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east coast

LIVING Anniversary

Inspiring home life in Atlantic Canada

Perfect pies SWEET AND SAVOURY RECIPES TO WARM UP YOUR WINTER

WINTER 2019 | $4.95 eastcoastliving.ca

PASSION OVER PROFIT GROW OVERSIZE PLANTS CELEBRATE IN STYLE DISPLAY UNTIL MARCH 15, 2020


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Get inspired with fabulous decorating, renovation and entertaining ideas…with a uniquely Atlantic Canadian twist. Save 25% off the newsstand price. Treat yourself to East Coast Living for just $14.99 + HST a year! (4 issues per year.)

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LIVING Inspiring home life in Atlantic

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contents

WINTER 2019

50

12

The top paint colours for 2020 are here

THE LIST

FEATURES

DEPARTMENTS

12 Style watch 2020

22 House rules

6

From deep blues to soft neutrals, the top paint colours offer opportunities for every room

16 A warm reception

Style your front entry to welcome guests all winter long

19 20 years of change:

A Rose Bay, N.S. home designer explains why imagination trumps money every time

28 Pump it up

Learn if a heat pump can offer your home year-round comfort

37 Black ties and long gowns

Jane Veldhoven

Host an elegant 20th-anniversary party

Our favourite designers, decorators, and artisans talk 20 years of East Coast Living

EATING IN

20 Quick fix: laundry room

Simple do-it-yourself ideas to transform your space without emptying your wallet

32 Cover: A slice of family history Making a perfect pie takes practise and patience

42 Getting in the spirit

East Coast distillers open a new world of locally-inspired libations

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Welcome home

Practise makes perfect

46 Plants: Make a statement

Oversized house plants are the latest indoor gardening trend

49 Buying Guide 50 Last look: Mapping a new path How a change of mediums sparked a new business for St. John’s N.L. artist Jud Haynes

PHOTO: DULUX

A fresh approach to Newfoundland art


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Learn more at https://www.lakecityworks.ca/tinyhomelottery

386 Windmill Rd. Dartmouth 902-465-5000

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east coast

LIVING Welcome

home Winter 2019

See YOUR home in East Coast Living !

A

Whether you share your own home or want us to see your neighbour’s cottage, complete this form: eastcoastliving.ca/shareyour-home If the home suits an up-coming issue, we’ll contact you for more information and send you a one-year subscription.

PHOTO: BRUCE MURRAY

Did you know our readers suggest most of the homes we feature?

few years ago I set my mind to baking a pie. I love to cook and try new recipes, but pie crust always seemed above my skill level. I sifted, mixed, and rolled just as the recipe asked, but my pie crust refused to come together. After too much handling, I forced the crust into a pie plate, slopped in the filling, slapped on the top crust, and slid it into the oven. “My work here is done,” I thought with mild satisfaction. Sadly, it was not. I forgot to slit the top crust. The result was a geyser of strawberry rhubarb bursting from the seams of my pie and baking all over my oven. My pie was a disaster, but I ate it anyway. “You need bravery and courage to keep going if it’s your first pie crust,” says restauranteur and food blogger Kim Steele in our pie feature on page 32. This past weekend, I tried again armed, with Simon Thibault’s Simple Pie Crust recipe, and a canned filling just in case. I don’t know if it was the addition of vinegar to the recipe or the tips I gleaned while editing the story, but it all worked out. Check out our Facebook page for a picture of my first successful pie. In the winter issue of East Coast Living, we embrace the colder months. Our home story, on page 22, takes us to Rose Bay, N.S., near scenic Lunenburg. Home stylist Mimi Findlay is known for arranging rooms for magazine photo shoots across the country. In this issue, we step inside her 250-year-old home and learn why imagination trumps spending when it comes to style. As we prepare for the new year, one of my favourite pieces makes its annual appearance on page 12: the top paint colours for 2020. We’ll look at how to style your front step for winter (page 15), and talk to long-time friend of the magazine Jane Veldhoven about what’s changed in décor and design over the last 20 years (page 19). On page 28, we’ll help you understand if a heat pump is right for your home, and outline how to host (and budget for) an elegant celebration at home (page 38). Plus, we’ll suggest dramatic oversized plants to make your home feel like a tropical oasis in these winter months (page 46), and chat with Atlantic Canadian spirit producers about how they started their businesses (page 43). As always, we’d love to hear about the homes, artisans, and artists that inspire you. Share your favourites on our social media channels or email the address below.

Kim Hart Macneill, Editor Email: ecl@metroguide.ca EastCoastLiving East Coast Living Magazine

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Anniversary

On our cover:

ADVOCATE LOVE

The perfect pie is an achievement and we have the tips to help you bake your best on page 32.

ADVOCATE LISTENING

Photo: Bruce Murray Publisher Sales Director Senior Editor Editor Production & Creative Director Graphic Designer Production Coordinator Production & Design Assistant Printing

Fred Fiander Patty Baxter Trevor J. Adams Kim Hart Macneill Shawn Dalton Roxanna Boers Paige Sawler

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PRODUCED BY METRO GUIDE PUBLISHING For editorial and

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2882 Gottingen Street Halifax, Nova Scotia B3K 3E2 Tel. 902-420-9943 Fax 902-422-4728 Email: publishers@metroguide.ca metroguide.ca eastcoastliving.ca To subscribe, email circulation@metroguide.ca or subscribe online: eastcoastliving.ca Canada: one year (four issues), $14.99+HST; U.S.A.: one year, $22.00 (Canadian Funds). No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions that may occur. All non-credited photography is either supplied or sourced from a stock image bank. Return undeliverable addresses to Metro Guide Publishing at the address above. Volume 22, Number 4 Winter 2019 ISSN 1714-1834 East Coast Living is a member of:

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East Coast Living is a Metro Guide publication. WINTER 2019

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Online eastcoastliving.ca

Check out Atlantic Canada’s largest selection of stone veneers for fire places, accent walls and more.

Find additional images from our cover home shoot, blog posts, and more on eastcoastliving.ca. Missed an issue? Discover back issues of East Coast Living on our website, plus recipes, stories, and sneak peeks into upcoming issues.

Visit our showroom or call 902-835-0741

Your chance to WIN! Enter our winter Facebook contest for a chance to win a 2020 Saltscapes Calendar (value of $19.95). Find contest details on our Facebook page: East Coast Living Magazine. DAR 2020 CALEN

CONTEST CLOSES at midnight on January 20, 2020. Winner must reside in Canada.

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Meet our contributors HEATHER LAURA CLARKE “Style watch 2020” Heather is a Truro, N.S.-based journalist and columnist whose work appears in newspapers, magazines, and websites across Canada, including the Huffington Post, New Homes & Renovations, and the Chronicle Herald. @HFXHeather

NATALIE BOISSONNEAULT “A warm reception” Natalie is a recent journalism graduate from New Brunswick. She reported for Times & Transcript in Moncton and worked as a communications assistant for the Town of Riverview, N.B. @natalieboiss

BRADY PATTERSON “Quick fix: laundry room” Brady is a film photographer and writer working in Halifax. Follow their film photography on Instagram via @minoltaboi.

ANDY WALKER “Pump it up” Andy is a long-time freelance writer living in Cornwall, P.E.I. He writes for a variety of regional and national publications in print and online. Follow him on Twitter at @humblescribepei.

CASSANDRA BERNARD “20 years of change: Jane Veldhoven” Cassandra freelances for a variety of publications including PEI Living Magazine and The Buzz. She manages All Things Active PEI on social media and administers PEI Good News Only! on Facebook.

SUZANNE RENT “A slice of family history” Suzanne is a Halifax-based writer and works in the non-profit sector. Her work has appeared in Halifax Magazine, Globe and Mail, Canadian Business, Lawyers Weekly, and more. She loves her daughter, Naomi, desserts, and storytelling.

MICHAEL BIGELOW “Mapping a new path” Michael is a writer and musician originally from Stellarton, N.S. He divides his time between Halifax and Heraklion, Crete. michaelbigelow@gmail.com

HEATHER FEGAN “Make a statement” Heather is a freelance writer, book reviewer, and blogger based in Halifax. heatherfegan.ca

KEN KELLEY “Getting in the spirit” Ken is a freelance writer and contributor to East Coast Living based in Moncton, N.B. @kenmonoxide

ALEC BRUCE “House Rules” and “Celebrate in style” Alec is an award-winning journalist with bylines in local, regional, national and international publications. He lives in Halifax. brucescribe.com

STEVE SMITH Photography for “A slice of family history” Steve is a commercial photographer at VisionFire Studios located in Pictou, N.S., shooting for a wide range of clientele throughout Atlantic Canada. visionfire.ca @VisionFire

BRUCE MURRAY Photography for “House Rules” Bruce has been creating food and lifestyle photography for more than 20 years at VisionFire Studios in the Maritimes and in his original studio in Vancouver. visionfire.ca @VisionFire

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Style watch

2020

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PHOTO: BENJAMIN MOORE

DECOR

From deep blues to soft neutrals, these paint colours offer opportunities for every room BY HEATHER LAURA CLARKE

C

hoosing an on-trend paint makes it easier to pull together a room because stores stock plenty of pieces in that colour palette. To help you get started, we asked Lori Byrne, a designer at Costandi Designs in Truro, N.S., and Laurie Cole, the owner and principal designer of New View Designs by Laurie Cole Inc. in Fredericton, to weigh in on the 2020 colours of the year.

