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Area3 2017 Christmas Gift Guide

The lights are up and the halls are decked – the holiday season is upon us! With less than a month before Christmas, we are sure there are many things on your radar – including finding gifts for everyone on your list. We know that this time of year can be quite stressful, so we have compiled a gift guide that will help you spend less time scrambling through the busy shopping malls and more time doing fun festive things and spending quality time with friends and family. From the Homebody to the Outdoor Adventurer, we have covered many of the personalities that are sure to be on your list. Read on for our picks!

Food & Drink Connoisseur

We all have the one person on our list who is a complete foodie. They simply have the best taste in all things food and drink and let’s face it – are very hard to please when choosing a restaurant. If this person likes to not only eat, but also prepare meals, why not gift them a class? Ai and Om Knives’  has a sake and sushi workshop that will introduce them to Japanese cuisine and knife work – from knife selection to butchery – while getting to do tastings! A gift that is sure to keep giving. Got a coffee lover on your list too? There’s no going wrong with a Nespresso Maker. The Nespresso Pixie is the perfect size for any countertop – at home or at work! For that sweet and spicy tea lover on your list be sure to head over to Food 52 and check out their Chai Tea & Turmeric Concentrate. For a unique gift we love The Raw Spice Bar which ships you directly 6 freshly ground, seasonal spices & blends, quarterly, along with global recipe ideas for all diets. Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie, Tandori Chicken or Chikpea Veggie Burger anyone? Lastly for the baker on your list how about one of the retro and colorful Smeg Stand Mixers?

Health Guru

The health guru in your life probably totes around a bottle of water or kombucha (or both) with them every day. Kombucha can be expensive, so you can help your health guru brew their own with this Kombucha Home Brew Kit. It contains everything they will need to brew quality kombucha in their own kitchen packed with probiotics and health benefits. Why not bottle it in something beautiful as well? S’well has fun and functional bottles that will keep their essential drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. The Soma Water Filtration Pitcher is so beautiful you will have no problem consuming the recommended eight glasses a day. FastCompany called it “The world’s most beautiful water filter”. They also give back and believe clean drinking is a basic human right. Every time you make a purchase they donate to a charity which supports this belief. Limited editions offer even larger incentives. Tired of that boring old lunch bag?  How about adding a little bit of fun? Part bento box, part TV tray The Planetbox is an all in one solution to packing a healthy portion controlled meal.

The Techie

This person seems to always be on top of the latest and greatest piece of tech on the market. The Amazon Echo Spot is perfect for everyday use as it uses the widely popular Alexa platform, but also features a screen. The display transforms between a clock, news story or video calls and is sure to become a nightstand staple. Got a gamer in your life? They will love the Oculus Rift and Touch Virtual Reality System. It is the best VR headset on the market and the included hand controllers makes interacting with the virtual world feel close to real. It also includes 6 free games! For the person who just can’t put down their phone, even on a cold winter day – how about the Touch Gloves available in multiple lengths and styles.

Outdoor Adventurer

Their weekends are usually packed with hikes, camping or even some extreme sports. Help them capture those moments on mountains with the GoPro HERO5 Black . It captures 4K video and bursts of 12MP images. Not only is it sleek, compact and easy to control, but it can also go up to 33 feet underwater without a housing. Are they more of a practical person? A Swiss Army knife is always handy to have when you have an unexpected problem to solve outdoors. This Swiss Army MiniChamp Alox has 15 tools packed into its classic design inan elegant silver. They will never leave home without it! For the camper on your list we recommend the Tradional Shake and Pop Popcorn Maker. What’s better than making popcorn the old school way over a campfire?

Travel Junkie

Always on the go, the travel junkie is constantly looking for a new place to explore. Make sure they look stylish with the Away Carry-On which comes in a variety of colors. It’s hard shell is unbreakable and 4-wheel design make zipping through the airport a breeze. Our favorite feature is the built-in battery that can charge any USB device, so their phones will always have juice to check maps, emails and Airbnb! For the days the travel junkie is at home, they will enjoy documenting their last destination on this Scratch Map from Luckies.  It’s affordable and thoughtful and will keep them dreaming of their next adventure! The Ostrich Pillow Go is a MoMA exclusive .Thanks to hidden magnetic buttons and three choices of position, this travel pillow fits easily around the neck and adapts to every one’s proportions

Homebody

Home is where the heart is and the Homebody probably has that quote framed on their wall. Make sure they curl up with one of these Super Chunky Knit Blankets (available in many great neutral colors). Once under the cover and the fire is set all you need is a great book. How about Amazon Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader? It has a sharp display with adjustable lighting, lightweight body, Wi-Fi connectivity and a battery that can last for weeks on a single charge. Don’t forget your cozy wool slippers from Glerups.  To set the final touch why not add a great luxury scented candle from Jo Malone. So many amazing scents and the luxury size burns for 230 hours.

