Entries from May 16th, 2014

Interview: Tracey Ayton from Vancouver Vanishes

May 16, 2014

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Tracey Ayton is a Vancouver-based interiors and lifestyle photographer, whose work has appeared in prominent publications such as UPPERCASE, Style at Home and House & Home, as well as online at Kinfolk and House of Fifty. Tracey takes great interest in history and appreciates the quirks and character found in old architecture. She, herself, bought a turn-of-the-century-home in Vancouver’s Kerrisdale neighbourhood 11 years ago, and has since renovated it with her husband to celebrate its original beauty.

 

Vancouver’s popular West side (east of Kerrisdale) was once populated with the kinds of architectural gems that Tracey loves. The area boasted a vibrant family atmosphere and classic Arts & Crafts style homes. But in recent years, homes in this sought after neighbourhood have been disappearing. “Once you see a “For Sale” sign in front of it,” says Tracey, “you know the red fencing is sure to go up soon after. Old homes on Vancouver’s West side are like sitting ducks.” These homes are being scooped up by developers or wealthy investors who are looking to tear them down and make a profit. Most Vancouver residents are unable to compete with the prices these investors are willing to pay, and are forced to move out of the city and raise their families in more affordable suburb areas.

 

Enter Vancouver Vanishes, a community Facebook Page that is a lament for, and celebration of, the vanishing character homes in Vancouver. Tracey stumbled upon the page last year and immediately wanted to be apart of it. She now joins Vancouver Vanishes’ founder and author Caroline Adderson in documenting West side homes slated for demolition.

 

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EQ3  Tell us about Vancouver Vanishes.

 

TRACEY AYTON  Vancouver Vanishes is a Community Facebook Page. My co-worker who started it all is Caroline Adderson. She started taking pictures of these homes that were slated for demolition and documented them. It got to be so much that she started a Facebook Page, because she thought she should draw attention to what’s going on in our city.

 

I stumbled upon this page and I just thought “Wow, this is amazing.” She wrote down the year it was built, the first owner, and the owner’s occupation. I found this really interesting. One of the reasons why I live here is because I have a great appreciation for history and heritage. So I approached Caroline and I said “Hey look, I am a photographer, my subjects are homes and interiors, and I do have a passion for history.”

 

We travel to the west side of Vancouver 2-3 times a week, and go into houses that we have permission to enter and take pictures, both inside and out. Then we document them on the page.

 

 

EQ3  For our readers who may not understand Vancouver’s real estate market, can you explain what’s going on there and why these homes are getting torn down?

 

TA  Vancouver is an interesting and beautiful place to buy property. The west side is extremely popular. People with money will buy up anything and most likely tear it down in order to suit their needs. A lot of times it is just investment interests. They will tear down a house with a front and a back yard, and then they’ll build something that covers 70% of the lot, the maximum allowed.

 

After that you expect a family to move in, but often they don’t. They just sit on the house for profit, and they’ll sell it for quite a bit more money than they bought it for. It’s sort of diminishing the feel of our neighbourhoods because one-by-one these pockets of the city aren’t vibrant anymore.

 

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EQ3  What are the conditions of these houses?

 

TA  It could be an elderly person’s home that’s out of date and out of shape, but most recently there have been homes that are in perfect condition. They’ve been renovated, painted and brought up to date with electrical, you name it, but it just doesn’t matter when the house is bought as a building lot. The new buyer, who may not be living in the house, doesn’t want the upkeep of a garden.

 

 

EQ3  You’re a sought after interior and lifestyle photographer for some very prominent magazines in Canada. What goes through your mind when you’re shooting for Vancouver Vanishes?

 

TA  I think I tend to shoot in a bit of an artistic way. I’ve got a certain eye and it’s kind of artsy, and I try to apply that with these homes. The character of the homes – the bones – they immediately stand out, and that’s exactly what I want to photograph. Some of them have beautiful stained glass, chair rails, and fireplace mantels. I somehow seam it all together in one shot, or I break it up, just as long as it shows the character. But on the other end, I like to show the destruction of the house. So I might shoot a broken window that used to be stained glass – perfect, beautiful stained glass broken.

 

It evokes a feeling. I think I want people to be touched by these homes and what they used to offer. It’s sad, but they’re still standing with so much beauty in them, no matter how much people have ripped out. I guess I just try to capture that.

 

 

EQ3  You mentioned that it evokes a feeling. What feelings do these homes evoke in you?

 

TA  It’s bittersweet because they are such beautiful homes. It’s stuff that you just don’t see being built anymore. You see these good bones, and you know that whatever is going to be built after this is not going to be as intricate.