PHOTO: BEAUTI-TONE

FIRST LIGHT (2102-70) BY BENJAMIN MOORE Millennial Pink was all the rage last year, but Byrne says First Light is shifting us toward a softer shade with warm, peachy undertones. “I’d love to see this done up in the sweetest nursery or toddler’s room, but would love it equally as much for a touch of colour in a more modern space,” says Byrne. “It would be dreamy on bathroom cabinetry, too.” Cole says she’d love to see this shade in a child’s room and it’s neutral enough to transition to a young adult bedroom. “This colour could also be brought into master bedrooms or guest bedrooms through bedding, pillows, rugs, accent furniture, and artwork to keep the room fun and inviting,” says Cole.

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PHOTO: SICO PAINTS

MYSTIC COBALT (6008-73) BY SICO It can be tricky to find the perfect blue that’s deep enough to be dramatic but not so dark that it’s intimidating, but Byrne thinks Sico nailed it with Mystic Cobalt. “This is perfectly bold, bright and fun,” says Byrne. “This colour splashed around as an accent colour or paired with a bold orange, is something I could get behind.” Cole says Mystic Cobalt would work well in a child’s bedroom balanced with a charcoal grey and mixed with plaids and warm wood tones to create a “cozy cabin feel.” “It lends itself to a nautical look that could bring a boldness and excitement to a space,” says Cole. “It would also work really well on a front door to pop off neutral exterior siding.”

BACK TO NATURE (5340-4) BY BEHR Byrne keeps coming back to this colour. “This easy-living green is muted, timeless, and classic,” she says. “It works in so many places, from front doors to dens to large living spaces. It’s also a great choice if you have wood trim but also pairs as wonderfully with shades of white.” Cole says this crowd-pleasing colour could be used as an accent wall, but it’s not overpowering so you could paint an entire room with it. “I consider Back to Nature a neutral,” says Cole. “It gives off a calm and balanced spa-like feeling, so it’s perfect for an environment you want to feel tranquil.”

HONEY I’M HOME (SC193-3) BY BEAUTI-TONE “This colour reminds me of a cognac leather tone,” says Cole. “It’s perfect for an otherwise modern or sterile space as it pairs well with blacks and whites.” Byrne says Honey I’m Home is a hot colour that’s warm and inviting. “I’d love to see a dining room with this colour on all the walls, a warm, rustic harvest table laden with farm-fresh food and the glow of candles,” says Byrne. “Paired with rich golds, brass, or wrought iron, this deep mustard tone will sing.”

NAVAL (SW62-44) BY SHERWIN WILLIAMS Cole says Naval is one of her favourite paint hues because it’s so adaptable. “It can go black or navy depending on the space and its surroundings,” says Cole. “This colour would make a statement as a kitchen island colour or, if you’re really daring, you could use it on a ceiling, contrasted with a light wall colour.” Byrne also likes this brighter twist on classic navy, calling it “more light-hearted and fun.” “This would work well in any space, from bedrooms to the cottage or a formal dining room,” says Byrne. “The 2020 colours lean heavily on the bold blues with good reason; they’re easy to work with and easy to live with.”

CHINESE PORCELAIN (DLX1160-6) BY DULUX

PHOTO: DULUX

Cole would like to see Chinese Porcelain used on cabinets or perhaps as an accent wall in a home office or library, noting that it’s “very traditional” and would shine in more formal areas of the home. Byrne says this rich, deep tone pairs well with a bright pop of primary colour, crisp white, or even earthy or bolder jewel tones. “It could be easily worked into the most ordinary or extraordinary of spaces.” o

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FEEDBACK ecl@metroguide.ca

@EastCoastLiving

eastcoastliving.ca

East Coast Living Magazine


PHOTO: BEHR

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A warm reception Style your front entry to welcome guests all winter long BY NATALIE BOISSONNEAULT

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DECOR

N

othing is as welcoming on a brisk winter’s day as a bright, stylish entryway. It can be simple and cheery or rich and grand, but have the basic elements to make your entryway work for you, says Stephanie Gouthro, owner of 3R Design Studio in Sydney, N.S. Start with a solid base using containers, planters, or urns. “Using symmetry with potted urns will give you that balance as you walk up to the door,” says Gouthro. “Balance is key, so one on each side of the doorway. If there’s no room for a garden urn, then use over the railing window boxes filled with evergreens.” During winter, add extra lighting, whether it’s hanging from the porch ceiling, spot lights on the snow towards the front doorway, or walkway lights. “Lanterns with candle lighting or battery-operated candles, will always add charm to your front step,” says Gouthro. In

addition to adding sparkle, it enhances safety on dark nights and when your step may be slippery. If you don’t have time for elaborate decorating, Katherine Langford, owner of Picture Perfect Event Design in Moncton, N.B., says focus on the three W’s: warm, whimsical, and welcoming. Langford recommends starting simple. “A lovely wreath and some urns filled with greenery, birch and red branches, and some neutral elements like berries and pine cones to frame your front door.” Langford advises people to get started early with winter decorating. “Get lights on the tree before snowfall. Wait to hang wreaths and garlands until it’s cold so they don’t go brown, but before the first big snow, if possible.” Inside, select furniture that works double duty: a dresser that holds accessories in one drawer and mail or recycling bags in another. WINTER 2019

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PHOTO: PICTURE PERFECT EVENT DESIGN

Get lights on the tree before snowfall. Wait to hang wreaths and garlands until it’s cold so they don’t go brown

A mat, cubed ottoman, hanging mirror, or shelf will give visitors a visual pause before guests enter the rest of the house. Melissa Tutton, owner of Decoria Interiors in Woodstock, N.B., prefers decorating for winter with colours that match to her home décor. “By keeping the colours and decor pieces rather neutral, but seasonally appropriate, it allows me to add and take away aspects throughout the winter season,” she says. “Like adding more Christmas appropriate touches in December and returning to just winter decor from January into spring.”

Adding seating to your entryway is an easy way to decorate by changing out the textiles of cushions or throw blankets, and helps visitors take off boots and shoes without leaning on the door frame.“Changing to faux furs, knits, and more winter appropriate textures will help to up the cozy factor in an entry,” says Tutton. Another way to transform the overall look of an entry space is by swapping out floor mats, Tutton says.“Something that serves functionally as a water and weatherproof option, but also ties in the colours of your winter palette.” Tutton is drawn to minimalism when it comes to decorating, no matter the season. “It’s about making an impact with thoughtfully selected pieces without making the space feel too cluttered,” she says. “Nothing feels worse than coming home and feeling like you have to step and work around your seasonal decor; it makes you far too anxious to pack everything up at the end of the season.” o

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East Coast Living Magazine


PROJECTS

20 years of change: with Jane Veldhoven BY CASSANDRA BERNARD

Our favourite designers, decorators, and artisans look back over the last two decades

O

rganizing is a passion Jane Veldhoven first honed in her childhood toy box. Barbie dolls on one side; their clothes neatly folded nearby. Every single toy had its place, as did her book collection. As an adult, Veldhoven turned that love of organizing into a thriving Halifax business. Get Organized by Design helps clients design systems that bring clarity to their homes. Her love of all things mid-century modern gives her work a distinct style, as does her interest in minimalism and tiny houses.

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BE A DESIGNER? I started an organizing business in 2003 thinking I would just be sorting and organizing stuff, but soon got into designing closets, laundry rooms, playrooms, and home offices. The decorating and design side of the business grew from there and now I am actually doing less actual hands-on organizing work and more design and renovation work, much of which involves storage solutions in every room of the house and some large kitchen renovation projects.

designer or decorator can save thousands of dollars of costly mistakes for any size project. What has stayed the same is that good design is good design. What I mean by that is that if done properly your space will be functional and beautiful for many years.

WHAT CURRENT TREND DO YOU LOVE? I am completely in love with metals in a polished black or black stainless finish on fixtures, furniture, anywhere.

we purchase quality, locally-made products wherever possible to not only support the local economy but to minimize our impact on the environment and how we consume resources.

