Others

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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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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Frantic Festive Finishes

Well we all know how busy the holidays get! Lots of party invites, family obligations and don’t forget all that Christmas shopping. Have you run out of time yet? One last – but critical element is the scene. Are you still scrambling for some last minute holiday decorating ideas? Don’t worry we have a few quick and modern ideas that will help to ensure your space looks festive while you have a holly jolly good time!

1) Quick fix vase ideas:

Fill a glass vase full of ornaments or flocked sugar pine cones or how about cranberries or mini birch tree cuttings and a single candle?

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2) How about a no fuss Christmas tree?

Fill a floor vase with tall branches or twigs and leave au natural or hang a few ornaments of the ends? We love the simple minimalist birch LED trees like those found at Crate and Barrel or Restoration Hardware. You could cluster mini pine trees wrapped in burlap on a table or purchase a cute Charlie brown tree from your local florist. If you a modernist at heart, then why not go for a whimsical zig zag indoor or out “chrimsy warm light” tree.

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3) Modern spin on that old wreath:

Go glam with the silver glitter wreath from crate & barrel. It makes a statement to any space and will create a sparkly focal for your winter wonderland. Or be a softy with the plush snowball wreath from CB2. Accessorize yours with twinkle lights or small pops of coloured ornaments to complete the look.

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4) Going Geometric:

CB2 offers this modern spin on ornaments. These copper and silver framed Christmas trees will add some shine to any mantle display. Or dazzle your company with these out of this world galactic copper ornaments. These kinetic sculptures will hypnotize you as they spin and twirl in suspension, hanging from the tree or simply provide a focal on any surface.

5) Mantle Pieces:

Ever home needs a place to hang your stockings with care. Why not hang them with some style too? These metal weighted stocking hangers are one part functional and one part décor. Choose from a pair of antlers or a quaint little home which can be fitted with a candle to make your mantle merry. You can also choose to create a small village across your mantle with these porcelain cityscapes all from West elm. Want to add some life to the town? Complement your scene with silver reindeer from Crate & Barrel or acrylic polar bears from CB2. There’s nothing like a winter scene to make the season bright.

6) A Tree Topper:

You may be wondering how to top your tree after seeing the same old thing all the time.  Dont worry we’ve got you covered – how about a starburst of light at the top? Sure to bring a unique look to any tree. Or how about a dance party around the tree?Why not try the  disco ball tree topper for a little more fun? Too flashy? How about a simple silver rattan tree topper which adds a rustic yet classic look to your tree top.

7) DIY 3D snowflakes:

Why not try these DIY simple 3D paper snowflakes? We even made them in our own office which were a big hit. Might make a fun family activity.

1. Fold a square piece of paper in half diagonally, then again into a quarter. Cut three straight lines into the folded piece of paper. (The space between each cut and how many cuts you need will depend on the size of your star).

  1. Open the piece of paper and cut in half, this will become your cutting template.
  2. Fold another square piece of paper in half diagonally and place your cutting template over the top of this. Cut along the cut lines.
  3. Open the square piece of paper you have just cut and flatten. Take the inner triangle cuts and bind the ends together with glue or a stapler.
  4. Take the next triangle cut and fix those ends together but this time in the opposite direction.6. Repeat this process until all ends have been fixed together to create the first point of your star.
  5. Repeat this process with the remaining 5 pieces of paper, creating 6 points to your star.
  6. Take 3 of your completed points and stick the top of the points together creating a semi-circle. Make sure that the star points are glued together facing the same direction.
  7. Repeat step 8 for the remaining 3 points of your star and staple both half’s together to secure. Your paper star is now complete!
  8. Suspend from your ceiling with a pushpin and a strand of fishing line. Add some variety by using different scales for a more dynamic look or for a more festive look, choose a coloured paper such as red, green or a frosty blue.6) Paint Swatch Christmas Trees:If you’re like most designers you should have a bunch of these lying around the house or office. If not, pop down to your local Paint or Hardware store for some colour charts. This is where you can have fun looking for some gradients or colour combos that speak to your Christmas spirit. Once you have made your choices, cut these into Christmas tree shapes and using a glue stick apply them to cards or even a wintery backdrop. You can complete the look by accessorizing your trees with paper ornaments and sticky stars. They also make great gift tags. Just don’t forget some brown swatches for trunks!

