A Modern tree for the modern home

modern christmas tree

When you live in a modern space such as an urban loft or condo, decorating for Christmas can be a bit of a challenge since most of what’s out there clashes with the “less is more” philosophy of a modern home. One of the biggest challenges in holiday decoration is the traditional Christmas tree. Typically adorned with all sorts of ornaments, lights, garlands, and colors, it may really stick out in a minimalist home. Fortunately, today’s modernists have options that will allow them to have a modern Christmas tree that can truly complement their homes.

modern christmas tree
modern christmas tree

Architect Richard Babcock created an ingenious tree made of real wood sticks to simplify the holidays. Several rows of the wood sticks are attached to a central post and open up to give the tree volume. Ornaments can be hung on the branches but a true minimalist would use it bare to showcase its beauty. This eco-friendly tree comes in a 3-ft table top version or a 6-ft hanging version and retails for $195 - $350. [link]

modern christmas tree

For an abstract depiction of the Christmas tree, the Tannenboing (seemingly named after the the German word for Christmas tree, Tannenbaum) is the ultimate minimalist tree. It takes very little visual space and is made of recycled aluminum in the shape of a spiral. It has 200 holes punched on the perimeter of the structure so that ornaments can be attached to it. The tree hangs from the ceiling and currently retails for $395. [link]

Two dimensional tree
modern christmas tree

If you just don’t have the space for a three dimensional tree, perhaps a two-dimensional tree will work. RoomMates offers original wall decal quotes in the shape of a Christmas tree including ornaments. A little over 4-ft tall assembled, it can be installed on any bare wall for the holidays, stored and reused again the following year. The wall decal retails for about $35. [link]

Flat packed trees from the past
modern christmas tree

Designed by Büro North, a multi-disciplinary design company based in Australia, Rindd, Gryder and Frigg are three styles of laser cut wood Christmas trees named after the wives of Odin, a mythic Norse figure. The trees can be flat packed to save space when not used and are great statements in modern homes. The trees retails for $149-$349. [link]

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivus (I hope I didn't forget anyone), I wish you the best for the holiday seasons.


Holidays Decorating Trends 2010 - Part 2

modern christmas decor winter wonderland

snow globes (West Elm), Winter White Christmas Tree (treetopia), pi’lo feather ball (modern karibou), chiller ornament (zone), tealights Fir silver (Zone), faux fur white stocking (graham and green), Ice Cluster String of Lights (graham and green), blanc cushions (zone), optic finial clear ornaments (crate & barrel), Burst beaded napkin rings (urban barn)

modern christmas decor natural charm

Scalloped trees (West Elm), Buri Squirrel ornament (Crate&Barrel), Pinecone candle (Crate&Barrel), Felt Wrapped Bird Ornament(Crate&Barrel), Preserved Cypress Cone Topiaries (restoration hardware)
, Aspen Faux Fur Cushion and throw (Urban Barn), Live eucalyptus & berry garland (pottery barn), Mixed Pinecone Wreath (Crate&Barrel), Natural nest ornament (pottery barn)

modern christmas decor eccentric glamour

Sequin Ball Wreath (Quality silk), Purple Christmas tree (christmas home design), Reindeers (Bouclair), Purple and Gold Ornaments (Bouclair), Gold Gift boxes (pier1), Ceramic Gold Glam Vases (Pier 1)

modern christmas decor crafty christmas

Twig start (Etsy), Olive Green Colored Felt Trees (Pinkbeen0 at Etsy), Stained glass christmas tree candle holder (bazaar glass at Etsy), Origami Star Ornament (Rigmarol at Etsy), Heart Ornaments (helenaCRAFTS at Etsy), Handmade ornaments (Crate&Barrel)


a boutique inspired bathroom

modern bathroom renovation M2JL STUDIO | modern interiors ottawa

This is a recently completed project of mine where I was asked by my client to modernize her dark and gloomy 1970's bathroom and turn it into a bright and airy one. The goal was not only to modernize the bathroom but also to add a separate shower. The color palette is fairly neutral, with a mix of whites, taupes, chocolate and grays.

modern bathroom renovation M2JL STUDIO | modern interiors ottawa

We kept the footprint relatively similar to save on costs. We got rid of the old tiles on the floor and tub, changed the fixture and vanity and got rid of the "canopy" above the tub, which was making the tub area even darker.
modern bathroom renovation M2JL STUDIO | modern interiors ottawa

I'm really happy that we were able to add a good sized shower to the space. It's my favorite part of this room. We took some space from the closet in the room next to the bathroom. Since it was a really large closet for a kid's room, it didn't affect the function of the room. I really like the pebble tiles from Terra Verre made of various cut stones.
modern bathroom renovation M2JL STUDIO | modern interiors ottawa

We used a simple out of the box vanity and sink set to stay within budget and added a cool looking faucet.
modern bathroom renovation M2JL STUDIO | modern interiors ottawa

The only thing missing is a unique shower curtain, like the Tree Shower Curtain from Urban Outfitter, the Dwell Studio Dot Chocolate Shower Curtain available at Modern Karibou or the Arbor Shower Curtain from CB2.
modern bathroom renovation M2JL STUDIO | modern interiors ottawa


Holidays Decorating Trends 2010

Ottawa Home and Garden Show

I recently wrote a little article on Holiday decorating trends for the Home and Garden Shows here (Go to "Tips and Trends, the click on "Design & Decor"). Stay tune for some mood boards (hopefully soon!)

