Thursday, 23 December 2010

Candied Grapefruit Peel

xmas 2010 001 xmas 2010 002


Candied Grapefruit Peel has become a delicious tradition in my house every holiday.  I make it every year and it is always a hit.  People always ask me for the recipe, so I have decided to make it publicly available to the world so I don’t have to send it by email and so that you, my dear readers, can enjoy a little bit of Christmas cheer.



4 Medium Grapefruits

2 Cups of Granulated Sugar

1 Cup of Water

1 Cup Superfine Granulated Sugar



With peel still on fruit, quarter peel lengthwise then remove, keeping pieces of peel intact. Reserve fruit for another use – I usually make juice with it.  Cut pieces in small stripes.


Put peel in a saucepan filled with cold water and bring to boil over moderate heat.  Boil for a minute or two and drain.  Repeat procedure 4 times to remove bitterness.


Bring Granulated Sugar and Water to boil in a large heavy skillet, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Add peel and boil, stirring, until most syrup is absorbed, about 10 – 12 minutes.


Turn peel onto a previously lightly oiled rack, separating pieces.  Dry candied peel, uncovered at room temperature until only slightly sticky, 6 to 8 hours.  Toss, a few pieces at time, in Superfine Sugar, shaking off excess, place it in a cool dish and enjoy it!

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Friday, 17 December 2010

Our Holiday Card 2010

We have created quite a precedent for ourselves with our holiday cards, between the Rudolph card of 2008 and the Gingerbread recipe/cutter of 2009 we have to keep brainstorming ways to wow our clients and colleagues with original ideas that will continue to brighten their holiday season just that little bit more.


photo 3 

photo 5 

We were excited to use a brand new, FSC certified, shimmering paper that can be used for digital printing in a unique accordion-style fold which allowed us to include an abundance of photographs and information over 8 panels in warm, festive shades of evergreen in an interactive and playful manner. A delicate etching of a bird perched on a wintery branch adorns the front with the phrase "Oh, what fun… creating memories", while the back reads with a joyful command for us all to eat, drink, and be merry this holiday season.



Meade Design Group has become a tight-knit family over the years, so we have shown that in this year's holiday card. Beneath a family style portrait of the smiling Meade Design Group team, the caption inside reads "This year we wanted to share some memories of our Christmas' past, a glimpse into our Christmas present and to wish you a joyful season yet to come!"; I guess we were feeling nostalgic. The remaining panels are filled with old photos from our childhood holiday memories: opening presents, decorating the tree, sitting on Santa's lap, bundled in winter attire, and all of the merry décor and ensembles that add to the season - all in fanciful, filigree-embellished frames.


photo 8


The game was can you guess who's who? and you can see all of the answers right here on Meade Design Group - the blog (since we know you have all been dying to find out!). Plus, this way you can see some of the photos in colour - you lucky readers you!








We hope you enjoyed our holiday card this year – thank you so much to everyone, including our blog readers for making this such a special year for us!





MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Monday, 13 December 2010

In Conversation with Nicky Haslam

image Nicky Haslam


Chances are that our readers have heard of Nicky Haslam's highly accredited design firm, NH Design; needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled to receive correspondence from him agreeing to do an interview for our blog! One might recognize Nicky's work from one of the several esteemed publications he has been featured in, including Architectural Digest, World of Interiors, Vogue, House and Garden, Elle Décor and Traditional Home.


Mr. Haslam's work has been revered amongst critics and his clients alike. His style is recognized not only for the beautiful ambiance he creates, with layered textures, sheens and forms, but also for the distinctive and stunning ways he customizes a project with architectural details. From casings adorned with round balls along the perimeter, to massive capitals and decorative trim, neoclassical reliefs in place of a plate rail, wood paneling, tall, upholstered doors with nail head trim, winding staircases with chunky acrylic urn-like silhouettes for spindles and more - the man is creative! The result is always opulent, glamorous, and yet, timeless.


image Interior Design by Nicky Haslam


Nicky has been working in interior design for nearly 40 years, after graduating from Eton with high marks in his art related subjects. NH Design's first inception was with his first company in the late 1980's; since then the company has grown exponentially, including the ability to work worldwide, with multinational staff (with projects completed and ongoing in the United States, Barbados, Switzerland, Moscow, France, Italy, Ireland, and throughout England).