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8) Wood Veneer Ornaments:

This one requires a strong hand and skills with a blade. Depending on your belief of skill level you can choose from a group of materials but cardstock, balsa wood or even a thin veneer sample will do wonders for these Scandinavian/rustic ornaments.

1. Begin by making a Christmas tree template out of paper.

2. Using this paper as your template, cut two Christmas tree shapes out of your material (balsa wood, veneer, cardstock). You have the option here to lay strips of craft paper tape across your tree to give it a snowy look, or using a glue stick coat your tree in glitter.

3. Cut a thin notch through the bottom of one tree (A) and through the top line of the other tree (B). Make sure these notches match each other in length.

4. Insert tree A into tree B and voila – your tree is complete!

Secure the pieces together with a glue gun or accessorize with a string to the top for a hanging ornament. No Time? No problem – merely display on your mantle as a small wooden forest. You can do this with any shape you wish, such as a minimal triangle to save time or any traditional Christmas shape (snowman, stars, angels) it’s up to you!

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9) Warm/White Fairy lights:

Restoration hardware has a great choice of coloured lights, starry and globe LED versions that you can add into simple or frosted vase. Try an assortment of vases with these lights which are sure to add a little Christmas magic to any space. Place them on end tables, lower ones on coffee tables, or a variety across your mantle.

10)Paint Swatch Christmas Trees:

If you’re like most designers you should have a bunch of these lying around the house or office. If not, pop down to your local Paint or Hardware store for some colour charts. This is where you can have fun looking for some gradients or colour combos that speak to your Christmas spirit. Once you have made your choices, cut these into Christmas tree shapes and using a glue stick apply them to cards or even a wintery backdrop. You can complete the look by accessorizing your trees with paper ornaments and sticky stars. They also make great gift tags. Just don’t forget some brown swatches for trunks!

colour-swatch-diyWishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

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12 Days to Christmas Gift Guide

In case you don’t have it in with Santa’s elves and are still scrambling for that perfect gift idea….. look no further. From all of us at Area3, we hope you’ll find one or two of these ideas helpful so you can spend a little less time shopping and a bit more time wrapping. We have rounded up 12 of the most difficult people to buy for and sourced original ideas from local stores like Walrus, MEC, Provide, Litchfield and many more to help you out this holiday season.

For her: Every women I know loves these things – beautiful toiletries, decadent candles and of course a nice bottle of wine. Best of all we can enjoy all three at the exact same time. So if all else fails we are confident you can’t go wrong with one of these options. Orling and Wu carries a line of bath and body products called L:A Bruket which come in various scents. How about the luxurious candles that last 45 hours (my personal favorite is Lime Basil and Mandarin) from Jo Malone?  Best for last, drum roll………. the wine. Upon a recent trip to Europe I fell in love with the French Sancerre (unfortunately not as common or readily available here). Everything wine carries a few options like Domaine Foussier ‘Les Romains’ Sancerre Sauvingnon Blanc – this would be sure to put you on my “nice list”.

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For him: Who wants a standard gym bag? The Red Flag Duffle bag made of a neoprene rubber is not only durable, chemical and water resistant but pretty darn stylish too! Located on 5th Ave. in Vancouver wings + horns brings a sleek industrial space to life in both its production and retail home. Their cabin fleece available in three colors (back only for the holidays) is boxing inspired and sure to be a hit. Or how about a little pampering for him? At JD’s Barbershop in Gastown along with a cut or shave, every client gets a single malt scotch as soon as they walk in. This was recently one of the top five barbershops by Vancitybuzz.

