now because our ceiling is almost too tall to hold them in place. The heavy bottom sections are a record rack and bar–right now they house random stuff and alcohol. The magazine tray is one of my favourite parts because I always have newspapers littering the kitchen–yes, I am one of those who “reads” the weekend paper all week long. We’re using the 3 narrow shelves because small objects are better displayed on a shelf that is not so deep.

Not shown: a giant tv tray, a couple of deeper shelves and a large two shelf compartment that has glass sliding doors, for glassware I assume, but one of the doors has gone MIA over the years. The most incredible thing about this modular unit is that each solid teak (read: heavy) section is held in place by little wooden pegs that slide diagonally down into the holes that line the vertical pieces. This has baffled me ever since I was a child because these pegs are only about an inch long and I can barely lift those heavy lower pieces.



The non-committal era: this is the first configuration we had and as you can tell, we were totally clueless on where to go with it.  Although it’s not the worst setup, it’s not all that interesting either.


The school project: by this time we’d progressed from the previous photo. We’ve moved the shelves so they are on top of each other, and we filled the opposite space with a piece of art.

I had to do a self-portrait for a school assignment so John helped me rig this set up. Funnily enough, we basically moved objects from the living room into the kitchen, proving that our style, though varied about our space, does work together. So this set up is definitely conveying a more old timey look. The record stand is acting as a record stand, for once. Notice the use of repetition and colour scheme, as well as a variety of scale. I think those are the most important components in creating an effective display. We’ve used compatible shades of dark red, blue, black and white for a cohesive look. Books create verticle and horizontal lines that mimic the wall unit. A couple of cameras and a telephone play off of each other. We kept the figurines to birds only and grouped three German pottery vases together. The globe is a larger piece so we left it on it’s own to provide some breathing room.

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