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2013/11/20 / Gillian


Now that we have rallied from our PPD (I’ve hidden the BBQ chips), it’s time to dish a little about our trunk show.

We wanted to have a proper in vivo launch for the new incarnation of The Symmetric.  Part cocktail party, part art opening, part pop-up shop, part dream (according to one lovely guest), it was just the concoction we were looking for to fête our new venture and to show our wares to friends in our community.

vintage clothing holiday collection trunk show

Featured at the trunk show Saturday evening was our selection of vintage and antique fine and costume jewelry, as well as vintage holiday clothing and accessories.  In addition to the wardrobe pieces, we displayed limited-edition book art prints, custom shadow boxes with hand-gilded milkweed and thorns, and large-format nature photographs. Shanan’s home (Symmetric HQ and fondly dubbed “The Orchard”) provided a perfect backdrop for the soiree. Filled with so many wonderful women and friends, we were truly tickled pink with the evening. And yes, the rumours are true: we are already whispering ideas for the next one!

Would you like to see some more photos?  Of course you would.


vintage book art prints gallery wall

Vintage book art prints (soon to be available in our upcoming online shop).


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2013/11/01 / Shanan


Well hello there.  I’m making some changes to the site today, the most significant of which is that I will no longer be an “I” – but a “we.”  One is the loneliest number, so please give a warm Symmetric welcome (that’s a shy hug and an eye-roll, for the uninitiated) to my friend Gillian Sopinka.

The Leo to my Pisces, the Jagger to my Bowie, the Betty to my Megan.  I felt an instant kinship with Gillian when we met last year, and since starting to work together, she’s been the source of, oh, about 94% of the pee-your-pants-with-laughter moments in my life.  I thought it a fitting introduction to feature her inviting, relaxed (yet always suspiciously tidy) country home in Creemore, Ontario as the next instalment in the ‘Natural Habitat’ series.

Gillian and her husband Steve have been married for eight years (eloping atop Mount Royal in Montreal when they were expecting their first daughter, Yarrow), and now have a second little girl, Frida, who is almost three.  Here she talks about her family’s daily life, collected vintage treasures, and um, a pretty incredible birth story involving their bathroom floor.

“Steve is an architect, and works from a studio on our property. I am a social worker by profession, and have been working in the counselling and mental health field for ten years. As I approach the big 4-0 I felt an undeniable pull to start exploring some of my other interests/passions: vintage (I love the hunt…), wardrobe, interiors, photography and the desire to create something special and unique….Enter Shanan, stage left.”

Creemore kitchen renovation

“We live in a red brick Victorian house, built in 1885.  Steve designed and renovated the kitchen to retain the character and charm of the home, while making it feel lighter, more open and functional.

We are early risers. This started when we became parents (oh, the special and cruel torture that is sleep deprivation) and now I am a full stop morning person.  Steve and I both have some flexibility in our schedules, so we have breakfast and coffee together every day as a family. This hasn’t always been the case and I think we’ve both really come to value the ‘unstructured’ time that we share as a family.”


“Okay, so this deserves a ‘before & after.’ Honestly, this was the sketchiest space in our pre-renovated house. We’re talking Silence of the Lambs. When Steve described his vision of re-purposing the space into a functional pantry, I honestly didn’t think it was going to work. We focused the narrow space around the maple workstand Steve handmade for our first apartment; it’s been everywhere with us since. The shelving above is functional for storage and also home to some of our quirky stuff – mismatched ceramic spice holders, a fondue set from a flea market in Reykjavik, and my grandmother’s flour sifter.”


“Our fridge door is the one space I adore clutter and chaos.  Home to field-trip forms, postcards, photographs, and our wedding portrait.”



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2013/10/25 / Shanan


<In my best Carrie Bradshaw voice> Seeing all these glamorous office inspiration boards everywhere, I couldn’t help but wonder: Is our desire to pin up pretty pictures and inspirational quotes really just our way of reliving the nostalgic glory of our teenage bedrooms?

Image above: Designer Erin Gates’ office wall inspiration board. Photo by Danielle Moss, via The Everygirl.

teenage bedroom collage wall

Anonymous teenage bedroom, via the Teenage Bedroom tumblr site.