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For the techie: The Apple watch series 2 complete with built in GPS, water resistant up to 50 meters and with multiple bands and faces to choose from  is sure to appeal to many on your Christmas list this year. For the techie and outdoor enthusiast on your list how about the Chip 2.0 Bluetooth compatible in-helmet speakers with simple, glove-friendly controls for audio, phone, voice command and push to talk walkie-talkie functions. This last suggestions is a bit of a tease as it’s not available yet – but too cool not to share! The Kobi is one machine with three different functions: one to mow your lawn, one to remove leaves and one to blow away snow. Check out more on the website, watch the video and stay in the loop for the next release.

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For the child on your list: Osmo blocks and games are like Lego for coding. The iPad compatible game and magnetic pieces are designed to teach kids how to program. Little passports offer monthly subscriptions based on age and selection. How about the world explorer which is geared for ages 6-10. They get to discover a new country each month with souvenirs and hands on activities. The first month includes a blue suitcase along with world map, passport and online access to games and more. The classic draw-and-guess game Pictionary lets teenagers explore their drawing and sketching skills.

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For the chef: Want to cook the most tender and flavorful meat ever? Be sure to add the Sous Vide to the foodie on your gift list this year. Maybe you will even get a dinner invitation? Edible Canada has a lot of great ideas like – original rubs, infused salts or gift baskets. Available at several locations you are sure to find something for the chef on your list. Getting back to basics, as we are much more consumed with what we are putting in our bodies these days; why not bake your own wholesome bread? Check out the Breville Custom loaf bread maker this model mixes dough for pizza, focaccia and pasta, as well as offers gluten free settings.

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For the sports fan: Tickets to the Blue Jays game vs the Mariners. Take a trip down to Seattle and support Canada’s only baseball team. As the American League Division Champions two years in a row, the Toronto Blue Jays are sure to provide quality entertainment for your sports fan. The crowd and atmosphere in the station is electric. With 80% Blue Jays fans attending, everyone is thrilled to be there and cheer on Canada’s team. It’s an experience they won’t forget. The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is stopping in Vancouver again this year! Last year the Sevens made its debut in Vancouver to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics and proved to be quite the spectacle. The series includes 10 tournaments held around the world where teams compete for World Series points. Known for its action packed plays and fandom, this would be a unique opportunity for your sports fan.

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For the camper on your list: Talk about fun? How about the Yalabs soft shell ice cream ball. Encourage your kids to play with their food. Simple ingredients plus 20–30 minutes of shaking and rolling equals a pint of delicious home-made ice cream. They get an outlet for their energy, you get to know exactly what they’re eating. Just the thing to put a new spin on a camping trip, barbeque or birthday. You know what tent everyone will be hanging around! Having a clean shower facility at campsites may not always be the case. Or any shower facility as a matter of fact.But if you have the Texsport Portable delux shower shelter with solar camp shower and battery powered handheld portable shower, you don’t have to wait your turn or look for coins. This is compact and mobile and great for long or short trips

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For the artist: Do you know a romantic? Poet? How about the Cinema Lightbox with interchangeable letters that allow you to show off your creative side. Calm and patient? Appreciate the subtlety of color? How about the Gradient Puzzle. For the one on your list who loves to sketch – up their game with the Wacom Intuous Tablet. This sleek tablet gives you the chance to apply your hand directly to the computer. Choose from a wide array of artistic styles that are just as unique as the artist. Drawing, comic art, painting, photography and 3D character modelling are all included with free download and plug ins pack that comes with your Intuous.Bringing your creations to life is as easy as pie with free tutorials to get you started today. Have fun!

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For the health nut: Do you have that friend that’s all about Zen? Why not look at this sleek, modern matte black or white aromatherapy diffuser. The benefits include reduce stress, anxiety, induce sleep and a lot more. Are you more about the experience? Then we highly recommend something like the float experience at The Float House which has many locations. Known to help you build focus, strength and expand your mind. Once you’ve completed the float why not head into the infrared sauna (my personal favorite) available at Halsa. With benefits known to improve your physical health, burn calories and release toxins, best of all you will sleep like a baby afterwards.

