Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Covet Garden

I am having a happy moment. I love finding something I like that I haven't seen before :)

I was on the phone today with a good friend who, sadly, refuses to move back to what she sees as Hippietropolis. I keep assuring her that she is mistaken, and needs to come back to see what Nelson is really like, but alas, she won't budge. She is an uber talented landscaper/singer/songwriter/diva/crafter/decorator/cooker type person who is also mucho sweet and lovely. Today I asked her to send me a list of her favourite blogs because I am finding that I frequent the same blogs over and over. And the ones that I frequent have those same blogs on their blog roll. On the one hand, it means that they are all good blogs, but on the other, I want some fresh stuff to be inspired by. She was very excited by this new online mag she had found out of Toronto that had actually done stories on her friend and that friend's bridesmaid. She said their focus was to cover the lifestyles of real people. I looked it up, and it is most fabulous.

Covet Garden is a lifestyle magazine that covers the A to Z of the lives of "interesting people" from Toronto. I always think of Toronto people as slick (it might be because the ones I know personally are... well, slick in the best sense) and definitely interesting but not most people's reality. Fashion magazine people. MuchMusic personalities. "Oh that old thing..." four thousand dollar dress types. Toronto is fast paced, sparkley and intense... I am a Vancouver girl. We hone our mountain/ocean-laid-back-sipping-coffee-and-reading personalities. I was more than pleasantly surprised to find that Covet Garden is a brilliantly edited peek into the lives of people who are really and truly interesting, and real. The kind of people that you would want in your social circle. It makes you actually think about (not just lust after) the spaces, projects, and products featured. You get to see into the house, the backyard, the routine, the bookshelf, the iPod, and the medicine cabinet of these people. The concept and variety of content is pretty brilliant and comes complete with witty quotes and links galore. There are lists inspired by what this or that person does for a living, such as this spread (only partly shown) inspired by Paul, a graphic designer.

There are tutorials based on something that somebody in that household has actually made. And the photography is gorgeous! I love Tracy Schumate's work (House and Home, Style at Home and others).

While these spaces are unique and endearing, they are not, according to the publisher, styled by interior designers. The newer trend of handmade, organic feeling interiors that are put together piece by piece is portrayed beautifully in every issue because, well, that's what they are.

Sidebar: Noticing a definite trend towards knitted goods for the past while, and pondering working harder at it. Previously mentioned great friend got me into knitting a few years ago when we decided to singlehandedly (with the help of her roommate) revamp the image of knitting being for grandmas only. She knitted knickers and I made half a scarf. I have since made four scarves (full size ones) but never got further than that... a new hobby looming perhaps?

While some magazines, both on and off-line, seem to think that the lure is in providing content that keeps design at arm's length, there is a huge demographic that is looking for doable decor. It is not always budget constraints that create livable interiors. The "handmade movement" is seeing society, almost en masse, suddenly realize that there is a quality and artfulness that can only be acquired by sourcing outside the obvious and relying on craftspeople and markets to find the "right" pieces. The spaces in Covet Garden provide a look into homes that have embraced vintage, second-hand and DIY decor and showcases it beautifully. And the whimsical touches are the icing on a pretty delectable cake.

I have good feelings about the direction that this new online magazine world is taking. While keeping up the quality of photography and content, and being able to better integrate information and sources for products via unobtrusive linkage, the world of possibilities are just being explored and promise to be enticing down a near limitless road. Good things are taking root...


Rhonda Riche said...

Thanks for spreading the word about Covet Garden. We loved discovering your blog (and your world) too!

Lynda, Jessica and Rhonda

Artizan said...

You are so sweet!

Shelley said...

That gal you're gushing over is my dear friend too! She pointed me in the direction of your lovely blog. At times Canada can feel like small town even though it is so vast. I lived in Nelson for a summer when I was just out of are lucky to live in such a beautiful place. My nursery & knit jar cozies are shown on your post, so thanks for sharing.

oh and if you can knit a scarf you can knit a cozy (a small rectangle sewn up the seam and voila!)

andrea of ffft said...

Are you aware that your nursery is "blogfamous"? After I wrote this I googled CG to see what else had been written (turns out I am a bit late on the draw I guess) and pretty much every other writeup was about that gorgeous room! I adore the cozies and will get started right away using up all that wool that has been stored since said scarves were created... went a bit overboard there :)

She IS an awesome gal, and so obviously has lovely taste in friends! Perhaps you can extol the virtues of Nelson to her next time you speak so I can get her to move back... she should really give it another chance, LOL!