Monday, January 16, 2017

It's DESIGN Week - SMELL you later MODERATION!

It's Design Week!
Smell you later Moderation!

Come see my show January 22 - at the Assembly Hall!

We will make Design History together!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

What's NEW IN 2017? - Confessions of an IKEA Hacker [just sillies]

That's a wrap for 2016 - End of the $1 breakfast!

[pictures shows what IKEA premium plus breakfast used to look like]

[picture shows IKEA Etobicoke restaurant, at breakfast time, almost empty after IKEA eliminated the $1 breakfast]

YES! It HAS HAPPENED! In Toronto, IKEA has eliminated their one dollar breakfast. I was there, when it happened. Look - 

[picture shows the receipt for the new IKEA breakfast offering] 

Let me be clear - an institution has died.  I knew that IKEA could no longer carry that cost. I think the $1 breakfast has been around longer that my oldest child has been around - that's about 13 years. I have been blessed with IKEA Etobicoke being only about 15 minutes away drive from where I live. I cannot recall the countless times we got up - me and my wife - after a rough night with them 4 babies of ours [oldest is 13 now, youngest is 4] and looked exhausted at each other and said - 'Yea, IKEA breakfast!'. No cooking, no making - or adding - to the mess of our busy life. We packed them all into the minivan and drove straight to IKEA - the earlier the better. IKEA restaurants open 30 minutes before the store opens - that was also the time that you scored free coffee - SCORE! I am writing this post and tears are streaming down my face.....** 

Yea, I remember buying - 6 times $1 breakfast, add to that 12 extra sausages which was only $3 more! - because of our family dynamics some ppl prefer the eggs and hash potatoes and some are more of a 'meat eater' - so sausage. Add some side of 'Princess cake' and some chocolate milk and we were set. We, the adults, would sit there for an hour drinking bottomless cup of free coffee, babies [or teens now...] busily chowing away at the food. And even if they got bored, we just let them loose to play at the 'unsupervised play areas' with other kiddos their age. And once everyone got full, we'd had out to the kid section of the store - kids rooms, by now littered with stuffed toys pulled out of the numerous bins scattered throughout...Those were the days. 

But that was just us. 

I think in the beginning, when it was launched - I don't remember the exact date when they launched it - but I do remember that era. It made fiscal sense. Right? I mean NOBODY goes to IKEA and doesn't by something. More money is made on small trinkets that are made in China - with cost to manufacture being pennies on the dollar. SO even if the IKEA restaurant made some money, made little money, broke even or even suffer a minor loss - it was still offset by the purchases of a small, medium and maybe even 'a large things'. Think of it as the cost of advertising - luring thousands into the store with a promise of a cheap but healthy meal. 

But the costs kept rising. IKEA first raised the price on the side orders - so extra sausage, bun, bacon or dressing. When initially you could purchase 4 sausage for a one dollar - IKEA increased its pricing. It was now cheaper to purchase a whole breakfast - get the extra eggs, hash AND 2 sausages for the same price as just 2 extra sausage - LISTEN, I am all about optimizing and that includes my meals, OK? 

When that happened, I knew that pricing adjustments were coming. A cup of coffee at a fast-food joint came to $2 bucks  these days - how could IKEA keep the $1 for a decent meal? 

And then it happened - PRICE INCREASE. I knew something was off immediately when I got to the restaurant - it was virtually empty - regulars - a lot of them seniors - gone! 'Hmmmm....,' I thought to myself, 'something is off.' I come up to the serving section and there it is - it's at least $3 to purchase the basic offering. IKEA did change it up a bit - you get 2 slices of tomato, and a toast on top of the eggs and hash /w 'bacon or sausage'. But's not $1. 

End of an era. 
End of an institution.
I am sad. 

**not really

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

IKEA Hacker Symposium #2

Chapter 1

Of course, I am still working. BUT the thing that is most on my mind is the IKEA Hacker Symposium that I will do in about 3 weeks! SO I will just post some pics, just to keep the blog fresh. This is all the work that I've done this year - like a minor 2016 year in review. 

IKEA does not approve of this work. 

This has been my favourite kitchen this year - SEKTION boxes for all, all MAXIMERA drawers, put together with custom doors and drawer fronts - lowers are super-matte 1411 from ABET; uppers are rift-sawn white oak, edged in 1/8" solid.  Now, whenever I design kitchens, I pull all these elements and incorporate them into new projects [including my latest one - Black+Mint!]

