Design

Wine and Design

It is no secret that the Okanagan is home to British Columbia’s best wineries. Why not slow down this weekend and go on a getaway to experience the timeless world of winemaking? With spectacular views of the Okanagan Lake, these wineries must be at the top of your to-do list! You can spend all weekend winery hopping, but Mission Hill Winery and Quails’ Gate Estate Winery are the ones you can easily spend an entire day.  Located in West Kelowna and only a few minutes’ drive from each other, both wineries offer a one-of-a-kind experience. Whether you’re a connoisseur or are new to the art of wine, there is plenty for you to enjoy. Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable weekend!

Mission Hill Winery

From the moment you pass through the enormous gates into Mission Hill life seems to slow down and you instantly feel like you have entered into an exclusive estate. The grounds are impeccably manicured with the vineyard on display right at the entrance. Follow the path through the contemporary archway into the inner courtyard and take in the 12-storey bell tower that is the centerpiece of the piazza. The spectacular architecture designed by architect Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects gives a nod to tradition without crossing the line. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly think that you are in Italy! Enjoy the views overlooking rows of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir while sipping a glass of wine and grabbing a bite to eat at the outdoor Terrace Restaurant.  The fresh produce is mostly grown in the estate Varietal Garden! When you are done, find your way past the fountain and into the wine boutique. You can easily spend hours at the tasting bar and admiring the thoughtful product displays here! For those who want a complete wine country experience, we suggest taking one of the many tours and experiences that Mission Hill offers. If you plan ahead you might also be able to snag a hot ticket to one of the concerts  held in the winery’s ampitheatre for an unforgettable night filled with delicious cuisine, wine and music.

Quail’s Gate

With equally stunning views of Okanagan Lake is Quails’ Gate. For a true taste of the Okanagan, a meal at the Old Vines Restaurant is a must. It is renowned as one of the top 100 restaurants in Canada and is definitely worth the visit. Reserve a table on the terrace and enjoy your lunch or dinner in the vineyard setting with your glasses of wine. The tasting and tour options are also very educational. How about giving the Chocolate & Wine Tasting a try? It is sure to be delightful! We also love that Quails’ Gate offers two complimentary wines at their Wine Bar Tasting in the Wine Shop. We highly recommend tasting the Riesling Icewine and taking a bottle home with you! If you have an extensive budget and want to splurge for the weekend with a bunch of friends, you can even rent out The Lake House at Quails’ Gate. It is nestled at the bottom of the vineyards and has amenities such as multiple patios, a hot tub, gas fire pit and a chef’s dream kitchen. It will without a doubt be a weekend to remember!

Which winery will you visit first? Let us know in the comments below! #area3wine&design

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Ohayo Gozaimasu Japan

I recently had the great fortune of visiting Japan for a few weeks on a holiday. For many years my business partner said – you must go, you will love it. She was right! In preparation I spent a few months listening to the Pimseleur audio tapes driving to and from work. Every morning I would attempt to speak a little more. Luckily my business partner had lived in Japan previously and would converse with me daily. This did come in handy during my trip. Hint – be sure to have directions written in Japanese should you choose to hop in a cab, most drivers don’t speak English. Japan is so unlike Canada in many ways. The formality of the people, everything you look at is steeped in tradition and history. My friends loved the abundance of seafood, sushi and of course the noodles. For me, the architecture was it. There is nothing better as a designer than the ability to visit in person and see a building or a space you studied in school or have glossed over many times in magazines and books. Below are just a few of my favorites and most memorable stops.

