Story behind our product

All That Glitters

elephant sculpture_web500 Shimmer, shine, sparkle. For anyone who knows me, it’s no surprise at all to learn that I like a little sparkle in my interiors. Metallics and shimmer simply suit our dazzling personality, here at Snob, wouldn’t you say? While we never advocate for too much of anything, a little sparkle is the perfect addition to any interior and I think every room needs a little something. Too many people are scared to add metallics or accessories with a little glimmer, for fear they’ll veer off into the land of kitsch, or worse yet create a gaudy over-the-top mess. But with an editing hand and a deft eye, there are so many ways to add a little somethin’ somethin’ that’ll add the perfect dose of glamour and fun. Here are some ideas on how to add that luxe element. silver pillows_web 600 While polished metal is the no-brainer way of adding a little shine, you don’t need to stick with that material. These metallic throw pillows are a great way to add some shimmer. The centre and left pillows are actually leather and the one on the right is a raw silk emblazoned with fine silver and grey beads. We also gold and silver leaf wooden sculpture and artifacts to highlight fine detail and elevate the pieces for modern interiors. The elephant in the top image is one instance of how we do this. lucite bugs_web500 shells Turning to nature is another fabulous way to include glitter and glam. These beetles trapped in lucite add so much dimension with their luminescent colour. Same goes with the polished shells: they catch the light just right and add understated effervescence to a space. bead ring_web500 Beads, beads, beads. Africa is known across the globe for its beaded arts. These beaded bangles or donuts made in Cameroon add just the right amount of shimmer to your space. An interesting and intricately created home accessory, they may be just what you need to add that final layer of shimmer to complete your space. light fixtures650 And of course going with metals is a tried and true way up upping the glam with sparkling and glittering light. These unusual brass ring light fixtures are a unique and gorgeous way of adding just the right amount of oomph to a space. Love how these are defined by positive and negative space; love how the bulbs are as much a part of the artistry as the rings themselves. metal plane mobile800 This plane mobile is made by hand from metal scraps and contributes just the right amount of shine to a room, especially when the light hits. Love the shadows it casts too. As you can see, adding some shimmer, glitter, glam and shine need not mean your interiors are bedazzled. Metallics and shimmery accessories can be used to add fun, glamour, whimsy or sophistication to a room. Natural materials, polished metals, beadwork, textiles and a little paint are all able to contribute to that final layer of je ne sais quois that pulls your room together. Happy Decorating!     All pictures by Tim Bourgette

African Artifacts for Your Home

Snob Stuff woman's form carved from wood, this ashanti stool is a beautiful artifact to add to your interior Many of the pieces we carry here are made by contemporary artists working in Africa. And we’re constantly dazzled by their interpretations and inspirations of cultural icons and the unique vision they bring to their pieces. But we also have some truly spectacular artifacts from across Africa. Some of these are centuries old. This here is a peak at some of these incredibly special pieces. Snob - currency artifacts from across Africa Oversized, austere, commanding, these pieces are currency if you can believe it. Created by blacksmiths and used for trade, especially among agricultural communities several hundred years ago, these hand-forged copper pieces would be displayed proudly in homes as a show of wealth when not being used in a transaction. A fabulous home accessory, their sculptural and unique textural quality lent by the aged metal will only heighten their historical significance in your interiors. cow sculpture and headrests_1000px These lovely pieces make a unique tabletop accessory and a cool way to elevate a bauble for special display. But their actual use were as headrests when reclining in slumber by nomadic peoples of Kenya. Nigerian-Belt1000 Gorgeous and colourful, this beaded belt is a stunning piece of wall art. It was created for Nigerian royalty as part of the ceremonial wardrobe. Made with dazzling seed beads are masterfully sewn together. rocks and stool_web Intricately hand-carved from a continuous piece of wood, this stool is an artifact that I simply adore. The interesting shapes, the lovely carvings make this a warm and inviting piece. Perfect stool for an entry way or foyer. That this is also hundreds of years just adds depth and richness to its story and your home.   ladder This artifact is actually a very old ladder. The sculptural quality makes it a striking piece of art in your interior.   Design Tip of the Day Using artifacts is a great way to breathe life into your interiors. Especially true for modern, eclectic and minimalist spaces, artifacts and antiques tend to warm up a space and add unique character. Consider their addition when completing the look of your room.

