Entries from March 21st, 2014

Interview: Tiffany MacKay, EQ3 Calgary’s Shop at Home Consultant

Mar 21, 2014

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Buying furniture is an investment, and EQ3 wants to make the shopping experience as fun and stress-free as possible! Our store staff love to inspire customers with beautiful and creative room settings, but many customers need additional help to envision the furniture they see in-store, in their own home.

 

That’s where EQ3’s Free In Home Consultation program comes in! We’ve equipped each EQ3 retail store with a Shop at Home consultant – a trained designer who will meet you right in your home and offer advice on furniture selections and layouts, right down to the colours and accessories that’ll complete your room.

 

We called up Tiffany MacKay, EQ3 Calgary’s Shop at Home Consultant, to talk about the program and what a customer can expect from the Shop at Home experience. Tiffany also shared her best tips for furnishing a home.

 

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Portrait of Tiffany, EQ3 Calgary Shop at Home Consultant

 

EQ3  What is your educational and work background?

 

TIFFANY MACKAY  I started in theatre and film. I got a degree in set and costume design from the University of Calgary. What’s kind of interesting, and why I think that is so key to my success, is that when you work in theatre you design spaces for a character, and how their home looks represents what they’re wearing and how they behave. So when I got to somebody’s house it’s about them, not necessarily what I think they should have.

 

After university, I worked for many different companies doing visual merchandising, and really focused on spacial relations.Then I started doing private consultations and working for a building developer, and now I’ve been with EQ3 for four years.

 

 

EQ3  What does the Shop at Home design process look like? What can a customer expect out of the experience?

 

TM  Typically, per room, the consultation’s about an hour. It’s a no obligation service, but hopefully the client is interested in EQ3 products and styles. When I go to somebody’s house, the first thing I always try to ask them is what they’re thinking of their space, what they’re hoping to get out of the consultation, maybe what they’re struggling with. Is it room layout, is it scale, is it colour, is it size? I always say to them “It’s your hour, so let’s talk about what you’re struggling with.”

 

Most often than not, I’ll go to appointments regarding upholstery. I try to think through the entire room, so that even if the client can’t afford to do all the pieces right now, at least they’re set up for success.

 

 

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Condo featuring EQ3’s Replay Sofa and Simone End Table (room shot from Tiffany’s portfolio)

 

EQ3  What services do you offer?

 

TM  It depends if the client is in their home, or if they’re building their home. If they are in their home, I’d show up with a giant suitcase with all the fabric swatches. I’d move in for an hour and we’d layout the space. We’d look at the colours. I always bring paint samples too in case someone wants to paint based off of the materials they select. And then, at that point, if they’re still struggling with visualization, I like to measure (the space) when I’m in the home, and then I can provide a 3D rendering.

 

Typically when somebody’s not in the house, and they just have blueprints, that’s when we do a lot of 3D rendering. I always prepare a little package for them. They can take home all of the swatches that they picked and we do some before and after pictures.

 

And then, with most appointments, I do invite clients back into the store one more time. I refer to it as the last ’bum test’ on the sofa so they can make sure they love it and feel confident that what they’re purchasing is the right choice for them. Because there’s no point in selling someone furniture that they’re not going to love. I always joke with people that I don’t want to see them back again unless we’re doing another room.

 

 

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Condo featuring EQ3’s Reverie Sofa, Solo Chairs and Cast Floor Lamp (room shot from Tiffany’s portfolio)

 

EQ3  Tell us about a favourite project or two that you’ve worked on.

 

TM I hate to play favourites. I’ve done everything from 500 square foot condos to 4,000 square foot homes. I fall in love with the people I deal with. It’s really satisfying to have somebody come back into the store and tell me how much they love it and show pictures.

 

In this one instance with a client I worked with, she said to me that the consultation felt more like a friend giving her advice on what would work, but with her best interest at heart. Because I think sometimes when you get advice from friends, it’s their opinion instead of what’s going to work best for (your) lifestyle.

 

We also did a huge crown suite in the Westin. That was quite memorable. When Presidents and dignitaries from other countries come and stay at the Westin Downtown, we did that suite for them. That was tons of fun!

