Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Any fan of Inspector Gadget and 007 James Bond will probably be drawn to these two pieces of furniture I have recently come across. Trickery, in the form of furniture, at it's best.

The first is the Shadow Chair by Duffy London. A chair that appears to sit on two legs that cast a black shadow on the floor. The black shadow is actually a sound steel frame cleverly designed to hide in the dark.

The second is the Softwood Sofa by Moroso. More deception here in the appearance of a mountain park bench but the following piece is actually a sofa. The sturdy wood frame of this sofa by Swedish design collective Front Studio supports cushions upholstered in a woodgrain photo-printed fabric.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Resale pace quickens
By Kathy McCormick,
Calgary Herald
August 22, 2009

Patience is a virtue, an adage that especially holds true if you are trying to sell your home.

Or it could also be a simple truth: If it's priced right, it will sell.

Take a look at the mid-year resale statistics by the Calgary Real Estate Board on the city's different neighbourhoods.

The board's zone A, which is generally communities in the northwest, had one home sell in just three days, defying naysayers hyping the market slowdown.

That neighbourhood was Charleswood, which only posted that one sale for the month of July.

From April 1 to the end of June, the shortest average number of days for homes on the market throughout the city was in the community of Scarboro in the board's zone C. Two homes sold at an average of just eight days, with an average price of $1.35 million.

Some properties are selling as quickly as seven to 10 days after listing, says Len Wong of Re/Max House of Realty. "That's a big, big change from the beginning of the year, when it was more like 50 days."

Homes under $450,000 are the hottest sellers, he says. "The core of sales has been stimulated by the lower end."

On the other hand, the longest average wait for a community to sell a home was just over eight months for a house in Connaught, also in Zone C. It sold for $605,000.

Overall, activity picked up in the city with Zone A posting the most sales for the second quarter--1,772 homes sold for an average price of $443,134 (median price of $410,000, which is the middle price of all homes sold.)

Zone C had the highest average sale price at $522,647 for its 1,337 sales. It also posted the highest median price at $440,000.Nine communities had average sale prices topping $1 million, with eight of the nine communities in Zone C.

The highest average home price was $1,636,571 for the 14 homes that sold in Mount Royal during that time period. Mount Royal's median price, however, was just over $1 million.

Scarboro, with two sales averaging $1.4 million, had the highest median price at $1.35 million, followed by The Slopes with two sales averaging $1,472,888 and $1,225,000 median. "Anecdotally, I've actually heard of a couple of multiple offers for homes priced over $1 million," says Bonnie Wegerich, president of the Calgary Real Estate Board.

At the other end, the most affordable homes sold in the city during the three-month period were in West Dover in Zone B, where the five homes that sold averaged just $199,400--the only average prices below$200,000 in Calgary during the second quarter. The median price was $197,000. The busiest neighbourhood for home sales was Coventry Hills in Zone A, where 141 homes changed hands at an average price of $342,429 and a median price of $336,000.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Women quicker to make up minds on buying a house, survey finds
Financial Post
Published: Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Men and women setting out to buy a house together should know that they will come to a decision to purchase from different angles, says a survey sponsored by Coldwell Banker, which has uncovered some gender-based differences -- as well as some common ground -- in their approach to buying. Among the things the survey commissioned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC showed, women are quicker to make up their minds about whether they want a home they view. When asked how long it took to decide that their home was "right" for them, 70% of women said it happened the same day they first walked into it. With men, 62% answered this way. On the other hand, 32% of men said they needed two or more visits to a home before deciding to buy it, compared with 23% of women.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Albertans upbeat about buying a house
Consumer confidence highest since early '07

By Bill Mah
Edmonton Journal
August 11, 2009

More Albertans believe now is the time to buy a home than in anytime since PricewaterhouseCoopers began tracking the indicator in early 2007, said the firm's business and consumer confidence survey released Monday.

Buying a house reached an index rating of 164 in July--the highest index since tracking started in February 2007. It was 157 in May and 146 in March.

"Consumers continue to see advantage in purchasing a house in the current economy," said David Bryan an advisory partner in PricewaterhouseCooper's Edmonton office.

Nine hundred Albertans and 246 business leaders were surveyed by telephone in late July by Leger Marketing. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.3 per cent, 19 times of 20.

Businesses are growing more optimistic about the economy, results suggest. The business confidence index inched to 103 in July, up from 101 in May--when it crossed the 100 mark for the first time since May 2008.

An index score above 100 represents an optimistic sentiment, while a score below 100 represents a pessimistic feeling.

"These figures are promising and appear to indicate that many Alberta business and consumers are expecting improvements in Alberta's economic conditions in the coming year," Bryan said.

Business leaders also expect interest rates may rise in the next few months as the economy recovers and their confidence in the job market reached 107, breaking 100 for the first time since May 2008.