We visited many of the neighborhoods in Tokyo, each so unique. One sunny day we thought it would be fun to take the train to the “Harajuku” area and see all the colorful and quirky teenage girls dressed up. Unfortunately it was a school day so we only caught a glimpse of a few, however on the other side of town is a tree lined street called Omotesando. Here was an architectural dream of “who’s who”. Couture store upon store, but forget the fashion (for a moment). It was the buildings themselves. Prada the tall iconic glass structure by the famed Herzong & De Meuron and modern concrete form that housed the Tod’s store are only two of many that line this street and fought for your attention.  As I was standing across the street taking photos a women walked up to me who was an avid traveller from Jerusalem. She knew every building, and architectural firm that had designed it. Delighted to have someone to converse with she told me she visits Japan once a year just to see the architecture. She gave me a tip and suggested I must stop at this lovely pineapple bake shop a few blocks away. She did not disappoint! SunnyHills cake shop designed by Kengo Kuma was one of the coolest places I saw during my trip. The space has been featured in multiple magazines like Dezeen, Detail, and Arch Daily. The building consists of hinoki cypress and takes its inspiration from Cidori, a traditional Japanese toy in which timber slats are joined by means of milled cut-outs, not by nails or other connectors. So simply stunning. Truly one of those spaces you need to see in person to truly appreciate. The interior is minimalist and modern with concrete stairs and reception which was equally exciting.

 

 

The Roppongi area hosts many museums and art galleries. Only in Japan have I ever waited 30 minutes just to purchase a ticket for entry. This was at the Mori Art Museum which also houses an observation deck with panoramic views. I wondered if the Marvel: Age of heroes (which was one of the current temporary exhibits) caused the crowds. I would later decide not, after visiting many museums seems the Japanese have much more appreciation for art and design. One of my favorites is designed by the talented Tadao Ando. 21_21 Design Sight is a low rise structure with steel roof plates that gently slope down to the ground. The building sits quietly among the beautiful landscaping in a park behind a massive mall, hotel and restaurants. So discreet you could almost miss it. As the website states this venue allows you to redirect your eyes to everyday things, and events and make discoveries from the design point of view. This is a space to openly communicate and evaluate the design process. The one building houses the store and current exhibit and the second seemed like a lecture hall. Wouldn’t it be great as a designer to have such an amazing space to attend an event or be inspired on a regular basis? My biggest regret was not signing up months in advance so I could attend a service at Tadao Ando’s church of light. Next visit for sure. In the meantime I was able to observe some of his handy work and details in this great museum. The public washroom even had one his famous linear light wells.

If you have ever wanted to see the craziest and busiest intersection in the world (Shibuya)? Eat sushi that came off a conveyer belt? Hope for a sighting of a Geisha girl (I saw two) in the Gion, Kyoto district? View some of the most stunning and lush gardens, colorful temples, or see the largest Koi fish jump. Then I suggest you book your next vacation in Japan. Once you return be sure to share your favorite story and especially your architecture experience. #area3japan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Easy summer updates for your home

We’ve been eagerly awaiting the return of summer and it has finally arrived! Unfortunately, here in Vancouver the warm summer weather has not made an appearance quite yet. While you are patiently waiting for the gloomy days to pass this weekend, why not make a couple easy updates to your home? It will certainly freshen up your space until you can spend your afternoons on the patio instead of indoors!

Living Art
When you can’t spend time outdoors, why not bring it inside? You can breathe some life into your home with some living art – we are talking about botanicals, planters and terrariums! They come in a variety of sizes so you can place them just about anywhere. A simple botanical leaf like this one from CB2 in a vase can add a statement to your entryway. Small potted succulents, aloe or even eucalyptus can also be easily placed in your bathroom, bedroom and side tables. You can pick some up from Kermodi Living Art (one of personal favorites) or CB2 has faux pre-potted options. Feeling brave, why not pick out your own pot and take a trip to your local nursery for a fun weekend DIY? Large planters also look fantastic in your living room. We currently love the look of planters elevated on stands like the Iris Planter + Chevron Stand from West Elm! For those of us who have trouble keeping plants alive, terrariums are your best friend! Fill one with some white stones and a few air plants (Art Knapp has a great selection) and keep a handsome brass mister like the one from Old Faithful Shop on hand to help you.

