Monday, November 26, 2007


Sassy pooch beds crafted by hot designers are auctioned for a good cause

Lauren Ferranti-Ballem, National Post
Published: Saturday, November 24, 2007

A dog bed sends many messages. You love your pooch. He deserves a special spot. And you don't want your couch covered in canine hair. Though it's meant for your four-legged friend, your choice of dog bed is ultimately a reflection of your style (or lack thereof). "The dog is an extension of your aesthetic," says Paul Ryu, co-owner of Timmie Doggie Outfitters on Queen Street West. "He's not going to say, 'Ruff, I want the camo print.' " A plaid poof says laidback, canvas is utilitarian and Ultrasuede equals ultra cool. But a custom-designed dog bed from Timmie's suggests a new breed of stylish philanthropy.

Mr. Ryu and his partners in doggie design -- Timmie co-owner Georges Khayat and his wife, Angela Suh -- launched the first annual Twelve Beds of Christmas Charity Auction this past Thursday at the King West M5V Condominiums presentation centre, where a dozen dog beds created by Canadian graphic, interior and fashion designers, architects, artists and TV personalities were auctioned off, with all proceeds going to the Toronto Humane Society. Inspired by the frenzy for Timmie's in-store "pet pictures with Santa" last year (also for the Humane Society) as well as the Gardiner Museum's annual Twelve Trees of Christmas gala, where professionally trimmed conifers are auctioned off to the highest black-tied bidders, Mr. Ryu decided to combine his love of dogs, design and charity into one hip party. "There's never been an event like this for the dogs, so why not?" he says.

Pet owners previously oblivious to their dogs' slumber needs may be forgiven for splashing out on a designer bed, if not for charity then for its homegrown star power. Mr. Ryu was pleasantly surprised by the speedy, enthusiastic response he received from the designers he solicited, including: HGTV's Designer Guys (Allen Chan, Matt Davis and Anwar Mukhayesh), Sarah Richardson and Tommy Smythe; House & Home's Lynda Reeves; Mikey Richardson of AmoebaCorp; artists Derrick Hodgson and Brandon Steen; illustrator Bernice Lum; Hambly & Woolley design group; Toronto Living reporters; and fashion designers Dev ( aujcollections. com) and Catherine Ryu ( L. A.-based Adriano Goldschmeid jeans).

The beds are as varied as their creators and they are all beautiful, showcasing offbeat designs with a lot of personality to suit any decor ( and dog).

Professed doodling artist Derrick Hodgson cobbled together sketches of dog-like creatures, inspired by his daily romps with his puppy, Cree, and had them screen-printed on to punchy pink fabric -- a signature colour in his artwork. " Having a pup opens up the community a lot more," he says. " Going to the dog park and seeing all the shapes and sizes of canines is very inspiring and comical." While he doubts he'd ever drop hundreds of dollars on a dog bed -- he'd rather invest in a luxurious scrap of shearling -- he admits it is important to have cool canine accoutrements in the home. " It's just as important as buying a nice chair or a teak cabinet -- it becomes a part of the overall decor."

Catherine Ryu chose her preferred medium -- denim -- as a starting point. " It's so durable, the more you wash it the softer if gets," she says. " Plus, if the owner has designer jeans, why not their dog?" Originally conceived as a deep indigo, the denim was repeatedly washed down to prevent the colour from running. " I didn't want a light Pomeranian's belly to turn blue from snuggling into the bed too much," Ms. Ryu says. The result is classic ' 80s acid wash -- a bleached out, sky-blue bed wi th belt loops sewn to the sides ( to make dragging it from room to room easy) and the AG Jeans logo stamped on top. " I imagine this bed in a comfortable family room where people gather," she says. " It's definitely meant for a laidback environment as opposed to a minimalist, formal one."

The home design pros delivered sophisticated beds with clean lines and a neutral palette. Ms. Reeves's creation, a study in charcoal grey with cream piping, could slip effortlessly into her hotel-inspired House & Home collection of towels and linens. The Designer Guys effort, what Allen Chan dubs " a snapshot into a dog's dream," features a chic linework of dog bones raining down on a black silk background -- the canine design equivalent of a black and white framed photograph. " A cool, affordable dog bed -- one that's not too goofy or childish-- isn't easy to find these days," says Mr. Chan. " In fact, I'm thinking of buying my own at the auction. My dog needs a new one."

Other notable beds include aujCollection's sassy prep-school design of wide black and white stripes and hot pink piping; Mikey Richardson's punkified blood-red crest ( it reads " Felines begone") on prim beige toile; and Bernice Lum's gracefully hand-drawn dachshund bed. Each one is an art piece first, yet they remain dog beds by virtue of form and function. But why shouldn't high design be available to all walks, number of legs notwithstanding? Mr. Ryu's business is built around $ 100 food bowls and chi-chi chew toys and his rationale is entirely convincing: " You're going to get a dog bed anyway, so it doesn't make sense to buy something cheap and ugly that you have to hide in the closet when company comes over."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Twelve Beds of Christmas - Thursday, November 22 @ 7pm

12 Beds of Christmas - Lynda Reeves Bed

Lynda Reeves is one of Canada’s leading personalities in the fields of interior design, decorating and lifestyle trends.

