Donna Griffith

linen love

Libeco Clément collectionI hereby declare my full and complete 24/7/365 love of linen. The affair deepens afresh every year around this time. Summer is made for linen. Soft and cool to wear. Sophisticated but relaxed. Luxurious. Durable. Earthy and earth-friendly. Pressed or rumbled -- I just adore it. My fave sources for linen products are Libeco Home Stores and The Linen Way. Libeco is a a Belgian company and they have the MOST beautiful linens for the table, the kitchen, the bed -- and to wear (and the duffle bags are so Great Gatsby chic!). The Linen Way is a wholesale source, but you can find their products at many retailers across North America. The lady who runs the company with her son -- well, they are just lovely lovely people. I like to give lovely people my business and I try to promote them as much as possible!

Also on my linen source list are Fog, Matteo and Rawganique. John and Juli at Mjölk sell Fog in Toronto. I don't need to tell you how great their store is -- I'm sure you already know. But here's a fun link to the story of their recent trip to Japan when the met the founder of Fog, Yumiko Sekine. Charming! Now, back to Rawganique. I have a major beef with them -- their site is HIDEOUS! Check it out here. Someone needs to save them from their preachy selves. Couldn't they store all their text-heavy eco-messaging behind a hot link? And is it against the tree-hugger code to celebrate beauty? I assure you, the products they sell -- the linen and hemp bedding specifically -- are devastatingly gorgeous but you'd be hard-pressed to know that looking at the site. So sad and such a missed opportunity.

I love to collect new and antique table and kitchen linens. On my current want list is linen bedding. I'd like to mix linen and hemp bedding for my place in Tweed -- if I can find some that I can afford! Last time I was at Muji in NYC they had some and I didn't buy it - drat! Hope they still have it when I'm back in Sept. Or maybe I'll call...Meanwhile, enjoy my little love letter to linen.

And one final heartbreak -- so sad that IKEA has discontinued the Aina drapery panels in pure linen. Truly one of my most favourite IKEA products of all time. A pox on them for doing so -- I mean, just look at the lovely way they flow and puddle hanging from my DIY four-poster!

sources: 1-5: Libeco. 6, 7, 13: Linen Way. 8: Matteo. 9. Bemz. 10, 11: Fog. 12: Pi'lo. 14: styling: me. photo: donna griffith.


current obsession: rope

I braided hemp twine to make this tieback, then paired it with ready-made tassels.

For a shoot last week I borrowed one of those glass lamps that you can put things inside like this one. Love when an object offers you an option to take it to the next level with some styling. Anyhoo, I went to Lowe's and had a two-foot length of rope cut to put inside the lamp. The dude who cut it was completely baffled by my request: "What are you going to do with this?" My reply: "I'm going to put it inside a glass lamp. It also looks great coiled inside a vase." He looked at me like I had two heads! The rope cost $1.97. You can't beat that price for a little decorative oompf. I'd credit Kelly Hoppen for introducing me to the idea of a coil of rope as a decorative flourish. I find it both ridiculous and gorgeous. Clearly the dude at Lowe's thought only the former. Well, I'm here today to admit I am quite obsessed with rope and have been for a while.

It all started about 3 years ago when I became determined to install a rope stair rail in my place in Tweed. 

top 2 photos: donna griffith

The back stairs off the kitchen were a real deal-clincher when we bought this place, and from the beginning I was determined to make them a feature. Off came the beige carpet. On went 2 coats of Farrow & Ball Pointing floor paint. Then it was time for the rail. I went straight to boating supply places in Toronto to get the rope -- natural sisal and about 2in thick. I also went with boating hardware to hold the rail in place. The guys who helped me out with the products were fascinated by the idea of what I was doing and really helped me out. Sometimes design is like that -- a great adventure that you can take a few people along on. Love that. So when it came to installation time I knew exactly who to call -- my Dad. He was in the naval reserve as a young man. When I was little I used to play dress-up with the hat from his uniform. He learned to sew (repairing sails) and of course all the knots in the navy. And despite the years that have passed since, hasn't forgotten these skills. He's the one responsible for the very carefully lashed loop you see in the photo above. He's meticulous and I love him for it. The rope ends in a gorgeous coil on the upstairs landing. I'll definitely be getting a shot of it when we shoot the place for STYLE AT HOME in a few months. I have since found a site devoted entirely to stair ropes. It's called (of course). They have the MOST amazing stuff. Here's a selection.


6 photos above:

But rope rails aren't the only way to decorate with rope. There are so many more options. The key is restraint. Rope accessories are best handled like animal print ones -- a room can only handle one or two pieces. Any more and you get into gimiicky-themey territory and it all goes wrong. But how to choose...

sources: 1. rope chandleier, VandM. 2. cat's paw door stop, Ballard Designs (and a million other places). 3.rope-wrapped lamp, 4.vignette by steven gambrel. 5. room with rope candelier by steven gambrel. 6.& 7. neckalce and bracelet, anthropologie. 8.& 9. rope sconce and rope pouffe by christien meindertsma via thomas eyck. 10. long rope mirror, VandM. 11. round rope mirror, restoration hardware. 12. rope mat,

i am thankful for today

Today has been one of those pinch-me days.

1. I received a preview copy of a book by one of my very fave designers -- amazing the joy a PDF can bring!

2. I worked on a super-fun and satisfying project at work.

3. I had a very exciting discussion with 2 colleagues about the infinite possibilities of the year ahead.

4. I received a voice mail message from a complete stranger who happened to see an appearance I made on the Steven & Chris Show on CBC TV giving a tour of my kitchen. She showered me with compliments and kind words about my work and my enthusiasm. She had a lovely accent and said I "set her pulse afire" with my work and my passion. Wow!

5. I saw beautiful things in one of the best shops in town.

6. I listened to the latest podcast at The Skirted Round Table. Do you know about The Skirted Round Table? It's a series of podcasts by three of the best bloggers: Megan Arquette from Beach Bungalow 8, Linda Merrill of Surroundings and Joni Webb of Cote de Texas. By all means, go visit them, read their blogs etc etc. (well, silly me, I'm sure you already do know them!). But, please, you must must must listen to this chat with Stephen Drucker, editor in chief of House Beautiful. Click here.

7. Just received a call that my beloved husband has dinner made and waiting.

pinch me. 

sources: 1:  TOB design. laura resen photo. 2: my kitchen. donna griffith photo.