tomi & karim
two lovebirds build a cozy nest
inspiration grows here
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contributors KIM JEFFERY photographer
TR ACY SHUMATE photographer
Kim was born a city kid but found her rhythm in the country when her family moved there. She’s a huge animal lover, and until age fourteen wanted to be a vet. Kim studied journalism and art before taking the creative photography program at Humber College. She’s been shooting for just under a year and really loves it. Kim lives in a great two-bedroom with her boyfriend, three cats and one fish.
We’re thrilled that Tracy is taking pictures for Covet Garden . Her work has appeared in Chatelaine, Canadian House and Home and Style at Home .
on the cover: illustration by Isaac King (isaacking.net)
ALISON REID copy editor Alison, longtime editor, has worked on fiction and non-fiction books for various Canadian publishers.
It’s been over a year since we started plotting Covet Garden. Eight issues in, we’re still amazed by the range of inspiring spaces in Toronto. Take Tomi and Karim’s west-end home. Its pale colour palette and almost minimalist aesthetic make us want to declutter (a little) and paint our walls light blue (a lot). There is a real sense that this house is Tomi and Karim’s nest. Karim did the lion’s share of the renovations himself (with assistance from family and friends). And Tomi’s hand is visible in touches such as her homemade pillows (see our Project page), and her appreciation of all things light and airy (check out our Inspiration page).
bright young things Tomi and Karim work hard but get together to relax in their light-filled abode photography by Kim Jeffery
previous page: Karim travelled to the Arctic to make a documentary. The Charley Harper poster on the left commemorates that trip. right: The mix of natural wood and painted white dining furniture looks fresh and matches kitty cat Léolo.
arim and Tomi are busy bees, both working nineto-five gigs (he produces on-air promotions for television, and she’s a graphic designer) while trying to nurture freelance opportunities. Like most of us, they’re hustling to make a living and keep the creative fires burning at the same time. Their Dufferin Grove Park–area home is their calm centre as a couple. There are pictures of the pair all over, including the drawing that graces
our cover this month. The best man at their wedding, animator Isaac King, painted it as a gift. “He really captured Karim’s ’stache,” says Tomi. Even though the house has been around for about a hundred years (“When it was built in 1911 or 1912,” says Tomi, “there were orchards all around”), the space has their DNA in it. Karim says of his reno project (especially the kitchen), “I’d work all day and come home and work all night.” And Tomi’s spare design sense permeates all the rooms.
A photo of Chairman
One of the most interesting things about Dennis’ objects is that they are all in use.
Mao from China beams out in the bathroom. Meanwhile, in the bedroom, an antique dresser conceals the neatest sock drawer in the world. “I’m anal retentive,” says Dennis. “I guess that’s why I’m a curator.”
Most homes in Toronto lack closets, so Tomi turned a small bedroom into a dressing room.
arim is from Montreal, and Tomi grew up in Vancouver. His dad’s family is from Morocco. Her parents are from Croatia. Their roots are important to them. Although there are not a lot of objects in the house, bits of history abound. They wear Moroccan slippers inside, and Tomi keeps a collection of Croatian glass in an antique cabinet. Family snapshots line a wall. While the couple’s interests are equally represented in the house, the look, says Karim,
“is predominantly Tomi’s taste.” The rooms are light, bright, calming and airy—a place that you can really retreat to after a crazy day of work. “I’ve always loved blues,” says Tomi. “Especially pale, cool blues. I also wear a lot of blues and feel comfortable in the colour, so I knew it would make me feel comfortable at home. I never get tired of staring at the blue walls in the bedroom.” “I love our house, but it’s just a house,” says Karim. “If there was a fire I’d grab Tomi, the cat and the family pictures and get out.”
above: Bedside reading: a cool floating bookshelf also serves as a lamp table.
The couple is well read. ‘I love the Gladstone Library,’ says Karim. ‘It feels like a library of the future’
‘I like things better when they’re clean,’ says Tomi. ‘I feel like my mind will be clearer if I have less clutter’
right: The cool blue hues and white furnishings in the guest room feel like summer by the sea. Warm, warm summer.
“It’s not quite open concept,” says Tomi of the couple’s kitchen reno. “I like the kitchen being a different room.”
ome base is also a place where the duo can indulge in extracurricular activities. Karim has played music since he was a kid and likes to record tunes on his laptop.Tomi blogs, makes crafts and serves up yummy granola. “It’s a real challenge to come home from work and get going on a personal project,” admits Tomi. “ Any moment of inspiration that I can take advantage of gets channelled into an impulsive act or project, and the granola and blog have just been
a little easier to return to than others because the supplies are so often at hand.” Basically, the house lets them do what they need to do. The layout is open without being open concept. Just as the house is the place where they can be together, there is still enough room to be alone when inspiration strikes. “My head is always spinning with ideas—some come to life, and some get shelved in my mind.” she adds. “I just love/need to make stuff.”
