favourite shop: dille & kamille, brussels

When Mr. A and I visited Brussels recently we came across the loveliest shop. Dille & Kamille was just steps from our hotel and I was so happy to have found it.

Of course I knew immediately upon seeing the exterior that I had to go in. Love a black and white striped awning. At first I thought it was a garden or flower shop.

The displays of neatly arranged plants on either side of the entry created a warm welcome.

This cluster of heather and sedum was so simple yet so striking. Made a note to myself to get some heather when I got home. And I did.

Inside, we discovered Dille & Kamille is much more than a garden shop. It's kitchen, bath, gourmet, utility, linens, and books and so much more. All of the goods and displays have the aesthetic of simplicity and abundance, quality and utility. My favourite.

This mountain of gorgeous market baskets caught my eye first. I want to live in a world where all the food from the market is carried home in one or two of these on a bicycle, not in a tumble of black logo-emblazoned cotton totes shoved in the trunk...sigh.

There were more lovely plants inside and they made me fantasize for a moment that maybe I should really try to keep some alive at home once I got back. I am actually trying.

The wall o' brushes for everything you could ever want a brush for was also dreamy. Yes, I find a wall o' brushes dreamy. I swooned over just such a wall at the store Manufactum in Frankfurt last year and stocked up then, otherwise a few of these beauties would have def come home with me.

More amazing scrubbing things and oh my goodness look at the blocks of soap!

Any wooden cutting board or charcuterie board you could ever want. It's here.

Also, wall o' beautiful tea. Yum.

Wall o' cookbooks. Also -- some great apron action in the forground there.

Wall o' beautiful table linens. 

Turns out there are 25 locations of this fantastic home goods shop across Belgium and The Netherlands. If you will be in either of these regions and this is your thing, I highly recommend Dille & Kamille. It's just so truly lovely and a great spot to pickup gifts to bring home. Check them out at Dille & Kamille.

nyc flower markets

Have you ever been to the wholesale flower markets in New York? I love going to flower markets when I travel. These photos are from late March - just the beginning of spring flower season. The shelves were TEEMING with blooms. At this place above they stack the bunches on their sides on 10-ft high metro shelving carts. 

Tulips, tulips and more tulips.

The flowers and plants spill out onto the street along 28th St. And, by the way, I'm happy to report that anyone can go into these places - you don't have to be a pro.

Ranunculus for days!!

This place was totally jaw-dropping -- an entire store lined with 9 and 10 ft high blooming branches -- mostly cherry when I was there. It was so crazy amazing. Why why why can't we have access to this stuff in Canada? This is the modern era people - put them on a truck! Sigh.

I came across this fun video interview with Carolyn Roehm taped in the Flower district. Kinda fun. One of my fave aspects is the sound -- get a load of the hustle and bustle - the place is busy and LOUD. Hey, it's NYC, whaddya expect? And three more things: 1. Could she be more chic? 2. That. Hat. 3. Peonies and garden roses. Of course. 

Peonies and roses. I share Carolyn's love of these two. I snapped these beauties at my place after doing a shoot with Virginia Macdonald. The story appears in the July 2013 issue of House & Home - on stands right about now. 



happy easter flowers!

One of the fringe benefits of my styling gig is getting to take home flowers after a shoot. Well, this weekend it is bumper to bumper blooms chez Austin thanks to back to back floral shoots. On Wednesday, our place was the location for a floral story schedded for the July issue of House & Home. I was working with the most talented Virginia Macdonald - what a treat. I cannot wait for you to see.


Then first thing Thursday morning it was down to 299 Queen St. W. in Toronto to The Marilyn Denis Show for a segment on spring floral arrangements. It felt like I did the segment in 30 seconds so I have no idea what came out of my mouth - HA! The whole team there is so great to work with. I must confess though, my fave aspect is getting my makeup done. It just makes me feel so pampered and I rarely indulge in such things on my own (which I realize is dumb).

I got most of the supplies for the segment at the Real Canadian Superstore. I popped by today and sure enough the place is stocked with potted bulbs, tons of mixed arrangements, and of course they always have great vases and other vessels. I like the white ceramics in the serveware dept. even better than the clear glass vases. And the best part - nothing I used was over $20. So if you haven't decorated for Easter yet, click here to watch the vid and then head out to the Superstore.

OK, now I'm off to make some bouquets to bring to my Dad and Mom and her nursing home buddies.

Joyeuses Pâques!

charlotte moss: überdecorator

I spent a bunch of time with this book today, and boy am I happy I did. All this talk of undecorating and relaxed style and the rise of DIY was starting to get to me a bit. Sure, I've written before about sometimes getting decorating enui, but I always come back. Always. I find Charlotte Moss rooms positively intoxicating. I remember seeing this room below at the 2006 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse and just standing at the velvet rope staring while other visitors filed in and out around me. The room was large and was roped off so you weren't able to walk through it. So, I started scanning the space from the left and worked my way back and forth and across the space, trying to read every detail. Photos were not allowed. This new book of hers opens with extensive coverage of the room. Wonderful. 

Now, I know this is super wrong in the world of copyright, but I just have to share a couple of pages of the books that I very much enjoyed today. 

Charlotte Moss can decorate a room like few others -- she doesn't miss a trick. I LOVE the large wicker chest as coffee table, the classic slipcovered sofa in plain fabric, that delicate little floor lamp that's happy to play second fiddle to the mirror -- all are fantastic. But the moment that really gets me here is the interplay of texture, colour and pattern between the wallcovering, drapery, the green pillow and the leopard one. I just love this. This is decorating.

And then I came upon this space:

 You know how I adore this coral colour. I just DIE for it. Just look at how the drapery is bordered in it. And I have a thing for skirted tables lately -- this is a fine example. But the pièce the résistance is the little gem on the floor on the left side -- it's an exquisite little dog house ottoman. My girl would love that thing - so cozy and chic.

And look at the yumminess of this image.

Ms. Moss devotes a whole chapter to how she employs flowers and scent in her rooms. Bless her for including this in her book. See, I told you, she doesn't miss a trick.

All images from Charlotte Moss Decorates (Rizzoli, 2011) by Charlotte Moss with Mitchell Owens. Photos Pieter Estersohn, Eric Striffler (coral accented room), John Hall (flowers).