June, 2009

Solair Chair

June 29th, 2009


A few weeks ago StyleNorth tipped us off to the revival of the Solair Chair. This Canadian design and motel staple has been around since 1972 and is in production and available at INabstracto (1160 Queen Street West, 416.533.6362), EyeSpy (1100 Queen Street East) and SMASH (2880 Dundas Street West).

We want a couple of white ones for outside the Guest Cottage!



Photos by Juli.  Taken in Niagara Falls with a pinhole digital camera (which I love love love, though forgot about until now).

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A shout out to mom.

June 28th, 2009


Guest Cottage Before

While we were gallavanting around Scandinavia, my mom took advantage of us not being around to deal with some unfinished business that I kept pushing aside. Last summer we had a new roof put on the guest cottage, and our not so honorable contractors didn’t finish the job (surprise surprise). Among many things, they didn’t put any eaves troughs up or paint the wood along the edges to keep it from rotting. My mom had been bugging me to fix this for awhile but my sights were set on the interior of the main cottage. You know sometimes when something needs to be done, but you really have no concept of how much it’ll change your experience until it’s done?


Guest Cottage After

Tada! My mom picked an amazingly soft and beautiful blue to replace the acrid green that had been plaguing our world for the past 30 years. It matched perfectly with the shingles she chose and makes the whole area feel like a place you want to be. The white table has been around for over 30 years (thrifty!) so John spray painted it a fresh coat of flat white (needs another coat, we ran out!) and added some black rubber feet (not pictured) that have long been missing.


John and I added some black wood chips to add some contrast.


My mom also added some new landscaping, which although small, really adds to the space (and we don’t like to look at our neighbors, who are much too close for our liking). The trees and shrubbery on the property are old and haven’t been maintained over the last 7 or so years so it’s nice to have some new plants to spruce things up a bit (no pun intended).

So the guest cottage is really shaping up to be a warm and inviting space. It’s actually putting the main cottage to shame…

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What now? We have a flight to catch???

June 23rd, 2009


Well we’re home from our long adventure through Scandinavia, though we almost didn’t come home at all. You see, we were under the impression that we had one more day left in Helsinki. The last three days before were the mid summer holiday which means all of the stores and most of the restaurants are closed with rarely any exceptions. For the locals it’s an amazing thing, everyone goes out to the country and has a great time, leaving tourists walking around aimlessly looking for some food like zombies. At some point during the holiday we made our brains think that we had one more day, which equaled one more day of thrifting since Monday all the stores were back to being open.

We found out about the flight literally the night before. We were looking online to see if we could change our seats (we always have the worst luck with seating) for the dreadfully long journey home and we noticed that our flight wasn’t in 2 days, it was the next day! We got up early and with an hour to spare we went over to the Helsinki open market and got some seriously good finds. Enjoy!


This was a pretty big deal for us, as we’ve always talked about the Antti Nurmesniemi coffee pot (designed in 1957) and how much we’d love to have one, but the prices were always way out of our range. At the Helsinki market we passed by a pretty neat booth carrying a lot of Arabia and Iittala design objects. It was all good stuff but priced at market value and I was looking for the DEALZ. So I left the booth in search of more affordable bounty. While we were scrambling  to get back to our hotel to catch the cab that was waiting for us, I decided to take one last look at the booth, noticing that people were still bringing things out. It was right there, big, red and beautiful and I asked “How much for the coffee pot” and the man who spoke pretty decent English told me it was 80 euros. Now 80 euros is not a bad price, considering these can sell for over $350 on Ebay but I just can’t spend that much on a coffee pot that I don’t even know how to use. I said 50, and he said that 50 was too low and he was firm on 80. So I just studied it for a while and put it down and just like that, he told me I could take it for 65 e, and I happily handed over the money.


Two Arabia planters for 16 euros? Yes please! We already have the large pot at home and now we have one in each size.


This Finnish medicine cabinet was fate and I don’t even know how it survived the trip home. I was looking for a medicine cabinet for the bathroom at the cottage, and we finally found one at the very last booth we visited in Helsinki. The red cross caught my eye right away, it was being sold for 10 euro, which was a great price but this is an awkward metal cabinet and I have to catch a flight. If I was going to have to haul this all the way home, I wanted a MEGA DEAL and all I had left in my pocket was 6 euros. So I had to do a little charming to get them to come down in price—I told them I was from Canada and I was interested in the cabinet, but didn’t know if it was worth having to haul it home. The second Scandinavians find out you’re from Canada something changes in their voice, they get a bit more friendlier. She said if it was going all the way to Canada she’d let it go for 6. Thank god. So now I have to walk back to the hotel with this heavy medicine cabinet under my arm to the awaiting taxi, but I didn’t mind at all. Fast forward: we make it to the airport and it turns out the cabinet is too “big” to go in the overhead compartment, this means I have to put it under the airplane with no protection except a garbage bag. The thrift was too good to be true and I had to accept that the cabinet was going to be manhandled to death. Long story short, it survived! I can’t wait until we start working on the bathroom so I can hang it up.