The Haslam aesthetic has also been transferred to products such as his line of scented candles, fabric and rugs. He was also a founding member of the successful retail shop for NH Design. He continues to form partnerships with luxury brands to allow some his designs to be accessible to the general public whom admire him so much.


image Interior Design by Nicky Haslam


Are you impressed yet? Just wait, there's more - Nicky has also had a slew of additional successful careers in his spare time, including appearances as an actor, cabaret singer, book reviewer, art editor, and memoirist. Not to mention his multiple appearances on Vanity Fair and GQ's best dressed lists, and as a socialite. His watercolour renderings are very lucrative at auctions and have even been featured in both the Victoria and Albert Museum and The Royal Institute of British Architects. He has also penned two books; 'Sheer Opulence' and 'Redeeming Features' and continues to be involved in the world of publishing - including his own blog. And of course, to round out the charm that is Nicky Haslam - he's a philanthropist, and is involved with several charitable organizations.


Please read on to get in on the conversation and find out more about the founder of NH Design….


Iván Meade - What was your first experience with design?


Nicky Haslam - As a child I had polio and was holed up in bed for three years. During this time I received an enormous dollhouse, perfect in every detail and mercifully sans little inhabitants. The house could be pulled right up over my bed and, with its facade lifted away, I could endlessly change its rooms, rearrange the furniture, make pictures for the walls, even glue up curtains. I don't know if this toy can be held responsible for what I was ultimately, nearly forty years later, to make my career, but it was certainly the most memorable plaything with which to pass those last, dragging months I had to remain in bed.


image Interior Design by Nicky Haslam


Iván Meade - You have accomplished something very unique in the interior design world; creating a strong, extremely well recognized and beautiful signature style - In this same manner however, your style keeps evolving - How or where do you find your inspiration?


Nicky Haslam - By shutting my eyes and imagining the perfect room.


image  Interior Design by Nicky Haslam


Ivan Meade -You have had the opportunity to work with many well-known clients such as Princess Diana, Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger, Ringo Starr, and Rupert Everett; is there anyone that you haven't worked with, but would like to?


Nicky Haslam -Cy Twombly, as he has the most beautiful furniture and objects, let alone his magical paintings!


 image Interior Design by Nicky Haslam


Iván Meade - Do you ever get star-struck when meeting these clients for the first time?


Nicky Haslam - No, they get star-struck meeting me! And then much hilarity ensues...

 image image Interior  Design by Nicky Haslam


Iván Meade - Your design philosophy is to remain true to the spirit of the structure and location of the project - How do you achieve this?


Nicky Haslam - By listening to the building. Listen to what it is saying.


image Interior Design by Nicky Haslam


Iván Meade - What do you look for in a furniture piece? Or, in other words, you are very selective in what goes into your designs, what makes a piece important enough to be used in your projects?


Nicky Haslam - The right piece will sing when you see it.


 image Interior Design by Nicky Haslam


Iván Meade - What project has given you the most satisfaction?


Nicky Haslam - They all do - even the ones that are more difficult. Because essentially you are doing what you love.


image Interior Design by Nicky Haslam


Iván Meade - Perhaps few people know that besides being a great interior designer you are also a great writer, with articles and columns in some of the most prestigious magazines such as British Vogue, Tatler, The World of Interiors, The Spectator, and many others. Your articles usually describe the lifestyle you can achieve in a beautiful interior - Do you think that interior design is an integral part of one's lifestyle?


