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Friday, September 21, 2012

Vin de Garde - Wine Design in Vancouver

For years I've been writing about the importance of consulting with a kitchen designer when planning for your kitchen, and how finding a designer that knows how to cook adds a level of understanding to that process.  The same applies to a wine cellar.

I met the guys from vin de guarde a number of years ago at the IDS West show in Vancouver.  I was  designing a wine cellar for a new client and was having trouble coming up with a simple and attractive way to do so.  Even though I have access to a cabinet shop, cabinet shops build boxes, which for limited applications are just fine for storing wine.  For a wine cellar ... not so much.

vin de garde focusses specifically on custom wine cellar designs.  They design them, build them, install them and can even help you decide how to stock them and maintain them.  It makes perfect sense when you think about it.    Entrusting your wine collection to someone who knows and appreciates wine is going to go a long way.

vin de garde's product line has grown significantly from when I first encountered them.  I addition to the original wood racking system they produced (still one of the simplest and most versatile I've seen) they've added a number of modern racking systems as well as refrigeration units.  Take a few moments over on their website to see their full line of products, or to read about their design process.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Giving the Lightbulb a Kickstart

If you've never spent any time over at Kickstarter, do yourself a favour and go.  There are a lot of creative people out there looking to get their ideas off the ground and Kickstarter provides them with the avenue to do so.

Take LIFX for example.  LIFX is more than just a new kind of light bulb.  It's a new way of controlling the lighting in your room.  Rather than relying on a simple switch, LIFX uses WiFi and your handheld device to control almost every aspect of how you light your room.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Neighbourhood: U Are Cool

Some days a post writes itself.  Today is one of those days.  And I'll warn you right now it's not very designer or even food related.  Rather it's a about an idea that I've been mulling over the past few years.

I live in the house I was born in.  Okay, not literally born in, but I spent the first two years of my life there.  It was my grandmother's house (my dad was raised there too) and years later, when I moved back into the house as an adult to help look after my grandmother, the neighbours on all sides of us were the same as when I was a newborn.

Back then there was a real sense of neighbourhood amongst the people who lived there.  You knew  your neighbours.  You helped paint their fence, you mowed their lawn when they were away, you didn't hesitate to walk into their kitchen and help yourself to a cookie ... okay that was a 2 year old me, but you get the point.

Things are different today.  Families moved on for work or school, the real estate market proved too tempting and homes were sold, and neighbours passed away.  The families that have moved into the area seem to look at their homes as an investment rather than as part of something bigger.  That's their right of course, but it's a shame.

And yet, there are a number of rental homes in the area that in a strange way may be reintroducing the idea of neighbourhood to the area.  These homes are typically rented by either university students or young families.  The students are pretty transient (they rarely stay for more than two semesters) but they at least use their yards and make the homes appear lived in.  Other homes down are block have toys and bikes scattered in the front yards, a clear indication that the neighbourhood still exists.  Meanwhile the McMansions next door keep their shutters closed around the clock.

Last week one of our neighbours, the mom and her 4 year old son, came to our front door with a couple of tomato plants.  They were moving and wanted to know if we would like the plants.  They'd seen our garden and figured we'd provide the tomatos with a good home.  I accepted and wished them good luck in their new location.

When I walked my dog this morning I noticed a message written in chalk on the sidewalk in front of our house.  I saw similar messages written in front of other houses.  I recognized the handwriting as that of the mother (from many chalk drawings in front of their home) and her son.  They moved out this morning, but not before leaving the neighbourhood a little gift; a reminder that neighbourhood is about more than where you live.  It's where you make your home.
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