Artist Profile – Pierre Cronje

Pierre Cronje is a man I’ve long admired. A master craftsman, he’s made a name for himself not only in his home of South Africa, but internationally too as a skilled furniture maker and woodworker. With pieces in some of the world’s most famous interiors, I’m honoured to have carried some Pierre Cronje tables and chairs myself here at Snob. French dining table - cronje ebony dining table - cronje  

The French and Ebony dining tables we have carried at Snob

Employing more than 140 artisans today, his fiercely original line of furniture is striking. Just look at some of these gorgeous pieces:     loft-bench Screen shot 2015-07-10 at 11.42.02 AM Passionate about his land and its history, many Cronje pieces are based on 18th century designs of Cape Dutch Settlers. In fact Cronje started his business three decades ago as a furniture restorer. As demand for fine quality, handmade solid wood furniture grew, so did his business. Now with 140 artisans who have each apprenticed for two years to perfect their skills, the brand has a large and dedicated following. However, the line will never grow to the point of mass-production, on this Pierre Cronje is clear. bombe-chest-of-drawers Today Cronje specializes in custom work, adapting his range of more than 200 pieces to the specifications of his clients, be that sizing to a particular space, or building in of special functionality. He also creates bespoke pieces for his most exclusive clients. Many of these one-of-a-kind treasures have sculptural qualities and showcase master-craft skill in impeccably fine detail. One thing is certain: all Pierre Cronje furniture are the heirlooms of tomorrow. bloukrans-ii-table  

The Bloukrans Dining Table

Cronje’s educational background is in civil engineering and computer science. But his heart lies in both national history and art. His engineering background means that he brings a unique aesthetic and clean lines to the range of modern furniture he has also created. Take for example the Bloukrans Dining Table which was inspired by his time working on the famous South African Bloukrans Bridge. rome-four-poster-bed All the hardwoods used in the building of his pieces are sourced from sustainable forests or are certified reclaimed. Cronje celebrates the tree from which the wood comes, even handcrafting the square wooden dowels and butterfly joints, so that these utility pieces heighten and beautify the designs.   What do you think of these? Do you have a favourite?

MonkeyBiz: Elevating South Africa’s Beaded Arts

Snob Stuff Monkey Biz collection Have you heard of MonkeyBiz? They are one of our favourite organizations to support. There aren’t many North American suppliers and we are so proud to be one of them. Not only do they create the most exquisite beaded figures and animals, they are also a not for profit themselves, generating income and skills training for women in South Africa. Did you know these were even one of Oprah’s favourite things? Snob Stuff monkey biz beaded animals from South Africa There is a strong tradition of beaded arts in South Africa, but in recent years it began to fall away. Not as many artisans were practising the beaded arts and the global marketplace wasn’t recognizing South Africa’s significant history and skill with this art-form. Snob Stuff Monkeybiz hand-beaded animal sculpture on display in the showroom Enter MonkeyBiz founders Barbara Jackson and Shirley Fintz, ceramic artists in their own rite, who partnered to develop and showcase this amazing trade among women artists who have never had the opportunity to express themselves through their art. A few years later and MonkeyBiz and their amazing team of talented artisans have once again elevated the art and burst onto the international scene. Snob Stuff room scene with yellow blue and silver handmade accessories and furniture from Africa Each piece is made entirely by hand and totally unique. Wire sculptures are created and then beaded with hundreds or thousands of seed beads, depending on the piece’s size. Each piece comes signed by the artist, making these works of art the perfect conversation piece in your home or to give as gifts. Snob Stuff handmade MonkeyBiz beaded horse and elephant in tones of pink made in South Africa Check out our current selection here. So pleased some new ones are arriving shortly! If there is a particular colour scheme or size you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to email us or give us a shout and we’ll let you know what we anticipate to have in stock. And for those of you, totally smitten with the MonkeyBiz project, watch this lovely interview for more insight into their project and purpose.    