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For the traveler:  Perfect for the avid traveler. You can power through those emails or edit a presentation on the fly with the Microsoft folding keyboard which can be simultaneously paired to any two mobile devices – an IPad, IPhone, Android device, etc. For your next flight might we suggest the Bose QuietComfort® 25 headphones. Even air travel becomes enjoyable, as engine roar gently fades away. No matter how noisy the world is, it’s just you and your music—or simply peace and quiet!

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For the home: Honest simple materials make the Concrete Lamp a thing of beauty. It looks great on a desk, bookstand or end table. Perfect for any home. Need something cozy – the luxurious eco-friendly alpca wool throw is a must on any sofa, available in multiple colors (we happen to love the charcoal). Thinking of getting your hostess the tried and true Christmas poinsettia? Why not shake it up this year and get a beautiful succulent that lasts all year long? Kermodi creates a wide variety of sizes and styles.

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For the Architect/ Designer on your list: The Chisel and Mouse Architectural Plaster sculptures (designed and made in England) are available locally at Goodge Place. These scenes of beauty can be mounted vertically or placed on a table top – ensured to spark conversations. Change your scale with these miniature concrete houses and various other architectural elements from the Materiallmmaterial Etsy shop. Inspired by modern styles and displaying the raw beauty of concrete, these affordable minute architectural masterpieces are sure to captivate any 3d minded individual. Build your own community as you choose from a wide selection that can be integrated to form a united courtyard.

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10 Best Instagram Accounts to Follow For Design

There are plenty of design accounts out there on Instagram, some good, some bad, but who has the hours to go through all of them nowadays. So we have done the work for you and broken down the 10 best design influencers we think you should follow. Do you have a favorite you think we should include? #area3instagram

 

Oracle Fox

Fashion, Interior Design

Amanda Shadforth is well known in the fashion industry as an influential stylist, photographer, and creator. When it comes to all things minimal and black and white, be prepared to drool over her gram account for hours! Oraclefox will not disappoint a single woman out there, take our word for it.

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The Aviary

Design, Local

Love feeding off the creativity of other designers and architects alike? This feed features current undertakings happening in the coworking studio space available. The Aviary keeps you connected to independent and local BC designers, as well as upcoming events and showroom exhibits.

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Design Milk Everyday

Home Décor

You’re probably already following @designmilk, but have you checked out Design Milk Everyday? Everyday they showcase one single beautiful object. Find accessories and furniture with the same modern aesthetic as their sister account.
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Figtny 

Fashion

If you’re like us and you love wearing anything but colour that comes in a soft and flowing fabric, then this is just the feed for you. Figtny will have your credit card in its clutches so scroll with caution!

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ADDRESS Assembly 

Design, Local

Check in with ADDRESS Assembly for showroom details and works by various contemporary creators of all realms. Founder of ADDRESS, Kate Duncan, has put together a team of exceptional local designers who go above and beyond, including Fabulous Furnishings, Cloth Studio, Pot Inc., MaK Interiors and many more.

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Whiting Architects 

Interior Design, Architecture

Just Down Under, this Australia based team is definitely worth checking out for appreciators of holistic design. Whiting Architects focuses on commercial and residential projects that take on an overall simple and functional aesthetic. Their next award should be for beautiful material layering and contrast

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ANDLight 

Lighting Design, Local

Annnnnnd…let there be light! And Light is a company based out of Vancouver “with a strong belief in forward thinking, and environmentally conscious design through innovative production methods”. We’re currently loving their pipline CM2 pendant fixture, what about you?

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Simpleform

Home Décor, Interior Design

The Scandinavians are paving way for simplicity and minimalistic home design. Don’t believe us? Simple Form proves it all.

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Wk.ai 

Photography

Not all inspiration comes from a feed of beautiful interiors, some of it needs to come from one guy capturing all things white, our favorite colour here at Area3. Wk.Ai will be your new muse. With his fragments of white frames, you’ll be itching to fill in the rest!

