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everything in its right place covetgarden.com
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A small space and the wide world
20 Q & A 22 the style
Urban cycling chic
Sleeping bags for your gadgets
24 the project 29 the drink
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VALERIE WILCOX photographer
PAUL C photographer
Toronto-based photographer Valerie has been shooting people, places and things for over seven years. We’re glad to have her back shooting for us again!
Paul takes pictures of interiors, exteriors, eats and assorted other things. His work has appeared in such magazines as Style at Home, Elle Canada and Reno and Decor.
Last month, we wanted to move in with Lindsey and her kids. This month, we want to run away with photographer Greg. We shot Greg’s compact Parkdale home just before he packed it all up to take a trip halfway across the world and then maybe take to a life on the water. But before he left, he shared his favourite rooms, collections and renovation ideas. And proving that home really is where the heart is, Greg plans to return to land-based living and his house one day. In the meantime, adventure awaits! On the cover and contents : photos by Valerie Wilcox. Self-portrait in felt (above) by Greg White.
The tapestry on the wall was a find from the St. Lawrence Market. “I think the lady I bought it from thought it was crazy. My mom thought it was crazy.” issue 30
space “Ithe found this wood slab at an antique shop… I don’t know what it was for originally, but it’s perfect on the wall.”
By the time you read this, Greg will be far away, exploring the world. But a piece of his heart will remain in his compact Parkdale house interior photography by Valerie Wilcox still-life photography by Paul C covetgarden.com
his is a story about a house in transition. While every place we’ve featured in Covet Garden has represented a snapshot of how it was lived in at that moment in time, this month we visit Greg’s house mere weeks before he packed everything into storage to set off on his travels. When Greg bought his west-end abode, he was an Ontario College of Art and Design grad who found himself working in finance. “I was in a job sitting at a desk for 14 years,” says Greg. “This house became an expression of creativity. An oasis of creating felt collages and sewing projects, making pizza and playing cards with friends.” More recently, Greg decided to transition back to his first love, photography. “Now that I don’t have to go to Bay Street every day, I have another creative outlet.”
Greg opened up the ceiling, leaving the floor joists exposed.
The house has always been in a state of flux—he originally lived there with his sister and brotherin-law—but it’s also a symbol of stability. Born and raised in Durban, South Africa, Greg and his family left almost everything behind when they relocated to Markham. “I lived in eight different places in 10 years before I bought the house,” he says. “I was trying to create a sense of personal history.” covetgarden.com
‘I still love and appreciate the space I’ve created’
opposite: Greg found these dining chairs at Value Village for $3 each. issue 30
the the space space
ne of the most charming things about Greg’s home is that while it is compact, it also tells a story via his many collections.
On her attraction to wooden objects, Jen says, “I’m interested in the layering of things.” issue 30
The vibe of his rooms is definitely eclectic, mixing sturdy Edwardian pieces with sleekly cantilevered Scandinavian designs and Pop graphic pieces. Apart from the art, says Greg, “It’s all thrift-store finds.” He says it’s difficult to describe the aesthetic that he’s attracted to. “The pieces that most appeal to me show the aesthetic or enthusiasm of the designer.”
Greg’s greatest find is a signed lithograph by Alexander Calder, which you can see hanging on the kitchen wall in the previous pages. “I found it in a storage unit that was being cleared,” he says. “As soon as I saw it I grabbed it.” Still, in such a small space the collections must also serve a purpose. “I don’t carry collecting to an obsession. I don’t have that level of attachment.” For example, the Fire King coffee mugs and the fromagefestooned cheese plate pictured in these pages get regular use. “They’re beautiful, but I use them. If a piece breaks, I’ll get another one. It’s important to feel like I’m not just hoarding.” covetgarden.com
How did Fiona and Maciek find thePerfectly cast hands in their living room? matched: An The hands found Edwardian them. “We went mantel and to the Junction a piece from foraapinball visit–strictly for coffee,” machine.
