Ottawa Design – UpDated Furniture


Sydney discovered another great design store in Ottawa – UpDated Furniture, located at City Centre, on the back ramp, Bay #222, owned by Stephanie Halin and Ken McKay.

If you’re looking for that piece that you just can’t seem to find anywhere else, this is definitely the place to go. They rescue and refinish vintage furniture so it doesn’t end up in the landfill, so you can go in, find something you like, pick out the finish and/or fabric and have it turned into your dream piece. Sydney did just that and you can see the before and after at the end of this post.

If you’re not in Ottawa, check out their website and order online. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram at upd_furniture. If you are in Ottawa, drop in for a visit!

Wall 4

Wall 3




Floor 1

More fabric

Fabric samples


And here is Sydney’s chair before…

Sydney's chair

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…and after!

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I love my new old chair.
This store totally reminds me of my Granddad’s house and garage – I felt like I was taken back in time.
I absolutely agree with you – it is like walking into someone’s back shed and finding all these wonderful things.
What a great find – another Ottawa design treasure.
Once again, Myles has introduced us to a fabulous store – he’s in the know, you know.
And the service is amazing – Stephanie has to be one of the most energetic people around.
When I picked out the fabric for my chair, she assured me it was a perfect choice.
And that was great for you because once in a while you second guess yourself.
They called me when they were starting to work on the chair and told me I’d have in the next week. More great customer services.
I think we’re in fierce agreement – anyone in Ottawa looking for some furniture should check out Updated Furniture.

Foraging in Gatineau Park

This weekend we headed up to Gatineau Park to do some foraging. With garden gloves, twine, scissors, plastic bags and box for fern, and without water or bug spray (no biggy – it was only about 34 degrees Celsius) we wondered through the woods, collecting far more than we needed and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. Here’s a glimpse of our outing.

The path

Beaver dam

The beavers have been busy

ground cover

Wall of ferns

Macro fern leaf

This is a fern leaf photographed with a Kikkerland macro lens that clips onto a smart phone.

The haul

The haul

So Sydney, now what? You love sticks, so naturally I love sticks and think we really need them, but now that I have a stack in my basement, I’m not at all sure what I’m supposed to do with them.
Well, we’re going to sand them down with sandpaper and display them in artful ways.
I have an idea…we can go to the tool library and sign-out a sander.
Great idea except that the sticks are only 1″ in diameter. The sander will obliterate them.
True that. I obviously have no idea what I’m talking about.
But you came up with a better way to carry them.
You realize that if we take my granny cart the next time, it might be easier to bring our haul back to car, but it will confirm us as strange old ladies.
What do you mean ‘us’?


Summer in the City 2016

This is a re-post from last June, because it’s that time of the year again – summer in the city and there’s lots to enjoy in Ottawa. All the events we blogged about last year are coming up again this June, so get out there and enjoy!

Royal Oak Music

Music at the Royal Oak

So there were a couple of young ladies dressed in nothing more than body paint and fishnet on Bank St. this weekend, but that’s not what we’re going to focus on. I think that’s what you call a ‘hook’.
Hook. That’s a good one.
And no, we don’t have pictures of them.
It was an unexpected sighting at that time of the day. But I don’t get out much.
But we got out this past weekend and I think we walked about 100 miles in two days. We went to GlowFair, Art in the Park and Ribfest! And Sydney could not get enough of that pulled-pork.
Yes that pulled pork is perfect for the non-meat eater.
More commonly known as a vegetarian.
So here’s a glimpse of what’s going on in Ottawa this summer.


This is the second annual Glowfair Festival where Bank St. is closed from Slater St. to James St. Friday night and all day Saturday. Free music, yoga, a silent disco and lots of stuff for the kids (and adults too!). If you missed it this year, plan to go next year – it’s a blast.

Glowfair Schedule

Skate boarder

Ghostly horse

Stilt LadyStilt man
Street Chess

Glow rings for when the dancing starts

Glow rings for when the dancing starts




The Strain rockin' it Friday night

The Strain rockin’ it Friday night

The New Art Festival

Formerly known as Art in the Park, the New Art Festival takes place in Central Park in the Glebe. It’s full of amazing art and you don’t have to pay to get in.

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Patrick Lajoie Photography

Patrick Lajoie Photography

Behind the Woods

Behind the Woods

Art in the Park1


Ribfest is an annual event on Sparks St. – one that public servants ALL enjoy.


Would you like some music with those ribs?

Would you like some music with those ribs?

Ribfest smoke

I think you should don some of that body paint and fishnet when we take your photo for your online dating profile.
Brilliant idea and I’ll lie about my age too.
The men will be lining up around the block with money in-hand to get in.

