Blog

These blog posts are a retrospective look at House of Commons 2009-2019
as I prepare this season,
to end this beloved project,
with love and lots of thank yous.
-Sarah

Life's Little Feasts

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Up the mountains of Ithaki, Stavros, Kephalonia. The rich experiences of travel, seed so many of my creative endeavours. HOC’s inception began exploring the Ionian Islands ~ I’d come to a seemingly empty patio like this, taking a break from illegally driving that little moped and pull up a wobbly wood chair. 

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Like every small town, they know you are there, before you actually see anyone... suddenly there is a plate of bread, olives, table wine. Someone asking if you’ll stay for dinner? So and so’s brother went fishing this morning... fresh squid, octopus, sardines 

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You realize the patio is just a backyard of someone’s house, as neighbours come sit, asking where you are from. Aprons are tied on while hair curlers are being pulled out. Aunties bring honey from across the road and their eligible sons. 

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I dearly love the sudden spur of kitchen movement~ especially up a mountain, in a town of 10 houses. I can’t see it, but I can hear the back door swinging open with scramble of kids being sent to find missing ingredients 

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It’s 4 hours later, food keeps coming, another set of lucky travellers and half the town have joined what was a rest, then a meal and now an endless experience. String lights come on at dusk, the 8th course is served and a fiddle comes out. You have 25 new friends, eating with their hands, who have yet to speak a word of English.

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Can I tell you how at home my heart is, in a world where this happens. I feel at peace and inspired all the while not even knowing where exactly I am on a map. Quite honestly, this patio in Stavros happens to me, on the regular. 

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I have some specific karma in this life, including learning the hard way, constantly being lost and embodying a type of restlessness in my soul that makes it hard to find constancy.
My specific karma however, that keeps leading me to days like these ~ I happily carry.
I consider it the undercurrent of my life and immeasurably valuable. 

The idea wasn’t to replicate that day (and long night) in Stavros by creating House of Commons - but instead, I asked myself how can I allow this river of inspired connection, this endless adventure and this spontaneous joy to flow through my own home?
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What was supposed to be a 2 week trip turned into almost 2 months - I found all the impromtu dinners up the west coast from Kephalonia to Corfu. I was home in late September with that fall fresh energy and my travel-infused ideas. As luck would have it, I had just signed the lease on a new apartment on Dundas West - one with a big bay window overlooking trees and a salon big enough for my first adult purchase… the dinner table.

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House of Commons 2009-2019

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It’s true, House of Commons is losing its House. Our big, beloved art home will be torn down for more #torontocondos in 2019.

I’m not one to dwell, life has always proven far more interesting when I’ve considered endings necessary fuel for What’s Next. .

My mission however, before diving into What’s Next (which, don’t worry, you’re invited )

... is to END this project well. 

How many Endings get the love, shout-outs and gratitude they deserve? Especially in this harrowing industry... not many crews who build with you, stay.. much less come back... much less live upstairs ;) .

I’ve been a bit of a nomad most of my life...having been fired, let-go, dramatically quit and irresponsibly left mid-shift for good surf more than a few times as I’ve tried to figure out my place and voice in this industry. In this world really. 

Though @tofinolivin, gave me the best /sweetest send-off.. twice I think.

HOC has been graced with an unbelievable roster of creativity in its mission to support up-and-coming talent ⚡️and created over 1000 unique dinner tables, brunch parties, weddings, micro-concerts, art shows and salons in the last 10 years.

It’s going to be hard digging up photos of everyone who has contributed to this project.. especially since I didn’t allow blackberries or cameras at the table for the first 6yrs. 

I’m excited to spread the love for every soul who has inspired or built with me in each of the 3 secret locations a.k.a my homes. .

Stay tuned for
•the retrospectives
•stories and confessions of running a restaurant in my home
•an @artery.is 1960’s style sit-in (in protest of Toronto’s community-building/artistic spaces continuous threatened by terrible, sky-swallowing, grey, greedy shoebox living)
•HOC’s last season of programming .

Taking suggestions for how to throw a perfect party to end a decade of HOC 

XoSarah