September, 2013

City of Toronto 2013 Urban Design Awards

September 12th, 2013


Last night we attended the City of Toronto 2013 Urban Design Awards and were honoured to receive, along with Peter and Christine of Studio Junction, an award of excellence for our building, including the front facade restoration, the retail space and home! It was nice to be recognized in this manner because Studio Junction and their crew worked extremely hard on this project, and for us it’s nice to be acknowledged for bringing back the historic live/work aspect of a localized small business strip.

No one knew what big box stores would do to not only our shopping habits, but how we interact (or don’t) with the cityscape. We are so pleased to be a part of a new generation of small businesses working to regenerate the street life that makes our city a vibrant place to live.

Visit the list of winners.

The jury report summarizes the results of the competition.

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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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