WHAT’S YOUR BEST REDECORATING OR RENOVATING ADVICE? Spend as much time as you possibly can planning, planning, and planning. Create a budget, choose everything in advance down to the last detail, and then start purchasing. o

WHAT’S ONE TREND THAT YOU THINK WILL ALWAYS STAY RELEVANT?

FEEDBACK ecl@metroguide.ca

My hope is that the minimalist movement will help everyone be more thoughtful about how and what they purchase. When it comes to our homes, I hope that we consider purchasing only what we truly need and love and that

eastcoastliving.ca

@EastCoastLiving East Coast Living Magazine

WHAT DESIGN TRENDS HAVE COME AND GONE IN THAT TIME?

PHOTO: JANE VELDHOVEN

I have been in business for 16 years and I would say the biggest change is the home improvement television shows which depict renovation projects in a manner that is not real at all. So many people think they can manage large projects themselves because it looks so quick and easy on television and then they run into all kinds of difficulty, and often well over budget. In my opinion, hiring a qualified WINTER 2019

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PHOTO: AMAC PHOTOGRAPHY/GET ORGANIZED BY DESIGN

quick fix: laundry room

Veldhoven built this industrial-style ceiling rack with pipes and fittings from from Value Sales on Windmill Road in Dartmouth, N.S.

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PHOTO: KIM JAKOBSEN DESIGN

PROJECTS

Simple do-it-yourself ideas to transform your space without emptying your wallet BY BRADY PATTERSON

These floating shelves help keep everything up out of the way and organized.

W

hen you find yourself putting off the laundry until tomorrow, it’s often because your laundry area isn’t inviting say design professionals Jane Veldholden and Kim Jakobsen. But with a few simple changes you can craft a space that encourages productivity.

KICK THE CLUTTER Jane Veldhoven is a professional organizer, an interior designer, and owns Get Organized by Design in Halifax.“Declutter as much as possible,” she says. “Get rid of a lot of stuff if you can.” She suggests keeping a hamper in each bedroom of the house. This prevents having a laundry space piled with dirty clothes, which can make the task seem even larger. “Plan a couple days to do laundry so that it is all washed, dried and put away,” says Veldhoven. “A lot of people make the mistake of throwing laundry in every day and then there is always laundry clutter.” Cost: Free to $40 for hampers. Time: An afternoon to find homes for non-laundry items.

BE BRIGHT Colour has a profound impact on our psychology, says Kim Jacobsen, designer at Kim Jakobsen Design in Saint John, N.B. She recommends using “colours that make you feel like something is bright and fresh and clean,” like blues, whites, and greys. Choose a colour for your laundry room that makes you feel renewed when you walk in.

Vertical organization is key in tight spaces. Jakobsen suggests investing in wall-mounted shelving or cabinetry. Ikea’s Lack floating shelves offer a budget DIY option with clean lines. You can also try your luck at resellers like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. In addition to keeping good fixtures out of the landfill, you may find quality cabinetry at a low cost that you can sand and paint. Keep your power bill low and your delicates in like-new condition with a drying rack. You can tuck fold-up versions away when not in use, and ceiling mounted options keep floor space open. Veldhoven recommends those who enjoy industrial design build their own with steel plumbing pipe and connectors. Cost: $25–$200 Time: An hour to a weekend.

STACK IT UP When you’re in the market for a new washer-dryer set, consider an allin-one or stackable to reclaim floor space. Some brands of free-standing front-load machines offer after-market stacking kits. If you prefer your machines side-by-side, Jakobsen suggests placing countertop over them to create a folding station. Find countertop at a hardware store or big box store for about $30 per square foot. Cost: $1,300–$2,500 for a washer dryer combo; $150 for countertop. Time: Shopping and installation time.

Cost: $50–$150 for paint and supplies. Time: A weekend, including drying time.

SUPERIOR STORAGE “Make a home for everything,” says Veldhoven. She loves wall mounted ironing board racks that help free up floor space. When your ironing board is visible and accessible you’re more likely to use it, she says.

FEEDBACK ecl@metroguide.ca

@EastCoastLiving

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East Coast Living Magazine

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COVER STORY

House rules A Rose Bay, N.S. home designer explains why imagination trumps money every time BY ALEC BRUCE PHOTOS BY BRUCE MURRAY

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umour has it that somewhere beneath the deer pasture surrounding Mimi Findlay’s tumbledown, 250-year-old Cape Cod house near Lunenburg, N.S. lies a pot of gold. “More than one,” the self-employed home stylist laughs. Locals say an ancient miner buried nuggets here following the Great Gold Rush of 1861. “Maybe, I should get myself a metal detector.” Or maybe not. After all, she says, money could violate everything she stands for, which is convenient since she doesn’t have any. “I love the challenge of not being rich,” says the 67-year-old Ontario transplant, who spent nearly half her life here. She decorates homes, offices, and rentals under the name Rhubarb Home Design and styles photo shoots in Nova Scotia for national magazines like House & Home, Style at Home, Canadian Living, and Chatelaine. “It makes me think outside the box.” Her point resonates as she prepares, as she does every year, to transform the interior of her 1,250-square-foot seaside abode from its current fall look into a celebration of seasonal splendour at practically no cost. Her shingles may flap, her sills may rot, but nothing stops her from deploying the tchotchkes, throw pillows, wall hangings, and lampshades she lovingly collects here and there to honour the

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“Showcase your hobbies, travels, or art to represent your unique story,” says Findlay. “See inspiration everywhere, have fun, introduce some whimsy, don’t take things too seriously.”

arrival of winter, Christmas, spring, summer, and autumn. She’s locally famous for it. “A few weeks ago, a friend of mine dropped by,” Findlay says. “She pointed to a plastic goose I have out in the living room and blurted, ‘Hey, I’ve never seen that before.’ So I said, ‘Yes you have; I just don’t put everything back in the places they were.’ I mean, why would I? Every change in the season is a chance to see everything differently. That’s the whole point: Listen to your space, seize every opportunity, and have no paradigms.” Zen trope or a sales pitch, you may call these: “Mimi’s House Rules for Better Living” or “Guidance Counselling for Your Home” or, if you like, “How Moxie Trumps Moola.” There is no book but, in a way, she’s been writing something like one for nearly 40 years. Born and raised in Ontario, the daughter of a man who worked for the power company, she likes to say she’s lived in 35 houses and worked 35 jobs. In 1982, already a talented cook and practiced dabbler in the decorative arts, she settled in Halifax where she and a partner opened a shop selling gourmet pastas, sauces, salads, and kitchen utensils. Almost overnight, Pastamimi became a hit with patrons and restaurant reviewers. Looking for further adventures, she launched a bed and breakfast and a restaurant, Mimi’s Ocean Grill, in Mahone Bay. These, too, were popular among guests and diners. By the 1990s, Findlay’s reputation as hotelier, restaurateur, amateur chef, and self-taught interior designer was secure. Margaret Atwood publicly praised her. The late CBC announcer Alan Maitland bought a house near Lunenburg from her. Gourmet Magazine and Frommer’s Travel Guide suggested, not unreasonably, that she was a perpetual motion machine. Still, she discovered, energy and enterprise are rarely fungible for long. Of the lessons she learned from entrepreneurship, cash flow management was the most visceral. To save the restaurant, she sold the B&B, where she lived. “I lost so much money,” she says. “I was

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COVER STORY

“Be brave,” says Findlay. “Whether renewing what you own, breathing new life into a tired space, or starting fresh, let imagination be your creative guide.”

working 18 hours a day and just sort of surfing on friends’ couches. It didn’t really matter to me where I lived.” Then, in 1998, as she drove herself slowly mad at the Ocean Grill, she noticed a little white house across the small bay from her rented digs in Kingsburg, N.S. She was intrigued. “It appeared to be on a cliff, always shining in the sun,” she recalls. “After a few months, I asked the next-door neighbour what it was. He told me about the Ovens Park Road, which I had never been on.” Naturally, she investigated. “I poked around the place, looking in the windows, taking pictures. It was clearly in the throes of some sort of renovation. A lot of things had been done to it. It had new wiring and plumbing.” In most other ways, though, it was in rough shape. “The toilet was right in the middle of the living room. The upstairs was sealed off. It had birds living in it. Apparently, the owners had run out of money. Boy… I knew what that was like!” It was, in essence, love at first gasp. There was something about this old Cape Cod house that spoke to her. Something about history and continuity, about survival and resilience, about distinction and

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Findlay’s dinning room seats 10 for supper, so she took on a kitchen renovation to have enough space to cook for them too.