Cottage Season Hostess Gifts

Snob table setting outdoor garden party We’ve made it through the winter! And with the new leaves, so are birds filling trees. As we unofficially welcome spring with the May long weekend, we also welcome cottage season and beautiful outdoor garden parties. We’ve got you covered with hostess gifts to bring up to the cabin and to all of spring and summer’s al fresco get-togethers.   shell and woven vases Our round-up of unique hostess gifts is here and we hope you’re as excited about it as we are. (Hint: these work equally well as a treat for yourself, should you be in need of fabulous pieces to make your dinner scene perfect.) These lovely shells can be purchased individually or in packs of five. They are beautiful scattered across a table or displayed together in a bowl. A sweet gift for those with summer homes on the water. Hand-woven place mats, vases and vessels are another pretty gift to give. My personal favourite is the woven vase embellished with seed beads. Can you believe they range from $20-$40? As with all our offerings, everything is handmade in Africa.   bull plate This round-up absolutely features gifts for every budget and every personality. Take for instance, these ceramic cow platters. The perfect pressie for the barbequer on your list. These are full of funky character and available in a range of sizes. A great way to display charcuterie, a cheese plate, and yes serving meats straight off the grill. Priced by size from $60.   charcuterie on snob wine barrel cutting board Whether you bring the board full of artfully displayed nosh or present it naked, everyone loves a beautiful cutting board. They have so many uses and these ones are handmade in Africa using retired wine barrels from France. All are $30.   heart shaped cutting board I particularly love this heart-shaped board. Won’t you give a little foodie love? Not displayed here, but each comes with a leather cord to hang directly on the wall. So they can double as functional art.   truck plate with fruit Nothing says summer like fresh berries. And this is the perfect platter to display them on. I love the old-fashioned ceramic truck. It’s so playful and evokes feelings of a bygone era. $65   cottage gift Denise photo shoot - bread basket An oversized basket full of breads, rolls, pastries and preserves will make the next day’s breakfast a happy one. We’ve got baskets galore in a range of sizes. Just give us a call and well find you something perfect. All of our baskets are artfully and meticulously woven by hand from natural fibres and grasses and start at $60. bamileke stool cake standIf you’re attending a birthday party and happen to be in charge of the cake, what better cake stand than an antique tonga stool? A century old, hand-carved from a continuous piece of wood, this gorgeous piece makes a fab tabletop accessory as well as occasional seating. From $195   bamileke garden stoolThis tonga stool is also a perfect size for those who need a hand with standing. Let the summer festivities begin!  

Stone Bird Home Accessory

Snob stone birds perched in lucite carved from stone by hand in Zimbabwe I believe that art and accessories are the final layer that make a house a home. They define your individual sense of style and often say a lot about your personality. But how you go about choosing the home accessories to display in your space is sometimes not easy. Choosing the right piece for the right place often requires a keen eye for balance and flow and the ability to edit. Because we can’t display every knickknack we’ve ever acquired. As I travel across Africa to look for unique home accessories to bring back for the North American market, I keep my eye out for things that are a little unusual, things you’d never find in a big box design store. I seek out things for their beauty and craftsmanship; I look for pieces with a strong narrative and that je ne sais quoi that is sure to elevate a space. Snob - Field of Stone Birds from Zimbabwe On a recent trip to Zimbabwe, I was gob-smacked by a field of stone birds. Carved by hand from stone these lovely birds were perched on long spindles; it was a dramatic sight to see them all flocked together. google adsense banned Instantly I knew I needed these for our showroom in Toronto. To make them the perfect home accessory for North American interiors, we had to lose the long spindles in favour of something that would make them tabletop ready. To add a little sparkle, I gold-leafed the beaks and I changed their perch to a slim metal gold-leafed spoke that I planted in a lucite block. The lucite would support the weight of the stone while also adding a little sophistication. After a little trial and error, a few prototypes, I was really pleased with the final version. stone-bird-in-lucite   The design phase can be a tricky one as you work with an idea in your mind’s eye, with the results that can run the full spectrum between astonishing and total disappointment. These however, turned out so well and I wanted to share their story. The birds as created by My Bird Man were perfect as is of course. But these little tweaks make them a wonderful home accessory. Each bird is unique with such expressive character, and I just can’t get over how wonderful they are.