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Ashroseconway

Cocktails/Mocktails

You finally made it through the work week and your home is looking top notch because your Instagram feed is as inspiring as ever. So let’s unwind and celebrate at yours with a beverage just as creative and chic as you are with Ashley and her refreshing cocktail recipes.

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Area3 ‘s Christmas Gift Guide

Well with only a few short weeks till the big day, and too much to do on that preparation list (groceries, decorations, events, etc.), we thought why not help lighten the load? If you’re like us you probably have a pretty long Christmas list with the people you have yet to purchase for. Maybe because it’s so hard to think of that perfect gift? Not to worry – the team at Area3 is here to help! Even with those most difficult to buy for……….

For the Foodie:

How about a stuffed Santa boot filled with nuts from Thomas Haas? Or the charmingly candy colored (look too good to eat) Macarons delivered right to your door? Be sure to check out Vancouver’s own Soirette. Not into the sweets? Why not gift them an exploration of our local restaurants in Vancouver on a food tour!?

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For the Chef:

Benu cookbook from Corey Lee – not only is this a beautiful book to display in your kitchen, it will also transform you into a James Beard Award-winning chef!! Well…a girl can dream…! Another beautiful item to add to your kitchen is the ceramic cookware from Williams Sonoma. These multifunctional Cocotte’s come in different sizes and are safe for the stovetop, oven, microwave and freezer. A great little kitchen helper, the Cuisinart Elite Mini Food Processor, will ensure to speed up all your food prep.

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For the Techie:

The Rin Tablet Stand keeps your IPAD in its place and looks great. Have you ever left your house without your iPhone/iPod/iPad charger? With Bluelounge’s newest product the Kii, you will always have a charger that fits directly on to your key chain. Or how about the Nest WI-FI Smart Thermostat? It remembers what temperatures you like, learns your schedule, and programs itself to save energy. Its sharp 2.08″ LCD display with Farsight lights up when you approach. WiFi connected, you can control it with your mobile device, and use it with numerous compatible smart home products.

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For the Hostess with the Mostess:

A 7-piece mixology bar set or wooden 6 pack holder complete with bottle opener from West Elm will ensure that you are the life of the party! Not into the beverage orientated gifts? Pottery Barn diffuser’s or candles are an excellent option. After all that hard work over the holidays how about a little pampering? The key lime body scrub from Indigo will ensure relaxation.

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For the Fitness Freak:

I have been a long-time fan and user of the Fitbit and would recommend this fitness gadget to anyone. On my list this year would be the latest model the Fitbit Surge. It records distance, pace, elevation, routes, heart rate, records running, cycling & cardio workouts! It even includes music control, call & text notification- so cool! More of a yogi on your list? Try the world’s 1st self-rolling yoga mat.

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For the Outdoor Enthusiast:

So you thought the outdoors couldn’t be design savvy? Have you checked out uncrate? This is one cool site! The Tipi Tent is a modern twist on the traditional tent with design being inspired by a tipi. How about bringing the outdoors inside and surprising him with his favorite photo of that camping trip? Woodsnap prints your image on sustainably-sourced wood. Their products are handcrafted in the USA and they plant a tree for every print sold.

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For the Fashionista:

Everybody loves a good story, so why not pick up the Ash limited edition scarves? Only 500 are made and with each purchase 100% of net proceeds go towards the Obakki Foundation’s programs for clean water and new schools in Makila, South Sudan. While you’re at it why not include one of these unique Pendant Scarf Holders from Room in Order? Have someone on your list who’s consistently late? The modern (white of course) ladies Braun watch is perfect for everyday wear and will keep them in check and on time. For the boho fashionista, the Two Tone Felt Panama Hat from Nordstrom’s is guaranteed to please. Have you been to the new Simons Department store at Park Royal yet? They have some great sweaters and cardigans from their own line that are easy on the wallet and great looking. How about the very long minimalist cardigan? And because an outfit is never complete without accessories, we recommend you browse over at Dominos as the have an array of options that we would all love – like the world famous Horween Leather bag, by the Rockwell Collection. This makes an architectural statement. Finally, for every Vancouver girl – brave the rain in stylish rain boots from Unit Nude. 