The Fashionista

Even grocery shopping girl needs to look good – right? How about The Unstructured Shopper Bag from one of our favorite stores COS! While you are there might as well pick up the Chunky Necklace too? Please be sure to ask Santa to drop both off at my house……………… Last on our gift guide this year is the Fleece Hooded Scarf by Design House Stockholm which doubles as a hat and scarf. Keeping you both warm and stylish. What did you get the people on your gift list? Let us know with the hashtag #area3giftguide

 

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10 Vancouver Artists to Keep an Eye On

Vancouver has no shortage of talent in the realm of arts. With graduates from renowned Emily Carr University of Art + Design as well as many studio spaces spread across the city, Vancouver is a hotspot for emerging artists. Fortunately, Vancouverites are able to get a glimpse into the work and studios of these talented individuals with festivals such as the Eastside Culture Crawl shining a light on local visual arts, design and crafts. Out of the 519 artists that were featured in the latest Eastside Culture Crawl, we have picked out a few that really stood out to us to share with you. If you are looking for a new art piece for your home, make sure to check out the work from these local Vancouver artists!

Arleigh Wood

Through a combination of photography, painting and drawing on watercolor paper, Wood is able to depict the moody quality of the West Coast of BC in her work. Primarily monochromatic with subtle hints of color, each piece in her latest collection is unique with an understated whimsical quality.

arleigh-wood

Carole Sinclair

Informed by her background as a fashion designer, Sinclair’s work juxtaposes a diversity of media and found objects on the given plane. She allows each piece to evolve and find its own form by creating a transition between the natural and industrial through spontaneous expression.

carole-sinclair

Christine Breakell-Lee

The intuitive relationship Breakell-Lee has with colour and space is very obvious in her work. Her paintings have an ethereal perspective that is captivating – drawing your eye to it as soon as you walk into a room. In all her pieces, you can feel the energy captured in the brush strokes on canvas.

christine-breakell-lee

Jill Pilon

Snapshots of memories portrayed through her paintings, Pilon has a unique approach to her work which makes it stand out from the crowd. Through contemporary mixed media, she is able to tell stories of objects and events that otherwise wouldn’t have a voice.

jill-pilon

Lisa Ochowycz

Intertwining and manifesting in wildly colored abstractions or soft and subtly layered atmospheric landscape paintings, Ochowycz’s paintings revolve around three primary concepts – translations, the imprint of social and geographical experience on memory and beauty. Her work allows viewers to navigate alternative translations and interpreted landscapes.

lisa-ochowycz

Lori Popadiuk

Having studied both art and design, Popadiuk’s work has a conceptual quality. Her most recent works are evocative – presenting complex dichotomies such as calm vs. violence and balance vs. imbalance. Even with a limited palette, she is able to create movement, texture and depth in all her pieces.

lori-popadiuk

Miriam Aroeste

Conceptual and abstract, Aroeste’s work depicts authentic, spontaneous emotion and experience. There is no doubt that the visual appeal in her work causes viewers to look at it over and over again, yet experience something different every time. Provoking and evocative, her pieces have a timelessness to them that keep them alive and relevant.

miriam-aroeste

Ronan Boyle

Inspired by the Pop movement of the 1960s and the Do-It-Yourself movement in New York’s punk scene in the late 1970s to early 1980s, Boyle’s work has an inherently edgy street aesthetic that is met with a clean sophistication.

ronan-boyle

Siobhan Humston

A truly interdisciplinary artist, Humston is practiced in drawing, painting, photography, fiber arts and sculptural installation. In her work, she creates narratives that intersect environmental concern and ecological awe by combining abstracted aspects of nature with man-made elements.

