Kevin Austin

#AustinSuite decorating

Here's our jumping off point. Even though our condominium suite is far from decorated, the artwork is really coming together. One friday night a few months ago we just went for it. No measuring. No level. Just hanging hardware, a hammer, wine and some high volume tunes. We used a hanging method we call "eyeballing it." This piece was one of the first we put up. Since it's a longtime favourite, we gave it pride of place. All the others fell into place around it. Now I think this piece is about to become the inspiration for our new design scheme. Specifically that ugly mossy green colour. I'm so in love with that colour.

Also in my inspo files are a whole mess of pics of this restaurant in Paris. Monsieur Bleu was designed by Joseph Dirand -- current hotshot on the scene. (As an aside, I walked by the Toronto restaurant Lee the other day and they have replicated this design exactly. That's so offside as far as I'm concerned. Inspiration is one thing, but you've got to give it your own spin. Not cool Susur et. al. Not cool.) For me it's all about those greens. I'm stealing that idea of using several shades, some even a tad clashy. I'm also inspired by the antiqued mirror, lighting and green and black marbles. 

I'm also crushing on Zak Profera's place now. Love that fabric of his on the chair cushions. Hoping the folks at  Y&Co. can hook me up with some of that. I think some middle ground between the sexy resto in Paris and this NYC place might be the stylistic sweet spot for #AustinSuite. Are you following Zak on Insta or Pinterest? I highly recommend. Love his eye and of course his adorable Shiba Inu, Shinji. Check out the Zak + Fox web site.

Our current dining chairs are courtesy of Mr. A's eagle eye and shopping genius. Love these. I think they'd be great with diff shades of green velvet or mohair seats. Mr. A likes the black leather as is. We'll see who wins that one...

Not loving our current dining table situation. It's fine. Just fine. But we do have a vintage white tulip table that might be ripe for reinvention so it looks more like the one above. I'd just spray paint the base myself. Love this green marble top. Need to price that out and see if it's in the realm of reality. If the tabletop were green I'd prob leave the chair seats black.

Need to paint the interior of our entry door black ASAP. Like this. 

Speaking of doors, we currently have a coat closet that has hideous sliding mirror doors. They're taller than the nearby bathroom door and also lacking hardware. They are heavy and awkward to move back and forth. I loathe those doors. Would love to figure out a disappearing jib door situation for that...

Existing lever handles are the work of the normcore devil -- they are of the swirly brushed white metal variety :::shudders::: They'll go too. Maybe something like these above. Or antique brass? Hmmm.

Brass desk lamp is another Mr. A find. Wicked cool. The one on the right is our bathroom sconce by Flos. Love it too. I got that one at Gabriel Ross.

I have a bit of hankering for one of the lights in this new IC collection from Flos. Love that you can choose from floor, table, pendant or sconces all with this suspended light ball design. It's fun and makes me think of a balloon. Maybe a pair of bedside lamps? Or one floor lamp for the living room?

Storage is a major bugaboo right now. I thought I could tackle one area at a time, but I now realize I have to plan new clothes closet systems at the same time as I redesign the entry coat closet and some version of wall-mounted cupboards for the bedroom. I'm waiting with bated breath for the new IKEA kitchen system to hit stores. That's what I'll use (shown above) for the bedroom. 

If you can believe it we have room for only one comfy armchair. We have a petite club chair now, but I've got the chief furniture buyer on the lookout for something with more style -- like these Edward Wormley gems that cost a bajillion dollars. The sofa is a conundrum. Prob not in the budget to switch it, but not sure how to make a white slipcovered William Birch sofa work in this scheme. Like I said, a conundrum.

We've both always wanted a mobile. Mr. A actually found us a series of discs not unlike these -- ours are in bronze and gold -- we just have to figure out how to make them into a mobile. I skipped that day in physics class. Don't think I can DIY that.

So here it is all written down. Will be interesting to see if I can manage to stay focussed on this look or if I change my mind along the way.

photo credits:

1. Margot Ausitn. 2. Monsieur Bleu. 3. Brittany Ambridge. 4. Margot Austin. 5. Haus London.  6. Elisabeth Heier. 7. Andrew Skurman Architects. 8. Low Price Door Knobs. 9. Margot Austing/Flos. 10. Flos. 11. Elisabeth Heier. 12. Mid2Mod. 13. Corinne Van Havre.

vintage fine objects - my favourites

I could go on and on about my blogging delinquency, but I will not. So here I am with the biggest news to hit the Austins in quite some time. Voilà above is Mr. A's new venture, which opened on the coldest day of the year in Toronto's Corktown neighbourhood. The space, I must say, is the perfect backdrop for his vision: double-fronted window, south-facing, high-ceilinged. Mr. A and his crew even managed to reveal much of the building's original 120-year-old flooring in all it's beat-to-heck glory. 