o in this time of transition, Greg admits that it was a bit of a battle to pack things away into storage. The living room, for instance, is the scene of many a great night, hanging out with favourite people and creating with friends Robert and Christine. “We’ve been getting together and using felt and scrap material to make things for a couple of years now,” says Greg. “We spend an evening of crafting, perogies and borscht—it’s like the old quilting circle.” One of the best examples of Greg’s things being beautiful and useful is the cover with felt
appliqué that he made for his flatscreen. The meta-design looks like a 1970s-era console TV. Greg also appreciates things with a sense of humour. Among his favourite art pieces is a series of paintings of animals smoking by Rob Elliot. “They’re just so good,” he says of the brightly coloured images. These beasties with bad habits hang alongside works by some of the biggest names in art—including a print by photographer Elliott Erwitt. Photography gallery owner “Stephen Bulger is taking care of that one while I’m away.” covetgarden.com
the space Knit pieces by Catherine Rupert mix it up with Mexican folk art and thriftshop finds.
â€˜I love the motifs of 1950s and 1960s designâ€™ 14
the space Greg picked up his Communistera cameras on a trip to Berlin.
hen Greg started his renovation, he set up a basement office to keep all his photography gear organized. When he left his job in the financial services industry, he transformed the room into a dedicated space where he could work on projects and leave them out without having that process interfere with his living space. Also, he was lucky that his basement has a big window that floods the room with a lot of light.
in the financial industry and I needed a backup plan,” he says. “And it had to be something that I already knew how to do.” He decided to redevelop his skills working as a wedding photographer. “It’s stressful, hectic and physically painful,” says Greg. “And I really enjoy it.”
Some photographers use their camera as a shield to distance themselves from their subjects. Working weddings, Greg says, helped him open up as a person and engage with people. That conGreg went back to photography two years ago. “I nection translates into his images and, he adds, started to get a sense of how insecure my job was “has deepened my approach to photography.”
‘It would be fun to start the hunt again, but the golden age of finding things at the Value Village at Bloor and Lansdowne is over’
ven now, while the house is being emptied for new tenants, you can still sense how Greg’s embrace of change energizes it. So many details, such as the sliding closet door in the living room and the bathroom sink frame, were added by Greg himself. He fashioned the sliding door from “I sleep in here salvaged barn board that he found in Kitchener. occasionally,“ says The enamel sink was discovered in the field of Aaron, “and it feels an antique north of Bayfield and set on a like I’mmarket staying over in a hotel standnight of Greg’s devising. “I took a woodworking room. It’s still very he says. “It gave me course at George Brown,” new so it really does the confidence to build things like this and the feel like part of deck,awhich I alsohouse.” built myself.” different
His small but well-planned home in many ways reminds us of a boat, with everything stowed away just so. Part of Greg’s plan on his next adventure is to sail some of the seven seas. One of the reasons he bought the place was for its view of Lake Ontario. He used to stop and watch whenever a sailboat drifted by. Eventually he met a guy who was looking for a crew for his boat and Greg signed up, learned to sail and then got a strong urge to start a new adventure. “Part of the desire to live on a sailboat is a reaction against the clutter of land-based living,” says Greg. “But I’m pretty certain I’ll be back.” covetgarden.com
who? Greg’s classic calypso 1. Duke of Iron 2. The Fabulous McClevertys 3. Lord Kitchener A favourite school photo of Greg’s. Aaron and Amelia
Greg is reading
4. Lili Verona
Gregory White is a Toronto-based photographer. He studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, took a detour to work in the world of finance and then returned to his work behind the lens. He also enjoys woodworking, sewing and sailing. He plans to buy a sailboat and live on it during the spring and summer, travelling to a warmer climate for the winter, until he finally returns to his dream home.
links •Greg’s website
What’s your greatest strength? GREG: Extraordinary patience. What’s your greatest weakness? GREG: In the absence of a deadline, I am a master procrastinator. If you could travel in time, what era would you most like to visit? GREG: I’d love to see what Toronto looked like 20,000 years ago. What’s your favourite place on earth? GREG: Cat Ba Island, Vietnam. Which musical instrument do you wish you could play? GREG: The trumpet: its sound brings me to tears sometimes. Whose talent do you wish you had? GREG: Alexander Calder’s. Forced to choose between night and day, which would you give up forever? And why? GREG: I’d give up day because I get all my creative energy late at night, and because night sailing under a clear starry sky is an incredible experience.