siobhan-humston

Tanis Saxby

With just under 20 years of experience as a sculptor, Saxby works primarily in porcelain and black marble. Her sculptures introduce concepts of stillness, simplicity and sensuality – a contrast to our time-driven and complex culture.

tanis-saxby

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Top 10 Smart Home Technologies

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost 10 years since the first smart phone came out. Remember how we all coveted that sleek iPhone 3G? Since then smart technology has expanded to the home and much of it can be controlled by the smart phone you have attached to you at all times. Smart home technology is all about what your home can do for you and how it can improve or enhance your everyday life. We have done some research and created a list of our top 10 smart home technologies. From saving you time, money, or just giving you peace of mind. These technologies are sure to impress you and your house guests!

1.   August Smart Lock

Privacy and security is always a top priority for your home. Never worry about losing your keys again with the August Smart Lock. Your smartphone becomes your new key and you are also able to create virtual keys for guests. You can also keep track of who comes and goes and give guest access for a few weeks, a few hours or even a few minutes. No more worrying about forgetting to lock your door when you are in a hurry or when you are on vacation!

August Smart Lock

2.   Nest Thermostat

Saving energy in the home is no easy task. How can you constantly monitor and control everything? The Nest Learning Thermostat helps you save energy by learning about what temperature you like throughout the day and builds a schedule around it. After using it for a week, it programs itself! With the app, you can see how much energy you use every day in Energy History or get a full report every month in Home Report. We love that it is simple to install, has a customizable ring to fit the style of your home and it will eventually pay for itself with the amount of money you save on your electrical bill!

nest-thermostat

3.   Nest Protect Smoke Detector

No one really thinks about their smoke detector until it goes off and you’re left scrambling around to see if there really is a fire or if it is just another piece of burnt toast. We like the Nest Protect smoke detector because it is able to detect the problem – whether it is smoke or carbon monoxide – tells you what’s wrong and alerts your phone. You can also tell it to hush from the app on your phone, which means that we can say goodbye to the prolonged beeping sounds! Other features include automatic testing, so you don’t have to do it monthly and it lights up as you walk underneath it, so it doubles as a night light in your hallway.

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4.   Philips Hue

Most people tend to give lighting much thought, but it really helps to create the atmosphere you desire in your home! Can you really transform your space with a touch of a button? With the new lighting technology from Philips called Hue you certainly can, and all from your mobile device. Not only can you control your lights from anywhere, you can also customize it to create specific scenes such as ‘dinner party’ or ‘movie night.’ Want to have some fun? Why not try changing the ambiance or mood with various colors of light! Personalizing your lighting is as easy as screwing in a lightbulb, connecting the bridge to your router and downloading the app.

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5.   Belkin Wemo Switch

Not sure if you left the iron on this morning as you rushed to work? You can now check from your smart device using Belkin’s Wemo switch. Simply plug the Wemo switch into an outlet, then plug in your appliances or electronics into the Wemo and you are able turn it off or on from your smart phone. The Wemo uses your home’s Wi-Fi network so you can control electronics such as TVs, heaters, fans and lamps from the palm of your hand.

belkin-wemo

6.   Hunter Douglas PowerView Motorization

If you live in a large home with lots of windows (lucky you!), then you know the struggle of adjusting your window treatments throughout the day. The new PowerView Mortorization from Hunter Douglas is able to automatically adjust your shades throughout the day using the PowerView App on your smart device or their PowerView Pebble Control. Now you maximize daylight and create the perfect ambiance in your space without the hassle of manually adjusting each shade. Most of the PowerView window treatments are also battery-powered so it is very easy to install, use and maintain. We love that you can create pre-programmed room scenes – different combinations of shades and shade positions – so you can have the amount of light, privacy and ambiance you desire in a jiffy!

hunter-douglas-powerview

7.   Kohler Numi Toilet

Some may argue that the toilet is the centerpiece of a bathroom; perhaps why it is dubbed ‘the throne?’ Needless to say, it is a key component so why not make it luxurious? The Japanese have embraced toilet technology for quite some time now, so it’s about time that we do too. The Kohler Numi Toilet offers top-tier toilet technology with a motion activated cover and seat, three bidet water spray patterns (pulsate, oscillate and wave), and multiple heating options (seat and feet). If that doesn’t already sound over the top, there is an audio system and you can cycle through seven different programmable color options for the illuminated panels. Did we mention that it is incredibly sleek and aesthetically pleasing? This toilet demands to take center stage.