 

 

EQ3  What are your favourite EQ3 products to design with?

 

TM  I love the Reverie Sofa. I love it because it looks cool, but it’s also super comfortable. I’m a big fan of mid-century design. I love that we carry Herman Miller, and I love that products like the Reverie can be complementary to their high end designs.

 

I quite like the Mesa Dining Table as well. I love marble. I think that there’s something polished and elegant about it, and if you can’t afford granite, quartz or marble countertops, it’s a way to incorporate that element into your home.

 

In terms of accessories, I love the Sitara Rug. I like the idea of a summer and a winter rug. I feel like that adds an element of longevity. The Sitara’s great in the winter for its cozy, knit appeal, and I like the Ori in the summer. It has a little thinner pile, so it’s easier to maintain if you’re in and out of the house with your flip flops.

 

 

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Condo featuring EQ3’s Elise Sofa and Rubix Ottomans (room shot from Tiffany’s portfolio)

 

EQ3  Do you have any tips for any readers who are furnishing their homes?

 

TM  I think less is more. I know a lot of people are in a rush to get things done. If you take your time and make the right choice – no band-aid solutions – you get the right piece, in the right space, and you actually don’t spend as much money.

 

You can always add, but it’s difficult to take away, especially furniture because it is a larger investment.

 

 

EQ3  What does your own home look like?

 

TM  I’m an artist, so I have lots of artwork on the wall. It has a very beachy, California vibe. I’m bold: I have a coloured sofa. It’s Key Largo Teal, which is a vibrant blue. I’m a bit of a book nut, so I’ve got lots of bookshelves, and I organize the books all by colour. I also have lots of pieces from EQ3 and my travels.

 

Need help selecting the perfect furniture for your home? Click here to arrange a free in-home consultation with an EQ3 designer, or call your local store today.

Design Library: Handcrafted Modern

Mar 20, 2014

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Design Library Volume 06: Handcrafted Modern: At Home with Mid-century Designers

Year: 2010

Category: Architecture / Design, Photography

Author + Photographer: Leslie Williamson

Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.

 

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The woven fabric cover of Handcrafted Modern is a fitting choice that nods to the book’s title and theme.

 

Leslie Williamson is a San Francisco-based photographer whose work has appeared in prestigious design and lifestyle magazines such as Dwell, Surface and Travel + Leisure.  A fan of architectural history, particularly of Modernism, Leslie’s first book Handcrafted Modern: At Home with Mid-century Designers (2010) is simply the result of her own curiosity.

 

After visiting architect Albert Frey’s home – a beautiful example of mid-century modern design in Palm Springs – Leslie went away with this question: What would an architect build for himself, without the demands of a client upon him?

 

She looked to architectural literature for answers, but found that the book she wanted to read didn’t exist yet. So, like most creative and curious people, Leslie decided to write and photograph the book herself.

 

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Handcrafted Modern is a 224 page hardcover book featuring 14 mid-century modern homes belonging to some of America’s most influential architects and designers, including Wharton Esherick, George Nakashima, Russell Wright, Harry Bertoia, and Charles and Ray Eames.

 

In an effort to document how these designers really live (or lived) on a day-to-day basis, Leslie shot only in homes where personal possessions were left largely intact (either the designer still lived there, or a museum was preserving the home as it was when the designed lived there). She shot each home with film for two full days, leaving rooms as she found them and using only natural light. As a result, the photographs featured in the book are more intimate, detailed and reflective of daily living than the images typically found in architecture books. Leslie’s photography fills the majority of Handcrafted Modern’s pages, but she breaks up the imagery with a personal account of her time shooting each home.

 

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Building on the success of Handcrafted Modern, Leslie has been working on a second book: Modern Originals: At Home with Midcentury European Designers. The new publication will be out next month (April 8th), but you can catch a sneak peek of the book here!

 

Follow Leslie’s blog lesliewilliamsonphoto.blogspot.com to see more of her photography work.

