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eichler travel

eichler inspiration in the desert

June 6, 2016


On our recent spring trip to Palm Springs, we decided to visit Kud Properties‘ Desert Eichlers.  In case you hadn’t heard of them, these are entirely new homes based on Eichler floor plans, not exact replicas, but Eichlers re-imagined for today in the context of the California desert.  We toured the two newest models:  a flat-roof, atrium model, and this spectacular double A-frame.  There are plenty of images of these homes, so I’ll share just a few highlights here… highlights that I might, you know, borrow for a future project.

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shopping travel

london shopping: twentytwentyone

June 4, 2014

Hello!  Going through my photos and notes brings me to my next shopping stop in London:  Upper Street, which is the high street of the Islington neighbourhood.  We walked it all the way from the Highbury and Islington tube stop to Angel station.  It starts out in a slightly rough but quiet area, increasing in poshness as you go south, and ending in a busy retail shopping area.  Along the way, I popped into a number of truly fantastic shops (including Folklore and the shop of Abigail Ahern) but twentytwentyone felt like most like home.  Of course, my house is nowhere near as stylishly curated as this shop, but the simple modern designs within felt like they could very easily come back home with me.

I’m always excited to find a new source for a reproduction of a midcentury Poul Cadovius shelving unit.  Sure, the original pieces are out there if you have the patience to hunt, but sometimes, I want something pristine, configured to my specific needs, and guaranteed to be functional.  I was floored to realize that this is actually a reissue of the original design!  Pictured here in the background:

The tea set is totally cute too.  I can picture it in an Eichler kitchen.  And you know how much I love tea.

Speaking of cute, I loved these little guys:

Also for that Eichler kitchen, these funky terracotta pots and baking dishes.  Perfect for making a traditional midcentury casserole for dinner.  Or perhaps something tastier.

For our bedroom (from which the shag rug has sadly been retired), I am quite smitten with this kilim rug.  I love the colour palette.  It’s more Scandinavian and subdued than traditional Turkish kilims, which tend toward browns, reds, and oranges.

So bright for London, right?  I loved this place.

I was quite happy to find that you can shop twentytwentyone online plus they ship outside the UK.  Lucky us!  So, the above cross-legged table and chairs, Cadovius shelving unit, colourful tea service, adorable turned wooden birds, clay cookware, and nordic kilim rug are all within reach.

And if you’re in London, you can find them here:

274/275 Upper Street
London N1 2UA

Happy shopping!

This is not a sponsored post.

All photos by Karolina Buchner.

shopping travel

london shopping: liberty london

May 28, 2014

If you ask Dave, I’m a bad tourist.  I’m hard to get out in the mornings for any sight seeing and I’d most happily spend my vacations sitting in cafes, people watching, and generally avoiding the tourist trail.  For this reason, I have never been to Harrod’s in London.  Nonetheless, I was tempted into the old fashioned London department store experience by way of Liberty London.  Housed in an enormous Tudor style building, it’s pretty hard to resist.  I caved.

Liberty is known for their floral fabrics.  You’ve probably seen their shirts in collaborations with places like J Crew.  Florals: definitely not my area.  So after getting an eyeful of scarves and shirts (OK, they are quite pretty), I headed for the furniture and lighting section, which featured a rich mix of modern and antique pieces, perfect for filling up that hypothetical London flat.

Despite my affinity for the sleek midcentury look, I adore the idea of a cozy library, filled with bohemian textiles, old books, quirky lighting, antiques, and art.  One of the houses near where we rented a flat had a library which we could spy in the evenings as we returned home.  It had tall shelves filled with books, walls hung with paintings, and it cast a cozy glow as we passed it in the street below.  These little moments from Liberty remind me of that house and fill me with London-envy:

Their rug section was probably the best part:  stacks upon stacks of Turkish kilim rugs.  I find I’m liking the more subdued palettes more for these, and they had a nice selection of them.  Even if I didn’t have an extra suitcase to stuff one in, it was great to browse and get inspired.
I’ll be posting more of my London finds next week!  Stay tuned.
All photos by Karolina Buchner

london: drink, shop & do

May 20, 2014

Hello friends! It’s been a while! Happily for you, I’m currently on a two month sabbatical from work and intend to use it to blog up a whole bunch of things around here, both Eichler-related and otherwise. I’m traveling for the first four weeks, so I’ll kick this off with a few finds from London where David and I got to spend a lovely week and a half. Things are about to get rather floral and pastel-y in here. Prepare!