individuality. It also didn’t hurt that it was available and, compared with nearby listings, comparatively cheap. Findlay and a friend (who’s still a silent minority partner in the property) made an offer and sealed the deal. Later, she closed the restaurant and sold its land. Twenty-one years later, the toilet is in the bathroom and the birds have long since flown their second-floor coop, but the house retains much of its original quality: a certain ruinous vibe, a palpable grace under budgetary pressures. Findlay, herself, has used it as a palette for perfecting the art of home improvement with little or no money. She has, for example, spent only $4,000 renovating the kitchen, which can accommodate full-course meals in a dining room that seats 10 or more. Throughout, opportunity-seizing and expectationbusting delights abound: a homemade shower box in the downstairs bathroom; an enormous, second-hand armoire in the tiny den that she scored as partial payment for a design gig; brilliant pigments on puny walls; and of course the seasonal baubles, trinkets, and curiosities from friends, rummage sales, and community chests that

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keep you smiling and thinking, as Findlay might say, “outside the box” all year round. The character of the place spills into the ample yard where four sheds, which have also seen better days, sit precariously. There, Findlay does her best to give each structure a swatch of colour and a burst of defiant promise to “honour the seasons” without breaking the bank. “If you have all the money in the world,” she says, “there are a thousand ways you can screw things up.” At least, that’s what she tells herself whenever she looks too closely down the garden path, past the sagging eves and weathered clapboard, to the spot where deer sleep at night. There’s no point in digging for hidden treasure there, or anywhere else. She’s already found it. o


COVER STORY

“If you have all the money in the world, there are a thousand ways you can screw things up”

The property’s four sheds are weathered, but offer storage for Findlay’s out of season seasonal decor.

How to break the rules Refurbishing a modest home shouldn’t be an expensive misery. She’s the only person to win three Nova Scotia Home Design Awards, so Mimi Findlay’s tips are decidedly trustworthy.

On small spaces: Tiny rooms can make you want to keep the décor to a minimum. That’s fine, as long as you avoid making a petite space look empty. There’s nothing wrong with an oversized couch or a giant dresser if these are the right pieces. “Let imagination be your creative guide. Let the space, itself, give you the clues,” says Findlay.

On light and colour: Old houses tend to have dark, dingy spots. You might be tempted to paint everything white. But a nice, rich red can be a perfect accent for long, evening shadows. On storing and showing: Findlay often styles the same décor pieces for different seasons. Her winter style may feature the same lamp as summer with a shade change. Similarly, keep the throw cushion; just cover it separately for each season. FEEDBACK ecl@metroguide.ca

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IN DEPTH

Pump it up

Learn if a heat pump can offer your home year-round comfort BY ANDY WALKER

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nticed by potential long-term savings on their energy bills, many Atlantic Canadian home owners are switching to heat pumps. Professional installers says there’s plenty to consider before deciding if a heat pump is right for your home. There are two main types of air-source heat pumps. Ducted systems are often more expensive, and use existing forced-air ducts. Usually, you can replace an oil or electric system with a ducted system. Ductless systems, often called mini-splits, are the most popular option in our region because many newer homes don’t have pre-existing duct systems, says Daniel Goguen, president of Tradewinds Eco-Energy Solutions in Summerside, P.E.I. Both options operate the same way. In winter, the heat pump extracts energy from the outdoor air into a coil functioning as an evaporator, heats it, and transfers it into the home with a fan. In summer, the coil acts as a refrigerant absorbing energy from the warm air inside your home and cooling it. Ducted systems feature a central indoor unit that controls the entire house. In mini-splits, the interior component is wall mounted. Depending on the size of your home, a mini-split can be single zoned, one unit for indoors and out, or multi-zoned, typically one outdoor unit and two or more inside. Whichever you chose, the system’s efficiency will dictate your cost savings. The Heating seasonal performance factor is the key number to watch. The higher the

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Converting a 1,200-squarefoot home to a mini-split will result in annual savings of $500 to $700

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rating, the more efficient your equipment. Most installers recommend a rating of 8.5 or higher for ducted units and 10 or higher for mini-splits. Goguen says a new oil furnace has an energy efficiency rating of of 85%, while electric heat is 94%. By contrast, a new heat pump has an efficiency rating of 350%. The higher the rating, the higher the savings. Goguen says, “I have no problem promising a customer they will save at least 50% in their energy costs.” Goguen said houses with distinct levels are ideal for heat pumps as air flows more easily. The cost of a mini-split with one indoor heating-cooling zone (including installation) is $3,000–$4,000, while ducted units start around $8,000. All four Atlantic provinces offer income-based rebate programs and most dealers offer financing options. Converting a 1,200-square-foot bungalow from oil to a minisplit will result in annual savings of $500 to $700, with variations throughout the region. Richard Ross, a partner at Sunshine Renewable Energy in Dartmouth, N.S., says

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customers should ensure they buy a unit designed specifically for cold climates. He says don’t just go for the lowest price, because while the initial cost may be higher, a quality unit will last longer and run more efficiently. A quality heat pump typically lasts 10–15 years. There are some steps you can take to maximize your system’s efficiency. Ross says the better insulated your home, the more efficiently your heat pump will operate. Choose an Energy Star-certified system to maximize your savings over time. Energy Star is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy program that provides information on a product’s energy consumption using standardized methods and identifies more efficient models. Heat pumps can operate efficiently in temperatures as low as -25°C, but Lisa Colwell of BG Services in Fredericton, recommends keeping your unit clean and checking it for snow and ice build-up after storms. Minisplit systems may require a back-up heating system below -25°C, Goguen says, as the


IN DEPTH

outdoor temperature is too cold to extract heat efficiently. When shopping for a new system, Colwell recommends asking for customer references who can share first-hand knowledge about the system you’re eyeing and any challenges. Make sure you understand the temperature ratings of different models to ensure you buy a unit that will keep you warm during the winter and cool during the summer. If the unit is not installed properly, the efficiency rating will decrease, and may void your warranty. Don’t install a heat pump yourself or buy a discounted unit online. Your heat pump’s location is key to proper function. “If you place an indoor unit in a narrow or small area in your home, air has no room to escape,” says Cowell. “That allows the sensors to believe that the air is at set temperature and it will cycle off.” Install an indoor unit in an unobstructed area of your home for best air circulation. Place indoor units on an outside wall, approximately 10 centimetres from the ceiling, in the largest room in the house, says Gougen. Open areas like dining rooms, living rooms, and kitchens are ideal. Your installer will consider how the air flows through the room in order to evenly distribute the heat. Colwell recommends changing the filter in the interior unit every two months and servicing the system annually. The minisplit’s design requires extra attention, especially after a summer of use. “The coil is at the top and the water drips down on the rest of the unit,” says Gougen. “If it is not cleaned properly, mold can develop.” Gougen says many customers say they aren’t switching from oil or electric for the cost savings, but the year-round comfort. “That never ceases to blow me away,” he said. “I never would have guessed that when I got into this business a little over 10 years ago.” o

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A slice of family history BY SUZANNE RENT

Making a perfect pie takes practise and patience

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hen Kimberley Steele was a child, pie-making was a production at Nan Bertha’s home. After the fall apple harvest, Steele took her spot in Bertha’s kitchen production line. She wasn’t allowed to touch the pie dough at first. As she got older, she took on bigger jobs like shaping balls of dough on the cutting board that pulled out from just beneath the countertop. Eventually, Steele was tall enough to roll out the dough. Plus she had what Bertha called “The Knack.” “You had to have the right hands to work on pies with Bertha,” Steele says. Steele and Bertha made about 25 pies each season to freeze. The family ate one at every Sunday dinner. Today, Steele is a chef and co-owner at East Coast Bistro in Saint John, N.B., and she still makes pies. “I love the tradition of pie and I also love the difficulty of pie,” Steele says. The challenge with pie is making the perfect crust. It must be flaky with just the right level of sweetness. Pie crust has only a few simple ingredients (lard, shortening, or butter, flour, water) but how they come together requires an understanding of the science. Handling the crust too much will make it dry, but knowing how much takes practice. Steele says her Nan always used lard in her pie crusts and she continued with that tradition, until she went to Dubrulle

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French Culinary School in Vancouver, British Colombia, where she learned about butter crusts. Now she prefers half butter, half shortening or 100% butter. Steele says home chefs trying pies for the first time should buy a favourite canned filling for the first few pies. That will help you practise and focus on the crust. “You need to make a good pie crust before you understand what’s going on with the pie,” Steele says. “You need bravery and courage to keep going if it’s your first pie crust.” Simon Thibault, a Halifax food journalist and author of the cookbook Pantry and Palate, remembers his first butter crust pastry, too. It was an apple pie with a hazelnut crust. Like Steele, Thibault grew up making lots of pie, especially apple because his father was an apple farmer on Nova Scotia’s Acadian Shore. He says the crust he learned to make with his mother was actually the recipe on the Tenderflake shortening box. Thibault suggests beginner pie makers start with a shortening or lard crust, too. Thibault has a few tips. First, if using butter, keep it cold. Instead of adding the butter in chunks into the flour mixture, he grates his butter. “It creates a more even surface,” Thibault says. He also suggests weighing the ingredients. Instead of scooping a cup of flour directly out of the bag or container, fill your measuring cup