kohler-numi-toilet

8.   Kohler DTV+ Digital Shower Interface

Ever dreamt of having that amazing multi-sensory shower from the last 5-star hotel you stayed at in your own home? It can be achieved! Kohler has a new digital shower interface called the DTV+ that combines elements – water temperature and pressure, steam levels, lighting and music – to give you the ultimate sensory experience in the shower. The waterproof touchscreen display allows you to have control over your personalized showerhead and steam systems. You can also preset up to six modes so everyone in the family can save their favorite combination. Take your shower to the next level by amping up your morning shower or help you relax and wind down after a long day.

kohler-dtv

9.    Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator

What is the first thing you check when you walk into your kitchen? It is very likely the refrigerator! The Samsung Family Hub smart fridge has a Wifi enabled touchscreen that helps you manage your groceries, connect with your family and entertain. With three built-in cameras, The Family Hub takes a photo every time the doors close so you can always know what you have and what is missing from your phone. On the touch screen you can keep track of schedules, leave notes and reminders, display photos, stream music and even mirror what you are watching from your smart TV! Amongst all these features you can be sure that your food will be kept fresh and organized. You can it in Canada at Home Depot for about $5,000!

samsung-family-hub-fridge

10.    Google Home

Everyone wants a personal assistant and the Google Home is your answer! This small voice-activated speaker is powered by Google Assistant. You can tell it to do things such as rescheduling your meeting, play music from Spotify or even ask it questions and get real-time answers including the latest weather and traffic. It acts as a hub to help you voice-control other smart devices in your home such as Nest, Philips Hue and Chromecast. Now you can shut off your music, turn on your latest Netflix show, bring down shades and dim the lights without touching a thing!

google-home

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Current Obsessions

Obsessions come and go and control a big chunk of our daydreams. I remember the days of high school math class when all I could think about was the tall handsome German exchange student, who sat beside me. Want to know a secret? I failed the semester because I spent more time calculating the odds of Mr. Schneider taking me back to Germany as his girlfriend than calculating the answers to my assignments…whoops! Currently, I don’t have a German boyfriend, I was able to graduate high school, and I am now obsessing and daydreaming over the following:

Textile Cables

Obsessed with new ways to show off lighting cables and electronic wires. No longer is there a need to hide that typical white or black plastic cord! From pops of colour to two toned weaves, cables are trailing behind small appliances, lighting fixtures, and anything more that could use a cord with style. Ikea has made an example of this with their desk lamps and Apple has just released new iPhone chargers with braided cables. Plus, there are thousands of lamps that hang from simple textile cables or even cables like the ones hanging around the Aim Light Pendant by Bouroullec Brothers. Don’t fret if most of your chic lights already came with a boring cord, “cable lovers” is an online store that has everything you need to make your lamps better.

Main Street

Obsessed with how you can get a tan, beer, and a great hanging wall piece all in one afternoon. With an array of never ending diverse stores, main street should always be your go to zone for anything that includes the words, “local, craft, or hip food. A day on main could include a stop at La Marche St. George for crepes, followed by a browse through stores like Nineteen Ten, and Vancouver Special. Eventually making a stop at Anh and Chi for pho, then moving onwards to some antique furniture stores. Finally ending the afternoon off at Brassneck Brewery or Cartem’s Donuterie for a treat. Sounds like fun right?

Water bottles

Obsessed with how hydrating is not only healthy, but with the right bottle, stylish as well. Invest in a well designed water bottle and you’ll want to show it off everywhere you go! Hitting that recommended daily intake of 2L will be as easy as 1-2-3 with a Soma water bottle. They don’t ship to Canada…yet…but if you have a PO Box, send your goods there and go for a drive, it’ll be well worth it. The bamboo wooden lid and silicon wrap base of their shatter resistant glass bottles makes for an Instagram worthy pic. For something more conveniently closer to home, try a bkr bottle. These beauties are made up of a small mouthed glass bottle, and a silicon sleeve that comes in a never ending variety of fashionable colours. Cheers!

