New Spaces

Not only are we extremely close to opening our new space in
the Exchange District... we have moved our blog.

All the content from this blog has been moved to our new
address on the web. We will leave this blog up as a byway
to ...

See you there!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Of Reds and Whites

I've been a die hard Chardonnay fan for most of my adult life.  Red wine and I, well, we just didn't mix.  My taste buds prefer things light and crisp.  I'm certain this has nothing at all to do with an unfortunate experience at a post high school house party and a box of red wine.  But thats another story.

A couple of years ago I was introduced to a Pinot Noir which improved my opinion of reds.  It was a delightful wine, smooth and silky, and my taste buds approved.  Since that time I have sampled many reds, typically with the same reaction.  While others savored them I puckered. Perhaps my taste buds are more than just a little persnickety.  

There is a reason, I've always known, that red wine is decanted.  I just didn't buy into it.  It isn't just something a wine snob would do in an attempt to impress.  To a wine aficionado, decanting is imperative simply because it does improve the wine.  Period.  Decanting is done for one of two reasons.  With older wines which have aged in the bottle it is done to remove the sediment which can tarnish the taste and experience of the wine.  With younger wines it is done to aerate them which softens their flavor and improves the bouquet.
Who, though, actually has, or takes, the time to decant their wine?  I typically only have wine when dining out.  If most people follow that same behavior then its not surprising that most people haven't experienced the improvement decanting will have on a wine.  If the dining experience is typically two hours, and properly decanting a wine takes somewhere in the vicinity of an hour and a half, and the babysitter is costing $8 an hour, and you are first time parents, and you have the imagination of Stephen King, and you're pretty sure the house is going to burn to the ground if you don't get home as fast as you can...  Well, is it any wonder we don't bother to have the wine decanted when we're out for dinner?

I've recently been schooled. Big time. In our travels this month we discovered a simple little device which, in all taste tests we performed, improved a variety of wines into perfectly palatable and enjoyable libations.  I am reformed.  So much so that I immediately sought out a distributor so that you too can fully appreciate all that a red wine has to offer.

Let me introduce you to our new dining out companion.   

Vinturi aerates the wine as it is poured.  This elegant looking wine accessory improves the bouquet and taste of a wine instantly.  It can make almost any red "the most romantic of wines, with so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, and so powerful a punch that, like falling in love, they make the blood run hot and the soul wax embarrassingly poetic."  Although Joel Fleischman (of Vanity Fair fame - and the author of that quote) was talking about Pinot Noir specifically we are confident that Vinturi can make almost any wine seem stellar.

To learn more about the Vinturi aerator visit us at the house or have a look at our website where Vinturi is currently our featured product.  Take me there!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Old Man Winter

No friend of mine, his icy grip on us here in the heart of the country seems relentless. At only the start of February it feels like winter has been with us far too long. I am dubious of promises of reprieve but hopeful just the same. Groundhogs and shadows. Weather forecasts and Almanacs. Whatever we look to for promises of spring there is one thing we know for certain...  

we still have a couple of months of the white stuff to deal with and cold is a certainty, no matter how 'balmy' we try to tell ourselves it is at -10.

There is no cure all.  Well, there is but we can't all just pack up and move to California.  I can, however, offer a suggestion which helps me to get through the tail end of winter.


There is something about freshening a room which can make even the dreariest and coldest of days seem brighter. If we cannot go outside then we can, at the very least, relax and enjoy our newly zazzed up space.

I am an avid reader/subscriber to such publications as Dwell, Metropolitan Home, Canadian House and Home and a number of other home decor mags. Decorating advice abounds in all of them, some of it beyond most budgets, some of it large in scope, but there are always a goodly number of ideas which can be tackled easily by just about anyone. Gleaned from Interior Designer contributors, here are a few of my favorite tips for easily freshening up any room.


Pretty obvious but more often than not I hear people lament that it is a daunting task or that they are afraid to try a bold new color.

Okay, then, how about just one wall? Create a feature wall using an emboldened color choice. You'll probably love the results well enough to be inspired to paint the rest of the room. Pick a complementary or contrasting color to your accessories and you'll find that those same old accessories suddenly pop in the room.


Though not typically part of a Designer's lexicon I can think of no better description. Create a whole new feeling in a room by moving your furniture. Lose a chair or add one. Swap out family room side tables with the living room tables. Shrink a conversation area and create a cosy reading corner outside of the grouping. Simply moving large pieces within a room can make that space feel entirely new.


Anonymous dining room before and after.

There is something about the simplicity of having less on display which invigorates your soul. Clean lines and minimal displays in a room make it seem more airy. The best description I have heard, and I have heard time and again, is that a minimalistic approach to decorating makes you feel like you can really breathe in a room. I have found it liberating to do more with less.

Start by taking down all of your accessories from shelves, table tops and walls. Sort through them and pick out your very favorites. Instead of a large grouping of family photographs pick out a few you love the most and place them in matching frames to create a simple, smaller, grouping on a table top or wall. Give an adored object an entire shelf to itself. Pack the remaining tchochkas away in a basket so that you can rotate them when you need to give the room a new lift.

Accent With One Color

Start with a blank canvas by taking all accessories out of the room. Pick a single color and then thread it back into the room with your accessories. Pick up a few new items in that color, from inexpensive candles to a new lamp or shade and work them into the room. A minimalistic approach works best as you don't want to overwhelm the room with too many things.

Add Art

Whether its a fabulous gallery piece you've had your eye on or a grouping of your children's most colorful and interesting pieces, art adds enough new visual interest to make a tired room come alive again. If you're art commitment-phobic then consider Adzif wall decals.  There are an astonishing number of beautiful graphics to select from.

Utilize Flower Power

Nothing, and I mean nothing, especially in the dead of winter, makes a room feel more summery than fresh flowers. 

Line up a row of vintage salt shakers with small single stems. Pick up a beautiful vase and show off a small group of gerber daisies. Replenish the flowers as they start to fade. The color and aroma of fresh cut flowers can make the last leg of winter far more tolerable.

Visit Us!

From repurposing to revitalizing, we're always happy to offer up a few suggestions. We also have an abundance of truly unique and deliciously inspiring accessories and lighting to select from to help you create a dazzling room.