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2016/04/22 / Shanan


… The grass is riz; I wonder where the vintage is?

It’s right here, my friends – it’s all right here.

The Symmetric comes out of hibernation to present:

A (thank god it’s <finally>) SPRING POP-UP!

Sunday, MAY 1st from 11am-3pm
at The Orchard, 7739 Nottawasaga Side Rd 36/37
(that’s in Nottawa, ON, five minutes south of Collingwood – here’s a map)

I’ve spent the winter hoarding pretty dresses, lightweight knits, and lots of other warm-weather vintage staples, including a collection of jewelry, accessories, and for the first time, shoes.  I’ll have bubbly and snacks and let’s cross our fingers for some sunshine, shall we? Can’t wait to see you.

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2014/10/15 / Shanan


We’ve started to embrace the season here at The Orchard, and it seems to be all about food this year. I decorated the dinner table for Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend with dried flowers and local gourds… (cool bunny vase from Anthropologie; similar one here)

apple peeler homemade cider

We gleefully used this miraculous gizmo to peel and core apples for making cider…


(Seriously, homesteader-type or not, you should get one)


chocolate layer cake candied kumquats berries

… and of course baking, baking, and more baking.  I may be 200 pounds before this pregnancy is over. This was a decadent confection I made for my niece Hayley’s 16th birthday… four layers of chocolate cake (this recipe is my tried and true and it’s well worth the effort) with raspberry jam and whipped cream, topped with berries and candied kumquats. You’re welcome.


Oh, and I hear the leaves are spectacular this time of year, too… ;)

Photos by The Symmetric / Shanan Kurtz.

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2014/09/29 / Shanan


If I wait any longer to start showing you at least snippets of our very happy basement renovation, it will inevitably take a full season of the old hem ‘n haw game: me throwing pillows and magazines around in an attempt to ‘style’ our lives and lamenting over the quality of my own photos.  So carpe diem and all that.

You may recall hearing about built-in bookshelf inspiration and wanting to paint the living room walls pink. Done and done (with more to see soon).  Up top is what the main wall looks like and below is the  somewhat-blank-slate-in-progress once our ceiling had been drywalled.  We decided to go with the full grey bookshelf treatment (the colour is the never-fail Chelsea Grey from Benjamin Moore) and Chris basically built the forms around the doorway to the mudroom and that lowered ceiling beam, which had to stay.  He did such an amazing job!

We mounted what I’ve been told is our incredibly modest-sized television into the unit and at the bottom there’s a row of closed shelving so we can hide art supplies, kid’s games, etc (just noticing that some of the doors are slightly ajar in the photo above… yeah, yeah).

the symmetric basement reno before

built-in bookshelf reno vintage peacock chair

The peacock chair came from a neighbour’s garage sale this summer and will probably be getting the full spray-paint treatment.  If I decide to show restraint it will be white… if not, a really bright yellow.  Only time and pregnancy hormones will tell.  We’ll also do a seat cushion but isn’t that little pillow beautiful?  Chris’ mom sewed it for us with fabric from an old skirt of mine (that I will never, ever, ever fit into again).  The rug is a hand-me-down from my parents and makes the room feel cozy.


I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have all our books out of boxes after literally almost three years.  Is it possible that we have even more art and conspiracy theory books than I remembered?

built-in bookshelf reno DIY grey west elm lamp

This was my old cream couch… it’s also been in storage more or less since just after Theo was born, so we’ll see how it fares with sticky fingers abound. But we’ll deal. The brass tripod lamp is new from West Elm.


Still-life with pretentious paperbacks and thrifted gold apple jar.

Rah rah sis boom bah – there’s more of the living room to show you, plus the budget bathroom, mudroom and laundry transformations. But I hear patience is a virtue… ?  What do you think so far?

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2014/06/24 / Shanan


The construction in our basement renovation is nearly complete – electrical done, drywall done, ceiling all closed in. It doesn’t seem particularly sexy but it’s SO great to not have to look at hanging wires and ugly exposed beams, and to imagine that these are going to soon feel like actual, liveable rooms.  Actual rooms!

I can’t seem to find photos of the ceiling pre-reno but above and below is the soon-to-be family room area as it looks now —


It’s kind of a blank slate, yes?  We installed the faux-wood laminate flooring and had that grey wall painted when we moved in, the latter will be the site of the built-in bookshelves (Chris is working on those as we speak!).  The dead propane fireplace insert will soon be replaced with a vaguely cooler fireplace insert… the word ‘fireplace insert’ is starting to lose meaning for me altogether after hemming and hawing over the matter for like a year.

But what I’m really thinking about is pink.

A pink living room.  This sh*t is happening.  Ninety five percent of our place is painted white so I figure this is my moment.  I’m picturing a lovely light pink coupled with the blonde ‘wood’ floors and offset by the charcoal grey shelving unit.  Feminine without being over the top.


I am consciously coupling with this pic of Gwyneth Paltrow’s L.A. pop-up shop, via Goop.  It’s basically perfect and is serving as my main inspiration point.  The colour listed for the walls is Benjamin Moore’s ‘Pink Hibiscus,’ which is quite a bit darker and more saturated in the actual colour swatch.  So I’m going to seek out my own colour that matches the photo — light and a little peachy.  Interior design by Nickey Kehoe.


I also love this wall and the whole colour scheme, too.  Wish I could locate the proper credits for this photo; I found it via Bettina Holst.


This one’s a bit of a wild card and definitely deeper and more coral in tone than my husband will tolerate.  Fair enough, my love.  Still keeping it in the vault to refer back to because the combination of pink with white, wood, plants and a hit of navy/black feels spot-on for me.  Vena Cava designer Lisa Mayock’s Brooklyn kitchen, photo by Maria Del Rio from Mother Mag.

What say you?  More progress and photos to come…

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2014/06/04 / Shanan


Yes, you absolutely need one of these.

What seemed like a bit of a misguided dud gift on my part for Chris’ birthday back in the dead of October, the Mayan hammock is now our most prized possession.  We hung it up between two apple trees a couple of weekends ago and it’s the most relaxing (or stimulating, if you’re a three year old) thing ever.



Tangled up in you.


(These were taken on a chilly day, hence the puffy vest.  I know, I know – is there ever an adequate excuse for a puffy vest? Let’s just move on)



“Are you sure we can’t sleep here tonight?”

I’m a bit behind on publishing photos from around here (Gillian was managing our Instagram account so I’m trying to clue myself in there but the pace is glacial) but I’ll get there… lots more absurd wholesomeness to come.