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Posted at 7:30 pm in General,Home Reno,Mjölk


For the first 5 years of having our store Mjolk, we never offered beds. It seemed like our small showroom wouldn’t be able to display such a large item, and we ourselves didn’t own a bed frame. When people came to us looking for the perfect bed we would say, well… we don’t sell beds, but the nicest bed we have seen is the Companions bed designed by StudioIlse for De La Espada.

I don’t know how many people we must have recommended this bed to over the years but it seemed to come up a lot. Fortunately for us, we had the opportunity to meet Luis De Oliveira the head of De La Espada and after telling him how much we admired the work they were making especially the work designed by Ilse Crawford and Luca Nichetto we were given the opportunity to represent two of their brands: The Nichetto brand and also the StudioIlse brand. Finally, we had the chance to offer, in our opinion, the best beds available today.


That brings us to our own home, which for us gives us the inspiration for the store and has become our laboratory and testing ground. It acts a little like an extended showroom for customers looking to see what will happen to their furniture after years of use and with children, how natural leather patinas and soaped furniture becomes like driftwood with age. We decided we should order the bed for ourselves, along with the Companions bedside table so we could start enjoying it in our own daily life.


The bed is made from solid white oak with a hand-turned spindle back which acts as a bench for you to prop yourself on while you read in bed. We have put this to test ourselves every night since we like reading before bed, and it makes the act much more comfortable.


A small collection of items we have acquired including a ceramic vessel for storing incense, ancient roman glass and the “box of air” sculpture by Japanese potter and Tea Master Masanobu Ando.


The companions bedside table is soft and warm but also incredibly practical. A generous top surface with a beveled edge for our Cestita table lamp, a cork basket for our iPhone and hudsalve and a lower shelf for books. This keeps all of the surfaces organized and clean looking.


We had this Japanese paper fan framed for the room. The pattern is designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune, and the fan is made by a small workshop in Kyoto for Sfera Gallery. We also sell this in our store.




A large floor vase inspired by African water jars made by Uchida Kouichi, one of our favourite potters.


Howell lurking from behind the bed. Did you notice all of the feet on the StudioIlse craftworks have copper legs? From the smallest stool to the longest table, it is such a beautiful and thoughtful detail.



Real life in progress.

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Ryuji Mitani works added to our webshop

Posted at 7:08 pm in General


I know there were quite a few inquiries about when we would be putting Mr. Mitani’s work online, and I am pleased to say everything is finally available on our webshop:


Here is a sampling of what is available.

(above plum blossom dish with black and white Japanese urushi lacquer)


Cross plates.


A baby spoon, bowl, and plate gift set.


A specially made Chemex coffee sleeve in mountain cherry.


Black and white urushi coffee cups.


A set of nesting bowls.


Tea leaf box in mountain cherry.


A unique white lacquer bowl.


Mr Mitani’s beautiful signature.

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Posted at 7:25 pm in General,Mjölk


Here are some photographs from our solo exhibition of Japanese potter Masanobu Ando’s work called “The way of tea”.
All of the photographs were taken by Toyomi Nakamura of Toki no Kumo, who came along with Mr. Ando.


One of Mr. Ando’s travelling Tea boxes called a “Chabako” This one is an old Japanese lunch box from the Showa period.


We thought serving some deliciously made maple candies from Toronto based Ninutik would be the perfect sweet to serve with Green tea, and it also brought a little bit of locality to the festivities.



A special medicine spoon made from whale bone re-purposed as a tea scoop. The art of repurposing in the Tea Ceremony is called mitate, and Mr. Ando is very well known for doing this.






It was a busy event. Thank you to everyone who attended the exhibition!


Tea Ceremony tools commissioned by Masanobu Ando.


A new bowl shaped ceramic colander with a hole for hanging when not in use.



A very lovely arrangement from out newest employee Reiko.


Finally a full collection of mugs available to purchase!



Signing autographs.


The main event of the night was the Tea Ceremony performance held in our front window using all works made or found by Masanobu Ando.



A very special Tea canister made by a monk from a famous Buddhist sect over 300 years ago. This particular Buddhist sect made everything including their own plates, clothing, furniture. Essentially anything needed, they relied only on themselves, a commitment very similar to the American Shaker movement. This style of tea canister has been replicated by a famous lacquer-ware artist around 100 years ago, but the one Mr. Ando brought with him is an original.

He went on to say this canister is the inspiration for his silver glazed objects. What an honour!



Adding hot water to the bowl.


The bowl is incredibly raw and powerful.



Gaining an audience out front.






Maple sweets.