‘People always comment on the tile when they come in’, says Karim. ‘It’s polarizing’
above: “A couple of years ago I started collecting salt and pepper shakers,” says Tomi of her cabinet of curiosities. “But generally I’m kind of crazy about not collecting stuff.”
what are you listening to?
Whatâ€™s your favourite KARIM: All my pleasu
e guilty pleasure? ures are guilty. bios What’s your best Sunday activity? TOMI: Finding a self-expanding project. KARIM: Naps and beer. Which fictional character from books, TV or movies would you like to smooch? TOMI: Al Swearengen from Deadwood. KARIM: Shrek. What do you carry with you everywhere? TOMI: A faded picture of my mom, my sister and me that was taken in the early ’80s. It reminds me that I’m loved. KARIM: A chip on my shoulder. What’s the best thing you’ve ever made? TOMI: My granola—it’s like crack. KARIM: Crack. It’s like granola.
Tomislava Franicevic A graphic designer, photographer and blogger (bloggiste?), Tomi works for Transcontinental Interactive by day and collaborates on Blood of the Pigeon with fellow designer Rob Norton in her off hours. She also has a blog that details the story of her house. Karim Zouak Karim is an editor, director and compositor. He is also one of only a handful of people we’ve met who have been to Nunavut and Tangier—both experiences that he highly recommends.
• Blood of the Pigeon site • Tomi’s portfolio • Tomi’s house blog • Karim’s portfolio
what are you reading?
self-portraits We asked Tomi and Karim to pick out their favourite looks (and select one of their partnerâ€™s signature styles as well) photography by Karim Zouak and Tomislava Franicevic
Where Karim shops • Club Monaco • Stollery’s • Armour Lux Brand • Urban Outfitters • Zara
Where Tomi shops • Club Monaco • Anthropologie • Aritzia • Heel Boy • 69 vintage
Tomi likes to transform cushions by stencilling on cute designs. It’s cheap, it’s fast and it’s fun photography by Tracy Shumate
super-easy stencil project Stencilling is great for making graphic pillows, totebags and T-shirts, but not double-sided items—paint applied in this way could bleed through to the other side. Use linen or cotton for best results.
1. Wash, dry and iron fabric before starting. 2. Draw your design on the matte side of
more DIY ideas
some freezer paper.
Fabric designer Lotta Jansdotter’s Handmade
3. Place paper on cutting mat. Use an X-Acto
all kinds of inspiring ideas for crafting around the
Living: A Fresh Take on Scandinavian Style has
knife to cut out the stencil.
home, including several printing projects. For more
4. Place stencil shiny side down onto fabric
Printing Techniques and Truly Original Projects
and secure with masking tape.
printing goodness, check out Print Workshop: Handby Yellow Owl Workshop’s Christine Schmidt.
5. With an iron set at medium-low and the
steam turned off, iron the stencil onto your fabric. The heat of the iron melts the plasticized side of the freezer paper, sticking the stencil to the fabric and giving you a crisp outline.
6. Stretch fabric with attached stencil
across a piece of plywood and clasp securely.
7. For a crisp edge, lightly dab on fabric paint
or simply buy one of these beauties Greys bird cushion by Helkat Design,
with a sponge brush. Tip: apply several layers of paint on top of each other rather than “globbing” paint on all at once.
8. When paint is dry to the touch, gently peel
Big cushion in
off the stencil. Allow paint to dry completely. Fix image with an iron, as directed by paint manufacturer’s instructions.
Hand-screenprinted Dream teal by Robin and Mould, US$32
At the extreme end of the visual spectrum, white objects exert a powerful pull in any space
1. Arne Jacobsen’s Swan Chair in Classic Leather, US$7,000 2. George Nelson ceramic clock, US 5. ”I’m Sorry” blind-embossed card by Bread and Butter Shop, US$3.50 6. Serena and Lily Al model 1400, $175 9. Newton cream and sugar, $70 10. Porcelain tealight holder, US$8 11. Ca 13. Method Moisturizing Hand Wash in cucumber + aloe scent designed by Karim Rashid, US$4
10 6 8 9
S$280 3. Jonathan Adler porcelain squirrel candle holder, US$88 4. CB2 tape dispenser, $19.95 leppo Inlay table, US$895 7. Muji Donabe Shigaraki Earthen Pot White, US$34 8. Lotte Lamp aleb Siemon white/ivory footed cylinder vase, $300 12. White Canvas Classics by Toms, $55. 4 14. Burberry Sport Ice, $72