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For the Music Lover:

The stylish Beats Studio Wireless headphones by Dre ensure the best audio experience while looking extra chic.

For the Creative Type:

LEGO architecture is 1210 blocks and comes with an endless inspiration guide to build your own creations! For the young imagination how about the Woody Chalkboard table, always a hit!

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For Your Parents (who already have everything):

Give the gift of memories this year. Take the family out and go for a breath taking gondola ride in Squamish. Even go all out and treat your parents to lunch while enjoying the majestic views of the surrounding mountains. Do your parents need some time to unwind? Footworks Reflexology on West Broadway or Sabai Thai Spa (multiple locations, best massage ever) are our top picks. Need to unwind even more? Take a drive a bit further up to Whistler and treat your parents to the ultimate experience of the unforgettable Scandinavian Spa. Trust me – they will be ever thankful!

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For the Design Savvy Guy:

Design savvy guys can now accessorize almost everything! The Greff Growler carrier in black will ensure to impress at his next guy’s night out. If he’s more of a scotch guy, he’ll be sure to love the ‘Whiskey Wedge’ Double Old-Fashioned Glass. Head over to Litchfield’s and you can pick up many amazing and unique gifts such as toiletries, stationary or grooming products. Lastly might we suggest a functional and fashionable twill messenger bag by Fossil.

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Hope you have enjoyed our list. If you have any great ideas you would like to share, we would love to hear from you #area3xmas.

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From Classroom to Reality and Back

It seems like just yesterday when I was anticipating the summer – long warm days and a change of scenery – but just like that it has gone by in the blink of an eye. It’s hard to believe that after sixteen weeks of being a Junior designer here at Area3, I will be switching hats, trading spaces and going back to being an Interior Design student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Wilson School of Design. It has been an incredible experience being a part of the Area3 team this summer. Each project I have had the opportunity to be a part of has been a collaborative effort. This includes writing the blogs!  For those of you who have been following our weekly posts, I hope you have enjoyed them and found them to be a source of inspiration and help!

 

In my first blog post “The Real Deal,” I talked about what it is like to be a student. Now I will give you a glimpse into my experience as a Junior Interior Designer. I have mentioned before about the business of interior design – the coordination, communication, teamwork and creativity. Over the last few weeks, I have learned about how important that aspect is. Yes, Interior Design is about creating functional and beautiful spaces for clients, but before there is a finished space, there is all the behind the scenes work. Those Instagram and Pinterest stunning photos don’t show how you what is involved to get a beautiful image.

 

Most of the time you would think Interior Designers are on site or meeting with clients, but that is only a small part of the design process. Typically, I would spend most of the day on the computer sending out emails, sourcing finishes and products for specific projects. Sometimes I will be designing a custom millwork piece or helping with the actual construction drawings. Before a client ever sees a preliminary design concept or color scheme we have created, there would have been many hours in research and sourcing multiple variations. There are many ideas and finishes that we weed out and the client will never see.  After the initial concept meeting with the client, this concept will become even more refined or revised based on feedback. I have learned that whole process can take months!  This means that I have probably helped order in countless samples, requested pricing and have been in contact with many reps just to find the perfect fabric, tile, carpet etc. for a project. Does it get confusing?  Indeed it does, but that is part of being a designer, being able to juggle many projects at a time and always making sure there is clear communication. Behind each and every project we are involved with there is a team which we coordinate with. Depending on the size and nature of the project, we will be working with contractors, project managers, marketing, millworkers, and product reps. As you can see, coordination and communication is key!

 

Of course, there is a lot of hard work that goes into every design, but it is also a lot of fun!  This is where the team work and creativity comes in. Often as designers, we have many ideas but in order for them to come to life they have to fully form outside of our minds. It is always wonderful being able to bounce ideas off of another fellow designer – which we do on a daily basis here at Area3. Together we are able to come up with solutions that are best for our clients. Sometimes we have to get creative in order to carry out a concept through with the budget we are limited to, but that’s what makes design interesting. With every new project I have been a part of, I have learned something new, making each and every day I come into work exciting!