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with spoonfuls of flour to get a more accurate amount. Extra flour will make the crust tough. He also suggests making a double batch so you can practise. “Get your hand into it,” Thibault says. “Get used to the dough and how much pressure you need to use.” For apple pie, not every apple makes the best filling. Thibault says the apples picked early in the season have a shorter shelf life. Northern Spy apples have a longer shelf life. Steele says her Nan never used cinnamon in her apple pie, just nutmeg and lemon. She says she thinks it was her Nan’s way of setting her pies apart from those of her mother and sister. Thibault still makes pie when he visits his family home, including apple. He makes a wild blueberry pie in the summer, which was one of his late sister’s favourites. For savoury pies, Thibault loves tourtière, especially a recipe by Aube Giroux, the food blogger behind Kitchen Vignettes who is originally from Wolfville, N.S. When making savoury pies you intent to eat cold, Thibault says, add more seasoning. Thibault says when making pie, always practise, but let go of the need for perfection. “Does it taste good? Does it make you happy? That’s all that matters.” o


EATING IN

Simple Pie Crust

NOTE: This pastry works best if you cook it at a higher temperature first. Start at 425ºF for the first 15 minutes, then turn it down to 350ºF, for 30–40 minutes, until golden brown.

This recipe yields a top and bottom crust. It also freezes very well, so feel free to roll it out, freeze it in a pan, and take it out when you need it. Recipe courtesy of Simon Thibault, adapted from the book Pantry and Palate INGREDIENTS 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, with more for rolling out the pastry 1 cup lard or vegetable shortening 1 egg 2 Tbsp cold water 1 Tbsp white vinegar 3/4 tsp salt DIRECTIONS 1. In large bowl, sift together flour and salt. 2. Using pastry cutter (or two butter knives), cut lard into flour, until fat is about the size of peas. 3. In another bowl, combine egg, water, and vinegar. Add to flour and mix by hand until dough just about comes together when pressed.

4. Flour countertop with several tablespoons flour. Divide dough in half. 5. Using rolling pin, roll pastry to about ¼” thickness, round enough to fill a 9” pie plate. 6. Fold pastry gently in half over rolling pin. Place in pie plate. 7. Roll out remaining pastry to top pie, or roll out and place in another pie plate to freeze.

Blancmange INGREDIENTS For Crust: 1¼ cups graham crumbs ¼ cup white sugar 1/3 cup softened butter

This creamy dessert’s name literally means “white eat” and offers a consistency similar to panna cotta. This version is bursting with vanilla flavour. Recipe courtesy of Simon Thibault, adapted from the book Pantry and Palate

NOTE: Vanilla will be the dominant flavour in this pie. Ensure you have real vanilla on hand for the best results.

For Blancmange: / cup fresh Irish moss 4 cups milk ¼ cup white sugar 1 tsp vanilla

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Optional: Fresh seasonal fruit, to top DIRECTIONS For Crust: 1. Mix ingredients well in bowl until texture is even. 2. Press into greased pie plate and refrigerate at least two hours.

PHOTO: STEVE SMITH

For Blancmange: 1. Soak moss in cold water 15 minutes. 2. Rinse well and drain. Watch for sand and small stones. In pot, combine milk, sugar, moss, and vanilla. Bring to gentle simmer for 20 minutes. 3. Strain liquid to remove solids. Cool slightly, for about 10 minutes. Assembly: 1. Remove crust from refrigerator. 2. Pour blancmange over crust. Cool. 3. Serve with fresh seasonal fruit.

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TIP: The egg wash will give your tourtière a golden glow, so don’t skip this step.

Classic French Canadian Tourtière A traditional meat pie that combines ground pork and beef with potatoes, onions, and spices in a buttery crust. Recipe courtesy of Aube Giroux, Kitchen Vignettes INGREDIENTS For Filling: 1 lb ground organic pastured pork 1 lb ground organic pastured beef 1 large onion, finely chopped 2 Tbsp olive oil 2 medium-large baked potatoes, mashed with skins removed (or 1 cup mashed potatoes) 3/4 cup beef or vegetable broth or water ½ tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp ground nutmeg ½ tsp ground cloves ¼ tsp pepper 1 tsp salt For Crust: 2½ cup flour of choice (I use a mix of spelt and whole wheat) ½ tsp salt 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter 1 cup ice cold water For Egg Wash: 1 egg 1 Tbsp water

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DIRECTIONS For Filling: 1. In large skillet or wok, combine onion with olive oil and sautée for about 10 minutes on medium heat, until onions are soft and golden. 2. With hands, mix pork and beef together in bowl. Add ground meat to onions and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring to break up meat. 3. Add remaining filing ingredients and mix together. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 20–30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid absorbs. 4. Remove from heat. Taste the meat mixture and add more seasoning to taste. Cool the fridge for about 2 hours, until completely chilled. For Crust: 1. Cut butter into small cubes and chill until very cold. 2. Using food processor or a pastry blender, chop butter into flour and salt until small and crumbly, the size of very small peas. 3. Add ½ cup ice cold water and mix into flour. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough forms a ball. 4. Using hands, bring dough together to judge need for more water. Dough shouldn’t feel sticky or dry and should press into a ball fairly easily. 5. Form two balls and flatten into discs. Wrap and cover in wax paper or plastic, and refrigerate 1 hour. 6. Remove from fridge and rest at room temperature 5 minutes. Roll out each disc on a floured surface to about 1/8–¼” thick. 7. Line a 9” pie plate with bottom crust. Spoon in meat filling, pat down lightly to compress. 8. Brush pie rim with water and place top crust. Press edges together to seal. Trim and flute as desired. Heat oven to 375ºF. For egg wash: 1. Beat egg and water together. Brush mixture over top crust and around edges. 2. Cut steam vents in top crust. 3. In the bottom third of oven, bake at 375ºF for about 50 minutes or until top is golden.


EATING IN

Lilac Coconut Cream Tarts

DIRECTIONS For Shells: 1. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar by hand or with electric mixer. 2. Add extract and beat until smooth. In separate bowl, whisk together both flours and salt. 3. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix until just incorporated. If dough is very soft, refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Heat oven to 325ºF. 4. Divide dough into 12 equal balls. In buttered muffin pan (omit if using non-stick pan), press dough into bottoms and sides each muffin cup. Alternately, roll dough to 1/8” and use large 5–6” circular cookie cutter. Place carefully in tins and press down lightly. 5. Prick bottoms with fork. 6. Place muffin pan in freezer about 15 minutes to harden shells. 7. Bake shells 15–20 minutes, or until golden. Check at 10 minutes and if bottoms puff up, prick again gently with fork. 8. Cool in muffin pan about 10 minutes before removing to cool on rack. For Coconut Lilac Cream Filling: 1. Pull lilac flowers from branch, removing all but petals. 2. Whisk milks together and pour over lilac blossoms in medium bowl. If needed, warm coconut milk slightly to melt coconut fat to

PHOTO: AUBE GIROUX

ease incorporation. This recipe with fresh lilac blossoms and buttery shortbread tart crusts 3. Infuse lilacs in milk, covered, several hours or overnight in refrigerator. is one to whip up after a long winter. Recipe courtesy of Aube Giroux, 4. Pour mixture into small saucepan and slowly heat milk until it Kitchen Vignettes steams. Don’t boil. 5. Use fine-mesh sieve, strain out the lilac blossoms and return milk Yields 12 tarts to saucepan. 6. In small bowl, whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add about ¼ warm INGREDIENTS milk and mix well. Pour mixture back into saucepan with remaining For the Coconut Shortbread Tart Shells: milk, and whisk well. 3/4 cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 7. Over medium-high heat, cook stirring constantly until thick, 1/3 cup powdered sugar 6–7 minutes. 1 cup + 2 Tbsp unbleached white flour 8. In large bowl, beat egg yolks. Slowly pour thick hot milk on top, 3 Tbsp coconut flour whisk constantly until incorporated. 1/8 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter) 9. Pour mixture back into saucepan and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly until bubbling. Remove from heat. ½ tsp natural coconut extract (or ½ tsp vanilla extract) Optional, strain custard through fine sieve. 10. Over medium heat in heavy skillet, toast the coconut for 5 minutes For Coconut Lilac Cream Filling: or until slightly golden. ½ cup cane sugar 11. Add coconut and vanilla to custard, mix well. Cool about ¼ cup cornstarch 10 minutes. ½ tsp salt 12. Spoon into cooled tart shells and refrigerate 1–2 hours or until 13.5 oz can of unsweetened full-fat coconut milk (about 1½ cup) filling sets. 1¼ cup whole milk 4 large egg yolks For Lilac-Infused Whipped Cream: 1 tsp vanilla extract 1. Several hours before assembling tarts (or night before), mix heavy 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut cream and fresh lilac blossoms together. Ensure lilac blossoms 1 cup fresh just-picked lilac blossoms (green base removed) aren’t damp. 2. Infused cream covered in refrigerator several hours or overnight. For Lilac-Infused Whipped Cream (optional but delicious): 3. Strain lilac blossoms from cream. Whip cream, adding sugar halfway 1 cup heavy whipping cream through. Optional: Add several drops food colouring (or beet and 1 cup fresh just-picked lilac blossoms (green base removed) blueberry juice) for colour. 2 Tbsp sugar 4. Top tarts with whipped cream, toasted coconut, lilac flowers, or candied lilacs. ½ cup lightly toasted unsweetened coconut A couple dozen fresh or candied lilac blossoms for garnish

TIP: Pricking the dough before baking will prevent it from shrinking and puffing up during baking.

