Tag Archive | "Modern"

Cleeve Horne House: That Sinking Feeling

Monday, October 3, 2011


For the progeny of Cleeve and Jean Horne, this spectacular modernist home in a picturesque valley in Pickering, Ontario, is a seldom-used summer place, an after thought that has been allowed to slide into disrepair, if not disrepute. The house is tucked away behind the main residence and barn on a 200-acre family property and as one of the Horne's adult grandchildren told me yesterday during Doors Open Pickering, it's a challenge to hold onto the place in the face of rising taxes and land values. Seeing the state of the interior, I couldn't help thinking that this architectural gem might be better off in the hands of someone more invested in honouring its uniqueness.

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A Collector Restrained

Friday, September 30, 2011


For an inveterate collector — her daughter calls her a hoarder — Larysa Fenyn is remarkably restrained. Her basement has become a storage facility, albeit a neat one, and if you open any of her numerous cabinets or credenzas you’ll find row upon row of high-quality trinkets. But on the surface at least, her centre hall home in Toronto’s Royal York neighbourhood is carefully curated. “I hate clutter,” she tells me as she leads me through her sunny rooms. On a sideboard stands a shimmering art glass plate and three shapely, black candle holders. Larysa has many others, some in teak, some white, but her display has been paired back to this. I admire her willingness to edit.

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Shops: Sputnik Vintage

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I hadn't planned to make this mid-century week on styleNorth, it just turned out that way. Last Saturday I hiked out to the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke with my new friends Susan and Dave to visit Sputnik Vintage, a relatively new player in the local MCM furniture market. Sputnik is owned and operated by a knowledgeable and very funny veteran dealer named Peter Frampton who doesn't sing but is a master of accents and impersonations. Frampton dealt in antiques for decades but he made the jump to mid-century stuff when saw the popular taste heading in that direction. Smart move.

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Been There, Done That

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


When I saw this photo by Scott Frances in Alexa Hampton's latest book, The Language of Interior Design, it really took me back. The sculpture on the table is a maquette of a MUCH bigger piece by Bruno Giorgi originally called Guerreiros (Warriors) or more commonly, Os candangos (The Labourers). Created in 1959, the sculpture is a monumental tribute to the workers who built the Brazilian capital in the late 1950s; it stands today in Brasilia's Plaza of the Three Powers, where the photo of me, below, was taken in 2002. How and why I ended up in this astonishing place is less important than the impression it made upon me. Brasilia can fairly be called the world's most "modern" city. It was planned by Lúcio Costa and built in a matter of years showcasing the masterworks of visionary Brazilian architect Oscar Neimeyer (born December 15, 1907). Never have I been so awestruck by so many buildings; no wonder architecture students make pilgrimages to the place. Touring Brasilia allowed me to understand that the modernist vernacular could be just as thrilling as the most revered and beautiful buildings ever constructed.

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The Goobye Girls

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I was deeply saddened to receive an email from Holly Gnaedinger last week announcing the closing of Twice Found, the "vintage modern" shop she has run with partner Marie Lyons-Cooper for the past four and a half years. Holly says business has been in a tailspin since Mirvish Books closed in 2009 and it's time to take a step back and reevaluate. Holly and Marie will be winding things down through the end of June but the stock is already dwindling so drop in sooner rather than later. Lighting and furniture — Holly still has a beautiful mid-century walnut dining table — is reduced by 50 per cent, tableware and pottery is marked down 25 - 50 per cent and Marie's jewellery is separated into bargain bins of $2 (values up to $10), $5 (values up to $18) and $10 (values up to $25); all other jewellery 25% off. Asian pieces are discounted 50 per cent.

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