Make Your Own Marimekko Stretched Canvas Artwork

Mar 18, 2014

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You might remember this set up from a couple of weeks ago, when we introduced EQ3’s new Harvest Entryway collection. The bright floral artwork featured in the shot is actually a DIY project that we tackled here at the head office with some Unikko fabric – picked up from our local EQ3 Marimekko Shop in Shop.

 

Current shop in shop locations include EQ3 Montréal, EQ3 Brossard, EQ3 Toronto – Hanna St., EQ3 Toronto – King St., EQ3 Ottawa, EQ3 Winnipeg, EQ3 Calgary and EQ3 Emeryville, CA. And, for some exciting news: Marimekko fabric will soon be available to our online customers at EQ3.com! Watch for the big announcement in the coming months.

 

We’ve broken down the project into 5 steps. Follow this simple tutorial and, in no time, you’ll have your very own Marimekko Artwork too!

 

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DIY: MARIMEKKO ARTWORK

 

This project comes together easily with a section of patterned fabric and a Stretcher Bar Kit (a wood bar kit used to stretch canvas or fabric to a desired size). Kits come in different sizes, and can be found online through sites like Amazon or Ebay, or through your local craft/art supplies store.

 

Materials + Supplies:

Fabric, cut 2″ wider and longer than finished frame (we used Marimekko’s Unikko Poppy in heavy weight cotton)

Stretcher bar kit, assembled according to package directions

Ruler

Scissors

Staple gun

 

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Step 1: Build canvas frame, following the package directions on stretcher bar kit. The process may vary depending on the kit used, but here’s the basic process for reference: Adjoin two of the mitered wood pieces together to create a 90 degree angle. Add the remaining two wood pieces until you have built a four-sided frame. Note: Pieces should fit easily together with the pre-made joint.

 

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Step 2: Lay pre-cut fabric face down on work surface. Lay frame on top of fabric, centering it so that approximately 1″ of fabric extends on all four sides.

 

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Step 3: Beginning with the midpoint of one side of the frame, pull fabric tightly around the frame and secure on the back (midpoint) with one staple. Repeat the process on the opposite side of the frame, making sure the fabric is as tight and smooth as possible. Do the same on the remaining two sides. The fabric should now be stapled at the midpoint of each side.

 

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Step 4: Continue stapling around the frame. Work your way from the midpoint out, leaving the fabric at each of the four corners unstapled.

 

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Step 5: Trim corner flaps on a 45 degree angle. Fold and pull the sides tight at one corner and staple to frame. Repeat the process for all four corners. Trim any frayed strands of fabric from the back side.

 

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And, you’re done! We love using these stretched canvas frames in EQ3 retail stores to liven up room settings and displays. Here’s how we’re designing with them:

 

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Thinking of trying this project? We’d love to see it.

Instagram or Tweet a photo to us @EQ3_Furniture using the hashtag #EQ3Spotted.

Hudson’s Bay: The Room of the Season

Mar 14, 2014

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Did you know that in addition to shopping at EQ3 retail stores, you can also find our products in galleries throughout North America and around the world? It’s true! Hudson’s Bay is our largest wholesale partner, with EQ3 Galleries in sixteen Hudson’s Bay stores across Canada.

 

This popular Canadian company has an fantastic blog (B-Insider.com) celebrating fashion, beauty and the home. B-Insider’s recent post The Room of the Season goes behind the scenes of Hudson’s Bay’s Spring Home Book photoshoot. Their focus was using comfortable furnishings and natural textures to create a warm and inviting interior. Sounds familiar? EQ3’s Spring Collection was created around the very same concept!

 

This video from Hudson’s Bay shows the step by step process of creating The Room of the Season, with design commentary by Arren Williams (Hudson’s Bay Creative Director for Home).

 

YouTube video by Hudson’s Bay

 

Watch for Arren’s commentary on these origami-inspired paper pendant lamps, which he cleverly hung in a cluster of three. It’s just one of many EQ3 products available through Hudson’s Bay.

 

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Videography by Chris Chilco for Hudson’s Bay

Interview: EQ3 Product Development Team

Mar 12, 2014

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Meet the product development team; Carla Zacharias (accessories), Enri Tielmann (upholstery) and Madi Cash (casegoods).