Little Anzu got to sit with his mother Amy to share the moment.


Taking his sip.



A fantastic evening, thank you again for everyone who came out for the exhibition!

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I had a chance to add a lot of items from the exhibition to our website this morning, although most of them we only have 1 item each so if you have your eye on something please let me know as it will only be available for a short time.

Here is the link to our webstore.

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Happy New Year!

Posted at 4:31 pm in General


Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

Some things to look forward to:

+ January 22, Luca Nichetto exhibition and new product launch with Mjölk.

+ Exhibitions for:

Studio Prepa glassworks
Masanobu Ando
Ryuji Mitani
Renaud Sauvé (Ateliers des Cents Ans).

+ Mjölk Volume III (spring).

See you in 2014!

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Living with a toddler and nice things.

Posted at 7:54 pm in General,Home Reno,Mjölk

toddler bedroom

I’ve been meaning to write about this subject for some time, but between summer and the Nakashima exhibition, we’ve been in a bit of a whirlwind. We haven’t shared much of our house yet, mostly because we are still settling in! It takes quite some time to feel comfortable putting art up (or acquiring it) and finding special textiles that take a space to the next level of homeyness.

We have a flex space that is currently Elodie’s bedroom (she’ll move to another room once either a) another baby comes along, or b) she escapes her crib and becomes ready for a big kid bed. She has been sleeping in here since December but we’ve only just felt like the room is complete. It’s a small space that is ALL windows and doors.  So that makes for a challenge when it comes to shelving and art. I think ultimately though, this isn’t a play room. It’s a sleeping space and needs to be calm and minimal. There is a nice pop of nature out the window (in Canada you legally need to have an operable window in each bedroom, so Studio Junction made a clever little courtyard, where we are in the process of planting some bamboo).

The second we saw the Leander crib and change table we knew it would be perfect for our new home.  I had some serious baby brain going on when I put it together but the craftsmanship is really solid and it’s wearing really well despite the odd bite mark around the edges. We invested in the bed because it also turns into a toddler bed, by expanding by about another foot and a half. The only worry I have is that if I turn it into a toddler bed now, we’ll eventually need another crib. I wish buying the toddler bed wasn’t as expensive as buying the crib. If anyone in the Toronto area is selling or sees one for sale, let me know!!!


We found this mobile via Remodelista (oddly I cannot find the post) and ultimately bought it from the maker as the store they had linked in the story didn’t ship to Canada. Another piece that is perfect for both a baby and an adult space (would look nice in a sheltered garden for example).


Pia Wallen Cross Baby Blanket is now available at Mjölk (though may not be online yet). Adult version also available.

Bunny was a birthday gift from a very lovely customer.

toddler bedroom

This carpet we bought via Etsy. John was looking for Moroccan rugs and this was added while he was lurking on a page. It jumped out at us for Elodie’s room. Since she lives in a pretty neutral world, we thought it’d be that extra punch of colour necessary to make it a less serious space. And even though it’s kid friendly, I think it’s a rug she could love and use into adulthood (that is, after her inevitable rejection phase).


Needing some storage we turned to the much loved Ribba picture shelves from Ikea.

Painting at top was commissioned by Melinda Josie, of our cats. The elephant picture was made by our friend Hollie as a birthday gift. The wood blocks with Elodie’s name are from our friends over at Ltd. Supply Kitchen Brewery (ok, they are our besties, but check out what they are up to if you’re into craft beer).


The Muji CD player is the perfect little thing for a nursery. The giraffe was a surprise gift from Jake of Machine Age Modern. Some vintage and new Moomin books. A Dala Horse from our wedding. The Chalk Piggy Bank was bought from Ladies & Gentlemen Studio (wow they’ve been busy!). Monkey is from our first trip to Copenhagen together. String is from when we tried to sell it in the shop but it proved too complicated. Portrait of us (just pregnant and not knowing it) is by Phillipa C in collaboration with what was Russet & Empire, during the first Junction Design Crawl (mark your calendar, next one is Friday August 23rd!!).


On the left was a gift from Arounna and John of Bookhou.

The print on the right is a signed and numbered lithograph that I coincidentally bought on the same day the rug arrived. Serendipitously they have the same colour scheme and sealed the look for the space. I happened to wander over to Williams on Keele, and as I was chatting away my eyes kept scouring. The print was originally in a fake bamboo style frame and I could only see a part of the gold section – somehow I knew it was a Japanese print worth checking out. I asked to look at it and was shocked, $45! I NEVER luck out with finds like this. Honestly, we debated putting this piece in our room, but Elodie liked it from the get go. She gave it a kiss.

