Friday, November 28, 2008

Modern Pet Furniture - Is there such a thing?

One eye sore that seemed impossible to get away from in the home were cat trees. You know the ones... You fork over $250.00 for a two-tone carpeted faux tree stump with green podium that your cat(s) scratch up and lay all over? Worse yet, it sits in the middle of your living space because, god forbid, your little one be closed off from all the action! Well, I’ve recently come across a great alternative from a company called Hepper Home.

This pet products company was born from that universal thought: “there’s got to be a better way”. In their search for truly innovative, functional, cool beds for pets they decided to make their own and now have created an array of modern pet furnishings. You can get all the specifics on their products here:

I’ve just ordered the tres cool Pod for my boys Barley & Hops. They will be receiving it from Santa for Christmas!

Hepper Pod
The Pod offers the security of a mountaintop cave with way more style. It serves as your pets own personal sanctuary a perfect place for curling up to snooze, hide, or reign supreme.

Hepper Podium
Just the bottom half of the Pod, your Pet can just curl up for a nap in the most stylish spot in the house.

Hepper Nest
This floor-level sanctuary is perfect for curling up for a nap, storing toys, or falling asleep to daydreams of…zzzzzzzz.

Hepper Wave
This hammock-like perch keeps your furry friend cool in the summer and toasty in the winter. Ride on.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Paperweights - Rarely used for holding down paper anymore

I'm a treasure hunter. I look for unique items in out of the way stores and on eBay. They don't have to be expensive items, just items that I like and feel will add to the decor of my home. One of my recent purchases was a glass paperweight with a dandelion incased inside. I just thought it was beautiful and something that I could have sitting on my coffee table.

I am not one to start a collection of items, but in doing my research, I've realized that paperweights have quite a lengthly history as well as avid collector following.

History of the Paperweight
Europe in the mid 1800's was undergoing the Industrial Revolution, which caused major changes in the economy and society. The developing middle class provided a market for colorful and showy decorative arts. Additionally, this was the time when World Trade Fairs were held every few years in such cities as Paris, London and New York City. These fairs introduced new items and technology to the marketplace. In 1845 at the Industrial Exhibition in Vienna, the first paperweight was introduced to Europe.

Popularity in America
The greatest of the World Fairs was the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. It lasted 5 months, had 100,000 exhibits, and over six million visitors from around the world. Paperweights were exhibited there by the French Clichy glass factory, and they were awarded top honors.

Postal service had just begun so correspondence by letters to family and friends became very fashionable. Thus, a strong market developed for desk sets of writing equipment, accessories, and associated novelties. This is where paperweights made their initial entry into the marketplace.

Production peaked in Europe about 1851, and then sharply declined from 1855 to 1860. This was due to the economic surge of the Industrial Revolution and glass factories turning production toward more grandiose items such as palatial crystal and chandeliers. As well, more and more poor quality paper weights were entering the market, which contributed to their fall out of fashion.

In contrast to Europe, the 1860s in America had paperweights being commonplace. Many of the glass makers were European immigrants already skilled in the art. However, like Europe 40 years earlier, America also suffered a decline in quality made weights and they again fell out of favor.

Interest of Collectors
Paperweights were first recognized as a legitimate form of the decorative arts in 1925, when Sothebys conducted the first major auction of paperweights. That auction included 82 weights that sold for a total of $588 (an average of about $7 each). Auctions have been held periodically ever since.

Re-manufacture in the 1950-60s
The number of paperweight collectors began to increase sharply after World War II. This coincided with the re-manufacture of paperweights by the French factories. This was the result of the late Paul Jokelson (an importer and collector, 1905-2002), who encouraged them in the early 1950s to revive the art. The French glass artisans were then faced with the enormous task of re-discovering the lost techniques (no records of how to manufacturer the weights were ever kept). Shortly after, a paperweight cottage industry developed in Scotland, which quickly grew to become a major manufacturer of quality paperweights from modern factories.

It is estimated there are presently about 20,000 collectors, including diverse celebrities such as Peter Jennings, Johnny Carson, Alan Shepard, John Madden, Ann Bancroft, Henry Winkler, Robin Leach, and the late Malcolm Forbes.

So if you're looking for something to add some visual interest to a shelf, table or desk - consider an antique paperweight. Not only will you have a beautiful item, but a piece of history as well.

Millefiori Glass

Flowers inside glass dome

Glass Swirls

Friday, November 14, 2008

One Stop Shop for All Your Home Needs

Last night I attended an Open House hosted by Midland Appliances, Living Space and Cantu Bathrooms and Hardware. To date, I had not been in this trio of buildings located on Kingsway @ 10th Ave. Wow – talk about a one stop shop selection!

Midland Appliances “By Design” offers the latest in European and eco-friendly appliances. Name brands like AEG, Ariston and Gaggenau will have you drooling over the latest in kitchen design and technology. Midland is committed to Green, so all of their products meet the Green Technology requirements and are continuously being used in the newest Vancouver projects.

Living Space offers consumers the best in classic and contemporary European modern furniture and d├ęcor. Whether you’re looking for the classic Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman or a Louis Ghost Chair by Philippe Stark, Living Space carries it. Their warehouse space is large enough to display a variety of vignettes allowing the shopper to visualize how the furnishings would look set up in their home.

The third space in this building is occupied by Cantu Bathrooms and Hardware Ltd. This showroom is a feast for the eyes. One will find the widest range of products from Europe (the leader in the industry) in an environment designed to display the products both on their own merits and as part of a design suite. There are entire walls of kitchen and bathroom pulls and knobs as well as fully functional shower heads and fixtures to test. In fact, the Vancouver Showroom has set a standard for the industry that no one yet can match.