Drink, Shop & Do is an adorable shop and crafting space near King’s Cross. We stopped in here for tea and cake one afternoon to take a break from the London crowds.

I think if I lived in this city I’d be guilty of secretly hanging out here all the time. In addition to crafty activities AND tea (my idea of heaven, right there), they host a variety of dance classes and social events. I saw posters for reggae night, a list-making night, and a ‘speed listening’ event for singles. Listening to peoples’ personal music players as a way to meet new friends sounds like great fun. And list-making as a social activity might be a bit scary but in a totally good way, right? You know who you are, fellow compulsive list-makers.

The main space houses a café and bar, with bright white walls and the most perfectly twee décor. A giant pink airplane, glittery fish, and colourful beach balls hang from the ceiling. The tables and chairs are midcentury atomic diner style.  I’m talking formica tops and vinyl upholstered seats.  Tea is served in mismatched vintage teacups.  I could have spent a very, very long time there.

You too can be this happy.  Matching your shirt to the decor is highly recommended, but not required.

Check it out if you’re in London:

Drink, Shop & Do
9 Caledonia Road
London N1 9DX

This is not a sponsored post.


autumn in ontario

October 3, 2013

dear house,
if you were by a lake,
– or, better yet, on an island in the middle of a lake –
that wouldn’t be so bad, would it?

Hi friends!  I just got back from a nice, quiet vacation in Ontario, Canada.  Oh my goodness, it was nice just to exhale for a while.  A lot of time was spent reading, exploring, and just taking in our surroundings.  We managed to get every type of weather:  hot days, cool days, freezing nights, warm nights, sun, gloom, downpours, morning mist, and thunderstorms (my favourite).  I love going at this time of year as the fall colours are almost at their peak.

We spent most of our time in the northerly part of southern Ontario known as Muskoka, or Cottage Country.

Now, I thought I’d take some time to explain what a cottage is in these parts.  It’s not exactly a cabin.  Summer house?  Lake house?  It’s some combination of these.  I believe use of the word itself must be a carry-over from Canada’s British roots, where you can find holiday cottages in the countryside, for example, in the Lake District of England.

In Muskoka, cottages are usually situated on lakes.  And there are thousands of lakes in this region.  I would say that nearly all cottage inhabitants don’t live in their cottages year round.  Instead they come up for weekends and holidays from the south, mostly from Toronto.  It is of course possible to rent a cottage, though a lot them are private and shared by families.  This situation makes for glorious quiet on the smaller lakes, especially in the off season.

One tip for any cottage-curious out there:  go in late August, September, or even early October.  Yes, it’s cooler and you probably won’t want to swim, BUT the bugs (mosquitoes and the infamous blackflies) are mostly dead.  Go in May or June and you may be eaten alive.  You’ve been warned.

We happen to be so lucky to have a cottage in the family, owned by David’s parents.  They have put an incredible amount of work into renovating it from a poorly-insulated little house to its current much more stately form.

Isn’t it adorable?  The answer is yes, and I may have had a hand in choosing those exterior lights.

I’ll be posting more from the trip over the next week or so – stay tuned!

For those in need of more entertainment in the meantime, please consider:

  1. Nuances of the phrase ‘cottage country’, according to Wikipedia; and
  2. Canadian House & Home editor Suzanne Dimma’s amazing modern cottage.

landscaping travel

palm springs: alexander homes

May 17, 2013

Hi friends!  Where did the week go?  It’s been a busy one over here, and I’m looking forward to the weekend and some more projects.

I’ve been trying to get organized lately, and realized that a few months back, I totally neglected to share with you my favourite past-time in Palm Springs:  looking at houses!  In fact, one of the original goals of that trip was to do some field research on landscaping.