Designing the man cave

Ottawa Citizen Fusca

My latest article on the Ottawa Citizen was published this weekend. Designing a man cave would be really neat. Here's a picture of the shelf I was talking about from Fusca, based in Mexico. I really like it. You can have a lot of fun with it and it would be great in a library or in a bookstore !
Fusca Comic Shelf

photo: Fusca


Tips for small spaces

Ottawa Citizen Design Edge Marie-Judith Jean-Louis Making the most out of small spaces
My latest Ottawa Citizen article is out. I discovered a few interesting items that help in small homes. I was really impressed with the Goliath table from Resource Furniture. I wish I had discovered that table before I bought mine. It's like condo dweller's secret weapon for entertaining.

Ottawa Citizen Design Edge Marie-Judith Jean-Louis Making the most out of small spaces Goliath table Resource Furniture

Espace-Loggia's bed are really neat too. And despite the fact that they're based in France, they ship to Canada. These would be great in those 500 sq ft downtown condos.

It's too bad the pictures for the closet under the stairs didn't make it in the article. So I thought I'd share it here. Designed by David Money of David Money Architects and built by Mick Coates. Isn't it neat?
Ottawa Citizen Design Edge Marie-Judith Jean-Louis Making the most out of small spaces David Money Mick Coates

photos: Resource Furniture | Espace-Loggia | David Money Architects


Cool ceiling fans

modern sleep ceiling fan round up futuristic cool retractable flowing unique

While searching for original ceiling fans for a client, I came across these unique and modern ceiling fans that I thought were interesting. Which one do you think they went for?


The EVO1 Prevail from FANAWAY is a retractable fan. The blades disappear into the lamp when not in use, which gives the fan a completely different look.

Unique modern sleek ceiling fan minimalist EVO1 Prevail from FANAWAY


Designed by Benjamin McMahon, an industrial design student from Australia, this fan can be retrofitted with an existing ceiling fan.
Unique modern sleek ceiling fan minimalist Ribbon Ceiling fan by Benjamin McMahon


Dervish Lamp by Philippe Malouin was inspired by the brushes from a car-wash. It's a very interesting take on the traditional ceiling fan.
Unique modern sleek ceiling fan minimalist Dervish Lamp by Philippe Malouin


The Artemis ceiling fan from G Squared Art is almost invisible with its large translucent blades. The fan come in a choice of finishes and colors.
Unique modern sleek ceiling fan minimalist Artemis ceiling fan by G squared Art
Unique modern sleek ceiling fan minimalist Artemis ceiling fan by G squared Art


Sycamore fan from Sycamore is a futuristic looking one blade fan reminiscent of Zaha Hadid's architecture.
Unique modern sleek ceiling fan minimalist Symacore ceiling fan organic biomorphic


Fiore by Vento is a neat ceiling fan similar to a flower that opens up to reveal its petals when the fan is turned on.
Unique modern sleek ceiling fan minimalist Fiore flower transforms  biomorphic


Revisiting the layout of a kitchen

kitchen plan 3D Google Sketchup M2JL STUDIO | modern interiors
I'm almost done with one of my kitchen projects where I was asked to help my clients modernize their small kitchen and make it more functional, without getting into major renovations. Below is what the space looked like originally.
kitchen before

As you can see from the "before" picture, one of the main challenges was that three of the four walls had limitations : two of the walls had openings and another one had a large bay window that was about 30 inches from the floor. So there wasn't a lot of space to add counters using the original layout.

The plan view of the original space also shows that the 13-inch deep pantry was covering a portion of the window. We also didn't have enough space to push the wall back and allow for more counter space. Quite the challenge!
kitchen plan 3D Google Sketchup M2JL STUDIO | modern interiors

The solution was to close one of the openings which wasn't really needed, widen the opening facing the window to bring more natural light and use the added wall space for more counters and cabinets. We rotated the fridge and transformed the L-shape kitchen into a corridor kitchen. This way we were able to increase the square footage of the workspace by adding 12 inches deep cabinets with counters on either side of the fridge.
kitchen plan 3D Google Sketchup M2JL STUDIO | modern interiors

I love this kitchen. It's not often that homeowners ask for a bright red kitchen cabinets. We we went for IKEA's Abstrakt high gloss red cabinet with white quartz countertops. Here's a sneak peek of the space. Almost done :) Stay tuned for the results and more details on the finishes.
new red kitchen redesign IKEA Akurum Abstrakt High gloss red sneak peek by M2JL STUDIO | modern interiors


Skull Design for Halloween

m2jl studio publication Ottawa Citizen

It's been so busy I haven't got time to update this blog as much as I would like to. Not to worry, I have tons of things to write about. I might have to shorten the posts though. (All in due time). In any case, one of the reasons I've been MIA is that I started to write for the Homes section of the Ottawa Citizen a couple months ago, which is really neat. Above is a scan of the latest article I wrote. Check out the Homes Section of the Saturday, October 30, 2010 edition. There's also a great article from Sheila Brady about a really neat modern home from local architect Andrew Reeves.


