May 14, 2012

Simple Design Elegance - Blümen

by Pierce Atkinson,

I recently visited my Nations Capital, to catchup with an old friend. Ottawa, Ontario is an amazing city with much to offer and great developments. It is the second largest city in the Province of Ontario and the fourth largest city in the country, and boasts some of the most iconic architecture of Canada. Although the government buildings attract most of the tourism and high profile architecture, it is the smaller scale design that caught my eye.

While visiting my friend she introduced me to a great little gem in the Hintonburg neighbourhood of Ottawa, Blümen Studio. Blümen became a reality a little over a year for owners Kat and Nathan. I got in touch with Kat to ask a few questions about the space and how it evolved into an amazing Floral Design boutique and Café.

When she first took over the space Kat explained that it was originally an old fashioned variety store with minimal updates having been done over the years. Today she has transformed the boutique into a 21st century variety store; "...we still offer a whole variety of things just with a little twist." says Kat.

The renovations took ten weeks with no hired help. "...it was a lot of work. This place was run down BAD." reflects Kat. As mentioned, no designers or contractors were hired for the job leaving Kat to conceptualize all design elements and layouts herself. Her partner Nathan helped with all the labour and detailing, the space reflects what a great team they make; "Nathan is gold. He asks me what I want, I tell him, and he gets on it and does it and here we have the finished product."

Kat used very simple and elegant materials throughout the space. Her work area is made up of simple stainless steel counter tops freestanding in the middle of the room. White walls and white subway tiles on the café counter contrast beautifully with the reclaimed wood flooring - my favourite part of the space. The rough wood has been maintained, complete with glue from the previous flooring in the old variety store, and offers a beautiful aged warmth. Kat and Nathan finished it nicely leaving the floor as is and just sealing it with a high gloss varnish. "We like to recycle and make old new again. Make it look fab but keep it simple. Thats the key, SIMPLE." Kat says of the space. The lines, materials and vintage furniture Kat has placed in the store all tie in together so well, making the space incredibly inviting and captivating.

When asked where she came up with the concept for the space Kat explained that her mother owned several flower stores in Germany after the wall came down. "This idea has always been on my mind. I grew up in the flower industry, I grew up practically surrounded by flowers. A florist for almost 18 years myself, I always knew it has to be a flower store cafe and here we are. I love it."

I look forward to visiting Kat and Nathan at Blümen Studio in the future to see what other exciting finds they've brought in. I strongly recommend dropping in to see the space and the unique and tasty treats Kat has to offer along with her stunning floral compositions.

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