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The Story Behind the Bamileke Stools

Snob's dark traditional bamileke table handmade in CameroonIsn’t this gorgeous? It’s a Bamileke stool. The craftsmanship that goes into carving these from a continuous piece of astounding. The first thrown into the river to be softened up for carving. During the carving process, if there’s a break in the wood the entire piece is abandoned as it’s viewed as a break in the continuity of life – a bad omen. who is These are done entirely by hand from hardwoods and come in a variety of sizes and patterns. This one pictured is based on a centuries old design.   Known as Bamileke stools, sometimes referred to as bird’s nests or donuts, they were traditionally used only for special ceremonial seating by the Bamileke Tribe of Cameroon. The tribe’s woodworkers would build these for auspicious occasions, with the biggest and best reserved strictly for the King’s use. The intricate woven patterns carved into the wood represent the web of the earth spider, a symbol of wisdom. The Bamileke people believe the web of the earth spider is also a link between this world and that of our ancestors; carving the web into these pieces allows departed loved ones to be connected to these ceremonies in spirit.   LookBook 15 Bamileke stools are an iconic piece of African furniture, one that’s entered the international design consciousness. These stools are now found in both modern homes and their outdoor spaces across the world, typically used as side tables and occasional seating. It’s easy to see the appeal of Bamileke tables: the webbed pattern creates a sense of lightness to the pieces not often found in hardwood furniture; the unique lines make them modern and architecturally eye-catching, while the wood construction lends an organic feel to the pieces. The Bamileke stools really are as versatile as they are fabulous! IMG_2175

Here’s a peak at the pieces raw in the workshop in Cameroon. It’s amazing to wander around the workshop and see how these beauties are created.

Snob stuff bamileke tables in workshop Once they’ve been stained and lacquered these pieces become some of the striking Bamileke stools/tables you find here at Snob. You can find more of our African Stools here!

All you wanted to know about the Feather Headdress from Cameroon

traditionatl-headdress-352x500This glorious image is a photo of a tribal elder in full ceremonial garb including a feather headdress, also known as a Juju hat. Worn by the tribe’s royalty, as well as the royal dancers, these fabulous hats are striking with their bold colour and texture. For some celebrations, the top of the headdress would be filled with small candies and trinkets, which would fall to the ground to the children’s delight as the wearer danced about. The feather headdress has become popular in interiors around the world, especially as vibrant wall art. It’s easy to see why: they add instant drama, elevating a space. They are striking, yet soft and have an organic beauty. But you should be aware that not all headdresses are created equal . I hand select each of our headdresses for Snob, looking for the fullest plumes made with the most beautiful feathers. One of the most important features of a headdress comes down to how it’s weaved together. It’s a painstaking process to do it right, as the weave at the back needs to be very tight and then each feather needs to be sewn into the raffia base. Without the taught weave, the headdress simply won’t open properly. Your second concern when shopping for a headdress is in determining that it’s been properly fumigated. We triple fumigate all our headdresses and guarantee that they are sold free of all insects. Some retailers suggest in their care instructions that you should place your headdress in the freezer for a time before displaying it in your home. Please realize this advice is given only because the headdress may be full of insect eggs. Feather-guys-500x375 So while there are many new retailer of headdresses in the marketplace, given that these have entered the design consciousness, they aren’t all created equal. Know the signs of quality when you shop. Here I am with my Fabulous Feather Guys in their workshop in Cameroon. I make the trek multiple times per year to hand pick my stock. These guys make headdresses just for Snob and they are truly remarkable pieces!