When we got home we had the chance to take some pictures of the more fragile things we got on the trip that we didn’t feel like unwrapping to photograph in the craziness of travel.


Our Kay Bojesen Danish soldier stands tall next to his heart windowed cardboard home. I bought him from a duty free shop on an overnight ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo. He was a bit less than $80 Canadian.


Yours & Mine cups were bought from a small ceramics shop in Copenhagen. Stilleben sells a lot of product made by local young artisans.


The other side of the cups.


Pia Wallen slippers from Sweden in our usual colour scheme. We’ve been wearing these around our hotels and they’ve been fab.

So that’s about it for our Scandinavian adventures (this time), though we’ve saved a couple of surprises for the big cottage reno reveal.

Filed under: Thrifting,Travel | 11 comments

Visiting Arabia

June 21st, 2009

After the Aalto house tour we hightailed it across town to visit the Arabia factory. Why did we cram so much awesomeness into one day? Because we had to—a three day holiday was about to cramp our style.

When we arrived the building was almost deserted and the info desk closed (Iittala store, however, was of course open). We headed up to the 9th floor to the museum, which also appeared to be closed, though the door was unlocked. So we went inside and waited…for something, someone to show up. And show up they did! We met Arabia’s PR Coordinator Kristiina and she graciously brought us around on a private tour of the Arabia factory. Unfortunately, most of the operations were shut down for the holidays and maintenance so there wasn’t too much action to be seen. Also, we didn’t get too many nitty gritty details, as our tour wasn’t an official tour (you have to pre-book those and they seem harder to come by than the multiple times daily that we were so presumptuous to assume). So photographs will have to suffice!


The Arabia factory makes me feel like Charlie at Willy Wonka’s factory.


We walked through the big doors into the Kiln room, it was seriously huge. Above is one of several massive tunnel kilns. The product is on a conveyer belt that moves very very slowly through the length of the kiln. More photos after the  jump! Read the rest of this entry »

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KITKA cribz: The Aalto Home & Studio

June 20th, 2009

Well it’s Mid Summer here which means it never gets dark, and all the shops are closed (for THREE days no less). It does have some perks though as we were lucky enough to have a private tour through the home of Alvar Aalto. [A title edit was necessary as sadly we’ve been watching a lot of MTV lately].


We had the place to ourselves for a couple of hours and Juli took some great photos that remind me of 1950s editorial photographs of interiors. It was honestly the most inspiring place I’ve ever been to.


The living room was beautiful, so much natural light, a perfect layout. Can you see the planters sitting on top of the radiator in front of the window?


The Aalto house is an L shape, half of which is a studio workspace. The room in the top left was Aalto’s private office, which he rarely used. The door to the right was where the secretary and reception office was. The common area was dedicated to the senior architects, and the architect students worked on the second floor, although Aalto joked that all they were useful for was to serve coffee to the senior architects.


The dining room, with a nice thick birch table, and a set of dining chairs Alvar and his wife Aino Aalto purchased on their honeymoon in Italy. There are tons of pictures and more facts after the jump, check it out! Read the rest of this entry »

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We Heart Helsinki!

June 19th, 2009


A market square, where you can buy a yummy bag of cherries, reindeer pelts, souvenirs and get attacked by aggressive seagulls. But first…


Ahhh the Swedish archipelago is just like Canadian cottage country.

We took yet another cruise ship from Stockholm to Helsinki. The Silja line ended up being the Old Navy to the DFDS cruise line’s Banana Republic. We went from fine dining and middle aged folk dancing to a live band to a virtual children’s paradise, filled with Moomin characters and roving bands of teenagers.


I resorted to taking creepy photos. The above photo says it all.


We recommend that you spend a little bit of extra money to ensure that you don’t end up sleeping beneath the two car decks, amongst the drunken hordes who pay a visit to the duty free store to stock up on alcohol, then party the night away with the door open right across the hall from you. Also, if you have a window, it lessens the feeling that you are going to be locked in should the boat sink a la Titanic. It crossed our minds.

We arrive bright and early the next morning, after losing yet another hour of our lives to a time change. Since we’ve become pack mules, we splurged on a cab to the hotel. Ahh, Euros. Our dollar does not stand up to your mighty strengh, but at least we have a sense of how much money we are spending versus the abstract concept that is the kroner.

I picked a hotel through Hostel World, which I recommend people check first before going directly to hotel websites. Lucky for us, Hotel Anna turned out to be a great pick. Smack dab in the middle of the Design District, we quickly learned that the Finnish take design as seriously as we had hoped–25 streets and 170 members.

We also got to thrifting asap.


This open air market happens everyday.


No major finds though.

More thrifting after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

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