Makes you want to rip out your lawn and fill it in with gravel, doesn’t it?  OK, maybe it’s just me.

These beauties are almost all from the famed Racquet Club Estates, mostly on the same street as our rental house.  They are Alexander homes.

The Alexanders are like the Eichlers of Palm Springs:  both merchant builders of mid-century modern tract homes.  Except with more glamour and a family tragedy that ended their development.  Unlike Eichlers, they seem to be ubiquitous throughout the area, and much better preserved, with fewer heinous improvements than we sometimes see in the Bay Area.

After getting my fill of desert amazingness (as much as was possible due to certain, ahem, constraints), I returned inspired to set some landscaping plans of my own into motion.  The horsetail and beach pebble installation from last weekend is a start.  Small steps.

For more of Palm Springs through my eyes, check out my flickr set.

Happy Friday!  See you next week.

photos:  Karolina Buchner


paris: my favorite thing

May 10, 2013

I was going to wrap up this week’s Paris posts with more design-oriented things I looked at, but it didn’t feel right.  I may save that for later. 

When looking back on this trip, I think of our last day:  I was trying to make the most of the time we had left, and feeling overwhelmed by the choices (more shopping?  for what?  more sights?  museums?  where to eat?)  After a week of taking in so much (work, the conference, sights, shops, deciding. where. to. go), I needed my brain to stop for once.  Anything involving the indoors seemed a waste at this point.  The weather was gorgeous, so we decided to go to the Jardin du Luxembourg, where we’d gone earlier in the week.

On the way there, we passed the David Hicks gallery, which had this canvas in the window.  The quote is by Diane Arbus, though sadly I don’t know who the artist is.  I think it inspired us, on some subconscious level, to do just that.  We wandered.  We grabbed tea for me and macarons to share and sat in the park for a while, with no particular goal in mind.

By the way, I’m pretty convinced that the French have perfected some sort of weed killer that leaves only perfect grass and daisies behind.  That, or they hand-tend these lawns.

The park was quite busy since it was a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon.  The one section of the lawns where you are allowed to sit reminded me of Dolores Park on a hot day.  People seemed to really be into the togetherness, and apparent novelty of sitting on grass, here.  (Everywhere else there are little chairs to sit upon.)

And then we wandered outside of the park, in pursuit of a fountain we spied off in the distance.  It was much quieter on the way there.  People were strolling, playing petanque, playing table tennis, even setting up a slack-line between a statue and a tree.  I love how Parisians enjoy their parks and public spaces so very thoroughly.  That walk was my favourite part of our visit.  Don’t you find that this sort of thing always happens on the last day of a trip?

It’s not entirely clear from the picture, but on the left, with the number 10 t-shirt, is a young girl who was playing an accordian.  Strains of the Amelie soundtrack if I’m not mistaken.  I kid you not.  Only in Paris.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this excursion with me.  Maybe I’ll go wandering somewhere this weekend.

Where will you go that you’ve never been?


paris: soya + coutume

May 9, 2013

I spent a lot of time on our trip across the table from this guy, eating at various bistros and cafes, some of which were excellent, some of which were average.  My husband, David, is vegetarian, so it’s always a bit of a challenge to find someplace interesting where there is an option or two that works for him, especially when traveling.  I thought I’d share two of the best spots we ate at in Paris, which you may find helpful if you are also of the vegetarian persuasion.

As you might expect, the interiors of restaurants are how I remember them.  The food at both of these places was excellent, but the vibe added so much to the experience that the interiors alone are blog-worthy.  I generally feel too self-conscious to take pictures of my food, so sorry, no food porn here.  However, doors, walls, floors, art, and lighting are all fair game!

First up:

Soya was one of my vegetarian work colleagues’ picks.  After a failed attempt to get in without a reservation one night, he booked a table for the following night and called Dave and me up spur of the moment so we could try again.

(OK fine.  Some mild food porn managed to slip into this post.)

The interior was very spare, with a few large communal tables and a number of small tables.  Walking in, you get to enter through those old, wooden doors.  After seating ourselves at one end of the communal table, we ordered drinks and I got to stare at the surroundings and caress the tabletop when my companions weren’t paying too much attention to what I was doing.