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Maple Syrup Tarte Tatin with Rye Crust DIRECTIONS: For Rye Crust: 1. Cube butter and place in freezer for 5 minutes. 2. In large bowl, whisk flours and salt. Using hands, rub butter into flour, until about the size of peas. 3. Mix apple cider vinegar and ¼ cup ice-cold water. Pour over flour mixture and combine gently to gradually bring dough together into rough ball. If dough is too dry, add water 1 teaspoon at a time. Dough will be messy and crumbly. Resist overmixing. 4. Wrap dough and place in refrigerator 1 hour or overnight. 5. Place dough onto very lightly floured countertop and roll into 8 x 11” rectangle. It will be crumbly, resist adding water or flour. 6. Fold dough into thirds, like a letter. With seam parallel to body, roll dough into 8 x 11” rectangle again. Fold again. Repeat a third time and refrigerate 30–60 minutes.

Some people make tatin with apples cut in eighths and placed cut side down on the caramel. I tried this method, but the apple layer was too flat and my crust became soggy. Quartering the apples gives them enough height that the dough sits on top rather than touching the caramel. Recipe courtesy of Aube Giroux, Kitchen Vignettes INGREDIENTS For Rye Crust: ½ cup rye flour 3/4 cup white flour ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes 3/4 tsp salt (or ½ tsp if using salted butter) 1/3 cup ice cold water 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

For Filling: 1. While dough rests, peel, core, and quarter apples. Place the cubed butter in 10” oven-proof skillet and melt over medium-high heat. 2. Add maple syrup and lemon juice. Cook for 1 minute, just until bubbling. 3. Remove from heat and place apples into skillet, tightly packed, curved side down. 4. Return to medium-high heat, let apples simmer 12–15 minutes. Spoon caramel over apples if you wish. 5. Occasionally, check apples for burning on bottom. 6. Remove from heat when caramel thickens, 12–15 minutes. If caramel starts to burn, immediately remove from heat and continue with next step. 7. Bring apples tightly together.

For Filling: 5–6 large, crisp apples (Try: Braeburn, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Pippin, and Northern Spy) 3/4 cup maple syrup 6 Tbsp salted butter, cubed 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Baking: 1. Heat oven to 375ºF. 2. Let dough rest at room temperature 5 minutes. 3. On lightly-floured surface, roll dough to about 1/8”. Place over apples, leaving slight overhang. 4. Tuck overhang into caramel, around outer edge of apples. 5. Slit dough for steam escape. 6. Bake 30 minutes or until crust is golden and crisp to touch.

PHOTO: STEVE SMITH

FPO

Flip the pie: Now comes the tricky part. 1. Cool 5 minutes, just until crust top is crisp. 2. Hold plate larger than skillet rim, or cutting board, tightly against skillet rim. Protect hands with oven mitts or tea towels. Caramel may drip. 3. Flip pie in one swift motion. 4. Uncover, carefully replace any apple pieces lost in flip. Serve immediately.

Aube Giroux

is an award-winning food blogger and filmmaker from Wolfville, N.S. Find her farm-to-table cooking show at pbs.org/kitchenvignettes and watch her documentary film, Modified, which received the 2019 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Documentary at modifiedthefilm.com.

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ENTERTAINING

BY ALEC BRUCE

Black ties and long gowns Ready to host a show-stopping celebration? Here’s what you need to consider before sending the invitations

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ou’ve done it. Twenty years ago, you tied the knot. Now, it’s time to celebrate with a fancy party for 50, but where to start? Our region is full of party and event consultants, caterers, decorators, home stylists, and floral designers. We asked several for their best advice for hosting a soirée in honour of just about anything, just for you.

WATCH, BUT DON’T PINCH, THE PENNIES The experts say the best advice is to get advice. A professional’s job is to coordinate your event, like a general contractor on a home renovation. Your job is to make decisions. The first and most important is how much do you want to spend? Set a budget and stick to it. Formal parties automatically require a certain level of investment. The good news is you don’t have to break the bank, and there’s lots you can do beyond cracking open the back door and filling the kitchen sink with beer.

Remember that small details make a big difference. Says Neville MacKay, proprietor of My Mother’s Bloomers, a Halifax flower shop: “Guests won’t remember the great food you served if the first thing they notice is the plastic flower arrangement you bought at the dollar store.” You’ll need a caterer, decorations, plates, forks, knives, spoons, glasses, tables, tablecloths, and flowers. One option is hiring servers to ensure a smooth evening for everyone involved. You can also enlist the help of family and friends to serve at your function, especially if your vibe is more of a “mingle and munch” affair than a sit-down, event with multiple food courses. Hosting your party at home gives you more control over the event and saves money. When it comes to cost, it’s similar to a home renovation. What options you want to highlight will affect the price. Our specialists advise if you budget $150 per head, you’re well on your way to a memorable evening.

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SET THE MOOD

PAPER OR DIGITAL? When it comes to invitations in the age of instant messages you need to decide if you want to go the paperless route with an email or social media invite or if you want to order printed invitations. While printing invitations adds another expense to your list, you may still need to chase your invitees for their RSVPs digitally. The elegance of your affair will be hard to capture in a text message. As MacKay, whose resume includes floral designer, retailer, entrepreneur, and oft-quoted media consultant on all things partyrelated, says emphatically, “It’s all about the first impression.” In either case, the same rules apply: Tell guests the who, what, when, where, and why of your event; convey your accommodations for any special dietary needs; and always allow six weeks for your guests to RSVP. If you have a distinct vision for what your party will look like, include a dress code on your invitation: White tie: A tuxedo or floor-length evening gown. Black tie: A tuxedo jacket and pants, floor-length evening gown, or dressy cocktail dress. Creative black tie: Same as above but incorporating more whimsical accessories like a colourful bow tie or fun jewelry. Semi-formal: A dark business suit, afternoon cocktail dress, or little black dress.

MARVELLOUS MUNCHIES If your event begins after 7 p.m. you can skip the formal meal and consider a repast of nibbles. As for cuisine, almost anything goes, including healthy alternatives. Roberto Gueli and his wife, Anke Kungl, own Conscious Catering in Scotch Village, N.S. “We make local ingredients a priority,” says Gueli. “We also make vegetables celebratory, not that we have anything against dairy and meat.” Included among their popular dishes are: Squash Portobello Casserole Pieces, Sunflower Seed Pâté and Crackers, Buckwheat Bread Slices, Marinated Mushrooms, and Apple Spice Cake Bites. Caterers charge according to the type of event and the size of the gathering, and the range can be wide. A buffet or mingle-meal can cost $35 per person. Roberto and Anke start at $25 per person for a minimum of 20 guests, while a formal sit-down meal could cost $100 per guest. Although most caterers pair wine and champagne, you can consult an expert. Still, as Halifax sommelier Alanna McIntyre told one local reporter last year: “People say they want their wines to pair with the food but in the end, most people just want the wine to taste good. Honestly, the wine is not going to ruin the meal unless you have Barolo with fish chowder.”

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Clear two or three good-sized rooms for your event. That might involve storing some furniture for a day or two. You’ll also want to rent furniture specifically designed for nimble, high-class parties: serving tables, plant towers, and comfy occasional chairs. Keep your space sleek and uncluttered. Standing guests are also walking guests, so flow is everything. In the spirit of the event, keep your decorations stylish. Balloons are fine, but nix the confetti. Tasteful garlands are in; gaudy streamers are not. If you’re in the mood to splurge, then outfitters like Glow The Event Store, which offers rentals in Halifax and Sydney, N.S., can set you up with everything your heart desires: linens and textiles, table-top décor, arches and backdrops, furniture and baskets.“We can do anything,” says Dave O’Connor, company CEO. “People can spend $50 or $20,000.” A black-tie affair really benefits from melodic accompaniment. Singing guitarists are all the rage. As are pianists, violinists, and chamber groups. Think classical and unobtrusive rather than an act that tries to stand out. For your affair, however, you can put on a perfectly respectable version of the Ritz at home for about $35 per person.

