Well friends, it’s Week Five of the Fall 2016 edition of the One Room Challenge, and I cannot believe we are here! So much love and design planning has led to today, and I could not be more thrilled to be so close to the finish line. Graham has worked tirelessly to implement my design plans and truly deserves a vacation when all this is over! Undoubtedly one of the most exciting moments for me will be snuggling up together on our gorgeous new Joni Sofa by Industrial Storm for Whittington & Co.



This piece of functional art will be one of the last details to arrive, and for good reason. Quality craftsmanship takes time, as evidenced by these photos of the process of our gorgeous Joni being made.


Authentic 8-way hand-tied coil seating is made to last a lifetime


In our world of “fast fashion,” it can seem painstaking to some to wait for the slow and steady hand of an artisan to create something of lasting value. But what’s at stake if we don’t?


If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you will know  that I’m a passionate patron of the arts. I believe original art is what gives soul to a room. You’ll hear me say that often, but for me it is about more than just the art – it is about beautiful craftsmanship and couture-like care being poured into as many elements as possible in your home, treating each piece as an art form unto itself.

But why? Why do I care so much about the art of design, and why do I think you should too? What is it about a handmade piece that matters so deeply?


I believe it is the traces of humanity seen in its beauty; the narrative of lives being woven together as the maker crafts something of value for the end user with a deep sense of passion and purpose. It is about the preservation of the arts. It is about wonder, workmanship and curating beauty. It is about leaving a cleaner footprint on the planet. It’s about The Story of Stuff, the less-is-more, not-so-disposable mindset that is quietly having a renaissance amongst well-educated, eco-conscious, socially responsible and compassionately-minded consumers. And it is about the ability for interior design to tell your story.


More than simply creating extremely functional spaces, I am passionate about crafting environments that become the canvas upon which my clients’ dreams and memories are painted – the most important context in which they will tell and write their stories with the ones they love. For that canvas to be cheap, fast and disposable does not honour the story to be told, and it does not lay a foundation for worry-free living.


That’s why I am so passionate about beautifully, custom-crafted furniture, and why I have chosen once again to partner with Whittington & Co. for the custom sofa in my latest One Room Challenge space. It’s about the value of both the process and the end product for me. Great design and great craftsmanship go hand-in-hand, and part of the power of what I bring to my design clients is the ability to customize or fully design new pieces for them that are beautiful in every way, and bespoke to their wants and needs.

Without workrooms like Whittington & Co. that care as passionately as I do about the art of furniture making (a rare find), that wouldn’t be possible; and without the craftspeople who pour their talents and passion into the process, these workrooms wouldn’t be what they are.


How beautiful is the book-matched walnut on the Joni leg? Can't wait to see it all put together!

How beautiful is the book-matched walnut on the Joni leg? Can’t wait to see it all put together!


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I can’t talk about Whittington’s beautiful process without sharing the dream team behind it all! Dan and Tony have worked at Whittington together for over 13 years, and their collaboration is the special sort where each makes the other shine brighter.

Tony, a furniture maker, master pattern-maker, fabric-cutter and self-admitted perfectionist has been in the business since the 80’s when he even cut the fabric for a throne being reupholstered for Queen Elizabeth’s special visit to Canada. There is literally no aspect of making a piece of furniture that Tony doesn’t know inside and out, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Passion and curiosity are the fuel to this man’s fire, and his pursuit of perfection is truly driven by the art of his craft. He has more than logged his 10,000 hours required to be an expert. In fact, he reckons he’s probably seen over 100,000 pieces of furniture cross his workbench in his career at this point. He’s always ready to embrace the next challenge of a new custom design because at this point, it is never a question of IF he can make it. It’s just a question of HOW he’ll make it and how much fun he’ll have getting there.

When Dan joined the Whittington team back in 2003, Tony knew he’d found the ying to his furniture-making yang. Dan’s remarkable gift for thinking in true 3D, for strategizing and problem-solving, for perfecting a new frame and for turning a puzzle over and over until it is perfected all made him the ideal collaborator for Tony. Together, they soon found themselves pushing the boundaries of what had previously been possible for Whittington & Co.

Dan shares Tony’s passion for perfection with an honest humility that comes from being committed to his craft. They both share an obvious joy for the process, and when I asked them what their dream projects would look like, both their answers revolved around having the luxury of unbridled time to get lost in the art of creating. They also both happen to be guitar players and serial creatives, constantly dreaming up new projects to engineer together in their “spare time.”

Getting to know these two master craftsmen truly underscores for me my belief that a beautiful process – one filled with passion and care for the art of making – always leads to a more beautiful product. And it is why I am such a believer in partnering with companies who are committed to preserving the all-but-lost art of true, artisanal craftsmanship. Bench-made furniture like the Joni Sofa is truly functional art for the home, and I cannot wait to welcome this thoughtfully made piece into ours.


With just a few more key elements to arrive, the to-do list is gratefully starting to look more and more manageable by the day. At this point it includes:

  • Mount the LG OLED E6 in the media built-in
  • Install the LG Styler in the exercise room
  • Select the right hide rug from AllModern and layer it into the room
  • Deliver and install the Joni Sofa
  • Deliver and install the Cohen Chair and petrified wood side tables from Bernhardt
  • Frame up the remaining art to arrive in their custom Framed & Matted frames
  • Hang/install said art
  • Style and shoot the space
  • Take a deep breath, pour two big glasses of red wine (one for me and one for my incredible-beyond-words superhubs), and snuggle up with my loves in our beautiful new media room!

Until then, be sure to check out what my fellow ORC comrades-in-arms have accomplished this week:

Jana Bek | Chris Loves Julia | Shannon Claire | Coco.Kelley | The Curated House

Driven by Decor | The English Room | From the Right Bank | Sherry Hart

Hi Sugarplum | House of Jade | Hunted Interior | The Makerista | Making it Lovely

Marcus Design | Pencil & Paper Co. | Megan Pflug | Place of My Taste | Suburban B’s

Waiting on Martha  Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by CIH

And don’t forget to come back next Wednesday morning for the BIG REVEAL!! I can’t wait to share this finished space with you all.