Creating a Warm All White Kitchen

For the Audrey Kitchen, I was asked by my clients to come up with ideas to help them see how they could modernize their eat-in kitchen. One of their artwork inspired me to create an all white concept as shown on this inspiration board.
modern white kitchen minimalist inspiration board IKEA

Avsikt frosted glass and aluminum wall cabinets (1. IKEA) and Abstrakt base cabinets in high gloss white (7. IKEA) would help keep things light and a nice warm porcelain tile floor (12.Sarana Tile) would add a subtle contrast. For the countertop, a Blanco Maple quartz (10. Silestone) would also warm up the space and Erin Adam's large offset mosaic tile (11. Ann Sack) would add great texture. The sleek Purist Primary Pullout Kitchen Faucet (3. Kohler) would be a perfect complement to their stainless steel appliances and an almost invisible fan, the Glide under cabinet (9. Elica Aria Nuova), wouldn't distract from the cabinets.

The bar would be lighted by Naple pendant lamps (2. Zone Maison) and Bertoia barstools would provide great seating without blocking the view. For the table I would use a round Saarinen dining table (4. Knoll) with the translucent Tobias chairs (5. IKEA) under the really neat Ten Tales pendant lamp (8. Nuevo)

oak poster typography map manhattan, toronto vancouver, great lakes

Something as simple as a map can inspire the design concept for a space. My clients has a really neat typography poster of Manhattan. I believe it's an Ork Poster. I really like its simplicity and cleverness and think it would look really nice in a warm white kitchen. There's also enough space to add a couple more of these posters. Unfortunately, there are only two Canadian cities available right now: Toronto and Vancouver. It would be neat to have a couple more for cities such as Montreal and Ottawa.

source: IKEA | Sarana Tile | Silestone | Ann Sack | Kohler | Elica | Zone Maison | Knoll | Nuevo


A pile of gray cats wearing tutus

window display boutique La Vie en Rose Montreal
A couple days ago, I was walking down Ste-Catherine street in Montreal, and noticed this neat window display. I've always been interested in the design aesthetics of commercial windows and love to see creative displays.
window display boutique La Vie en Rose Montreal
This one, from La Vie en Rose, stopped me right in my tracks: a pile of gray cats wearing a purple tutu under mannequins. I wonder what was the inspiration behind this one and what's the message (if there is one). Also why did they chose purple as opposed to pink in their color scheme? (La Vie en Rose loosely translates to Life in Pink in French) Why the ballerina shoes in the back? Why the cats?

In any case, window displays sound like a fun job, especially if you get "carte blanche". If given the opportunity to design for La Vie en Rose, I think I would create various fantasy worlds and always use something pink as the starting point (It's part of their name after all). Maybe a pink Cadillac or a pink pony?
pink Cadillac pink pony


SIDIM 2010

A couple weeks ago (wow time flies!) I went to the SIDIM to check out the latest design products in Montreal. There was a lot of interesting things to see (as always). Here's what caught my eye this year :

I just love the Cone collection that looks like sushi cones. They are so cute and eco friendly. The wood stands are made of ebony, teak or wenge. They're perfect for dinner, cocktail parties, and of course chic restaurants.

SIDIM 2010
SIDIM 2010

I like that they make outdoor furniture fun, by using interesting shapes and colors. Some can also be lighted. It looks like they don't have retailers in Canada yet (they are from France), but hopefully soon.

SIDIM 2010
SIDIM 2010

Bleu Nature, another French company, found an interesting way to incorporate nature in a space by suspending various wood pieces in acrylic, giving the impression that you are looking at them through water. They also have other pieces such as table lamps with suspended river rocks.

SIDIM 2010
SIDIM 2010

I was happily surprised to see the Heatwave at the show. It's such a beautiful hot water radiator. Jaga was also introducing their new and colorful "Play" radiator. It's a highly efficient and eco-friendly radiator that's safe for kids, because the surface stays cool to the touch. Another really neat feature of this new product is that you can customize it. There are five MDF boards that can be detached and painted to match any room. Imagine the possibilities.

SIDIM 2010
SIDIM 2010

SIDIM 2010
m3 béton is an concrete workshop from Montreal who makes everything out of concrete. I really like what they do. This year they were introducing outdoor furniture and fireplace surrounds. The neat thing about concrete furniture is that they can stay out all year. If you have a small condo with a terrace, you don't have to find space inside during the winter to store it and it won't fly away if it gets windy up there.

Stunning! That's all I can say. Real pieces of art. I'm not too keen on the surroundings but the tub is really cool.
SIDIM 2010
SIDIM 2010

Galerie Cantin was presenting art pieces during the show from various artists. For some reason I was attracted to the one with the deer. I just love this picture. Don't know why. Maybe because the deer looks pissed at the photographer or whoever threw the oil at him... BP perhaps? (LOL)
SIDIM 2010
SIDIM 2010