FLOWER POWER If you’re placing tables strategically around your party space, then vases of freshly cut flowers might be the way to go. If, on the other hand, your rooms are largely open and mingle-ready, you may want a couple of flower towers or even a flower wall. There’s also the icesculpture option, or its new-fangled adaptation, the snow-sculpture. MacKay says flowers are versatile. “You could look at small arrangements,” he says. “You could look at one beautiful piece in the


MAKE A LIST, CHECK IT TWICE The one thing you must never forget, experts say, is a master list of all the things you’re likely to forget. Here are a few to add to your list: Do you have liability insurance for the clutzes in your midst? Check with your homeowner’s insurance to make sure you’re covered. Do you have an emergency medical kit? Toilet paper. Do you have enough, and will guests be able to find your back-up? What about phone chargers? How’s the napkin supply? Did you buy enough alcohol-free libations? Consider at least two non-alcoholic drinks per person. How’s your ice, and where will you store it?

NIMBLE NIBBLES

ENTERTAINING

If you’re supplying the food rather than hiring a caterer, Conscious Catering’s Gueli and Kungl suggest topping your menu with these healthy crowdpleasers.

Sunflower Seed Pâté This smooth and creamy dip pairs well with multigrain crackers, fresh vegetables, or wrapped in a crisp lettuce leaf. Basic recipe: 1 ½ cups sunflower seeds 1 bunch of parsley (chopped) 1 large garlic clove ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar 2 tsp of sea salt (or to taste) Other options: 1 carrot and/or celery stick (chopped) 2 Tbsp olive oil 1 Tbsp of lemon juice 1 tsp of umeboshi vinegar (Japanese plum vinegar) Other fresh or dried herbs (basil, oregano etc.)

middle of the room. You could look at a floral wall. You could look at a flower-covered archway. You could even look at flowers to give away, every guest gets one to take home.” MacKay also suggests one overlooked and budget-wise option is bowls of clean, fresh fruit. For your party, given the wide variety of options available, budget for $30 per person.

GOOD HOSTKEEPING The hallmarks of a good host include poise, confidence, grace, tact, insouciance, even a soupçon of savoir faire. The event might be in your honour, but you are the CEO of Conviviality and you have responsibilities: • Greet guests with a smile. Make everyone feel special. Let them know the whereabouts of the food and drink. Then, get out of their way. • The awkward pause is the enemy of the party state. Grease the wheels of affability. Swoop in with a hearty topic-changer. Then, swoop out. • Even the most fastidious server is bound to miss a thing or two in a roomful of people. When necessary, pick up the slack without complaint. • You’ve done your job well if no one wants to leave. Alas, all good things must end. Plant the wrap-up time with a guest you know will spread the word. • Now, you’re ready. Go forth, celebrate, and have fun. You deserve it. o

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DIRECTIONS: 1. Soak seeds in warm water for 2 hour or overnight. Drain, rinse well, and add to food processor. 2. Add parsley and any optional ingredients. 3. Pulse to a chunky pâté. Blend longer for creamy texture, and add teaspoons of water as needed.

Squash Portobello Casserole Pieces This dish goes well with potatoes, millet, or any other whole grain. 5 cups butternut squash, sliced or cubed 2 cups portobello mushrooms, sliced or cubed 2 cups fresh or canned tomatoes, pureed 2 medium onion, diced 2 stalks celery, diced 1 sweet bell pepper, diced (optional) 2 large garlic cloves, minced or grated 3 Tbsp olive oil 1 Tbsp sea salt 1 Tbsp each: basil, oregano, parsley and/or rosemary, double if using fresh herbs 2 cups shredded cheese (gouda, mozzarella, white cheddar) DIRECTIONS: 1. Heat oven to 350ºF. 2. Thinly slice or chop squash. If chopping, steam before adding to baking dish. 3. Use squash to cover bottom of greased 9×13 glass or cast-iron casserole dish. 4. Over medium heat, sauté remaining ingredients (except cheese) in oil for 5 minutes. 5. Pour sauté over squash and spread tomato pureé on top. 6. Bake 50 minutes or until fork tender (10–15 minutes less if squash is steamed). 7. Add cheese for last 15 minutes. 8. Cut into bite-sized pieces.

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Getting in the

spirit East Coast distillers open a new world of locally-inspired libations BY KEN KELLEY

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LIBATIONS

I

t used to be that if you wanted to buy a bottle of rum or gin, your only option was a visit to your local liquor store for brands like Captain Morgan or Bombay Sapphire. As the craft brewing industry has grown over the last five years, so has the number of local distilleries. But just because entrepreneurial spirit lovers were ready to go into business didn’t mean that government regulations were ready for them. Ken Mill is one of the founders of Myriad View Artisan Distillery, in Rollo Bay, P.E.I. When his company started, but before getting its licence in 2007, the province didn’t even have an act regulating distilleries. “It turned out that we were going to be one of the first distilleries in the province since the 1800s,” Mill says, laughing. “That meant we had to go up against government in order to get the wheels turning, and it took the better part of two and a half to three years before they were satisfied with our proof that there was a demand for this type of business.” Myriad View went on to launch a product line including rum, whisky, brandy, vodka, and gin, and its line of legal moonshines. Most North American moonshine is unaged whisky made from corn mash. Historically, P.E.I. bootleggers used icing sugar and agricultural molasses, a soil additive. Mill’s company winks at that history by using high quality molasses and cane sugar in its legal moonshines. Launching Myriad View in the run-up to the Great Recession wasn’t the most confidence-inspiring move, but Mill jokes that rather than seeing his retirement money lose value due to market fluctuations, he’d rather lose it doing something he loves. He was right to trust his intuition. This past year, Myriad View entered a selection of its products in the distillery’s first competition. The Sip Awards is the only internationally recognized consumer judged spirits competition. Mill entered four products and won four medals: Strait Brandy won platinum, Strait Vodka won double gold, Strait Shine won gold, and Strait Gin won silver. “We made one commitment to ourselves when we started operations and that was that we wouldn’t make products that we wouldn’t want to consume for ourselves,” he says. “It has to be something that people enjoy, and so far, I’d say we’re doing just that. Our success has been all thanks to word of mouth.”

While Mill’s story is one of striving to achieve a dream, Peter Wilkins, co-founder of The Newfoundland Distillery Company in Clarke’s Beach, N.L., says he fell into the industry almost by accident. Previously, Wilkins co-hosted a U.K. television show called Dom Joly’s Happy Hour, in which he and a partner travelled the world exploring global drinking habits and how different cultures approached alcohol. “This wasn’t something I was necessarily looking to build,” Wilkins says. “I had a strong, general interest in alcohol and then I was approached with the idea of setting up a distillery and thought it could be fun.” Since first bringing its vodka to market in early 2017, the distillery released a lineup of gin two months later. The Newfoundland Distillery Company’s Chaga Rum won Best Canadian Rum at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Best Spiced Rum at the 2019 World Rum Awards in London. World Rum Awards judges called it “…bold and distinctive. Not overly complex in range, but walks the balance between allowing the spices to express themselves whilst retaining control really quite well.” In 2018, the distillery’s Seaweed Gin won double gold and Cloudberry Gin won silver at San Francisco. The distillery’s Aquavit, known for its herbed flavour, is the first spirit produced in Newfoundland that has been fully grown and legally distilled in the province. Wilkins proudly notes its ingredients are predominantly local. While the barley comes from Ontario, the honey is from Tuck’s Bee Better Farm in Grand Falls, N.L. Its pristine spring water comes from Springdale, N.L. The peat and juniper hail from Clarke’s Beach, N.L. and the savoury comes from Mt. Scio in St John’s, N.L. “We didn’t set out with any great, grand plans,” Wilkins says. “We stumbled through the early stages but are rather pleased with where we are at today.” o

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Atlantic Canada Beers SEA LEVEL BREWING

Sea Level Brewing has just opened our new location in Sheffield Mills. With our farming family @Millstone Harvest Brewhouse we are working together to become Nova Scotia’s first Estate Brewery. Situated in the middle of our family farm, our new building is surrounded by the lush acreage on which we grow most of our malting barley, some hops and other fruit inputs. In addition to expanding our production line up (including cider), this new location has a Taproom and we offer a full sensory experience much like at your local winery, where we can offer Brewery Tours.

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ROUTE 19 BREWING

Route 19 Brewing is a craft beer brewery and restaurant located along the ocean in beautiful Inverness, Cape Breton. You can find our beer on tap across Nova Scotia and find our beer cans at your local NSLC & select liquor stores in the HRM. Stop by our brewery for a bite to eat, a beer flight or a brewery tour and be sure to check out our retail shop to take a piece of Route 19 home with you! We invite all walks of life to come, eat, drink and be present. When you’re on Route 19 all roads lead home, and our door is always open.