She is President of House & Home Media, the Toronto based company that brings you Canadian House & Home magazine, the television show House& Home with Lynda Reeves, House & Home: Style for Living merchandise at Hbc’s The Bay and Home Outfitters stores and the new brand NEST: Style for Casual Living, available at Zellers across Canada.

This highly successful home brand has both inspired and empowered Canadians to pursue the latest home trends for 20 years.

Lynda continues to promote excellence in Canadian design through her weekly column in CANWEST National newspapers.

Friday, November 16, 2007

12 Beds of Christmas - aujCollections Bed

Dev is the co-designer of the oft-tread country club fashion label, aujCollections. The clothing line, which is a collection of bright, preppy pieces and graphic orientated tees, also has a social function. With every cashmere-lined tee sold by aujCollections, the customer is given an access number, which they can plug into in order to receivefree mentorship enabling them to do something to better their world.
Customer’s projects have ranged from building water purification plants in Ugandan villages to helping out in a local Queen West soup kitchen. Dev, 23, also runs a non-governmental organization called, which helps youth in over 27 countries start community service projects. Dev maintained the aujCollections flare by designing a dog bed with the + 70 yachting culture in mind, “you can never be too safe” says Aujla on the durable outdoor canvas he used for the bed, “but I wanted to design a bed that would appeal to the Rod Stewarts and Nicolaas Besselings of the canine world.”

12 Beds of Christmas - Hambly & Woolley Bed

Hambly & Woolley Inc. was founded in 1990 by illustrator Bob Hambly and graphic designer Barb Woolley as a marriage of art and design. This continues to influence what is today a multidisciplinary design group: Creating thought-provoking work that achieves exactly what it needs to do. Lucid communication, without excess. Elegant solutions that appeal to the senses – not forgetting the senses of surprise and humour.
Hambly & Woolley Inc. has received over 300 international design awards from organizations such as the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Graphis, Communication Arts, Applied Arts, and the Advertising and Design Club of Canada.

12 Beds of Christmas - Bernice Lum Bed

Bernice is a graduate of Sheridan College School of Visual Arts in 1984. After graduation, she freelanced for various design companies including Citytv / Muchmusic. From 1988-1997, she resided in the UK where she pursued her illustration career. So far, Bernice has over 30 children’s books published and continues to work for clients in the UK, USA and Canada.

12 Beds of Christmas - Brandon Steen Bed

Born to Irish parents, Brandon’s dark childhood continues to influenece his artistic development. He took great comfort in exploring the fields behind his Nan’s and the marshes down at this Gram’s. It was places such as these that the young Brandon found solace in harvesting dew worms, studying decaying birds and watching carp literally kill themselves on the east beaches of Lake Erie during run seasons. Being isolated in small towns through the summer enabled Brandon’s imagination to grow into the imaginary worlds of sadness and humor.
His paintings are rich, textured home to an array of sinisterly beautiful characters and creatures woven together with pop references from his boyhood. This has led the award winning artist to be collected and sought after by the preeminent US galleries in the Pop Surrealist movement today. Galleries such as La Luz De Jesus (LA), Subject Matter (Costa Mesa), Thinkspace (LA), Compound (Portland), WindUp (Phoenix), Gallery 1988 LA (LA), to La Petit Mort (Ottawa) to The Magic Pony Gallery (Toronto) to name just a few.
Brandon Steen was born in Leamington, Ontario. He currently lives and works in Hogtown with his beloved Miss Jane where he paints happiest with his English Bull Terrier Mr. Séamus at his heels amongst the ever growing rows of vinyl sculptures, antique toys and honey tins, books, and the ashes of Clancy his first English Bull Terrier and always his studio filled with the sweet music of Johnny Cash.

12 Beds of Christmas - Toronto Living Bed

Debuting in the Fall of 1997, toronto [living] has become one of Rogers Television’s most highly-viewed programs. Each week our team of reporters bring you the very best our world-class city has to offer. From art galleries to restaurants to fashion and shopping, toronto [living] delivers the goods each week in a stylish half-hour magazine format.