The appetizer above was humus (or houmous, per the menu) topped with dukkah, fresh herbs, and a mix of nuts.  The menu was all vegetarian and pretty creative.  My entree was a tomato risotto involving Middle Eastern spices, which surprisingly worked really well.  We arrived relatively early at 7:00, hence the empty tables, and by the time we left the place was very busy.  Apparently Parisians eat dinner really late — peak time is usually 8-8:30 if you’re eating out.

And next:

I had originally learned about Coutume on the Hindsvik blog.  In case you’re not familiar with Hindsvik, they’re a husband and wife team living in Canada (in Port Colborne, Ontario, very near where I grew up!) who run a gorgeous Etsy shop selling their mid-century finds — lots of great Scandinavian teak to be had there.

We came here with our friend Michael as part of our epic walking tour which took us from the Eiffel tower all the way to the left bank and St. Germain.  It was a Sunday and we were quite worried as we walked down rue Babylone to Coutume – all the shops were shut tight.  Coutume was both open and packed with people.
Both Dave and I had the vegetable ‘detox’ brunch of ricotta with radish, polenta, and steamed veggies.  It was a nice change from our otherwise steady diet of pastries and cheese in Paris.  Also:  the best cafe latte I’ve ever had.  So smooth.  Even Michael, who drinks a lot more coffee than Dave and I together, agreed that it was excellent.

I definitely recommend this place for anyone who is into coffee.  As a bonus, in the back, they sell all manner of coffee-making apparatus:  presses, syphons, Chemexes, filters.  You name it.  Made me want to break out the Chemex and try my hand at brewing again!

Here’s where to find them:

20 rue de la Pierre Levée
75011 Paris

47 rue de Babylone
75007 Paris

shopping travel

paris: merci

May 8, 2013

Dear friends, I have to confess that part of this goal of posting about Paris every day this week was meant to help me overcome my jet lag by forcing myself to stay up in the evenings.  And boy, is it ever kicking my butt right now.  I am determined to power through it because today’s post is about the much-anticipated (for me) Merci!  Let’s do this.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Merci is acclaimed as a must-see shop for Design*Sponge readers, and I set a goal to make sure and visit it while in Paris.  I had also read about Merci and the recent launch of their online shop, greeted with much enthusiasm, on sfgirlbybay.  So, I had some high expectations and this place did not disappoint!

The store has a much different vibe than Fleux:  more organic, airy, and at the same time a bit industrial.  The goods at Merci include utilitarian but beautiful household products, like rubber gloves and pails, as well as cosmetics, clothing, kitchen ware, furniture, and lighting.  Upon entering the store, we were greeted by an installation of what seemed like about a hundred straw brooms suspended from the ceiling.

While browsing through the furniture displays, I spotted these delicate ceramic pieces:

Of course these beauties could never survive the trip home in my suitcase, so I had to pass on them.

Most of the vignettes throughout the store had really nice balance of the hand made, organic shapes, and more industrial modern furniture.  I was particularly taken with the one on the right here, which included a marble-topped, screw-base table and rough hewn wood stools:

Taking a closer look, the dishes on the table were made of paper-like fibres.  Lovely, subtle, and made in Japan.  But of course.  These would make for some kick-ass picnic dishes.

Merci has multiple cafes integrated in the store which was really handy. After Dave lost track of me for a while, we managed to find each other on the bottom level.  Since we were famished from our trek through the Marais and one of the cafes was right there, we decided to have a snack of fruit crumble and their house lemonade, which was flavoured with ginger and mint, and paired nicely with a view of the cafe’s courtyard.  A courtyard complete with birds chirping away.  It was almost too much charm.  Almost.


I decided to treat myself to a little something to remember this place by:  a pair of these sleek tumblers in black.  They’re ceramic with a silicone layer that makes me think of a finely pleated skirt.  So elegant.

Here’s where you can find Merci:

111 Boulevard Beaumarchais
73003 Paris

And they are also online at, which I just might have to browse more of this weekend.  Enjoy!