[picture shows an IKEA Sektion kitchen with rift-sawn white oak, horizontal grain upper doors; and Abet laminate lower doors]
This one was a total condo reno that we reclaimed a piece of old cabinetry. If you scroll back few entries, I blog about this piece. Here, I turned it into a media unit.

[picture shows a cool heringbone tiles - Chevron Chic; and a re-purposed salvaged cabinet covered in Abet laminate]

This was a really cool BESTA media unit hack. Added some side panels, a little desk and extra shelving. The design works with the geometry of the space - I laid it all 'full size' - extra work, but all well worth it. 

[picture shows a BESTA media unit IKEA hack]

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Trim JUNKIE - how to instantly add STYLE

[picture shows a door opening with a black painted door trim]

Chapter 1 - How to instantly add style to your condo reno project. 

Unless your condominium project features a very strong, distinct style - like modernism* - I think the greatest style addition can come from carefully adding some trim elements. 

What is trim?

Trim is anything that you add to the walls or the ceiling to decorate - usually wood; or wood-based, man-made product. SO anything that is paneling, mouldings, baseboards, door casings, crown mouldings, beading, door stops, round overs, chair rails - the list is long very long. 

Good trim companies - like Brenlo, here in Toronto - my favourite trip to the sample wall - will produce multitude of mouldings that are dimensionally compatible with each other. That means that you can stack several mouldings to achieve a greater effect - they are modular in a sense [yeezus....I always keep thinking about modularity and efficiency]. Brenlo pocket-size catalogue handily lists off appropriate moulding combinations to achieve popular decorating looks - Arts and Crafts, Contemporary, etc. If you are considering re-trimming your space then it is a great treat to come and see their showroom - it's all on display [FREE SAMPLES!]  And they make matching doors too!

That modularity works for me too, but I use it in a non orthodox way. Like say, I discover on a project that the doors casings have to stay, because they are metal. But they are very plain and boring and very small - just absolutely nothing. Ha! That 'nothing' is perfect! It means that it will work with 'anything'! It's like a blank canvass! It is easy to spend at least 1 hour on each side of the sample wall at Brenlo - looking, considering, proportioning. 

After all the deliberations I settle on this one - 

[picture shows a profile of a wooden moulding - it looks fancy and will add sophistication]

It's not a very large addition, but the key is that it is proportionate. The size of your trim selection should be proportionate to the space you have and style - key take away!

To further refine the door casing design I decided add an additional element to the top of the door - but I did not find anything that caught my eye. Yes, there were couple of small mouldings that were interesting - but nothing otherwise. 

Sometimes, to satisfy your designer craving you got to go the custom route, and I am well skilled*. See, I don't want to replicate a moulding out of a catalogue  [I want to call that 'the common look'; safe, predictable, easy]. I aim for originality, unique, one of a kind looks - striking interiors, you get wow'ed! every time. 

My favourite element in trim mouldings is beading - curiously though, I have not seen any commercially available beading. I think beading has a rich feel to it and carefully layered with some flats it creates a sophisticated look. When I think of beading I think of piping on good upholstery pieces - they are rich and they are luxurious. 

[picture shows a 1/2 router bit that produces beading profile]

While picking up some blades from the sharpening, I picked up a 1/2" router bit that I intend to use to produce some interesting profiles - it's a half bead, with two different size reveals around it. Already see it using to produce variety of cuts and different effects - COOL! Will post pics once I make things!

Remember, have fun with your trim!

There are many books out there on the market about trim  - on both sides: design and fabrication. There are some basic rules for proportions and size, and a good, skilled and experienced carpenter should have some understanding of that. If you want more than just the basics - then you will have to hire a designer. They will be able to divide/proportion your space for best look; they will make suggestions on what elements will work best and what to avoid - I always think that less is more. Trim should have a purpose. Designers will also add colour to it - sometimes, black doors look really good. 

[picture shows painted black doors]


* Someone once told me that they were surprised that I - as a designer - did manual labour - as 'the big boss' I should be ordering people around - do this, do that! 'Yes,' I answered, 'it was my grandmother's dream that I wear a white collar and direct others, but I just like the work too much.' I have managed to achieve a great level of proficiency in my craft - woodworking; all sorts - and it brings me great satisfaction to execute my creations.  Plus I get paid for it.