 

EQ3’s spring collection is centered around natural materials like felt, hand woven wool, undyed linen, solid wood, and raw marble. With the use of these materials, EQ3’s product development team has created a cohesive collection to help make your home both comfortable and inviting. We sat down with Carla, Enri and Madi back in January, while EQ3 was busy with the spring catalogue photoshoot. We asked them how they began working at EQ3, what inspires them, and of course about the new spring collection!

 

A condensed version of this interview can be found in the 2014 Spring Supplement Catalogue. Watch for it online and in-store starting next week!

 

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Portrait of EQ3 Product Developers: Enri, Carla and Madi

 

 

EQ3  What is your background?

 

Madi  My educational background started with business and then shifted towards design by enrolling in a cross-disciplinary undergraduate program in the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Architecture. During my time at the U of M I took a furniture studio, taught by the talented and inspirational Deb Scott who influenced me to pursue furniture design after graduation.

 

She gave me a great understanding of how certain things fit together – not only physically, but also conceptually. I think she was really good at pushing her students to really use their mind in ways that they may not have organically.

 

Carla  I too was part of U of M’s Faculty of Architecture. Both Madi and I graduated with an Environmental Design degree, specializing in Interior Design.

 

Enri  I grew up in Germany. After a mandatory year of social service I went to study Theology in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Afterward, I started a second degree in Business and Economy back in Germany. It was then that I had the opportunity to intern at EQ3 in 2010. I joined EQ3’s product development team shortly thereafter. I was very excited to combine my educational background in business with my interest in design.

 

 

 

EQ3  What influences your work?

 

Madi  In product development, our work is a response to different needs. I think my friends and family have a lot of personality, and they all have a lot to say, all the time. I’m definitely inspired by them.

 

I read a lot of magazines and newspapers and I’m on the internet all the time so I take a lot of influence from what is happening in the world. I think it’s important to be aware of what’s going on nationally and internationally and relate that back to what we’re doing here at EQ3.

 

Carla  There isn’t one specific thing I look to – I take a lot of inspiration from my day to day. Oftentimes on weekends when I’m not working, all of a sudden, things will come to mind. Or, I’ll see something on the internet and not think anything of it, and I’ll think of it later as being great inspiration for a new project.

 

Enri  I think everybody has a unique background, filled with special people that you admire, different places you have visited, where and how you’ve grown up and what you’ve been exposed to culturally. I believe it’s a mixture of all of those things that have influenced my life and certainly my perspective on work.

 

 

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New Stumpy Wall Hook (Large), designed by Carla

 

 

EQ3  Is there a specific designer whose work you’re inspired by?

 

Madi  Right now is such an amazing time with so many exciting things happening in architecture, furniture and fashion. There are just so many people doing great things both here in Canada and globally that I’m continually inspired by what I see. Furniture, and even fashion to some extent, have traditionally been boys clubs, with men often dictating the forms and materials that influence what we live with. Now we have crazy-talented women like Phoebe Philo, Mary Katrantzou, Inga Sempé and Patricia Urquiola at center stage shaping the trends that are influencing the entire industry. I love that so much.

 

Enri  I would say for myself, I totally agree with Madi on the amount of designers and artists that you can name. I’m personally fascinated by the work of Oscar Niemeyer. He was a Brazilian architect who just recently died at 104 years of age. What I really admire, in general, are designers who strive to question the status quo and who reinterpret things that already exist.

 

Carla  I was always very interested in Richards Serra’s work. How his work affects space by using scale and volume, and how people respond physically and emotionally.

 

 

 

EQ3  What is your favorite design that you’ve done for EQ3?

 

Enri  I would say I particularly liked working on the Eve Sofa collection. Besides the aesthetical aspect, we were able to introduce high end components such as feather seating and a die cast aluminum leg at an affordable price.

 

Carla  This is always changing, and my answer would probably always be something that I’m currently developing. In the beginning it was probably one of our rugs, like the Corfu. You learn about the different techniques and then when you finally see your design being developed – it’s pretty cool. In terms of a current favorite, the Stumpy Wall Hook was a fun project to work on.