Small touches
Whether your favorite spot to hang out in your home is your living room or your reading nook, you can easily make some simple changes to help amp up your cherished moments of rest and relaxation! Just by swapping in some new toss cushions and throws your space will instantly be updated. If you want to keep your palette neutral, make sure to add some texture and pattern! Layer solid textures like the Muuto soft grid cushion in tangerine.  After dreary winter months a pop of color can go a long way! Hay (great Danish furniture and accessorie line) offers mutlitple items with fun colors. Their Kaleido tray which comes in yellow, orange and apricot can offer a home for keys on an entry table, nightstand valet or coffee table catch all.  How about scent? Fresh + bright + hints of wood describe a diffuser cocktail by local Vancouver brand Vitruvi. Be summer ready with bergamot, lemon or grapefruit essential oils. Pair that along with their minimalist white stone diffuser and what’s not to love? How will you update your space this weekend? Let us know with the hashtag #area3easyupdate or leave a comment below!

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Inspired by Copenhagen

It is no secret that we love Scandinavian design, so naturally we would be drawn to the Danish capital of Copenhagen! This charming city in Denmark is not only a design mecca, but could easily be considered utopia with its bold urban planning coupled with impeccable architecture. Its rich history is beautifully captured in its well-preserved historic buildings and each neighborhood has a unique character. Not only can you spend days appreciating all the old and new architecture, but there are plenty of design houses and public spaces to also meander through. There is no doubt that all design enthusiasts should visit Copenhagen and absorb some Danish design inspiration! Keep reading for our recommendations for your next visit.

Architecture

We have mentioned him many times before, but Bjarke Ingles and his namesake firm Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG) is a superstar in Copenhagen. Not only is it his hometown, but many of his iconic projects are also located here! Hop on a bike or take a 15 minute metro ride to the new neighborhood of Ørestad and you will easily spot three of BIG’s residential projects – VM Mountain, VM Houses and the 8 House. If you are on a budget or just want to experience living in one of these buildings for a few days, we suggest trying Airbnb! We had a fantastic stay in the 8 House and it was the perfect opportunity to experience living like a local. While you are in the neighborhood, be sure to take a peek at all the other new architectural masterpieces such as the Bella Sky Hotel. We love this neighborhood for its connectivity to nature with many trails, parks and public spaces!

Design

There is a certain timeless simplicity to Danish design and we cannot get enough of it! Copenhagen is filled to the brim with Danish design shops that will make you wish you could bring it all home with you. In central Copenhagen is the Strøget pedestrian shopping street which is home to Hay House. Here you will find contemporary furniture and other objects for the home in their light-filled two storey showroom which is sure to inspire you to make some changes to your own living space. While you are here be sure to check out the view! A few steps away from Hay House is Illums Bolighus, the premier hub of Danish and international design in Scandinavia. Hours can easily be spent going through their floors filled with furniture, décor, light fixtures, kitchen and bath articles and gifts. When you are here, be sure to check out the extensive Fritz Hansen display, Tom Dixon light fixtures and Normann Copenhagen homewares! Finally, spend a few hours learning about Danish design at the designmuseum. Not only will you find a room full of designer chairs on display (or as I like to call it, chair heaven), but you will learn about how the Japanese influenced Danish design!

Public Spaces

A unique aspect about Copenhagen is the many public spaces throughout the city. We are not surprised that it is the most bike able city in the world as everyone seems to be on a bike or on foot! Some of our favorite public spaces include the Copenhagen Street Food market on Paper Island. Here you can grab a bite to eat from one of the international food trucks inside the market hall then relax outside on the deck in the sun overlooking the city’s waterfront with views to the iconic Opera House. For those who love books, The Black Diamond is an extension to the Royal Library and is an architectural masterpiece in its own right with its juxtaposition of old and new. From the outside, the shiny black façade reflects the sea and sky at the harbor front and from the inside you can see the quirky maritime inspired pedestrian and cyclist bridge Cirkelbroen from your table at the café. If you get the chance, cycle out to the hip neighborhood of Nørrebro to visit Superkilen park. A celebration of diversity, BIG designed this park to exhibit interesting things from around the world such as a fountain from Morocco as well as fun pieces such as a boxing arena, octopus slide and swinging benches. Fun for those young and old!