Let us know some of your current obsessions #area3obsessions.

Current Obsessions

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A Birthday Card to Area3


Well hard to believe, but our second anniversary has arrived. We thought it might be fun to treat this month’s blog like a birthday card. Here the four of us who have sweat, cried and laughed over the past two years together share some personal thoughts on this special occasion.

 

KA: In a nutshell ………… the last 2 years have been the best ride of my life (ones that I wouldn’t trade). As a team we have enjoyed some Hi5 days and some thumbs down days. Met, some great people, and forged new client relations. Continued to grow individually and as a company with passion and motivation. Waking up every day and driving to work with a smile and the feeling of accomplishment (even through daily challenges that arise) Everyday is learning day and we all contribute to the baby steps being taken to make Area3 better. Well It’s that time of the year……  get to blow some candles , enjoy a BIG fat slice of cake and raise a glass so we can toast to “Team Area3” for celebrating past achievements and anticipate another busy and successful year. Thank you all for a great year and supporting Area3 as always

 

LH: Well my baby (I mean my business) is about to have a birthday! In just a few days my partners and I will raise a glass and toast to our second year in business. This is by all accounts a triumph in itself as all of you entrepreneurs out there know. Owning your own company is equally as challenging as it is rewarding. It all depends on whether you are the “glass half empty or glass half full” kind of person. Hope you are the later. We have all read the warnings of owning your own business – the hours, many hats you will have to wear, financial issues, sleepless nights (all true). But, ask me if I would go back in time and change my decision and I would tell you that I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. The rewards are the completed projects, repeat clients, new clients, and new photographs for the website or the first award you win. All yours! Not your employers but what you and your partners built. That is exhilarating. I read a great article recently on Canada small business  where they talk about the odds of success and provide some great tips for survival, be sure to give it a read if you are thinking of taking the plunge. Meanwhile my partners and I will take those bumps in the road and learn how to navigate past them in the future and dedicate our energies on making our company one of the great ones. Well Area3 Happy Birthday, here’s hoping our third year is filled with good design, great projects, happy times and much success! I can’t wait to see what’s in store……….

 

BC: The first two years certainly had its ups and downs. I’ve learned that business of design is more work than designing itself. Everyday a lesson is learned at Area3. I’m proud that through hard work comes great rewards. Happy 2nd Birthday Area3 and too many more.

 

MN: Starting your own business is a lot like having a baby.  For 9 months you get to plan, find and design your space,  worry over finding a name and wonder if you are doing the right thing.  Everyone is excited over the upcoming new company.  The big day finally arrives and friends, family, clients and reps are all supportive and so happy for you.  Next comes the sleepless nights and days of worry.   Did we do the right thing, is it going to develop into everything that we hoped for.  Well the answer is yes.  Every day starts with anticipation.  To be able to come to our office and work with people that are just as excited to be here as you are.  Two years old we are now in a great space, have great clients and every day is filled with the pleasure of knowing that you are growing as a business and personally.  Sure there has been some hiccups along the way but they only made us take a look at where we are, what we should change, how to do things better and still find a reason to laugh every day.  Cheers Area3 here’s to another great year.

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Top 10 Design Quotes

Well since its back to school time for many, (we miss you Joanne!). I found myself reflecting back to my school days and all those talented architects we studied. Some of them I still vividly remember and admire. Some I have had the pleasure of visiting their work in person. Two in particular really stand out (1) The Barcelona Pavilion by Mies van der Rohe which was much smaller than I had ever imagined (text books really don’t do this space justice). But, it was far more impressive than I anticipated. It was really hard to believe this modern beauty had been designed in 1929. Talk about being ahead of your time! This architect’s design aesthetics is one I most admire. (2) The Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin West Desert Home which was originally his winter home, went on to become his school of architecture. I attended a several hour tour and listened to our guide explain how he would move a limited number of students (and their families) to live alongside him and his wife on this property. Here they would study, have meals together and socialize every day. Walking through the space you really understand his appreciation and love of nature. One of my favorite memories of Arizona.

There are so many talented architects (and designers) past and present. When we were preparing our website we decided to note our favorite design quotes with each of our bios. So here you will find our top 10 quotes. What is yours? Be sure to share using #area3designquote

design quotes

design quotes2

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