The sign design above and his biz cards are the work of graphic design wizard Ashleigh Schouwerwou. They are the perfect iteration of Mr. A's aesthetic. Ashleigh is the typography whisperer - check out her cool new paper goods line Paper Society Co.

So anyhoo, back to Vintage Fine Objects. Here's a little tour of some of my favourite things. First up, that mirror, that commode. The mirror is a French Empire split column mirror that I find to be handsome and understated yet so grand thanks to its massive scale. Cylinder commodes are rare and versatile little creatures that are incredible examples of the cabinetmaker's art. I marvel at the curve of the wood. Love these in a bathroom or as a bar cabinet or bedside table. I told you - versatile! (and um, the floor!)

Dear mass-market furniture company based in California (you know who I mean), never in a million years will your "craftsmen" be able to replicate the authenticity of a true classic club chair. There are a pair of these. They are really from Europe. They are beautiful.

This desk. Rosewood. Mid-century. Chair to go with. Eat your heart out Don Draper.

Mr. A and I both have a thing for old art gallery posters. This one is super cool. He also has one for a Rothko exhibit. It rocks. Then there's that art on the right -- no idea how to describe that. I have a love/hate relationship with it. And those nifty little black and white stools - Mr. A has those custom made. Simple and perfect.

Mr. Acorn here is a little cutie. It's a lidded box that's hand-carved and one of the gems from Mr. A's collection of smalls.

This sexy beast is one of a pair once owned by Canadian interior design legend Ray Staples - you can see it in the background of this pic of Ray from 1989 (and yes, a leopard pillow is just what this chair needs!). Ray was a big fan and supporter of Mr. A and it makes me a bit sad that she didn't get to see this new achievement of his. But her chairs are here and I think she'd be proud of that. She would have said "You've done good kid!"

PS That wallpaper! Mr. A's idea for a show-stopping accent wall leads your eye into the two rear rooms. Well-played Mr. A. And the carpet - want that for our Tweed place. It's classic seagrass from Reznick Carpets.

Visit the new space at 328 Queen St. E. in Toronto, 416-686-5614, or here on the Internets: vintagefineobjects.com ; or follow him on the Twitter here.

vintage fine objects

Here's a little tip for those of you who catch up with me here rather than on the Twitters or the FB. There's big news chez Austin (even bigger than our mini basement reno). Last week my Mr. A. launched his latest antiques business right here on the Internets. Vintage Fine Objects is his latest commercial-meets-creative outlet. On the new site Mr. A is sorting his wares into groups that reflect his favourite design profiles. He's also having great fun compiling Featured collections, which are kind of like mini gallery exhibits. It's early days yet – a few widgets and tools are yet to come – but I assure you he's very much open for business and he's got lots up his sleeve (and in a full storage space)!  

Here's where to find him:

web site: http://www.vintagefineobjects.com

email: info@vintagefineobjects.com

Nathan Turner...or Kevin Austin?

Have you been watching Million Dollar Decorators? I've been lapping up every delicious minute of it, though occasionally it has been a little too much like watching my life go by. I'm no MDD, but I work with some (though not the ones on the show) and immerse myself in their work every day. There's one other familiar aspect to the show which has been revealing itself to me ep by ep. Um, I'm pretty sure Nathan Turner and my husband might be the same person. I mean, I've never seen them together in the same place so....you be the judge:

Nathan Turner: boyish good looks, pursed-lip smile, sandy hair szhuszhed up in the front, short back and sides, prep style, sun-kissed complexion

Kevin Austin: boyish good looks, pursed-lip smile, sandy hair szhuszhed up in the front, short back and sides, prep style, sun-kissed complexion

A boy and his dog.

A boy and his dog.

Nathan's shop, Nathan Turner.

Kevin's shop, ChairTableLamp.

bowl at Nathan's shop.

bowls at Kevin's shop.

tole chest at Nathan's shop.

tole chest at Kevin's shop.

Milo Baughman at Nathan's

Milo Baughman at Kevin's

a table at Nathan's

a table at Kevin's...

I could go on.....

There are a few differences. Off the top -- Kevin is straight, which is great for our marriage. Kevin isn't a decorator per se, but he can more than hold his own on matters of design. I think Nathan might be a bit shorter than Kevin's 6ft 3in, but I don't know for sure. So, I'll be keeping my eyes on the MDDs and watching for more screen time for Kevin, er, I mean, Nathan, in upcoming eps....Meanwhile, if you ever see them in the same room, let me know.

opposite of simple

Oh fickle fickle fickle me. Last post was all about the beauty of simple. But today is another love story. This is my fave thing in Hubs' shop ChairTableLamp currently. Isn't she pretty? All gilded and curlycued and filigreed and fancy pants. She's a beaut! I would cheat on simple for this. Find more yummy stuff from his shop at his little bloggy blog. Hubs is a fresh-baked Mac addict now that he's the proud papa to a spanking new clean white MacBook (again, simple is good), so he's getting going on his web space (with a little help). Do visit here.