Vintage Furniture

Modern Love: Dining Room Progress 1

'Modern Love' is a current project I'm working on that involves furnishing a rather large sub-urban house for a busy young couple who love modern furniture.  The process actually started a few years ago when he was still a bachelor and a new first time homeowner.  I worked with him on updating all the interior finishes and purchasing some key furniture pieces.  Flash forward a couple of years to today and.....,,,well,,,,, the house still looks the same as where we left off - but his bachelors days are over!  He now has a fiance and they are brand new parents to a beautiful baby girl.  Early this past summer we met  to pick up where we left off and begin the process of actually completing the mostly still empty spaces.  I'll be filling in all the holes and focusing on all the finishing details that will make their house a comfortable and stylish family home -  all the things he thought they (he) would get around to doing themselves but.....never did.

Since the only furniture pieces they do own are the new pieces we bought for him a few years ago,,I want to now incorporate some vintage pieces and some artwork into the mix as well as bring a more family style vibe to the house.  Its so exciting for me to envision all the wonderful gatherings they'll enjoy in this house with family and friends and how these spaces that I'm creating will be the backdrop to their life and all their special memories.  With this inspiration, I've been busy sourcing for many different rooms but the dining room seems to be coming together first. This is a glimpse at the progress we've made thus far which should give you a taste for what's to come in the other rooms!  My absolute favorite piece I've found so far in all my sourcing is this 1950's Danish sideboard which will be the star of the dining room. 

It was truly LOVE at first sight. I had scoured the city and beyond for a vintage, danish modern sideboard in excellent condition, but without much luck. So the second I walked into the shop and saw this rosewood beauty my heart started to race, and I knew the search was over. Secretly I had wished to find one in walnut or rosewood but expected only to find teak, so seeing this before my eyes was literally what I had been envisioning,,,, like I'd seen it before.

The simple lines of danish modern pieces will always appeal to me for many reasons, with these designs its all about the form rather than decorative details,,their refined proportions make a statement on their own and I love how the tapered legs are so graceful.  But mainly, these pieces with their simple lines and lack of decorative detail are really all about the wood,,,,,,the beauty of these pieces is the wood itself, each one with its unique grain pattern and natural colouration.  The rosewood used to make this piece is an example of how stunning the natural beauty of wood can be, all you need to do is let it be the star.


The cabinet is made of rosewood with four lower drawers and 4 sliding doors on tall tapered legs.  At 44" high it won't be lost behind the dining table or chairs so it will be quite visible.  Again what I love most is the dramatic pattern of the wood grain and the beautiful warm tones.  Did I mention a few of the upholstered pieces already in the house are a spicy orange leather! 

The deal closer was the centre area which opens up to reveal a bar with etched mirror back panel, an upper shelf and 2 interior drawers.  So decandent!

The new/vintage sideboard will be placed on a wall opposite a large ebony rectangular dining table and white leather tufted chairs (existing), the cabinet will be flanked by extra side chairs and a pair of new sconces.  For the wallspace over the sideboard I've found a bronze starburst mirror that I think pairs perfectly with the modern style of the cabinet and balances out all the square lines in the room.  I've also found a pair of gorgeous chandeliers for over the long table and new drapery panels for the rooms bay window.

Since making these key finds the rest of the dining room pieces are falling into place beautifully and I can't wait to share more progress pics with you as it all comes together.

Photographer: Mark Burstyn

The studio of photographer Mark Burstyn (Iphone photo by me).

I had the pleasure of meeting the very talented Toronto photographer Mark Burstyn this week while working together on a project (I'll tell you more about that in a future post).  With over 20 years of experience Mark has an impressive client list and a stunning portfolio of food, interiors, exteriors and product photography.   Although I'm completely captivated by his images, I was totally smitten with his bright loft studio and the way it was so stylishly outfitted.  It was flooded with natural daylight and had all the comforts of home, designed to accommodate every need of his varied clients.

Upon entering the loft I was crazy for this little vignette seen in the photo above.  I rarely meet a vintage chair I don't love, and this one was no exception, its simple retro lines upholstered in robins egg blue made quite a statement paired with the framed b&w photo. The powder room was located to the right of the chair and the inside of the bathroom was painted this same cheery shade of blue, it just made you smile when you walked in.  (Sorry I didn't take more pictures!)

The studio's kitchen area.

I couldn't resist sharing this photo with you of the studio's kitchen and dining area - its a complete working kitchen with full size appliances and outfitted with all the necessities, Mark keeps it fully stocked with lots of goodies, you can't help but feel a little spoiled when you're there. : )   The kitchen is by Ikea, including the furniture but I thought it was a really good example of a non-customized Ikea kitchen,,there are no extra bells and whistles like custom fabricated counters or custom paint finishes or gables or brackets.  The kitchen itself is spacious with a huge island, double height cabinets and loads of storage space.  The lower cabs are stainless, the uppers are glass with aluminum trim, the countertops solid oak, (steel + wood + glass +white). The lighting was well planned with nothing overlooked, I can imagine how beautifully lit this would be in the evening.  Its simple, utilitarian looking and super functional - it perfectly suits this raw loft space.   Of course my favorite part of the entire kitchen,,,,,,are Mark's framed photographs.

I'm always repeating that it doesn't matter how expensive or inexpensive the things in your space are, that's not what defines good design or good taste.  When you're in a well appointed space (every need has been though of) that's highly functional, pleasing to the eye and is filled with wonderful light, you feel a level of comfort and ease that's hard to depict in a photo.  In other words your experience in the space is enhanced - I believe that's ultimately what everyone wants to achieve in their own homes.

If you're craving a dose of stylish inspiration this long weekend, pour yourself a cup of hot tea, and have a browse thru Mark's gorgeous portfolio here - I'm sure you'll recognize some of his work.  Enjoy!

Chair Photo:  Carol Reed
Kitchen Photo:  Mark Burstyn