"While business leaders are pessimistic about the current business environment, they are optimistic that things will change in the near future. This optimism is scaled back a bit from May '09 which may indicate that they feel it will take somewhat longer for the the current economic climate to improve."

Consumers, meanwhile, are growing more confident about jobs. While still below the 100 mark, the survey's future consumer unemployment index increased to 93 in July, up from 81 in May.

"Consumers are starting to feel more positive on multiple fronts ranging from finding a job to buying a house," Bryan said.

But the optimism runs counter to Alberta's unemployment rate, which has steadily increased since last October to 7.2 per cent in July.

"Although unemployment has increased, we are still Canada's third-lowest unemployment rate behind the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. This survey likely indicates that both consumers and business leaders anticipate our unemployment rate will now start to decline," Bryan said.



A cabinet that opens, shifts, slides and is not what you expect. I have included some information from their website below and some pictures of the cabinet. I am not sure how to obtain one but if anyone is interested, drop me a note & I can do my best to find out.

Taken from their website:

What does OOOMS do?
We design products, small or big, for ourselves and for others. We focus on high quality and originality. Feel free to contact OOOMS if you think its creativity could contribute in any way to your upcoming projects.
We’d love to hear from you!

We also arrange workshops and lectures for companies and schools around the world. If you want to inspire your employees or students, we can arrange workshops about various creative themes for any number of days, based on your needs. We guarantee it will be fun, energy boosting and educative in many ways.
Some of our clients are Paul Smith, Adidas, MoMA, De Bijenkorf, Design Museum London, The Cooper Hewitt NY, SUN Microsystems, Skanska, Mittal Steel, Clarins, Design Academy Eindhoven, Element, Moss, Lane Crawford Hong Kong.

Who is OOOMS?

Studio OOOMS is run by Guido Ooms and Karin van Lieshout.
Guido Ooms (’74) graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2000.
After working as a freelance designer at different companies he started his own studio. Next to running the studio he also teaches design at the School of Arts in Utrecht. Karin van Lieshout (’74) graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2001. She has a degree in teaching (BIK, professional artist in class) and worked in various designcollectives before she joined forces with Guido.

As a team, they fuel one another’s creativity with wit and humour.
Both designers have their own qualities, each contributing to a part of studio OOOMS.
Guido’s enthousiasm and playful approach towards almost everything makes sure the that studio has enough new ideas coming in. Karin’s down-to-earth attitude makes sure that the good ideas become reality.

Check it out:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Calgary's King Eddy Set to Become City's Crown Jewel
By Nancy Tousley
Calgary Herald

CALGARY - The ambition and scale of the $100-million project that will transform the Cantos Music Foundation into the National Music Centre at the King Eddy comes into sharp focus with the architects' visions of what Calgary's newest cultural centre could be like.

Call it the wow factor. It is present in a different way in each of the five dramatic designs by leading architects who are the finalists in an international design competition: Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works, Portland, Ore.; Bernard Beisell of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Paris; Elizabeth Diller of Diller, Scofidio+Renfro, New York; Gilles Saucier and Andre Perrotte of Saucier + Perrotte, Montreal; and Zoltan Pali of SPF:a, Los Angeles.

The architects were asked to design a new home for Cantos which will be located on 9th Avenue S. E. and will straddle 4th Street S. E. to connect a renovated King Edward Hotel with a new building across the street. They presented their proposals Thursday to a sold-out audience at the Grand theatre.

The building has multiple aspects, including the preservation of a historic landmark, a collections display, presentation spaces for live music, two recording studios, a radio broadcast studio for CKUA, educational spaces and public spaces such as a restaurant and bar.

Adding to the attraction is the project's position as a gateway to the East Village and a catalyst in its redevelopment by the Calgary Municipal Land Corp., as well as the creation of a music district.

"One amazing thing here is it's not only about one building," says Bertram Beisell.

"This is a fascinating process going on with Cantos and the CMLC as they are preparing to redevelop the East Village. The way they are going about this is a little bit unusual in the sense that if you say cities are about bringing people together, that's just what they do, what they are saying is that music can play an important role in doing that. "You build an opera house, or you build a theatre, and it's an isolated monument, but here they are trying to do more than that. They're

trying to build a concert hall and then a research centre and now you are beginning to get a density of institutions that defines a musical district for this neighbourhood. I think that could work. It's a very interesting approach that you use music as a theme and you use these institutions as an anchor for the character of this neighbourhood. I haven't seen that before and I find it very innovative and strong."

The total cost of the project includes $75 million for a new building and $25 million for an endowment fund. Fundraising is well underway, says communications manager Cami Leard. Cantos is seeking $25-million contributions from the federal, provincial and municipal governments and $25 million from a capital campaign. Confirmation of the city contribution is expected this fall. The winning architectural proposal will be announced in September.