Nicky Haslam - Not for some people, but definitely for me.


image Interior Design by Nicky Haslam


Iván Meade - Last year you published your highly entertaining memoir "Redeeming Features" which has become a very controversial book - you briefly discuss design but the book is heavier on your love life; Why did you decide to share your personal life with the public?


Nicky Haslam - When one talks about one's life you have to include love and loss, pains and pleasure. It's what has made me who I am.


image Interior Design by Nicky Haslam


Iván Meade - What is your guilty pleasure?


Nicky Haslam - My new blog ( - it's the perfect platform from which to interact with new people.


image Interior Design by Nicky Haslam


Iván Meade - Name 5 things you can't live without


Nicky Haslam - 1. Human interaction, white flowers, violet creams, beauty and black Pekanese


 image Interior Design by Nicky Haslam


Iván Meade - What are you excited about right now in the world of design?


Nicky Haslam - The return of subtle opulence.


image Interior Design by Nicky Haslam


Iván Meade - Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work with many mediums and styles. What would you like your legacy to be?


Nicky Haslam - I would love to have one of my rooms moved and assembled, complete, in a museum, like the Norfolk House Music Room in the V&A Museum in London


I invite you to visit Nicky Haslam’s website and blog at:




MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Eye Candy of the Week – Feather Bowl by Chris Ryan







Feather Bowl



Chris Ryan






Aircraft plywood, Bamboo peg,  Chicago screw.



Small batch production; Laser cut, Hand finished



Natural & Walnut



I just discovered Chris Ryan’s work via Twitter and I have to be honest I get very excited when I found local talent with “Real Talent”.  Chris Ryan’s work is clean, well thought out, and unique.  His work presents complexity in the process but the end result are objects with function that give you that peaceful element of beauty.   A visit to his website is a must.


The Feather Bowl is a great example that good design doesn’t need to be expensive.  Good design can be affordable and beautiful at the same time.  The Feather Bowl retails for $39.95 US – See not all my eye candies are expensive.  I am purchasing a couple of bowls as Xmas presents this year. 


You can purchase the Feather Bowl at:



Feather bowl is a bentwood accessory, composed of hand finished birch aircraft plywood and a lathe turned bamboo peg. Its form is a result of bending five identical leaves of wood into a basic weave and clipping them in place. The tension of the leaves makes the bowl strong, rigid and feather light. The resulting vessel is ideal for serving appetizers, storing jewelry or as a unique decorative piece.


Feather bowls are shipped flat and assembled by the user. In this way the user becomes part of the form creation. The finish is durable and food safe. –Collecula Studio




MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

In Conversation with Inoui Design Collective

As seen in SNAP, December 2010


Amber Kingsnorth & Kyla Bidgood


Amber Kingsnorth and Kyla Bidgood of Victoria's own Inoui Design collective are fun, fresh, vivacious and talented designers. Inoui took the Victoria design scene by storm when they opened their doors earlier this year to residential, hospitality and commercial clients alike.

Both graduates of Vancouver Island University's Interior Design program Kyla and Amber are both registered designers and members of IDIBC and IDC. Amber is also a LEED certified designer - they certainly have their design credentials covered! After realizing the wonderful chemistry and passion for design that they shared while in their previous careers in other successful firms, they decided that they would make great business partners, and thusly, it wasn't long before Inoui was born. Inoui is described as having a focus on " interiors with a creative and sustainable edge"; their ingenious ways of incorporating repurposed or eco-friendly materials into projects is never obvious, they are used as focal points or flow seamlessly within the space for a fresh and crisp, yet inviting and welcoming result.

I'm very pleased to have this interview to promote our local talent; please read on to get in on the conversation….

Iván Meade - You have a really cool design studio in the heart of Fernwood - What was your favourite local find when designing your space? Where did you get this item – how long have you had it?