What’s your favourite Toronto experience? GREG: Looking at the city from the lake. 20
Brooks Eton Leather Satchel, £299
the style Oopsmark Wine Bottle Rack, $40
Wildhagen’s Skipper Cap has ear flaps that fold down for warmth and it’s snug enough to the head that it fits under a helmet, $145
BIG WHEELS Greg loves his handmade Dario Pegoretti Luigino because it is an incredible machine and a thing of beauty. Just as these cycling accessories are a great mix of form and fashion
Rapha Hardshell Jacket in Dark Red keeps you dry and warm, regardless of the weather, $440
Rapha performance denim Jeans for city cycling, $240
PHOTO: GREG WHITE
Fred Perry Club Stripe Scarf, £50
Outlier Double Fine Merino Cardigan, $240
Hövding’s Invisible Cycling Helmet inflates to cover and protect the head when irregular movement is detected by the sensors, $499 Euros
the theproject space
Inspired by Gregâ€™s fabulous felt projects, we came up with these easy-to-sew, colourful sleeves for all your electronics photography by Jessica Reid
inspiration: We chose graphic botanical prints inspired by midcentury dishware motifs to dress up our gadget cases.
the pouch • felt fabric • thread • scissors 1. Lay the felt fabric down on a surface with your gadget on top. Trace around the item leaving ½ inch border on all sides. Cut two pieces like this. 2. Sew up the pouch around three sides with a sewing machine.
the decoration • paper punch • stencil plastic sheet • fabric ink • stencil brush
1. Use the paper punch to make a stencil in the plastic sheet. If you want a small repeating pattern, punch a few in a row to help line up the pattern as you go. 2. Apply a small amount of fabric ink on the brush. Dab it on a scrap of paper first to make sure you don’t have too much ink. 3. Set up your first stencil where you would like it on your finished pouch. Gently dab the brush repeatedly in an up-and-down motion to apply the ink on the fabric. Repeat as necessary. Follow your ink’s directions to set the image and enjoy!
Visit our blog for this project! 26
MORE TO COVET
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THE RUM DIARIES
For a hale and hearty cocktail, we asked Greg to recommend a concoction that puts the wind in his sails photography by Paul C
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A favourite of the sailing set from Bermuda, this drink embodies two great tastes of the tropics. It’s darker than most tropical drinks, but it’s just as refreshing. Ice 2 ounces dark rum (if you want to make the drink true and proper, it must be Gosling’s black rum) 10 ounces ginger beer 1. Fill a 12-ounce glass with ice. Pour the rum into the glass. Add the ginger beer. Stir lightly and serve.
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Felt is warm, soft and—as Greg demonstrates—endlessly versatile. Let’s cuddle up with something felty this winter 1. Bev Hisey Butterfly Cushion in pebble grey, $168 2. Flock of Tea Cosy Modern Shorn cosy in Bright Red, $35 3. Dessert First Designs Hexagon necklace, $32 4. Toast UK Felted knit coat in black, £225 5. Ten Red Poppy wool felt pillow, $42 6. Tom Dixon Felt lamp shades (sold individually), $335 7. Peace Industry Matrix 8’ x 10’ felt rug, $3,100 8. Grafo Graphic 8” x 6” Felt notebook cover, $21 9. Glerups Boot slipper in charcoal, $99.95 11. Peace Industry 19” w x 13”h Choob, $500 12. Creation by M Felt play sushi, $11 13. Olemae hand felted mod cat or small dog bed, $72 14. Mika Tolvanen for Muuto Restor Basket in Light Gray, $99 15. Klippie Kuties Poinsettia Hair clip (set of 2), $5 16. Pari Design Industrial felt coasters (set of 4), $20
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Cool Modernism meets warm folkloric touches in artist Karaâ€™s cool eastend loft conversion
Canâ€™t wait until next month for the new issue of Covet Garden? Check out our blog for more ideas and inspiration! 32