Where would you like to visit in Copenhagen? Let us know in the comments or using the hashtag #area3designcopenhagen

 

 

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Designer…or Perfectionist?

“I probably do have an obsessive personality, but striving for perfection has served me well.”

–Tom Ford

If you’re anything like us here at Area3, true lovers of modern and minimal, words like perfectionist, and over-analytical may often be used to describe your personality. This just means you pay extra special attention to all the details. Emphasis on the word “all”.

So what is it that sets certain people apart? Especially those with great taste for design, from the messy, and chaotic bunch? Well, unfortunately there isn’t much of an answer out there for you, without getting into a whirlwind of scientific facts about individuals brain chemistry. Nevertheless, we’re telling you to embrace it. It’s a designer’s personal superpower. No one can organize better than you, or colour co-ordinate a space better than you! Your guests and clients will feel the effects of your design choices, even if they don’t consciously appreciate it.

That attention to detail, obsession for flawlessness, and precise brain of yours is literally a miracle worker. Think of Bjarke Ingles, the famous Danish architect who recently designed the exciting Vancouver House. A house where green living is so holistically integrated into the scale of the urban building. Bjarke Ingles Group must have gone through revision after revision to get every idea and feature just right.

Another Danish architect firm, pushing boundaries through meticulous consideration for detail to innovation is Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects. They have developed a few buildings across Canada, and plenty of international projects. All of which reflect gorgeous, minimal design, and that Scandinavian style we so love. Such as the simple, light, and open floor plans in the residencies of Hasten 21, located in Stockholm Sweden.

The ability to design the entire inner workings and exterior of a functional building, requires so much detail and attention, that verging on the traits of a perfectionist is almost necessary. That inner perfectionist of yours is just as brilliant as the Danes, and that’s something we believe here at Area3, is a quality to be proud of!

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You say coffee, I say design

What’s a lively conversation, and a rich cup of coffee without the perfect ambiance? Nothing worthwhile for the time of a busy designer! Rain or shine, Vancouver has no shortage of hip and charming coffee shops for that caffeine fix with friends. Here we round up a few of our favorite places to grab a cup of joe!

Revolver

Practically the wizards of coffee. Everything is measured to precision and served by the definition of fresh. Specialty pour over coffee goes well with the snug seating that lines the walls for some serious one on one convo. The aesthetic matches the central Gastown location; Warm woods, industrial lighting, and brick walls. All in all making it an essential coffee time favorite.

Matchstick

What’s better than getting your morning started with coffee? Not much! However, feeling relaxed while doing it measures pretty close. The brand is home to a few locations, but each one never fails to pair gorgeous blonde woods with in house roasted coffee. The minimal aesthetic goes well with a light and genuine conversation. Every coffee is just as simple and honest of each of their café’s.

JJ Bean

It is a tested fact that JJ Bean makes one of the best chai lattes and chocolate zucchini muffins around town. Not only appetizing but, each location has an amazing layout and unique feature. The dynamic skylight at Cambie and 18th, the herringbone stone wall at the Dunsmuir location, and the large decorative cedar columns throughout the Lonsdale location are just a few of the fun design elements.

49th Parallel

This coffee shop deserves all the hype surrounding it! Lucky’s doughnuts and their in house coffee roasting is done to a whole new level of professional quality. There is something very charming about their vintage light blue branding, and industrial decor. There various locations always offer a friendly vibe. We especially love the large fresh patio space on w.4th that can be enjoyed year round.

Timbertrain

Another great example of a slow bar café, this location starts from the bottom up with one of a kind coffee, espresso, and more. They pick their beans, they roast in house, and they do their pour overs right there for you to watch. Their passion for coffee rivals that of their design aesthetic. Surrounded by red brick walls, and warm hardwoods, it’s as if you were sitting in a train station on a quiet night, seeking true comfort and a delicious coffee.