What’s in Your Closet?

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It’s amazing how much stuff we can accumulate over the years. Clothes we no longer wear but can’t seem to part with. Shoes and more shoes.The stack of unworn pieces that I don’t want to give away for various reasons – they were expensive, waiting to find the perfect blouse to go with that pair of odd coloured pants. It doesn’t fit but maybe some day…

And don’t forget the pieces that are kept for sentimental reasons. Like this t-shirt I bought at a concert in San Francisco in the 70’s. Really? I googled the band names to see if any of them are still around. No.

concert t-shirt 70's

Not all of us are hoarders. Irene’s the perfect example of a non-hoarder. She’s organized and a list maker – lots and lots of lists. Twice a year Irene culls her closets  – not kidding – spring and fall. So this year I’m following Irene’s lead.

Last week I pulled everything out of my closest and kept only the things that fit and look great. Letting go of clothes can be emotional so don’t feel you need to do it all at once. But when you do, believe me, you’ll feel lighter.

So what to do with the castaways? Well, we have a couple of great suggestions. Our good friend Val, owner of The Clothes Secret accepts gently worn clothing twice a year. Spring and fall. The beauty of Val’s store is that you can make some money. Val gives 40% of the sales from your clothes back to you.

Clothesline is another option. They’ll come to your home and pick-up clothing and house hold items that you know longer have a use for. These donations help raise money for the Canadian Diabetes Association.

Can you believe I’ve had that t-shirt all these years?
Yes. Yes, I can easily believe that. But those shoes, Sydney, they didn’t really come out of your closet, did they?
These shoes are keepers. I love them.
But in the picture they look like something a 1970’s bridesmaid would wear.
Funny. What’s in your closet?
A row of white t-shirts and clothes that are 10 years old because I hate shopping for clothes.
I have a drawer full of black t-shirts. They’re in a draw because that’s where t-shirts belong. Not on hangers.
Then they get all wrinkled.
I don’t care. I never iron anything.
You know what? Like me, you just wear the same t-shirts over and over again.
Nothing wrong with that.
That’s why we both do it.

Traffic Cone Quarterly – Canada’s Newest Literary Magazine

TC Cover

Our readers know we’re fiction fans and we especially like indie magazines. So this is great news – Canada has a new literary magazine and it’s fabulous!

Traffic Cone Quarterly is the brainchild (or lovechild, one or the other or maybe both) of Ottawa-native, Connor McCarthy. While we don’t know Connor personally, we do know some of the contributors.

The cover design is the work of Connor Beck. Connor is a ridiculously talented artist, and equally modest. The man simply has NO idea how good he is. Neither of us can draw a stick person (or more accurately a stick buffalo – it was late, there had been a few pops, we were playing Pictionary – we’ll save that for another post), and look at the dirty old man on the cover of Traffic Cone Quarterly – brilliant! Well done Connor B.

And our friend Cameron Rufelds is finally in print. You might remember Cam from our original Stroked Ego post – well he’s a wonderful actor and as you’ll see when you read his story, a remarkable writer.

Here’s the opening from Cam’s story, Dogs in Glass Houses Sink Ships

“So I’m sitting at a bus stop, watching the fucking pavement age, when I hear this noise from across the street. I look up, and standing, looking at me attentively from the other side of a quaint little fence, is this Dog. Now, I’m not sure  of the breed or anything, but this fucking Dog looked smart as all hell, I mean, I was half expecting the fucking thing to start talking to me it looked so smart… Which is probably the only reason I didn’t shit myself when it did. Obviously, at first, I thought it was just a really odd bark, but the Dog was very persistent, it was saying “Hey”… Now, after about the third time – and after making sure nobody was close enough to hear me – I finally said “Hey” back to the fucking thing, almost laughing at myself when I did. Then the Dog said,

“Watch this.”

Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic opening paragraph, Cam!

The magazine also has poetry, and not the kind no one understands. Not the rhyming kind either, but – well have a peek. Here’s an excerpt from The More Philosophical of Them, by Taylor Congdon.

sunken in the steps of a church – asking god what he find hurts worse.
asking him what really came first –
because the egg just wouldn’t make sense.

And here’s an excerpt from Connor McCarthy’s Larry & Lori

Larry spat. “It’s a fucking hellhole,” he said. I realized he was quite drunk. Lori sat across from me, still smiling. She had been pretty not long ago, but cigarettes and booze and uninspired conversation had made her tired and old. She wore an American-style blouse and makeup and hadn’t yet touched her beer. She leaned over and quietly said something to Miranda, who smiled and looked at me and said something back and they were in their own quiet conversation. Larry put a hand on my shoulder.