 

Madi  Definitely the Reclaimed Teak Bedroom. It was fun to work on it because I spent a lot of time in Indonesia learning where the reclaimed teak originates. I really like that this material has a story and has had all of these different lives. Each piece has all this history literally engrained into the material, and when you buy the finished piece and take it home, the material embarks on a new journey.

 

 

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Eve Chair, designed by Enri

 

 

EQ3  What tool or resource do you find most important to your job?

 

Madi  Definitely a notebook – pen and paper.

 

Enri  I carry a Muji passport notebook that perfectly fits into my back pocket. When we travel to furniture shows overseas, this is where I put all of my notes and sketches down. It becomes a chronicle of all of our experiences.

 

Carla  Pantone colour swatches are important for my work. It’s a common language across all the countries that I work with and I reference it daily.

 

Madi  I’m travelling a lot so my iPhone has become a fairly essential tool and if it left me while I was half-way across the world I would cry – but I stick with my original answer – pen and paper is the most essential. You can do everything. You can take your notes. You can do your sketches.

 

 

 

EQ3  Tell us about the spring collection.

 

Madi  Our focus was toward really comfortable, wholesome, natural products that could fit into someone’s life in a very easy way. I would say warmth might be a way you could describe it. I used a lot of solid woods and clean lines – nothing too decorative.

 

Carla  I used a lot of weaves and natural materials – cottons, wools, natural felts and linens. I focused on softening the table setting with the use of textiles and subtle colours.

 

Enri  The natural materials we’ve used allow the collection to be integrated into various contexts from, perhaps the most obvious one, a cottage at the lake, to the minimalist condo.

 

With upholstery specifically, we have introduced a new design language with skirted slip covers. This is a new addition to our product range. It’s interesting to offer something to our customers that will broaden our product offering.

 

 

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Reclaimed Teak Low Dresser, designed by Madi

 

 

EQ3  What does your own home look like?

 

Enri  Well, that’s a good question. Are you visiting today? If we are expecting a visitor, then it is very clean, but if not, I’d say it’s a very eclectic mix of shoes, clothes and bags everywhere – so really messy.

 

Aside from that I would say it’s a collection of pieces here and there that have been added overtime that we have become emotionally connected to, such as, a set of molded plywood dining chairs that we got from my grandparents and refinished. But then there are also very utilitarian, very useful objects that we just try to combine with the rest to make a cozy home.

 

Madi  I don’t know how to describe my home…

 

Enri  As an art exhibit.

 

Madi  (laugh) Yeah, it’s not so much a display, but I’ve collected a lot of little objects and books and prints and photographs throughout my life. It’s sort of a mixture of smaller items – a lot of things, but I like to think that everything I have is very intentional.

 

Carla  We just purchased our home this past fall. It was built in 1929 and has all the original oak floors and oak banisters. It has a lot of character details, which is what made me fall in love with it in the first place, and now we’re just slowly furnishing it. Currently it’s a mix of old things that we’ve kind of always had, and a mix of new things. For the most part it’s not overly cluttered. Most things we have pose function, except for the large amount of pillows and textiles throughout.

 

 

 

EQ3  How do you explore creativity outside of your regular work week?

 

Carla  We all have the opportunity to travel and it’s definitely an interest for all of us. Definitely going to new places, and seeing new cultures, meeting new people and the conversations you may have. Exploring the world is definitely something that inspires each of us.

 

I also love to cook and definitely would consider that a creative outlet outside of my day to day.

 

Madi  I spend a lot of my free time trying to get out to as many different galleries and shows in Winnipeg. There are so many talented people living in Winnipeg right now! Fine artists, musicians, chefs, film-makers – it’s insane. So I always try to make sure that, even when it’s inhumanely cold outside, I make it out.

 

Enri  I enjoy carving wood sculptures. What I find fascinating about carving, in contrast to other art forms, is that you take away all unnecessary material until you arrive at the piece that you had envisioned.

 

 

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Corfu Handwoven Rug, designed by Carla

 

 

This interview was prepared for the 2014 EQ3 Spring Supplement Catalogue. Stay tuned for the announcement of the catalogue’s arrival next week.

Shop EQ3.com For Modern Furniture and Accessories