Author Archives: Greg Laciak

In the Showroom With Greg: Inspired by Christmas

Greg Laciak is Greentea Design’s lead designer.  When Greg’s not helping clients plan their dream kitchen he’s often in the showroom giving it that quintessential Greentea vibe.  With an unmatched eye for what’s beautiful and how it all fits together, The Design Tree is delighted to have Greg as a guest contributor.  This month Greg explains his process as he designs the showroom for the holidays.


People often ask me where my design inspiration comes from. Typically I answer that inspiration can be found just about anywhere, you just have to keep an open mind.  Case in point my inspiration for this year’s Greentea Christmas look came from an ad for a bathtub of all things!  Here it is:

I loved the rich wall colour and the stark juxtaposition of black and white; and how the faucet and table seemed to sparkle in contrast.  Seeing this was my lightbulb moment: I knew  I had my theme of a black, white and gray Christmas with a silver overlay.  And with the growing popularity of both industrial and rustic furniture, I also knew I wanted to showcase Greentea’s take on this design style.

For Greentea’s display, I started by anchoring the look with a three glass bankers bookcases with the  rustic table placed in front.  Both bookcases and table were set with a collection of white servingware and festive touches of silver.  After taking a few customer requests to paint some of Greentea’s pieces white and loving this effect, I knew painted white benches would pull this look together.

A big Christmas tree fit in a black pot is elegant and simple dressed in white lights and a dusting of fluffy white “snow”.

For the entryway, I used a small black buffet decorated with a large bowl of silver baubles and topped with a rustic mirror.

Two new items to our furniture line include the rustic console and  bench with industrial wheels,I felt that the big red wheels added a playfull touch, much like the red firetruck you always hoped would be under the tree. The 2 shattered glass mirrors  look amazing painted white, and the white and black cow print rug pulled all the elements together. I added the small douglas fir tree in the black champagne bucket, the paperwhites in the shiny bowl and the white tray of silver baubles – the final nod to to the festive season.

A very dear friend of mine once said that a display must always have something whimsical in it. What could be more whimsical than a trail of Santa bells!

Wishing you all the most inspired, whimsical and magical holiday season!

At the Design Show with Greg – IDS12

Greg Laciak is Greentea Design’s lead designer.  When Greg’s not helping clients plan their dream kitchen he’s often in the showroom giving it that quintessential Greentea vibe.  With an unmatched eye for what’s beautiful and how it all fits together, The Design Tree is delighted to have Greg as a guest contributor.  This month Greg takes us to the Interior Design Show in Toronto with a run through of his top finds at this year’s show!

IDS12 Interior Design Show

More than 300 retailers, studios, manufacturers and exhibitors took part in this year’s Interior Design Show here in Toronto.  It was a great show and here’s my round-up of those objects, ideas, and designs that I found fascinating.

The “How Do We Live” Exhibit

An interesting mix of concepts were on display here as designer spaces were showcased within the confines of shipping containers.

"How Do We Live" exhibitwww.caseydesignplan.com

The creative collaboration between Casey Design Planning Group and Design Works Studio was astounding. The collaborators envisioned a design portal that directs us inwards on a sensual journey of exploration and discovery, revealing the vast transformative powers of our imagination.  And I did feel like I was transported into another world, one replete with fantasy peacock walls, stunning marble floors and whimsical art arrangements no less!  It was mesmerizing in it’s beauty, concept and unique oddness.

Studio North

In Studio North, the exhibit that focuses on up and coming star ateliers and design makers, I was most intrigued by the wall coverings by Mushaboom Design.  Their latest line, the Victoria Collection, takes its inspiration from the Halifax Public Gardens.  Mushaboom Design endeavors to create colourful designs and patterns inspired by the world around us, incorporating these elements into wall coverings and textiles that blend seamlessly into a wide range of interiors.  Newly honed technologies such as digital printing have dismantled the old paradigm of mass production and enabled mass customization.

Wall coverings by Mushaboom Designwww.mushaboomdesign.com

I was particularly drawn to the hazy yet colorfully vivid coverings that seemed to reference a bygone era.  Others that I liked had a sense of balance you feel when you surround yourself in nature.  Best of all I could see these wall coverings working remarkably well in both traditional and modern settings.

Also in the section was Ridgely Studio Works, who specialize in contemporary handmade lighting, sculpture and furniture using a wide variety of materials. Under the direction of Zac Ridgely they push the boundaries of form by creating lighting that refuses to blend into its scenery.

Lighting by Ridgely Studio Workswww.ridgelystudioworks.com

I loved the otherworldly “halo” with the metal stick or twigs suspended below, this would look beautiful hanging over a worn and beaten up dining table.

IDS Main Show

Back in the main area of the show I kept finding myself drawn to the stone tile booth and the incredible tiles from Mutina.

These stunning ceramic tiles maintain the raw aspects of traditional earth floors or handmade cement, allowing the material to convey the beauty of its natural characteristics. The special composition of minerals truly creates a material that has both visual depth and a sensuous matte finish.

Tiles by Mutinawww.stone-tile.com

It was hard to believe that these were ceramic tiles! Many had a very old world mosaic quality to them, while others were truly modern. Available in natural and monochrome base colours, the small honeycomb pattern would make a stunning backsplash.

Prototype

My last pick is from the Student Prototype exhibit and it’s Denis Limitovski’s Amsel Console Table.

The designer was inspired by the ideas of unique perspectives and negative spaces, and this piece of furniture does indeed have a very different look from every angle.

Amsel Console Table

I loved the playfulness of the structure and also how the metal frame was imbedded into the wooden top – I could see this being used as an entry table or perhaps behind a sofa.

