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2014/07/04 / Shanan

BORN IN THE USA

And a happy day to the old red, white, and blue — believe it or not, I was born there, too.  A grab-bag of greatness, all made with love in the U. S. of A.  Take it easy.

1.  Grecian Bouquet cut-out dress in neoprene, Clover Canyon   /   2.  The War On Drugs, Lost in the Dream, 2014   /   3.  Sunburst Earrings in brass and onyx, Pamela Love   /   4.  Ham hock coaster art set, Chen Chen & Kai Williams via The Future Perfect   /   5.  Local Magazine, a quarterly publication chronicling one town in America per issue   /   6.  Courtyard silk rectangle scarf, Miranda Bennett.

ps. Last year on Canada Day I did a made-in-Canada round-up, the likes of which you can see here.  Archives and all that…

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2014/06/24 / Shanan

PINK IS THE NEW WHITE

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 —

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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2014/04/22 / Shanan

FOXFIRE MAGAZINE

I love looking through old books and have especially always had a thing for the hippie-ish publications of my parent’s era.  Their basement is still home to Whole Earth catalogs, Ina May Gaskin books, and slim, hand-illustrated guides to building your own saunas – and thank the lord for that. Now that our family is out of the city and doing the odd quaint country thing like making maple syrup and pickling home-grown vegetables, I find that these books (many out of print) actually contain practical information relevant to aspects of our lives as they are now.  I mean we’re not constructing any saunas yet, but… give us time. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover another fantastic old magazine series that I’d never heard of before, carried at our local library.  It’s called Foxfire.

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Started in 1966 by Eliot “Wig” Wigginton and his high school students in Georgia, the class conducted interviews and wrote articles about the lifestyles, traditions, and knowledge of local citizens.  The magazines were gathered into Foxfire anthologies and now, I’m reading about making wagon wheels and moonshine from elderly Appalachian gentlemen.

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The mixture of practical skills and oral histories on beekeeping, weaving, midwifery, community gatherings, and “more affairs of plain living” feels quite far removed from the majority of my life experience… and yet it speaks to me in a way that’s so refreshing and inspiring, and utterly without airs.  I’m certainly a fan of Kinfolk and all that, but this sh*t is the real deal.

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Turns out that Foxfire has continued to thrive and lives on not only as a bi-annual publication, but as a teaching philosophy, museum, and foundation.  You can find more information here.  And if you can’t find any issues at your library, there are quite a few floating around on ebay (I’m going to start collecting them, so… please hold off on the hippie lit bidding wars).

Images in this post taken by The Symmetric in some lovely natural morning light. Just as it was meant to be, no?

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2014/01/17 / Shanan

THE WES ANDERSON COLLECTION

Collector’s item, the ultimate film geek-out, an obsessive’s wet dream – all of the above?

I received The Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Seitz as a surprise post-Christmas gift from Chris, and I felt compelled to share a glimpse inside this coffee table book with you cast of characters, really because it’s just so damn fun.  I rarely watch movies anymore (weird? but true) and Wes Anderson has kind of been off my radar lately, but it’s been totally compelling to thumb through this volume that so meticulously details each title in his filmography (many of which I adore).  A mélange of previously unseen photos, production stills, storyboards, illustrations, notes, interviews and essays, the collection drew me right back in to Anderson’s idiosyncratic worlds – of private schools, rambling family mansions, submarines, foreign train travel, summer camp.

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I love seeing all the varied pop-culture references that inspired a specific shot, or the way a character was dressed – from novels, other films, music, etc.  There are times when I’ve gushed about the usual suspects: the brilliant melancholy of Bill Murray, the sheer perfection of the soundtracks… that iconic zebra wallpaper in The Royal Tenenbaums. And, there are times when I’ve railed against the intentional artifice, feeling like style had overshadowed substance and storytelling to such a ridiculous degree that I couldn’t bear to watch. Like the films had become parodies of themselves, if that makes any sense.

But ultimately that’s the push and pull of a filmmaker with a strong point of view, a true auteur. And while reading this book, I’ve come away feeling like every title is worth revisiting for different reasons… which I greatly look forward to doing.

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LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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I will admit to having inadvertently eaten a pot brownie just before seeing The Life Aquatic in the theatre (don’t ask), so this one definitely warrants a repeat viewing.

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Chris and I saw The Darjeeling Limited together on our second date.  “Say yes to everything, even if it’s shocking and painful.”

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The Wes Anderson Collection is available from Abrams Books.  Do you have a favourite WA movie? Have you ever felt compelled to dress up as Margot Tenenbaum (I won’t judge)?

Photos and styling by Shanan Kurtz/The Symmetric.

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2013/12/13 / Gillian

FIELD TRIPS: CREEMORE KITCHEN

Shanan and I have been excited lately to add field trips to the roster of fun things we’re up to. Inspired by the Natural Habitat series Shanan has written and shot for the Symmetric blog, we wanted to branch out and feature some of our favourite shops & eateries. I’m pleased to introduce Creemore Kitchen for the inaugural instalment of Field Trips!

Nestled amongst the galleries and specialty stores in the village of Creemore sits the Creemore Kitchen. I know I am not alone when I say that their opening last spring was keenly awaited.  Just what Creemore needed – a little “hipster in the rural hood,” so to speak, with good food & drink to boot.

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The contemporary-but-cozy, white wood-sided building references a barn and is the perfect aesthetic for the “farm to table” adage of CK.

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“Everything in the restaurant comes from our home,” explains Sam Holwell, who runs the front of house. “It’s just who we are – the food, the music, the style.”  This overall vibe, if you will, is relaxed but intentional.  From the grey army-issue wool blankets that drape casually over the eclectic mix of chairs, to the rustic raw sumac branches that artfully showcase birds, gingerbread and other homemade Christmas decorations, the feel is all “house made.”

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The same house-made ethos is evidenced in the menu as well. Caesar Guinto is inspired by his pastoral environs and the healthy ‘100-mile’ culture of the village of Creemore.  “Local” isn’t just about food source and proximity for Sam and Caesar, though – it’s about relationships.

“We want to be able to say to people – see that table over there?  They grew your food!”  This language of “good food local” resonates for both of them and they pride themselves on the collaborative and dynamic relationship that exists between the front of the house, the kitchen and their community.

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