The Baskervillian

A look at the back of one of the custom upholstered chairs in Surroundings booth. The chairs were by far the most photographed items in the booth.
 

Set-up, still under shrink wrap as there is sawing going on all around us. The wallpaper from Kozeil of Paris was a big hit with the crowd.

The Montauk booth, it was all about that backdrop photo, and once in awhile someone looked at the sofa.
 
Design for dining, Sophie Burke's Scandinavian Inspired dining room was a hit with me! Loved it!
 
 
Late Saturday night the guys from Sticks and Stones grabbed the jewelry box people from the neighbouring booth to place around their fire pit. Very funny, gave everyone a good laugh at the end of a long day.
 
A big thank-you to everyone who dropped by Surroundings booth. It was very busy and I apologize for not being able to speak to everyone. Looking forward to next year.
Here is a sneak peak of what we are taking to IDS West. The show opens this Thursday night, Sept. 19th at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
 
We are essentially building a library for the show, featuring amazing wallpaper I brought back from Paris. The upholstered goods are done au natural, ie, no foam, or synethic fibres on the inside or outside. The Belgian linen was personally sourced by myself in Brussels, as well as the Jute. Leather is Italian. Great care has been taken into the creation of these pieces. One of a kind, never to be duplicated.
 
The  above wingback chair, fondly referred to as Mrs. Critchley. We custom upholstered the 1870's frame in leather, Belgian Linen, and Jute. This lovely chair was made for a woman, great scale, proportion and balance.
 
 
Mr. Critchley,  in the studio, the re-creation begins months ago.
 
 
Mr. Critchley, final finish, leather, Belgian Linen, Jute. 
 
 
This chair has exquisite detailing, and is a joy to view from all angles.
 
 
Le Sofa, finished, in the studio.
 
 
The hands that make all the magic happen, upholsterers,  Bonnie and Arwen Schmaus.
 
 
Le Sofa stripped down, the solid oak frame was made by Copper Bros. , Toronto in the 1950's. 
 
 
Coming to the show is the magnificent Victorian pier mirror, more than just a mirror, this is art.
 
When we finally get the room built sometime Tuesday night, I promise to take photos and post the finished product.
 
For now, Im off to load up the truck, drop off Ida at doggie day care, and pick up marble for a last minute install.
 
IDS West..... Here we come!
 
 
This beautiful quarter sawn oak cabinet is big, right? Or is it? measurements are 20" deep and 48" wide, therefore  it takes up about 6.6 square feet. The average coffee table takes up 8 square feet. 
 
I often refer to large cabinets as casement pieces, and sadly, far too often I here people say "you need a big house for that." You don't. 
 
Casement pieces are the easiest to place in a home as they take up wall space where no one is walking. Think this through, when you walk through your home, how close are you to the wall? If your like me you are never closer than 2 feet ( and my house is small).
 
The coffee table, sofa, end tables, etc, they take up floor space, serious floor space, and these items need to be considered carefully. Why is it then that we are so intimidated by casement pieces?
 
UNDERSTANDING SPACE
Floor space vs. Wall space
 
 
Casement pieces can ground a room,  give a focal point, and make it easier to build around. This wonderful french cabinet was in an entry way in its previous home. The cabinet housed boots and shoes down below, and beautiful objects in the glass front section. At only 16 " deep it took up little floor space, and provided a strong focal point for the home entrance. It takes up a mere 5 square feet of floor, and  30 square feet of wall. 
 
 
My kitchen hutch at Rennick Cottage is a great example of building a room around a piece. The kitchen was gutted when I purchased this piece from Surroundings ( yes, I buy from my own store). I had an 8 foot wall section with no interruption ( doors, windows, etc), this area is where you walk through the house, a major traffic area. 
 
Again, you don't walk closer than 2 feet from the wall, so it made since to put a large casement piece there and utilize the wall space. The kitchen hutch is 21" deep, 6' long and 7' high, floor space is 10.5 square feet, wall space is 42 square feet. 
 
This piece literally made the kitchen. Fabulous for storage, beautiful to look at, function and beauty.
 
So before you say those words "my house is too small for that piece" , remember it takes up considerably less space than your coffee table!
 
Think Big, and utilize all the wall space you can, and save on floor space.
 
Cheers,
 
Kristiane
The rear entrance to a basement suite, shows great detailing on the elm stairs
 

We all have been there, apartment hunting in Victoria, and the ad reads above ground suite. You arrive to a dark dungy basement suite, where the only effort to make it liveable has been a fresh coat of paint.

Here are some photos of two basements suites I have been in this year, which show great thought, and care went into these spaces. In both cases the owners mandate was to create a space they would live in. Lone and behold one of the owners did just that, she moved downstairs!

 
 
 Old beams are left exposed, and open shelving in the kitchen shows off the owners housewares.
No upper cabinets keeps the space open and bright. Polished concrete floors make the space more loft like.
 
Another basement suite with polished concrete floors and open concept, again exposed beams add interest and character.
 
Both these suites have some common features that really make them a stand out.
 
  1.  Both are walk-outs,  featuring french doors which adds a ton of light.
  2.  Polished concrete floors are sophisticated and long wearing ( great for a rental),
  3.  No uppers in the kitchen which gives the ceiling the illusion of more height.
  4. Walls are framed out over the concrete walls making them appear higher.
  5. Open concept, fewer walls means more light.
  6. Finishing details, trim, doors, beams, are all top quality.
It costs a great deal of money to convert basements into a suite, the above owners spent upwards of $60,000.00 on these renovations. One made the comment, " it costs  a lot of money, regardless of the design, just to get it to the finishing stages, it was around $30,000.00. It really pays off spending extra on the details, what you get is spectacular vs. blah. In the end it is still your home, even if it is downstairs."
Time flies when your having fun. It truly does. Today Surroundings celebrates its 20th anniversary. Yes, I opened my doors on July 1st, 1993. It feels like it was just yesterday.


For all my regular and long standing customers, you have watched the store evolve and transform over the years. I have ripped out walls, false ceilings ( to expose our magnificent pressed tin ceiling), repaint too many times to mention, and of course move the cash desk.

Looking back it seems a bit of a blur. I am now selling furniture to my clients children who came into the store as pre-schoolers. Life goes on. I am so impressed with this young generation's love of all things old, they look at buying antiques and vintage as a green choice, and recognize they are getting quality that they could not afford to purchase in brand new furniture.

Latter today when my mom arrives, we will open the bottle of champagne above. I brought back the bubbly 2 years ago when I was in Champagne, France. I have been waiting for a special occasion, and I think this is it.
 
 
Sometime tonight I will pop the cork, toast Surroundings, my parents ( I so wished my Dad had lived to see this day), and all my loyal customers. Thank-you all!
 
 Cheers 
 
 To 20 years of great furniture!

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