 

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EQ3  We really loved the post you recently published on The Dorothies – a pair of homes that Vancouver Vanishes recently helped rescue from demolition! How did you manage to save these two homes?

 

TA  Well, WE didn’t save them! They were saved by the city’s Heritage Revitalization Agreement, which is one of the few heritage tools the city has. Caroline had noticed the houses and approached the developer, who was going to tear them down to build his own house and one for a friend. She arranged to get a key and go inside to photograph. Later, when the development application went forward, Caroline posted the photos and encouraged people to write letters in support of saving the houses. The press got wind of it and articles appeared in The Vancouver Sun and the Province, provoking public outcry. The developer eventually had a change of heart when he realized if he moved the houses, the city would relax some of its zoning requirements, which made the project financially feasible. It was a win for the houses, the developer, and heritage.

 

 

EQ3  If you could get one message across, what would it be?

 

TA  Just to make people aware of what’s happening. The more people that are aware of it, the more we can help change the laws to save these buildings. All I can do is document these homes and show people what Vancouver used to look like when I was here. I’m a fourth generation Vancouverite, so I have pictures of when my parents lived here. And, I have pictures of when my grandparents were here, and when my great-grandparents were here. I hang onto that dearly.

 

If there is a way that we could figure out how to stop tearing down homes that shouldn’t be torn down, then maybe that’s all I hope for.

 

 

Image source: All photos by Tracey Ayton for Vancouver Vanishes

Shopping in NYC: Marimekko’s Flagship Store

May 15, 2014

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New York City is a popular destination for design professionals, retailers, editors and creatives year-round, but right now they’re flocking to the world’s design capital more than ever!

 

NYCxDESIGN, New York City’s official citywide celebration of design, got underway last Friday and runs through till May 20th. The celebration crosses all design disciplines, and creates a platform for both established and emerging creatives. The annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) is North America’s premier showcase for contemporary design. The four day event starts Saturday and wraps up the same day as NYCxDESIGN.

 

There are plenty of exhibitions, installations, design talks, and launch parties to attend, but those wanting a break from scheduled events should pay a visit to EQ3+ partner Marimekko’s flagship store in New York.

 

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We were excited to visit the flagship store first-hand during a recent trip to New York. Located in the Flatiron District, at the corner of 5th Avenue and Broadway, the store has a classic black façade that belies the brightly coloured and whimsical displays you’ll find within.

 

Inside, white walls and millwork set the stage for your favourite Marimekko prints. The brand’s iconic designs cover everything from fashion accessories and apparel, to bolts of fabric and home decor products. Throughout the store product is artfully arranged to create intriguing visual installations. Dresses and shirts suspend from the exposed ceiling with a cluster of hooks. Large fabric panels divide spaces and direct your eye to specific displays. And, wooden sleeping bunks are stacked three high and outfitted with beautiful Marimekko duvet covers.

 

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You can find more NYC travel recommendations from our team here and here. Then, once you’ve explored all New York has to offer, head cross-country and check out EQ3’s newest store on the West Coast: EQ3 San Francisco! Opening May 31st, 2014

 

Marimekko NYC Flagship Store at 200 5th Ave, New York, NY, 10010, United States. Get directions here.

Work Crush: Kelly-Lee Patacairk

May 14, 2014

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We’re starting a new series on the blog today! Inhabit wants to introduce you to the staff that work hard to make your EQ3 store visits great. We’ll spotlight one store employee each month. Get the deets on their role in the company, learn fun facts about them and discover which EQ3 furniture or accessory product they’re currently crushing on.

 

Today, we’re joining Kelly-Lee on the West Coast!

 

Employee: Kelly-Lee Patacairk

Store: EQ3 Vancouver-Granville

Job Title: Senior Sales Design Consultant

Years at EQ3: 8 years (5 at EQ3 Ottawa + 3 at EQ3 Vancouver)

 

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EQ3+ Herman Miller Sayl® Chair

 

Kelly-Lee’s Work Crush:

 

“My favourite piece at EQ3 is the Herman Miller Sayl® chair, shown here in my hip Vancouver condo in Yaletown. I have chosen this piece for its custom design capabilities. You can design it to suit your personality with its fabulous choice of bright funky colours, textured fabrics and all together style. It’s inspired by a suspension bridge and has a cool flexible feel you can modify and adjust. Suitable for both office and home office, it’s the perfect choice for the stylish design professional!”  – Kelly-Lee

 

Fun Facts about Kelly-Lee:

 

Kelly-Lee is a rocker chick who loves music, fashion, design, travel, her cats ‘Rock’ and ‘Roll’, and riding her cruiser on the seawall!

