To Be Treasured; Design Majeur's 2017 Gift Guide

The Holidays are the perfect excuse to indulge in this ritual; the art of gift giving, time honoured and born from a place of affection. Small tokens of appreciation that have the ability to say so much in a simple gesture - yet the question of what can oft be perplexing. 

At the core of our little shop and subsequently this journal, we want to adorn homes with things of meaning. To be treasured and passed down. To be used and lived in. And so as we built this year's gift guide we chose pieces that delighted us, encouraged slow living and were simply downright useful. We hope this helps inspire your purchases and sparks ideas for those on your list. 





Flora Woodlot Soap / Riess Milkpan / Redecker Holed Spoon / Sydney Hale Candle / Rifle Paper Co. Card / Urbanovitch No. 1 Fragrance / Urbanovitch Earrings / Rifle Notebook Set / Bindewerk Linen Notebooks / Hornvarefabrikken Barette / Pura Overnight Garden Mask / Redecker Copper Cleaning Cloths / Rusty Thought Diamond Necklace / Vintage Compact / Peg and Awl Rolling Pin / Vintage Handkerchiefs 

(As Pictured from Top Left to Bottom Right) 




Redecker Shaving Soap / Hornvarefabrikken Letter Opener / Province Apothecary Soap / Compartes 'Nightcap' Chocolate / Vintage Woods Ribbon / Vintage Leather Cigar Box / Panforte / Huberds Shoe Grease / Redecker Clothes Brush / Daneson Bourbon Toothpicks / Hyperion Silver Necklace / Redecker Nutcracker / Peg and Awl Waxed Canvas Pencil Case / Homework Press Card / Woodlot Palo Santo    

(As Pictured from Top Left to Bottom Right) 




Vintage Pencils / Trifulot Assorted Truffles / Washi Tape / Striped Paper Straws / Redecker Children's Nail Brush / Homework Press Holiday Card / Bees Wax Tapers / Dish Cloth / Rifle Paper Co. Card / Pura Pixie & Sprite Wash / Awash Lavender Bath Salts / Bees Wax Tree Candles / Drizzle Mini Raw Honey / Maven & Grace Gift Card /  Vintage Gummed Labels Book / Sydney Hale Matches / Lakrids / Soap Satchel / Petit Wooden Redecker Toys


We sincerely hope these guides help you during this bustling season. For more inspiration find last years gift guide here or simply stop by the shop!

We are open with extended hours during the Holidays and we hope to see you soon! 

Crisp & Clean: An English Inspired Home

On a late autumn evening, crunching leaves as we tread, we found ourselves in front of a picturesque home in South Edmonton. However, the moment we crossed the threshold, we were transported to an English-inspired home. Suzanne and Ben, owners of the house for over 18 years (originally built for them) are the first to admit to it having many iterations in those nearly two decades. "Lots of different colours of paint, flooring, furniture placements. In all of our family videos it always looks very different at different stages," laughed Suzanne. 

Presently the house feels well loved and well chosen, a space that so perfectly captures its owners, as their passions are evident in every room on every floor.  For Suzanne that passion is literature and for Ben, ceramics and sculpture. Both are woven seamlessly into the minimalist monochromatic design with pops of colour that feel more intentional and vivid; it's a space that evokes calm. The perfect place to sit quietly lost in a good book, to enjoy the fragrant presence of fresh cut flowers, to feel pulled from Edmonton into another plane where phones are hushed and herbal tea is strong. 



Where do you find inspiration for designing your home?

"One of the inspirations is definitely travel and the historic homes we visit. We spend a lot of time in England, we try to stay in a lot of bed and breakfasts, and inns. The artwork is inspired by something we saw in Dorset, but truly we draw a lot of inspiration from historical homes. My colleagues have a joke they call me a biblio-pilgrim; we were just in Boston and we visited every writer's home in that area. We were in Thoreau's cabin, we were in Emerson's house, and Emily Dickinson's house. I just love some of the historic houses. Some are staged and museum-like but some are from the Georgian era with beautiful panelling and simple design I just love - they still feel like real homes. I think that definitely historic buildings have been inspiration for us. Lastly there's a British architect & designer that I really like named Ben Pentreath and there's a coziness about his place. He values simple furniture." (S)




On the note of iterations and inspiration, do you change the aesthetic of the home pretty significantly every couple of years?”

"I think we will live with this a little bit longer; it’s been a process of learning a little bit more, finding out what we like. When we first moved here we were just beginning in our careers and dealing with student stuff. We have collected a few items that we will keep for a long period of time." (S)

"It's a standing joke in our relationship when we first moved in. I said ok 'put the pictures on the wall that you'll think they will go on and you have much time as you want to put them in the right spot. Then we will nail them in and we won't ever change them.' *laughs* How wrong was I? And if you've known how many times I've stood there holding a picture. How many times we've moved the desk up and down the stairs."  (B)

"It's been fun. It's not our background, so we don't do it quickly. It's taken a lot of time and it's evolved. It's fun to experiment." (S)




The kitchen is absolutely beautiful, so bright and clean - can you share a bit about the renovation?

"We worked with AYA Kitchens for the design, all of the hardware came from Restoration Hardware. A lot of research though was Suzanne. She looked at pictures and magazines, figuring out what we liked." (B)

Any tips for keeping the space well edited?

"We have a general rule that if we haven't used it in a year, then we should probably get rid of it." (S)




Playing Favourites

Are there any pieces in your home that you love more than others? Aesthetically or for sentimental reasons?

"I love the books. I have a hard time lending them. They are like my friends - I don't want them to disappear. I also love chairs and a handful of other things, this Georgian chair, a collection of pottery from England and pieces from grandparents." (S)

Both of your careers and passions have influenced your home a lot. Was that a choice or did you just find over time you ended up surrounding yourself with those items? 