 

I will definitely miss coming into the Area3 Design studio on a daily basis – especially seeing everyone’s smiling faces as they come through the door each morning!  Going back to the interior design studio at Kwantlen Polytechnic University will take some adjusting to for sure. Hello crazy concepts and unlimited budgets!  Although the summer is over, I won’t be pulling a complete disappearing act. Keep following this blog as I will continue to contribute to future posts!  We have many more exciting blog posts coming up, which I am quite excited about, so stay tuned!

 

 

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Do you have any topics or questions you would like to see here?  Feel free to leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you!

 

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3 Must-see Design Districts in Vancouver

This one is for all of you shopaholics or deal-hunting window shoppers!  If you have been following our posts this summer we hope you have found some inspiration and are itching to start a new project. Many of the retailers we have mentioned in our blogs can be found online, but what about local ones?  We’ve decided to highlight three design districts in Vancouver that we love. Whether it’s shopping for ourselves or our clients these are sure to be on our hit list. Nothing to do this weekend?  Why not spend a few hours in one of these great design districts and seeing all the great finds right here in our very own backyard?

The Armoury District

A hidden gem that few Vancouverites know about is The Armoury District. Located just west of Granville Island between Granville and Burrard, north of Fourth Ave, this is Vancouver’s up-and-coming design and lifestyle district. It is home to many Interior Designers, architects, furniture and tile showrooms, art galleries and fine food purveyors. Before taking a stroll around the area, grab a delicious latte from Café Bica. Some of the stores you must check out are Livingspace, Metropolitain Home and Mint Interiors. Renovating your kitchen backsplash and looking for that one-of-a-kind tile?  Then head over to Ames, Stone Tile (a personal favorite) or the beautiful newly opened Ann Sacks showroom.  While you are in the area make sure you stop by and appreciate the stunning Waterfall Building on West 2nd Ave. designed by the late Arthur Erickson, one of Canada’s most influential Architects.

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South Granville

You have probably driven past this district many times on your way downtown. If you haven’t stopped to check it out, you definitely should!  It is home to many of the greats. You can easily spend a whole day going in and out of all the shops. We certainly can!  Here you will find 18Karat (love this store every season the merchandise changes), EQ3, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Urban Barn, West Elm and Williams Sonoma among many other home décor and furniture retailers. These retailers have online stores, but actually seeing a piece in person can be very different!  You will also find many high-end fashion retailers (like Boboli) only found in this neighborhood. It’s a great way to spend a weekend afternoon. I mean who doesn’t love lunch, fashion and home shopping all in a few hours?  Once you find parking (trust us, you will want to take a vehicle), start at either Broadway or West 15th and work your way around!

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Gastown

Everyone knows Gastown attracts numerous people as a tourist destination, but it also home to a few great design stores as well. Next time you’re meeting a friend, why not do a pub coffee crawl as there so many great new venues. For example we love the interior design of Timbertrain Coffee Roasters. Once you have your caffeine fix, you should be ready to pound the pavement. First stop, Inform Interiors for contemporary furniture, lighting and accessories. And the books… did we mention the magazine selection too?  One of the best sections in the store!  If you want to find something with an European influence, check out espace d. for some unique home décor. Looking for the design savy guy on your list?  Litchfield is a must. They carry some of the best tech accessories and toiletries for men. Old Faithful has that utilitarian meets vintage vibe. Here you will find an array of cutting boards, cleaning supplies, ceramics and wire baskets. If you’re looking for inspiration, Secret Location is a concept boutique worth taking a peek at which houses fashion, food and décor all under one roof.

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Well time to shop… Be sure to tell us which design district you want to check out!  Share with us your favorite one with the hashtag #area3designdistrict

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10 Expert Tips for Small Space Living

Small space living is not a new idea, nor is it uncommon. With the cost of housing in Metro Vancouver perpetually rising, many of us have no choice but to downsize or start off in a super small place in order to live anywhere close to Vancouver. Yes, those laneway homes look adorable and the micro studios downtown are almost like the ones in New York (almost, being the key word), but how do you keep 500 square feet of space or less comfortable, functional and stylish?  We have solutions!  Follow these 10 expert tricks and you are sure to have small space that you will love coming home to.