Amber Kingsnorth - I would say that our chairs are our my favourite find. These are vintage pieces that a friend passed along to us and were used in their original green velour fabric in our first office space.  When we moved to the Fernwood studio we couldn't leave them behind so we had them reupholstered with a vibrant Marimekko print on the backs.  Now they're the first thing that people notice when they come to the studio.


Kyla Bidgood - I'd have to say the 1950's book of house plans by BC Door are my favourite.  We found them at a store called Step Back in Vancouver while we were looking for old blueprints for an art installation, and fell in love!  We framed each of the blue and yellow covers and wall-papered a large panel in our washroom with the pages. 


imageInterior Design by Inoui Design Collective


Iván Meade - Why is it important/inspirational to you?


Amber Kingsnorth - The chairs are so comfy!  Plus the shape and style are so classic.  We wanted to come up with a way to make them suit our new space without compromising the things that we loved about them. By using such a large scale print on the backs, each chair is unique, showing a different piece of the pattern and combination of colours.


Kyla Bidgood - We love that the house plans are specific to BC. They each have names like "The Shawnigan" or "The Seymore", and come with a description of how they suit BC climate and landscape. Most of the homes are still contemporary by today's standards and modest in size, which was a great aspect of design from that era. It's a perfect example of how good design truly is timeless.




Iván Meade -  How does this item reflect upon your personal design philosophy?


Kyla Bidgood - Many pieces in our studio are on their "second life"; used in a new way or altered. It's something we keep in mind for all of our projects.


Amber Kingsnorth - We're always asking questions like; how can existing pieces be re-used, how can new pieces be adaptable to other uses later on and what happens to construction materials at the end of their useful life?


Kyla Bidgood - Re-useing materials not only conserves resources, clever applications of repurposed goods can make for interesting and thoughtful design. That said there is always a need for new items and materials, so when buying new we look for quality pieces that may have more than one potential use or are recyclable.


image Interior Design by Inoui Design Collective


Iván Meade - What was your first experience with design?


Amber Kingsnorth – My dad is a carpenter, growing up I’d go to his workshop on the weekends where he’d let me work on my own little projects, as well as clean up the shop. He’d often ask my opinion on what he was working on (usually top secret gift for my mom). It the first time I realized how much planning and thought went into design.


Kyla Bidgood - My first experiences were through artistic pursuits in both art and dance. I was a major bun head, taking 9+ dance classes a week and performing in a local touring company. Through dance I became aware of pattern, shape, repetition, restraint and composition; all components of design.



Interior Design by Inoui Design Collective


Iván Meade - What is the story behind Inoui Design Collective? How did the two of you meet?


Kyla- We met while attending Vancouver Island University (formerly Malaspina). Although we were a year apart, I noticed and admired Amber’s work. From there we both did the post-ed requisite stint in the design department at Chintz & Co and later we both worked for Kimberly Williams Interiors. After leaving KWI, we kept in touch here and there.


Amber- In December 2008, unbeknownst to each other, we were both reading the same business book at the same time (The Boss of You written by Vancouver web designers Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears), with the other in mind as the perfect business partner. We met for coffee, each with the ulterior motive of proposing a partnership. Our conversation went a little something like this…

- “I just burned through this really great book called The Boss of You”
- “Oh my god, so did I.”
- “We should be business partners”
- “Um, yes we should!”

We agreed on the name Inoui (French word meaning out of the ordinary) as we felt it reflected both our personal style and our approach to interiors.


image Interior Design by Inoui Design Collective


Iván Meade - As a new business owner - Do you consider being young in the business an advantage or a disadvantage?


Amber Kingsnorth – Both. On one hand we don’t have a long company history behind us, or an extensive portfolio to demonstrate our skills. The need to prove ourselves only makes us work that much harder. We’re both professionally registered interior designers, and build on that accreditation through continued education and involvement in the design community.