12 Beds of Christmas - Catherine Ryu Bed

Catherine Ryu is Head Woven’s Designer at LA based jean brand Adriano Goldschmeid. Straight out of university Cat was scouted to design for Club Monaco and quickly realized New York was where she needed to be. After paying her dues at Urban Outfitters in Philly for 2 years to secure her O1 Visa, NYC beckoned. Head hunted to CK Jeans she finally settled in at The Gap. 4 years in and on her way to a serious New York lifestyle including the Part Avenue apartment, she decided the constant hustle and freezing cold winters just weren’t doing it for her anymore, Cat upped stakes and moved to LA-LA. When asked “Why AG?” she simply reports, “They have this AMAZING denim R&D centre, it’s world renowned…” Everything about Cat is quality. She emanates strength and intelligence, with a side order of free-spirited nature girl. Whether it’s Cartier or camping, she’ll school you. Teach us oh wise one…

12 Beds of Christmas - Mikey Richardson Bed

Mikey is a Kitchener born, Toronto based artist & designer.
As one of the founding partners of the Toronto design firm AmoebaCorp, he acts as Co-Creative Director and is responsible for helping to createand oversee the internationally recognized work of AmoebaCorp’s progressive studio.
A much awarded graduate of the Communication and Design program at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Richardson has returned to OCAD as a faculty member, serving as an instructor for the past 4 years.

12 Beds of Christmas - Derrick Hodgson Bed

Derrick Hodgson is a Toronto-based artist who’s paintings and drawings are renderings of complex social spaces crowded with familiar and mutated characters. Hodgson grew up on a farm and subsequently moved to Toronto. This progression from nature to urban provided the breeding grounds for the first seeds of mania. Using aspects of cartoon, graffiti and contemporary design, Hodgson created a style and environment that quickly advanced him to the forefront of contemporary art and character design. In the past few years Hodgson has exhibited his work in Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Milan and Melbourne. In addition to this he was the first Canadian artist to be recognized by Sony Creative in Japan where his character illustrations were transformed into 3-D art figures and sold in gatcha-gatcha machines across Japan. This quick rise to success led Hodgson to be a key speaker at the Berlin Pictoplasma Conference in 2004 and 2006. 

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Globe and Mail Article - November 10, 2007

Pets: Cat-Sized Pups
As the number of people living in condos goes up, the average size of canines running around the park is shrinking

Jose Lourenço
Special to The Globe and Mail
November 10, 2007

There's a natural bowl in Trinity-Bellwoods Park where men and women stand apart and in clusters, holding charge-less leashes and watching their dogs run about. Last Tuesday afternoon, I counted seven dogs there. Five of them were the size of toasters.

Toronto clearly has a snuggle affair with the mini-pups, and it seems that condos have had a hand in the downsizing of our dogs.

Jacquelyn and Dave Cyr live in a two-bedroom unit in the Westside Lofts at King and Bathurst. In September, they brought home four-month-old Darby, half pug, half shih tzu. Slightly smaller than two outstretched hands, she has a short white coat dappled with chestnut and grey, and her face features the saddest sad puppy-dog eyes I've ever seen. She looks like someone just ran over her dog ... friend.

"She's nine pounds," Mrs. Cyr says. "She won't get much bigger than this.

"We were looking for a small breed," she adds. "Dogs are so much work to train, we weren't ready to handle the dirty dog business of a big mutt in our downtown condo."

Although Westside Lofts does allow bigger breeds, at many other condominiums in the city, size is the determining factor in whether condo owners are allowed to keep a dog. A common weight restriction - at buildings such as Palace Pier on Lake Shore Boulevard and 25 The Esplanade - allows condo owners to have dogs under 25 pounds only. Because unit owners aren't renters, they must abide by their building's declaration and are not protected by Section 15 of the Tenant Protection Act, which states that a landlord cannot legally mandate a "no pets" clause (save for extreme cases).

Dog-owning condo residents have become a large enough breed that George Khayet, Paul Ryu and Angela Suh, co-owners of Timmie Doggie Outfitter on Queen West, stock their shop with products that particularly appeal to the tiny, well-designed life, whether they be impeccably crisp water bowls, handsome steel food bins, or dog beds so luxe they make me despise my box spring.

"We see a lot of pugs, a lot of Boston terriers, Jack Russells, that sort of dog," Mr. Ryu says. "And new designer dogs too, like mini-poodles mixed with everything else.

"In the past, you would see bigger and bigger dogs in the city, but now you're looking at a lot of compact doggies that are compatible with smaller areas."

The shop has been open since June, 2006, and Mr. Ryu says Timmie's customer base has steadily increased, attributing some of the store's success to its location. "There's a massive dog park across the street, and it's a massive shopping district.

"Mostly people who shop in this neighbourhood are young ladies who live in condos," he adds.

The ladies or gentlemen who do stop by will find more than a few items that would look lovely in their homes.

"You can spend $200 on a bed here," Mr. Ryu says. "You could get a $20 bed at Costco, but that bed you're going to have to squish somewhere when people come over."

For those interested in what a $200 doggie bed looks like and who would also like to see some money go to the Toronto Humane Society, Timmie Doggie Outfitters is hosting an event called "The 12 Beds of Christmas Charity Auction" on Nov. 22, when they will auction off one-of-a-kind designer puppy beds.

The event, naturally, is located at the M5V Condominium Presentation Centre.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

NOW Magazine - Best of Toronto

Best pet accessories
867 Queen West, 416-203-6789,

West-end pet people hunting for Fido and kitty accessories from the cutesy to the modern shop Timmie Doggie Outfitters.