 

  1. Declutter — Your home is already small, why make it feel smaller? Go through all your stuff, pair it down and keep it under control. You really don’t have room to keep things that you don’t use on a regular basis. Rule of thumb, if you haven’t looked at something or used it in the last six months – chances are you won’t miss it, so purge!
  2. Stay Organized — There really is no option but to stay organized in a small space (otherwise you are sure to lose your mind, I know I would). Having a home for everything from your house keys, iPhone, books, seasonal clothing, etc. will have you stay calm cool and collected. Ever heard that saying a messy house is like a messy mind? A great local store is Room in Order. They can help with everything from food storage, entry organizers to cool gadgets like the Sanctuary4 which houses all your Bluetooth devices and looks great doing it!
  3. Simplicity — visually, we need space to feel at ease. No one really enjoys that claustrophobic feeling you get in a closet! There’s nothing wrong with having bold patterns or colors, but a lot in a small space can be overwhelming. Keep it minimal and use your favourite colors as accent pieces for a little punch. Maintaining a more neutral space will help create the illusion of a larger more cohesive space. For fun check out the line Hay available at Vancouver Special which makes some fun and colorful towels that could brighten any bathroom.
  4. Built-ins — If you plan on staying in your small space for a long time, it is worth investing in built-ins. This helps in utilizing every inch of space you have by creating furniture and storage that best suits your needs and lifestyle. Have you seen the videos of small spaces that transform to perform different functions? That’s what we’re talking about. Here’s one from Gizmodo that you should check out for inspiration. Resource Furniture specializes in small space and multi-functional furniture for condos and micro units.
  5. Utilize Vertical Space — a continuation of tip no.4; why not take the millwork or built-ins to the ceiling. I realize it’s not practical and hard to reach – but how often are you digging out that Halloween costume or Christmas decorations. It is extra space you would not have otherwise and is great for seasonal items.
  6. Keep it Light — Bright and airy spaces always feel bigger, that’s a fact. We love white (as mentioned in an earlier post (“Why I love White”)… but we especially love it in small spaces! It reflects light really well and you have the opportunity to play with textures and finishes without worrying about too much visual business. If white is still too clinical for you, mix in a lighter stained wood with a simple grain pattern such as oak.
  7. Reflect – Mirrors are a clever visual trick that always works. Often you will see it used in a long and narrow space to give the appearance of width that doesn’t actually exist. You can also use this principle in your tight corridors or nooks. Place a large one near your entry or behind some open built-in shelving to create the illusion of a bigger space. EQ3 offers some slim profile versions that aren’t too bulky.
  8. Double Duty Furniture — Banquette seating with storage underneath and open shelving that doubles as a room divider are examples of double duty furniture. These pieces can be custom made or even found at IKEA if you are working with a smaller budget. You just have to get creative!  There are also some really cool pieces on the market from Europe. One of our favourites from Italy is Clei. They offer unique systems and pieces that are not only functional but are also sleek. From wall beds and sofas to dining tables and desks, you are sure to be mesmerized. Who says your living room couldn’t also be your bedroom?
  9. Create Art Out of the Ordinary — Believe it or not, your everyday items can be art. Simple things such as a wall clock or a lamp can be statement pieces. Select these items carefully and combine them with the tips we have in our post “All You Need is Art” and your space will have some added character without the extra clutter of many little pieces of décor.
  10. Unobstructed Views — Chances are, your small space won’t have a lot of windows nor will they be expansive. Make the most of them by keeping them unobstructed. If you do have large windows that feature a spectacular view, don’t hide it! Access to natural light and views is important as it expands the space and keeps it from creating that tiny cabin-like feeling.

 

What inspires your small space? Share it with us using the hashtag #area3smallspace

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