A personal mentor once said that every home should have a library and a cozy chair. I certainly decorate with books. I feel good having them around. I really like shopping for books and I like beautiful books, I care about the covers. (S)

"And I feel grateful because Suzanne is highly appreciative of my work. That I get to display it proudly in our home and that she wants to tuck some of my pieces away for our home." (B)




Apart from the things Ben's made, where do you find most of the things for your home?

"Well, there's a lot of Maven & Grace, in almost every room! There are a few furniture pieces that we picked up from Plum Home Design. A lot of it is from travel - not necessarily the bigger pieces but the smaller ones that are easier to bring back." (S)

Any final thoughts you'd like to share on your home? 

"I think it's a refuge. I like a certain degree of order. Teaching is a busy career and you can't always control what people do. It's a place that is calm and peaceful and serene. I like having a quiet place to come back to, to read, gather, lots of fun, intimate times with family." (S)



The Resource List

Picture #1: Table, Maven and Grace;Vase, Plum
Picture #2: Antique mirror, Plum; Antique platter, Maven and Grace; Ceramics, Benjamin Oswald
Picture #3: Flowers, Maven and Grace; Ceramics, Benjamin Oswald
Picture #4: Antique chair, Plum; Artwork, Sandra Stevenson; Vase, Maven and Grace
Picture #5: Picture frame, Maven and Grace; Antique dresser jar, Plum
Pictures #6-8: Table, Maven and Grace; Light fixtures, Ikea; Vase, Benjamin Oswald
Picture #9: Kettle, Le Creuset
Picture #11: Pink, grey, white plates, Anthropologie
Picture #14: Antique armchair, Plum
Picture #17: Antique brass lamp, antique sewing box, Plum
Picture #18: Antique tray, Maven and Grace, Ceramics, Benjamin Oswald
Pictures #19-20: Artwork, Sandra Stevenson
Picture #21: Antique dresser, Maven and Grace
Picture #24: Picture framing, Mill Creek Picture Framing


The Garden Shed


Born out of a longing for a space of her own, this little outbuilding on Kathy's property has become a tasteful version of a clubhouse. On a snowy spring day we put the finishing touches on this tiny hideaway and chatted about design and notions of home. Inspired by stylist Hans Blomquist, the space is comprised of soft pastels, industrial touches, and layers of vintage fabric to pull you in. The type of place we all want to grow up into and call our own. A clubhouse for the woman who owns a dish filled with faded antique clay beads - just because. This retreat was made for her. 


Like all the other rooms in Kathy’s home, the garden shed, as she lovingly refers to it, took time. Collected objects fill the space without making it feel overbearing or overly curated. Antiques and vintage pieces from different eras and styles blend into one cohesive design. Some, like the antique hospital bed with beige ticking she’s owned for years while others, like the antler side table with scalloped edges, were recent finds. Most of the smaller touches were pulled from the shop for the shoot - a mini-van full of odds and ends to make the space unfold, telling a more engaging story the more you delve into it. 

The space was designed akin to the style of Maven & Grace and what the shop exemplifies - it's kind of a broad beautiful design concept. So over the sound of chickens cooing in the coop next door and nothing else, we bent Kathy's ear to talk design for small spaces. 

Garden Shed Styling
Maven and Grace
Vintage Desk Styling
Horseheads copy.jpg


Where do you find a sense of home?

The garden studio is great for having a room of one's own - to quote Virginia Woolf - but home is also in my garden, really anywhere outdoors, especially in the summer, and spending time with family whether it's yardwork or cooking or watching a movie. 

Is it a struggle to find the patience to wait for the perfect piece?

Honestly?! I'm more the type of person who doesn't wait. I will have a stand in for a while if I really love something, and I have the advantage of selling it if I'm able to find a piece that fits even better. 

Linens and Things
Vintage Styling

How does this space reflect the shop - the intention and the design behind it? 

Well, initially it was more of a writing studio for me as I was finishing my degree in English and creative writing. It was an office / writing area , but now it's become more of a sanctuary, a retreat from household responsibilities and my multi-generational family. 

Is it hard to exist in a place with so much depth knowing that over time it’ll come undone?

Oh no and it certainly won't stay the same - some of the items were borrowed from the shop - but honestly letting things go and for a space to be lived in is its own sort of beauty. 

Any advice for someone wanting to build their own hideaway? 

I would say spend some time in the space at different times of day and while doing that consider what you intend to use the space for. Then make it functional. Surround yourself with things that inspire you or bring you joy. Don't be afraid to make it special or ever underestimate how that space can be used. 

Antique Styled Desk

How do you tackle design in such a small space? 

Pieces need to have double duties, the bed can be a couch or a bed and the table can be used for photoshoots or to write on. I think editing is important - if you're not using it or it's not bringing you pleasure then get rid of it. I recommend that in a house, but even more so in a tiny place. Layers add depth in a really beautiful way, but there's a fine line to not being cluttered. 

Do you ever lament having to let go of pieces you source for the shop? 

A lot of my favourite pieces I've ended up selling. You have to be able to let go and I always feel happy to let those pieces go. I know when they go to new families who are passionate about their homes they'll bring joy to others. 

Design Majeur
Styled Table Maven & Grace

Favourite Pieces...
The antler table is a current obsession, the Beni Ourain rug and all the bedding - the antique french linen bedspread, the ticking mattress and all of the amazing textures.

On the Hunt For...
The perfect desk; the one in the photos has sold!  I'd like one in a similar style but slightly bigger to fit the space. 

Vintage Oil Painting