Jenna Lyons J Crew office

Inspiration abounds in Jenna Lyons’ office. Via Lonny magazine, November 2012.

teenage bedroom wall

Anna from Suffolk’s room (this one is great, right?  Especially the hand-drawn dude in the upper right), via Teenage Bedroom tumblr.

Tara Guerard office Lonny

Tara Guerard‘s office inspiration.  Photo by Julia Lynn, via Lonny magazine, June 2013.


Teenage dream.  Or a feminist’s worst nightmare, I suppose.  Collage wall from RescuMeDakota via Teenage Bedroom.

ps. Everything Carrie ever ‘wondered’ on Sex and the City, via New York Magazine’s Vulture.

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2013/10/23 / Shanan


Do you ever feel like your taste in things is starting to take a questionable turn?  What you once deemed aesthetically offensive now seems interesting?  Witness some admittedly dubious style evolution at work:

1.  My old sofa, from Pavilion Modern (similar).  Cream, buttoned-up, respectable.

2.  Current couch: Fulham sofa from Restoration Hardware.  Monolithic, leather, lounge-y.

3.  Crushing on the Togo Ligne Roset sofa.  Contemporary, weird, dare I say… scrotum-esque?

Once more, with feeling:

Toronto Life Great Spaces Gladstone

Our old living room in Toronto, with couch in situ.  I loved that space; everything was kind of layered to fit with the quirky vintage vibe of the house and this was pre-baby.  (Image by Michael Graydon for Toronto Life Magazine, from their Great Spaces column we were so kindly featured in once upon a time)

Restoration Hardware Fulham leather sofa

Our current jam (did I just say that?).  I’ve almost always hated leather sofas, but we needed something big and bomb child-proof for the new house and all of a sudden I was in love with this deep caramel beauty.  We designed the space to be open and bright, and this couch works as a perfect anchor.  Plus it’s so comfortable that guests have actually requested to sleep on it instead of in the spare bed.  Oh. Yeah. I really like neon and plants these days.  Viva eclectica!

togo ligne roset sofa living room

And… my next sofa, pretty please?  I love it, but am not above admitting it’s a bit of a monstrosity.  Would you? (Image via Domo)

Has your decorating style and taste changed dramatically over the years, or do you stick to your guns?

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2013/10/11 / Shanan


We’re gearing up for Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada (yes, we do it in October), where our family will be visiting, hosting, and just generally being ever so grateful for all our good fortune.  Seriously, we are so lucky it’s kind of ridiculous.  Hope that where-ever you may hang your head, you manage to find yourself at home.  Here are some fictional beauties that I could imagine living in…

Image above: Curl up in the bedroom of my dreams, complete with fireplace, built-in bookshelves, and herringbone floors. From Virginia Wolf (Kyo Maclear, with fantastically whimsical illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault).

Visitor for Bear

Another cozy fireplace set-up, from A Visitor for Bear (Bonny Becker, illustrations by Kady MacDonald Denton).

If you give a mouse a cookie interiors inspiration

What’s a powder room without wallpaper, a pedestal sink, and some classic black and white tile? From If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (Laura J. Numeroff, illustrations by Felicia Bond).


Beany was one of my favourite books as a little girl, and now we read my old copy to Theo when we visit my parents.  I’m in love with all the hanging plants and the charmingly lived-in depictions of their house.  From Beany (Jane Feder, illustrations by Karen Gundersheimer; this one’s out of print it seems)!

how pizza came to our town interiors inspiration

More great plants, windows, and shelving in the dining room of How Pizza Came to our Town (written and illustrated by Dayal Kaur Khalsa).  Shhh, I might ditch that rug, though.

maudie and bear interior inspiration

I’m not gonna lie, Maudie acts like a bit of a C U Next Tuesday in this book but the architecture in their house is pretty great.  From Maudie and Bear (Jan Ormerod, illustrations by Freya Blackwood).

ps. In case you missed it, you can see the first instalment of kid’s books as interiors inspiration here.  Have a great weekend.  xx Shanan