Interior Design Show 2011

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                                                                        (Atelier 688 original White Heat pendant light)

After the Interior Design Show, we took home a lot of sound advice. "Find room for quirkiness and eccentricity in your home," advised Arren Williams, "Start collecting stuff. Finds things with soul and history in them."  We really took this to heart. If we have learned one valuable thing, it's this: when it comes to designing your space, fill it with things you love and it will all come together. We had the pleasure of meeting some of our greatest inspirations -- stylists/designers Arren Williams and Tommy Smythe. Stephanie was more excited to meet them than a twelve year girl would be to meet the Jonas Brothers. We attended Arren's Up Close & Personal seminar, where he walked us through the before and after of his home rennovation. It first caught our eye when we saw it featured in House & Home, but it was even more interesting to hear him explain how he and his partner decided on this space, their vision for it and choosing everything from wallpaper to accessories. It really made us rethink our spaces, and how we'll approach them when we decorate in the future. And by future, we mean now because we seriously have a ton of ideas.

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(Display by Rouge Concept)

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On of our favourite spaces was Style Garage. Designed much like their store, we loved its cool Canadian vibe. Picture a hand carved deer head on the wall, antlers atop of a wood table and reindeer hide rugs. We thought their clever display of Mason jars filled with moss was a cool decorating idea. And we were won over when we learned their pieces are made by local craftsmen and upholsterers. The Delano XL club chair was a gorgeous piece, and was accesorized with pillows by Nicole Tarasick, a designer we're huge fans of (more on her to come). We also liked the Trinity bed with its solid wood slatted headboard (available in walnut or rift cut oak) and the Gus* UpCycle ottamon. The Steele Canvas Company industrial storage bags make for a charming storage solution for blankets and pillows.

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These handcrafted pillows by graphic designer and screenprinter Nicole Tarasick were among our favourites from the show. We first saw them on the Marilyn Dennis Show and fell for the cheeky Canadiana prints. With prints of the map of Canada, the great lakes, a Canada goose, and maple leafs, you can't help but feel patriotic. The fabric is sourced locally and they are filled with a locally made feather insert, plus they are handmade right in her downtown studio.

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How great is this 'Canadian' style chair frame? We couldn't help but admire the display of this uphosltery booth. Very cool.

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"Make friends with wallpaper," said Arren Williams, "It's far more interesting than paint and a good way to introduce colour and pattern into a room." It's a safe bet to do a feature wall, but we found so many patterns we love that we're intrigued to do full rooms and even ceilings. Above are some gorgeous selections from Graham & Brown and Crown Wallpaper & Fabrics. Below is a custom wallpaper design by Rollout. After looking through their sample books we learned there isn't a design they can't do.  If a client says they'd like their wallpaper to look  like "the Beatles go to Bollywood on an Acid Trip," they will make it happen. See the results here at Mango Shiva restaurant in Calgary.

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When we saw these wire sculptures by Lynn Jackson, we stopped right in our tracks. Jacklyn's immediate reaction to Stephanie was, "If you had a baby, this is exactly what you would hang about their crib."  Let's not jump the gun, but they would look right at home in a modern, loft style children's room. Lynn knits these pieces with metal wire and the result is a delicate sculpture reminiscent of dear childhood toys like Peter Rabbit and the Mopsey Bunnies. Whimsical and playful, they really catch your eye. Our favourite was the elephant, but you can see all the sculptures here.

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When we think of fabric and textiles we think of Sarah Richardson and Tommy Smythe. We're addicted to Sarah 101 by the way. One of our lessons from Arren William's seminar was "Get your upholsterer on speed dial" (done)! So we went on the hunt for some fabric inspiration. We noticed an overwhelming amount of pink, possibly attributed to honeysuckle, Pantone's colour of the year? And we were really drawn to the bold florals and textures. Sarah would definitely approve.

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This radio was on display at Andrew Richard Designs. We found so much inspiration here for outdoor patio furniture. Summer, please hurry up!

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(Display by UpCountry)

We could go on and on about the show, but we didn't want to overload you with photos. So we'll give you a quick round up of other designers we loved but are not shown. We were so inspired by the philosophy and responsible furniture design by Brothers Dressler. Their furniture pieces are crafted with salvaged or reclaimed wood and hardware, and finished with locally made beeswax, natural stains or hemp oil. Metropolis Interiors was also incredibly inventive repurposing materials into one of a kind pieces. Check out their gallery here.

And the lamp is the first photo (so amazing) is from Atelier 688, a studio that showcases local Canadian artists and designers who use mainly salvaged and vintage materials. We were obessesed with the Canadian made paddles by Contact Voyaging Co.

We leave you with this story. After seeing his home, a friend of Arren Williams told him if he lined up all his furniture down the street it would look like the carnival is coming to town. We think that's pretty fabulous.