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CAVOK BREWING CO

Is owned by two air traffic controllers, it was the first micro brewery in Dieppe N.B. Like most micro breweries, it started out in one of the owners garage. The brewery has since moved to a larger brewing facility. Six of Cavok’s beer are available at most liquor stores in New Brunswick. Many more are available in their cozy taproom which has 21 taps. Visit them to sit down and have a pint, to try a flight, to fill a growler or for some cans to go. They even have a mezzanine from which you can see the brewery that is available to anyone looking for a space for events. Cavok is open 7 days a week.

250 DIEPPE BLVD, DIEPPE N.B. FACEBOOK @CAVOKBREWING.CA INSTAGRAM @CAVOKBREWING TWITTER @CAVOKBREWINGCO

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Eagles versus ospreys

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Larch Wood Canada: heirloom products Abbyshot Clothiers: sci-fi fun Barnyard Organics: family farming

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A splash of colour

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Make a

statement Oversized house plants are the latest indoor gardening trend BY HEATHER FEGAN

O

versized house plants help clean our indoor air and make a statement in almost every room, says Mallory Lennon, founder and lead interior designer of Reimagine Designs in Fredericton. “Oversized house plants have become such a growing trend. I’d love to see that continue to stay.” Oversized plants work well in openconcept rooms, whether they fill a void space or in the corner of a living room setting. “We see a lot of bohemian trends happening,” she says. “The tropical-sized plants definitely complement that esthetic.” If the space is overdone with too many different plants, it can start to look messy. Avoid overshadowing your statement plant with too many others. Angie Cleven is the inventory and marketing administrator at Scott’s Nursery in Lincoln, N.B. Scott’s sells tropical plants from Florida year-round. The price is usually determined by pot size and how much effort it takes to grow. “Plants with a longer crop time are more expensive because they require

Left: Ficus elastica (rubber plant) Right: Dypsis lutescens (parlor palm)

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more resources to get them to a finished size,” she says. At Scott’s, floor plants come in 10-inch pots to 21-inch pots. Prices start at $39.99 and can go up to $2,000 for a 3.6 metre tree in a 21-inch pot. Many nurseries carry tropical plants yearround, but they aren’t your only option. “Of course there’s tons of live plants at the big box stores now because they are increasingly becoming popular,” says Lennon. Find an assortment of oversized plants at Ikea and home improvement stores. Lennon stresses the importance of research before you buy. “There’s so much info out there, or ask your local nursery,” she says. “They have great experts there that teach you how to keep your plants thriving.” Some varieties will be better suited to your home’s light and temperature than others. If you have pets or children, ensure any plants you buy aren’t poisonous. All plants need good drainage, says Cleven. We’ve all had that moment when a pot at a store or online catches the eye, fits


PLANTS

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5 oversize plant varieties

that make a statement

MONSTERA DELICIOSA, or swiss cheese plant, widely popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s is making a comeback, says Cleven. It has giant leaves with interesting splits and perforations. This low-maintenance plant needs bright, indirect light near an east window. Let the soil dry between watering and mist occasionally.

the plant and suits your room’s colour scheme, but doesn’t have a drainage hole. To get around this, add a thick layer of small stones to the bottom of the pot before adding soil or place your plant in a plain terracotta pot with a drainage hole, and put that pot inside the one you want on display. It’s better to underwater than overwater. “Too much overwatering will cause root rot and plants just can’t recover from that,” says Cleven. Plants generally require less water during the winter months when the days are shorter and they are not actively growing. Look your plant up online to learn its lifecycle and optimal watering schedule. o

FICUS BENJAMINA, or weeping fig, has several small leaves and a delicate appearance to go along with its delicate constitution, says Cleven. It is notorious for dropping leaves if placed out of bright, indirect light or near drafts and heating or air conditioning systems. Once you find a spot that works, don’t move it. FICUS LYRATA, or fiddle leaf fig, is a popular houseplant that’s hard to care for, says Lennon. Its large leaves grow up to 30-centimetres long. It needs lots of bright sunlight, and you have to clean any dust and dirt off the leaves so it doesn’t suffocate. FICUS ELASTICA, or rubber plant, is consistently popular, especially the harder to get variegated types, says Cleven. This low-maintenance plant needs bright light with some morning sun. Let the soil dry between watering.

SANSEVIERIA TRIFASCIATA, or snake plant, originates in West Africa. Scott’s Nursery carries 10 different varieties ranging from a 4-inch to 12-inch pots. It’s forgiving in all types of light, but only water when the soil is dry. This is a great choice for those who tend to forget watering duties.

From top (clockwise): Ficus Lyrata (fiddle leaf fig). Sansevieria trifasciata (snake plant). Ficus Benjamina (weeping fig). Monstera deliciosa (swiss cheese plant) cuttings.

FEEDBACK

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Buying guide Now that you’ve seen all the quality products and services available in Atlantic Canada, here’s a guide to help you access these products for your own home.

Advocate (p. 8) 902-455-2870 advocateprinting.com

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Attica (p. 30) 902-423-2557 attica.ca

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Amos Pewter (p. 41) amospewter.com

Nimbus Publishing (p. 15, 41) 902-455-4286 nimbus.ca

Blue Diamond Almonds (p. 2) bluediamond.com Cavok Brewing (p. 44) 506-961-5835 cavokbrewing.ca

Sea Level Brewing (p. 44) 902-582-2337 sealevelbrewing.com

Charm Diamond Centres (p. 40, 41) charmdiamonds.com

Terra Verde (p. 18) 506-389-1898 terraverdehome.com

East Coast Living Subscriptions (p. 40, 3) eastcoastliving.ca

Thermador/BOSCH (p. 7) 1-800-567-3855 venmar.ca

Goose Lane (p. 40) gooselane.com Glubes Audio Video (p. 51) glubes.ca Halifax Magazine Subscriptions (p. 40) halifaxmag.com

The Stone Depot (p. 10) 902-835-0741 thestonedepot.ca Pacific Energy (p. 52) pacificenergy.net Red Door Realty (p. 15) 902-499-1323 reddoorrealty.ca

Jennifer’s of Nova Scotia (p. 40, 41) 902-425-3119 jennifers.ns.ca

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Saltscapes Subscriptions (p. 45) saltscapes.com

Route 19 Brewing (p. 44) 902-550-2739 route19brewing.com

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LAST LOOK

Mapping a new path

BY MICHAEL BIGELOW

How a change of artistic mediums sparked a new business in St. John’s, N.L.

I

n 2012, when the prestigious Polaris Music Prize asked Jud Haynes to design its poster, the Newfoundland artist didn’t want to stray from the organization’s screen printed aesthetic. Yet, he was faced with one small hurdle: he didn’t know how to screen print. This small obstacle birthed the company Rehearsals Rehearsals, founded by Haynes and former business partner Mark Bennett, on Water Street in downtown St. John’s, N.L. Borrowing its name from The Clash’s former rehearsal studio, the space served as a nucleus for the two to learn the art form. Buying anything niche can be tough in Newfoundland, so the duo sourced most of their materials online, including screen printing ink. They built a vacuum table, a flat surface dotted with perforations attached to a vacuum pump, which secures the print in place. “I had to figure out how to draw in a style that would translate to screen printing,” says

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Haynes. Screen printing is time consuming. Each screen features only parts of the image that are the same colour. Haynes uses a squeegee to push paint through a screen, waits for the piece to dry, and then applies the next screen and colour. “I’ve done some [prints] that have taken 16 hours to print because of the wait time for drying, so you’re down at your studio for a 16hour day to print one run of a certain print,” says Haynes. Long days and tedious wait times don’t stifle Haynes’ drive or creativity. “As soon as we started, I totally fell in love with the process,” he says. “I love the whole style, aesthetic and craft that’s needed to make them by hand, one at a time.” After Bennett relocated to Toronto, Haynes’ partner Krista Power took his place, and the couple produced high-quality prints for home décor and concert posters for Blue Rodeo and the Arkells.

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One of the benefits of Rehearsals Rehearsals’ downtown location is easy access to a retail space through Twisted Sisters Boutik, a shop below the studio specializing in clothing, footwear, and artwork. “I saw it, like a lot of people saw it, in a local restaurant,” says Jaclyn Gruchy, co-owner of Twisted Sisters, of the neighbour map print. “I think people are drawn to it because it is very symbolic of Newfoundland. People appreciate that it’s more artistic than your typical Newfoundland art.” See more of Rehearsals Rehearsals work and order online at rehearsalsrehearsals.com. o

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East Coast Living Winter 2019  

East Coast Living Winter 2019