Interiors and Exteriors
Art and Design
Objects and Antiquities

Friday, January 23


The Samuji Pre-Fall 2015 collection (pictured above and bellow) sparked a fashion survey.  Here's Wardens choice from other favourite collections including Stella McCartney, Lanvin, The Row and Vionnet.

Sunday, January 18


Lately I've been listening to a lot of audiobooks by E. Nesbit in which jaunty Edwardian children, down on their luck, fixate on every sixpence and shilling they can get their hands on.  These British coins are from pre "decimation" and work on an enigmatic system of division. Confounded by the guinea, half crown and farthing I decided to get enlightened.

The current British coins were implemented in 1971.  Before this date, the British money system dated back to the Norman Conquest of 1066.  The main difference is that there are 240 rather than 100 pennies in a pound.  12 pennies make a shilling (a bob) thus there are 20 shillings per pound.  The money is further divided:

farthing= 1/4 penny
halfpence= 1/2 penny
thruppence= 3 pence
sixpence= 6 pence
shilling= 12 pence
florin= 2 shilling
half crown= 2 shilling + 6 pence
crown= 5 shillings

The guinea introduces some confusion being worth 21 shillings.  It's almost a pound but slightly more.  Tradespeople were paid in pounds while people like architects or writers were paid in guineas. The sovereign is a pound coin made from gold.  It's about the size of a the Canadian dime and would have been worth hundreds of dollars in today's money.

In 1279 a farthing could buy a chicken but by 1900 it could only get a single candy and ceased being legal tender in 1960.  However, the value of the farthing coin in 2013 currency is between 2p and 6p so perhaps we will soon see the British penny heading the way of the Canadian.

Thursday, January 15


The Arken Museum of Modern Art sits adjacent to a man-made beach just south of Copenhagen. Designed by Søren Robert Lund, the industrial structure is designed to echo its surroundings by looking like a giant beached ship.  The doors opened to visitors in 1996 with the vision that "a visit at Arken should add a new perspective to the visitor's life, making the individual wiser about himself and therefore life."  With permanent installations devoted to Damien Hirst, Anselm Reyle and Ai Weiwei, the Arken strives to explore themes surrounding our place in the modern world as well as the very definition of art. 

The most fun and interactive exhibition of the Arken was The Model by Palle Nielsen.  First mounted in 1968 at the Moderna Museum in Stolkholm, Nielsen created an environment for children to both play in and develop through painting and building.  Considered well ahead of its time, The Model allowed children to interact on their own terms in the hallowed museum halls.  Suitable for children 3-12, the child I had in tow was perhaps a bit young for the experience, but still looked charming in the foam pool.

Tuesday, January 13


This past September I attend the wedding of Amanda and Paul at the Watervale Inn in Michigan. Reminiscent of Kellerman's resort from the movie Dirty Dancing, Watervale has been a family meeting place since 1918.  Amanda has fond memories of annual summer visits with her family, making it the perfect venue for their nuptials.  

Watervale started as a logging town in the late 19th century.  As industry left, the place was all but abandoned until 1917 when Oscar H. Kraft purchased the town and surrounding land to create a public resort.  Oscar's niece Vera Noble took up the reigns in 1960 and ran the place until her death in 2005 when it was passed along to her children.  The site offers both a main Inn and 20 cottages for rent, some dating back to the original Watervale logging days. 

Everything about the venue dates it to a 1980's renovation, maintained in pristine condition.  It holds a wholesome rugged vibe while at the same time providing resort luxury.  Even though, at the main Inn, the bathroom facilities are shared and the elderly receptionist crotchety, the linens are beautifully pressed, light fixtures dust free, and the windows in my private corner room could be opened to let the warm fall breeze through.  The waitresses in the dining room wear crisp white uniforms, bringing items from a breakfast menu without limits on how much can be ordered.  The breakfast was included in the extremely affordable cost for lodgings and cream for the coffee came in mini glasses, a wonderful old-timey touch.  

There was a late night walk to the beach, guided by candle lanterns leading us to a bon fire blazing in front of crashing waves.  Fireworks were set off, the bar was always open, natural beauty everywhere, and love in the air.  I felt so honoured to be included in such a magical weekend and to experience this very distinctly American getaway.