Canada needs a magazine like this. So check out (and like) the Traffic Cone Quarterly Facebook page, read the magazine, and if you’re a writer, submit some writing.

I’m so excited about this magazine. I can hardly wait for the next issue.
It’s absolutely brilliant – I now know what poetry is. It’s not ‘Mary had a little lamb’.
Poetry’s tricky, but this is the first time I’ve read poetry I liked.
We should mention that we’ve seen Cameron in action in Ottawa’s theatre district.
We have, and at one of the après-play get-togethers, he read one of his stories for us.
I feel like we’re in New York when we go to the theatre…
Really? I feel like we’re in the Glebe.
Glebe or New York. It’s all about the entertainment.
You have a remarkable imagination. But back to the entertainment – Traffic Cone Quarterly is great entertainment.
What do writer’s say to each other for luck? I’d like to say ‘break a leg’.
Writers don’t always talk to each other.
Ok then.

Theatre district collage

Design – Maker House


While we were out and about checking out Mikaza Home and Founddesign, we discovered Maker House – what a great store! They are located at 987 Wellington Street and plan to have an e-commerce platform on their site soon.

Store 1

They really have a bit of everything in this store from candles to lamps to tables to greeting cards as you’ll see from the photos below, and they’re all made by Canadian artisans.

Tables 2

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License Plates

Table lamp 2

And for a bonus, Brew Donkey has a counter set up in the store. Brew Donkey conducts tours of Ottawa breweries. Someone else does the driving and you get to taste the beer. Stay tuned for a post about that!

BD Info

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a fellow design junkie, you should definitely check out Maker House.

Wall 1

Maker House was a good find. And we found it because you were looking for the liquor store which is conveniently located right next door.
That big LCBO sign does tend to draw one’s attention. And if memory serves, we both shopped at the LCBO after spending time at Maker House.
I like that 2% of all purchases go back to community projects such as Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and Ottawa Tools Library.
The Hintonburg neighbourhood is really becoming a go-to place for everything – design, baked goods, coffee –
– the Hintonbourg Public House –
– plus there’s even a great Christmas store that’s open all year.
And a great fabric store, which are few and far between these days.
And as we said in the post, Brew Donkey has a counter inside Maker House.
We’ll definitely be checking that out – I think we need to get a group together and take a brewery tour.
Sounds like a plan – stay tuned everyone!

Design – Founddesign

Front sign

When you first step into Founddesign, you immediately get a sense that this store is a labour of love. It’s not really like a store – it looks and feels more like a space where some people who are passionate about mid-century furniture collect and display all their cool stuff.

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There is lots of teak in this store. All the items are ‘used’, but they are in impeccable condition. And amazingly, they don’t smell of cigarette smoke, given everyone smoked their faces off in the 50’s and 60’s.

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Grow lamp

Lamp planter










I wonder what kind of plants were originally grown in these planter-lamps…





Groovy sectional

Coolest sectional ever and I’m pretty sure it came from I Dream of Jeannie’s genie bottle. If you look closely, you can see that the blue painting on the right hand side looks pregnant – wonderful!

Desk and lamps

More lamps and desks…


…great cutlery.

Airplane ashtray


This ashtray is enough to make you want to take up smoking again.


We got a great cleaning tip while we were there – dust with a dryer sheet and it will keep the dust away longer. It works!


Founddesign is located at 164 Elm St. in Ottawa, very close to City Centre. You can check out their wares on their website. If you don’t live in Ottawa, they’ve got you covered as they will ship worldwide. And if you’re looking for a particular piece or designer, let them know and they may be able to help you out.

I love this place. It’s just like being at my Granddad’s house, but without the clouds of pipe smoke that hovered in every room.
Where are the cocktails? Everyone had a martini or a tumbler of single malt before sitting down to dinner at their teak dinning table.
Good point. I’ll go make the martinis and you ring up Don Draper to see if he’s free to join us.
Great idea. I think Don has some free time on his hands these days.
Is he out of rehab now? Oh, we should get back to the post. Was your grandparent’s house full of this kind of furniture?
My grandparent’s? We aren’t that young – it’s our parent’s house that had this stuff.
Right. I wonder what our parents did with all that amazing furniture?
If they were anything like my parents, they sold it when something new came along – like the 70’s.
My parent’s kept most of the furniture their entire lives.
I have a friend whose dad’s house is filled with original mid-century furniture. He lives not far from your place…
What are we waiting for?
Let’s go. Does everyone love Don or just those of us with low self-esteem?