Did you make it out to IDS12 this year?  What were your thoughts?

In the Showroom With Greg: Festive Display

Greg Laciak is Greentea Design’s lead designer.  When Greg’s not helping clients plan their dream kitchen he’s often in the showroom giving it that quintessential Greentea vibe.  With an unmatched eye for what’s beautiful and how it all fits together, The Design Tree is delighted to have Greg as a guest contributor.  This month in celebration of the holidays, Greg lends the showroom some festive magic.

Taking inspiration from traditional Japanese country houses (while adding in other Asian elements), I decided to celebrate the season with this whimsical showroom display.

Actual Korean floors (Marus) are used as platforms to feature our contemporary take on the traditional Hibachi. Hanging above is the much commented on Jizai hook, fish and kettle.

An antique kimchi pot holds our “Holiday Tree” The floor lamps are from Cherry Tree Design and the paper lanterns on the tree are often used at festivals in North East Asia.

I created this stunning displaying using a striking Martha Stewart color named “Weathervane” to add dimension and bring out the organic elements of the furniture. It seemed very dark at first – which is usually the case – but came out so rich and luxurious that everything truly did “pop”.

An antique Japanese Mizuya Chest teamed with Tibetan Boxes.

The overall effect is sophisticated and festive, with an ethereal feel. It proves that the Japanese style of having “a few good pieces” can work beautifully. Each item is emphasized but the eye can still easily take in the full effect. Customers often comment that this style of decor has a calming effect. And with the holidays in full gear, this and a glass of traditional plum wine is just the ticket.

The organic nature of the Chinese baskets and calligraphy scrolls are perfectly balanced with the dark richness of the wall color.

Greentea Design’s BIG Winter Sale kicks off next week and if you’re in the area, you should stop in to take in the majesty of the display and snap up some pretty amazing deals on favourite Greentea pieces.  You won’t be disappointed!


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In the Garden with Greg: A Provencal Brunch in the Heart of the City

Greg Laciak is Greentea Design’s lead designer.  When Greg’s not helping clients plan their dream kitchen he’s often in the showroom giving it that quintessential Greentea vibe.  With an unmatched eye for what’s beautiful and how it all fits together, The Design Tree is delighted to have Greg as a guest contributor.  This month in celebration of summer, Greg moves out of the showroom and into the garden as he sets up a Provencal brunch using Greentea’s unique furniture and outdoor accessories.

There is something extra special about dining outdoors.  Surrounded by the beauty of nature seems to heighten the simple pleasure of eating.  Fresh from an incredible trip to Paris and Provence, the time was perfect to host a Provençal brunch in my own backyard.  Here’s how I created a little slice of Heaven, à la Provence, in the heart of Toronto.

Dans le jardin

The wisteria was in full glorious bloom, creating the perfect backdrop.

I decided my two anchors would be a rustic dining table paired with some slender benches to fit in the tight space and…

… a small Harbin table as a server.

To add some interest between the elevated sitting area and the garden I grouped 3 rustic mortars that I planted with Agapanthus and Heliotropes: it was just the hit of structure and colour I was looking for.

The antique horse trough made a beautiful vessel to use as a water feature under the massive euonymus that has been slowly taking over my garden over the years – it has such a zen feel.

Sur la table:

I started with beautiful antique placemats that I teamed up with some fun summery napkins and Bakelite cutlery  to create that unfussy sophistication that is the distinctive style of the south of France. I wanted to showcase my depression glass collection which I used to set the table. The look was finished with gorgeous vases of white peonies.

The final nod to the French countryside was with the day’s menu which included gambas (shrimp) done simply on a bed of a pasta that was cooked in garlic olive oil and topped with fresh parmesan cheese and parsley and for dessert, brownies topped with berries and crème fraiche.  We enjoyed this with a wonderful sparkling lemonade from France that I found at a specialty store in my area.

It was a day of bliss as we enjoyed some fine food and company in a magical setting.  Here’s to your outdoor celebrations – be they large or intimate, formal or last minute.

For those of you in the Toronto area,  stop by the Greentea showroom to see our unique outdoor furniture and accessories like those above on sale now, up to 60% off.

In the Showroom with Greg – Bookcase Basics

Greg Laciak is Greentea Design’s lead designer.  When Greg’s not helping clients plan their dream kitchen he’s often in the showroom giving it that quintessential Greentea vibe.  With an unmatched eye for what’s beautiful and how it all fits together, The Design Tree is delighted to have Greg as a guest contributor.  This month is Steps and Storage Month at Greentea and Greg demonstrates how to prop your bookcases so that all your treasures get the spotlight they deserve!

A lot of us are guilty of just cramming things into bookcases, not realizing that we are wasting serious design potential. Shelves are hefty pieces that draw the eye and can provide that punch of wow-factor to your room. Each partition is a frame within a larger space; and these blank spaces are inviting you to fill them with your treasures to create something extraordinary. Using shelving in this way is an excellent way to display your collections. Do it right, and you’ve got your own unique, personal wall art  - your curated life, created and informed by your travels, interests and experiences.

Here are some tips on how to properly prop your shelves:

Use books to add weight and pattern to shelves. Choose from your favorite tomes, those that have interesting looks that would look cohesive together.  Display your design books together, or those antiquarian encyclopaedias you inherited.


Next add your most cherished collected items. Position the bigger pieces first. This helps you ensure that the entire shelf remains balanced as you go along.


Go for a mix of materials and shapes. Let the pieces play off each other — square with round, light with dark, smooth with rough.

Add smaller items last and keep your collections together. This adds quirky contrasts with your bigger pieces and brings delicate elements in.

Pour a glass of wine, relax and enjoy your stunning shelves. Relish the fact that they are totally you!