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Contemporary Florals

Remember that floral printed sofa from your childhood? Just the memory of it makes me cringe. If you have been avoiding floral prints like the plague, this might be the season you give it a chance. Lately we have seen a lot of geometric prints such as hexagons, chevron… you name it. We think it is time to try something different for a change! Gone are the days when florals reminded you of the Victorian Era. Taking an entirely new direction, they have moved away from the traditional look and feel – projecting a cool and modern vibe that can be incorporated into schemes that are urban and contemporary. There are no rules as to how you can add floral patterns into your space, although we would advise you to do so sparingly. Keep reading to find out how we would incorporate florals into a space!

Marimekko

Why not try something daring and layer bold florals over bold geometric patterns? You can give this look a try in almost any room! From wallpaper and fabrics to décor and stationary, you can give this bold look a chance in a small or big way. Finnish design house Marimekko offer a range of floral prints like you have never seen before. Large scale, somewhat abstract and combined with eye catching colors, Marimekko is not for the faint of heart. If you love Scandinavian design (like we do), these prints are sure to add that extra jolt of iconic Scandinavian flare to your space. Pair them with a black and white grid or abstract geometric pattern and you can’t go wrong! This is also a great line for that tween or teen room makeover. Head over to EQ3 who carry a large quantity of this product line and check out some of their home décor pieces. We love the teapot!

Art Inspired

Paintings of flowers have taken a huge turn from the literal depictions we have seen absolutely everywhere… what a relief! Although they can be hard to find, with a little searching on the internet, we have unearthed a couple artists that have put a modern spin on these. Their interpretations of florals are simply beautiful. We have recently used this artist – Vivian Caits in a model home at Zetter Place. Her artwork has a watercolor effect that creates a soft abstract floral-like design. Looking for a piece with neutral tones? Lori Popadiuk, a local Vancouver artist is one to check out. She has mixed media pieces in her wide open collection. Her free movement and subtle brush strokes just hint at the silhouette of a flower.

Fashion Forward

Spring or fall we are still seeing a strong floral influence in fashion. By any chance did you purchase a floral lace number over the holidays? Perhaps like this one at Nordstrom by BB Dakota? We appreciate the subtlety of lace embroidery, flocking and laser cut outs for our floral fashion fix. The new delicate direction is one we might even embrace here at Area3. This floral pouch by ZAC Zac Posen from Shopbop is sure to add some fun to you wardrobe. Looking for something more romantic? Consider this silk button-up shirt from Equipment or how about this revealing lace number. Sure to be a contender for that date night. For the faint of heart, try adding a simple accessory like this scarf from Indigo (also easy on your wallet). Keep it simple with just a hint of floral in your wardrobe or your home decor taking cues from the latest in fashion!

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How will you embrace the floral trend? Let us know with the hashtag #area3floral

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Eternal Black and White

All of us here at Area3 love black and white for various reasons – it goes with everything, its timeless, compliments every other colour, and especially looks great paired with wood. Whether your style is Scandinavian, traditional, modern, industrial or edgy and fashionable, there’s a million ways to use this colour scheme!  Below we have provided some simple ideas on how you can incorporate the everlasting black and white in your own home.

By using black in specific elements, you can create a lot drama in your space. Some of the things we have been obsessing over are EQ3’s black flatware, add this to your next dinner party for a conversation starter. Are you looking for a new way to light your space? How about the Ambit or Unfold pendant from this cool Scandinavian line called Muuto? Vancouver Special happens to carry these along with many other great ones.

Recently we completed a project Park Station, where we used the HAY about a stool at the kitchen island to add excitement. Black dinnerware to set the mood, and black toss cushions to create the wow factor.

You can create a timeless office space and have a little fun by playing with the proportions of your black and whites. By using a lot more black you can create a more masculine space. For example pair a black wooden surface and a few antique objects. For something a little more feminine, keep the majority of the space light and bright, think polished hi-gloss white and lots of great textures.

Accessories like black blankets are not only cozy – but more forgiving as well. Want to spend hours dreaming? Think crisp white sheets. This color is more serene and calming which will let you sink into a cloud of no responsibility. Strong or soft no option is wrong, just remember to contrast the rest of the space carefully. Try not to overdo the black as it can become very loud and strong (unless this is your desired look). For a never ending supply of original and local sheepskins, plush throws, and down cushions head over to L’atelier st. George.