Design – Mikaza Home

Ceiling lamps

Mikaza Home is a great shop (discovered by Sydney, of course). There are stores in Ottawa and Montreal, and a super website, so anyone can shop there. They describe themselves as a ‘modern’ furniture store, but if you’re of a certain age, you might refer to it as ‘mod’. Think ’60’s, Twiggy, big white sunglasses, Get Smart and sun hats with floppy brims and you’ll get the picture.

Multi-colour sectional

Chair wall

Fabric samples


In Ottawa, Mikaza Home is located at 250 City Centre. Most of the products are made in Canada (which we think is a very good thing) and there is a lot of mixing and matching available. There are TONS of fabrics and wood finished to choose from if you’re buying furniture.







Faucet lampSo many cool light fixtures!
Denim ottoman

If you have any old jeans lying around you don’t know what to do with, you can whip this up in a year!


End table

Blue sofa bed

Black hutch

The accent and art pieces at Mikaza are so much fun, you’ll be hard-pressed to walk out empty-handed. But you’ll need at least one hand free because their Ottawa store is a few doors away from Art-is-In Bakery and that’s a must-stop too.



You love that style that I refer to as ‘crap our parents had’ don’t you? You call it something else though.
I think what you mean is mid-century modern.
And now that it’s many years later, it’s not cheap crap anymore.
That’s for sure, unless you go to estate sales.
I have to admit, after looking at lots of it with you, I do like it now. Better than I did when I was growing up with it.
In the coming weeks we’re going to show our readers some of what Ottawa has to offer if you like this style.
And this is not just for fun – you’re on something of a mission, aren’t you?
Yes. I’m searching for a sofa so stay tuned and watch my year-long search.
Year-long? That’s a bit optimistic isn’t it?

Design – at{mine}

at-mine page

at{mine} is a wonderful design website (discovered by Sydney, of course). We signed up, and have started to add some photos from our homes, but you don’t have to join to enjoy the site. If you’re interested in design for any room, or photography, definitely check out this site.

The at{mine} means at {someone’s house}. Clever, don’t you think?

At first glance you may think that all the rooms and photos are professionally designed and photographed, but take a closer look. There’s cracked paint, chipped kitchen counters, scratched hardwood floors, so it’s a great way to see your own less-than-perfect home in a new light.

People can tag photos with a note about where items came from to help viewers with shopping.

(Warning: time will disappear while you’re on this site.)

Here’s some of the photos we’ve put up.

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Living room wall (1024x447)

Dining room (1024x576)

Found Art

When you post a photo you can see it featured in the ‘What’s new’ section, which is kinda fun.

atmine page

And of course when you find people whose homes are particularly appealing, you can follow them. You can also follow at{mine} on Facebook and Instagram, and get a quick design fix throughout the day.

So, I’m back from my business trip to Orlando. All that sun and warmth was a tough go.
Thank god you’re back. And today we’re at{mine} having a bev.
It’s good to back and I’m excited about introducing at{mine} to our readers.
I love the at+curly brackets. I’m going to use them all the time now instead of at{air quotes} or at{hashtags}.
There’s a lot to love at{mine}.
I noticed that there’s a lot of at{white} decor on this site – and all the sites you like.
White’s the new black.
I think that if everything was white at{mine}, there would be a lot of at{cleaning} to do.
That’s true. My place is white (surprise) and it takes effort to keep it that way. Especially the white rug which I cover with blankets. Sigh…
That is really too funny, but where there are pets, there always blankets – even in my house where nothing is white.
The things we do for esthetics.
The things you do. I just colour everything orange.
Maybe I’ll switch to black.
Great idea – that should cheer you up! When you’re staring off into space, you really will be looking at nothing…

We’re Back – Almost…

What time is it? What day is it? We haven’t missed 2016 completely, have we? I feel a bit like Rip Van Winkle.
Not the entire year. Only January and most of February.
In fairness to us, you’ve been travelling with work.
And you’ve been binge watching TV.
My back is sore from all the time I’ve spent on the couch watching TV. That’s rather pathetic.
I blame Netflix…it’s taken over our lives.
My sore back is proof that I am actually the laziest person in the world. You never believe me when I say that.
And I’m the fussiest – in the last hotel I was in I had them move me 3 times.
I saw the photos – you were right to do that.
I’m not a fan of duck-taped carpets.
Completely reasonable. But we’re back and we hope to have some fun stuff for our readers in the next few weeks.
We do have something new and interesting for our readers next week. Stay tuned.
Is it time for a beer now?
Now? I’m already on my second.