 

 

The Sayl® Chair was designed by Yves Béhar for Herman Miller. Its frameless back was inspired by the principles of a suspension bridge, and was designed to encourage a  full range of movement and keep you cool. Make this crush yours here.

Blogger’s Style: Tanya from Dans le Townhouse

May 13, 2014

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EQ3’s May Blogger of the Month is Tanya from Dans le Townhouse! Tanya is a popular Canadian DIY and home decor blogger from Thunder Bay, Ontario. She and her husband are currently renovating the interior of their lakeside home with a focus on mid-century modern design.

 

Tanya’s laundry / mud room recently received an update with fresh paint, artwork and hard-working accessories. The EQ3+ Herman Miller Eames® Hang-it-All® was brought for its functionality and classic design. Take a look and see how Tanya’s putting it to use!

 

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“Our petite main floor laundry room doubles as a mudroom, pantry, and Szuka’s room (our 85lb puppy). We’re saving up to renovate, but for now white paint on the walls, ceiling, oak trim and doors have made the small space seem brighter and larger. We added a curtain on an easy-to-slide curtain track to hide the unattractive machines, decrepit laundry tub, and laundry rack. On the other side, we had to keep a pair of unsightly grab bars up, but who even notices them with our beautiful, new Eames Hang-It-All®? I don’t think I need to sell anyone on the aesthetic merits of the classic Hang-It-All. I will say that I’m so happy EQ3 sells a white version of this timeless rack because against the all-white walls it looks so sculptural. I’m especially fond of how it helps this utility room feel more cohesive with the mid-century inspired décor blossoming in other rooms of the house. Even with its good looks, the Hang-It-All is a workhorse: drying snow-soaked mitts and hats (without pulling them out of shape) is easy thanks to the solid wood balls, plus there is plenty of space for everything from Szuka’s collar to guests’ coats. And, in a pinch, I’ve even hung clean laundry on it when our dry rack is full!”  – Tanya, Dans le Townhouse

 

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Image Source: Photographs credited to Tanya Watson

Design Library: How to Architect

May 9, 2014

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Design Library Volume 08: How to Architect

Year: 2012

Category: Architecture

Author: Doug Patt

Publisher: The MIT Press

 

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The word “architect” is a noun, but architect, entrepreneur, author and teacher Doug Patt likes to use it as a verb.

 

Patt is a registered licensed architect in Pennsylvania. He earned his degree from Penn State University, and has practiced in the field for close to two decades. During that time he also received his masters from The University of Pennsylvania and taught in the architecture programs at Pennsylvania State University and Northampton Community College. Pratt currently is a consultant in high-end residential architecture, and runs the popular website and YouTube Channel “How to Architect.”

 

In 2012, Patt published a book by the same name. How To Architect is an extension of Patt’s online video series and site, teaching readers the ABC’s of architecture. He goes through each letter of the alphabet, highlighting a specific term in each chapter that he feels is relevant to the practice of architecture. Some terms are exactly what you’d expect to find in a book about architects – terms such as Assymmetry, Building Codes, Design, Form, Invention and Proportion. But Pratt goes beyond architecture lingo and introduces the architecture culture with terms such as Ego, Kevin Bacon (turn’s out the actor’s father is an architect), Quirky and Zeal.

 

Looking to the familiar comfort of his drafting pencil, Patt introduces each chapter with a hand-drawn illustration and hand-lettered title. Additional illustrations, photographs and images further demonstrate Pratt’s ideas on architecture.

 

Together, the text and imagery of this A-Z index offer a realistic look at the glorified and the gritty sides of the profession.

 

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The Odeon of Pericles at Athens

 

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Left: University of Pennsylvania Library, Frank Furness / Right: The Provident Life & Trust Company Building, Frank Furness

 

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Glass House, Philip Johnson

 

How to Architect is a quick and easy read. We finished the 125 page soft cover book during the short flight from La Guardia, NY to Toronto. This book is for those fascinated by architecture, those aspiring to become an architect, and those established architects needing a fresh perspective on the work they do.

 

Visit howtoarchitect.com and watch Doug’s online video series for more on the subject. Here are some of our favourites:

 

Understanding Architecture (see Part 3, 6 and 9)

Draw Like an Architect (see Part 1, 2 and 5)

Could You Be an Architect? (see all)

 

Also check out Architecture and Design and Influential Architects for profiles on key industry professionals (past and present).

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