We immediately took it to our new framing friends over at The Gilder. It costs a bit more to get a custom white oak frame but so much better than all the generic styles that are readily available.



The Hans Wegner J16 rocking chair and Artek Zebra Pillow. We use this rocking chair every day, and once this room is no longer a nursery, it will most likely move up to the cottage to continue to be enjoyed.


Moving away from the bedroom, we all know kids stuff gets everywhere. I was starting to feel like we have too much stuff, but have realized we barely have anything. We have two bins and half the stuff is for babies. Elodie doesn’t slow down much to play anyway. She likes running around and practicing skills like climbing up and down. So books and balls and babies are the only things she really interacts with (not even blocks!). The above cardboard box? Needs to go in the recycling…she’s over it.

Elodie loves her chair by Tomii Takashi. It’s the perfect size.


Not pictured is the Ikea easel, for colouring….


And yes, she colours outside of the box. This has been like this for weeks too. Ohhh we are certainly not perfect over here!


The Brasilia coffee table by Claesson Koivisto Rune is a perfect sort of coffee table. Soft rounded corners and hollow means we don’t have to worry about bumps on the head. Except when she climbs up onto the table and jumps off, a constant fascination.

She barely pays any mind to that Masanobu Ando sculpture. And if she does we just take it and move it up high. But generally she’s not all that interested in the stuff around the house. Now that’s obviously her personality, and not all kids will act this way. I find that she gets into trouble if she’s bored or tired.


In the living room there are some low shelves for Elodie’s toys.

Shhh sleeping bunny. Also, banana hands, everywhere, always.


Finally on this not so kid friendly yet kid friendly home tour, the rocking sheep (contact us for info, not on website), which for some reason ended up in our bedroom but has yet to leave. And really, it’s quite nice in our room. A touch of kid in an adult space.


Note: Based on this post it seems like we get a lot of free stuff, but it’s not usually the case. Babies bring the love.

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Nakashima Opening

Posted at 7:59 pm in General,Mjölk


Last week on Wednesday night we opened our doors for the opening reception of the first Nakashima retrospective in Canada. We had an incredible turn-out and we thank everyone who took the time to visit and say hello to us and the Yarnall-Nakashima family.



An Ikebana bowl specially made by Masanobu Ando, and a flower arrangement by Mira Nakashima with flowers from Coriander Girl. So beautiful!


Conoid dining chairs made with walnut and carved hickory pickets.


Beautiful lounge chairs in cherry with maple burl arms.


Asa-no-ha cabinet with a Conoid coffee table in front. Tea ceremony tools by Masanobu Ando.


Large vase by Uchida Kouichi on the left, and Urushi tea containers, and tooled tray by Shingo Tsukuda.


A Mira box / jewelry box.

Nakashima belongs in our showroom.





The most beautiful wood boxes and trays by Tsukuda Shingo.


The tori arch of the Conoid Bench.


A special vase by Japanese potter Uchida Kouichi resting on the edge of the bench.


Hand tooled wooden trays by Tsukuda Shingo.



Peeking into the rarely photographed back half of our showroom.



Tea Ceremony bowls and trays made by Masanobu Ando.


A unique collection of Calligraphy tools made by Masanobu Ando for the exhibition. Mira Nakashima was nice enough to lend us her Calligraphy brushes for the exhibition display.



One of our favourite collections in the exhibition, the desk, the Captain’s chair and the table lamp are spectacular. Hovering above is a silver glazed cross by Masanobu Ando. Ando-san doesn’t have a connection to the cross, but he saw many on a trip to Europe and thought they would make a nice wall flower vase.


Grass-seated chairs with a wall hanging cabinet.


Ultimo bench with Japanese indigo fabric.



Minguren end table with vase by Uchida Kouichi.




Black copper glazed lidded statues by Uchida Kouichi.


Hand chiseled black urushi coated tableware by famous wood craftsman Ryuji Mitani.



A collection of hammered silver works by Mami and Takejiro Hasegawa.




The Opening reception with Mira Nakashima in her summer Yukata.








A collection of woodworkers (including our architect Peter Tan) nerding out ;)




The two Johns – John Baker & Jon Yarnall (Mira’s husband, woodworker and head of the Nakashima chair department).

A big thank you to:

Fielding Estate Winery – your wine was highly complimented all evening. Thank you for helping make our evening a special success.

Sali Tabacchi – we adore your innovative program design!

Mira and Jon Yarnall, Maria and Maya for coming to Toronto to be a part of this historic event.

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