Kyla Bidgood – We also saw a specific market in Victoria that wasn’t being addressed. Because we’re new and young, we’re also versatile. We don’t have a foot hold on one specific look or style, and we never will. One of the things we love most about the design process is learning about our clients, their needs and goals, personal likes and dislikes, and creating a look that is unique to them or their business.


image Interior Design by Inoui Design Collective

Iván Meade - Do you think Victoria is ready for a change? Where do you see things going in the next ten years?


Amber Kingsnorth – YES. Since entering the field 6 years ago, we’ve noticed a huge shift in the design community. Designers are finally seeing each other as colleagues rather than competition, sharing ideas, sources, information, horror stories… and it’s great!


Kyla Bidgood – Collaboration breads innovation, and we think we’ll start to see like minded designers from different disciplines banning together on projects to create completely integrated design.


image Interior Design by Inoui Design Collective

Iván Meade - What do you think Victoria is missing?


Kyla - Victoria has a wealth of super creative, up and coming artists and designers in all fields, but what we’re missing are projects to take advantage of that talent. We need to expand on and support developers, business owners and restaurateurs who are willing to break from the norm and try something interesting and new.


image Interior Design by Inoui Design Collective

Iván Meade - One of the things that I truly admire of you as a team, as a business and as a colleague is your involvement to create a strong design community.  Why do you think is important to have a strong design community? 


Amber - Thank you Ivan! We’re inspired by designers like yourself who have broken the silence and created a dialogue within our community. Victoria’s design scene is mostly made up of solo designers or small companies with a hand full of people at the most. Why should we all be working in a vacuum when coming together not only strengthens our profession, but creates a pool of resources and support for everyone.


Kyla - Every time we leave a coffee date with another designer, or a design event, we feel inspired. We have so much to learn from each other, which is one of the reasons we’re working towards an island chapter of IDIBC. We hope that by creating opportunities for designers to come together regularly the inspiration becomes contagious.
Iván Meade - Your interiors definitely celebrate restraint and order. To what/whom do you owe this influence?


Amber - We both agree this started with the head of our Interior Design program at VIU, Bodil Ellins, who instilled in us that interior design is not only surface decoration, it’s about functionality. The first step in any project is to analyze the space and it’s users. The look of the space is always a product of it’s function, not the other way around. Choosing lighting, materials and finishes that compliment the bones of the design enhance the users experience in that space.


image Interior Design by Inoui Design Collective


Iván Meade - What does “design value” mean to you?


Kyla - Design has value in all sectors, but is most measureable in commercial and hospitality. Innovative spaces foster word of mouth, which market a business long after the guests, clients or customers have left. A well-planned, well-executed interior contributes to the success and profit of any business, and should be cohesive with a brands identity.


Amber - A space that creates ease of use for both staff and patrons sets itself up for success. Often times people become so accustom to working in a certain environment or to a specific series of movements to get tasks accomplished, that they can’t see how it could be improved.  Having a trained and objective eye gives us the ability to identify those areas and create spaces that are more efficient, productive and enjoyable.


image Interior Design by Inoui Design Collective

Iván Meade - What is your next design venture?

Kyla & Amber - We have a number of exciting projects in the works, including one in our own neighbourhood; Fernwood Coffee’s Parsonage Café. The owners are very passionate about their business and the community, and we’re excited to be working with them on improving and expanding this local mainstay.


image Interior Design by Inoui Design Collective

Iván Meade - Lastly, you are starting to create a stunning body of work with many mediums and styles, what would you like your legacy to be?

Amber & Kyla - All we can say Iván, is that we hope our likenesses will be forever captured in finely painted velvet portraits, mounted above a roaring fireplace at Inoui World Headquarters.

JK  To be honest, we just want to love what we do everyday and know that people are enjoying the spaces we’ve designed.

I invite you to discover INOUI design collective work at their website



Ivan Meade is a local designer and principal of Meade Design Group, a multidisciplinary interior and graphic design studio in the heart of downtown Victoria –

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011