Do you have a great idea about how to incorporate black and white in your space? We would love to hear, share your thoughts using #area3black&white
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Spring Trends 2017

Ahhhh Spring, we are so glad you made it! After a long and cold winter (bundled up in far too many layers), we are very excited to make room for things that are lighter and brighter. We have been keeping an eye on fashion and décor trends for this spring and wanted to share our favorite ones with you. Yes, we will always love our neutrals, but it looks like something bolder is on the horizon. Keep reading to find out!

A Sea of Blue

A classic can never really go out of style and blue is definitely back for spring. Taking hints from the sea, you may want to start incorporating some color with a deep, sophisticated indigo blue. If you are looking to invest in a this trend why not try a beautiful throw, dinnerware or toss! Feeling bold? There are even furniture pieces in statement colors. For those who are more comfortable, try adding pattern! On the runway, we saw nautical stripes as well as pinstripes from head to toe. Perhaps it is too much to deck out your entire living room with but you can definitely swap in a few new solid blue wool toss cushions from Ferm Living!

Khaki

Yes, you read that right – khaki is in (one of my personal favorites)! Although its muddy disposition makes it appear a neutral, we love the many ways you can rock this utilitarian color. Who can tire of the classic parka or cargo pants? All you have to do is Google a few fashion bloggers or articles online to see the many ways fashion designers are sporting this color on their runways for spring 2017. Want to try and bring this masculine color to your home? How about a sheet set layered with neutrals from Litchfield or paint one accent color in your room? Try one of these variations from Cloverdale Paint’s Artisan collection: CA142 Bay Leaf, CA166 Deep Forest, CA165 Sea Stone or for a fresh approach, CA164 Wreath.

Greenery

Pantone’s 2017 Color Of The Year is Greenery – a fresh, spring-like color that evokes a sense of hope and rejuvenation. Although some may think that we have taken a leap back to the 60s, the color can act as a neutral. Don’t believe me? Take a look outside and notice that the fresh greens in nature are a neutral that pairs with just about every color. Pantone has also created a few palettes to prove this point! What better time to start incorporating Greenery than at the start of spring. For those who are brave enough, go ahead and use it on a focal wall. If its jus a a bold pop of color added to your space, why not look for a few accessories like a vase? Better yet, add some real greenery to bring life into your room! Plants will always be on trend no matter what the season is.

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Happy 3rd Birthday Area3!

 

Well three years ago today, we did it! I mean we really did it! According to some it was the best idea we ever had, others questioned our judgement. What did we do? We quit our long term employment to start my own business. Crazy right? Well I had been reading articles on Inc. Entrepreneur and Success magazine for years…. I mean all these other successful entrepreneurs before us had done it. Sure we had read about the first few years and some of the challenges, but that didn’t apply to us. We had it all figured out! We wrote a business plan, researched and had lots of experience. Well turns out there was some truth to those articles – the first year is a grind! Say goodbye to your personal life. My one business partner saw me more than her own husband. The second year is like the terrible two’s those growing pains, more expenses and new challenges. Come the third year we are starting to grow!!!! More staff, learning to hire out for those tasks that aren’t our specific background. We are finally starting to understand cash flow (kinda) and those crazy financial documents our account keeps trying to explain. Quickbooks and I are on a first name basis now! We are all wearing extra hats – payables, IT, HR, law, marketing, etc. but the really cool thing is every year we are getting a lil smarter, grasping a little more and having a lot of fun! Did I mention the best part of owning your own business? You get to work with people you love being around. You go to an office every day you helped design! You get to create the type of company culture you always wished you had, and you get to celebrate every milestone with your team. We do work hard, but we also know how to appreciate every new client, new project, new hire and especially every Area3 Birthday. We are so excited to see what this year brings. If you ever dreamed of owning your own business we say go for it! It has been one of the most rewarding things we have done!

 

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