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The Goods

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Retro kitchens, hippie chic and other big trends at this year’s Interior Design Show

Five home decor trends for 2015 spotted at the Interior Design Show

(Images: Jenna Marie Wakani)

Toronto’s Interior Design Show, which kicked off Thursday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, is a great place to gawk at cool furniture and products. It’s also a good way to figure out what trends are lurking on the home-decor horizon. Amid the displays of sleek furniture, modern art and LED lighting at this year’s show, we noticed a few themes. Retro kitchen appliances were everywhere, as were outdoorsy embellishments (decorative honeycomb!) and ultra-refined wooden furniture—a relief, really, after years of barnboard-covered everything. More than a few displays gave off a funky ’60s and ’70s vibe with colourful geometric patterns and art deco details. And, of course, there were lots of clever designs for extremely small spaces, which should come in handy at a time when new condo units are barely breaking 300 square feet. Here, the five big decor trends at this year’s show.

To Sunday, January 25. Metro Toronto Convention Centre (North Building), 255 Front St. W., 416-585-8000, interiordesignshow.com

The Goods

Shopping

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Pop-Up Pick: shop cool products from local talents at the Toronto Design Offsite Festival’s temporary shop

Pop-Up Pick: collect thoughtfully-made objects at the Toronto Design Offsite Festival's temporary shop

(Images: The Federal Inc/Facebook, Imm-living.com)

The Toronto Design Offsite Festival, the citywide celebration of Canadian design, includes tons of cool events, including this particularly great retail component: a pop-up shop stocked with whimsical household products from a trio of homegrown design companies. The temporary store sells dozens of functional-yet-artsy items, like giraffe-shaped porcelain pencil holders and pink crystal cake platters from Toronto firm Imm-Living, or pretty waterdrop trivets from Montreal-based creative studio Toma. Everything is designed in Canada, and prices range from $20 for this multi-purpose peg to $120 for a beautiful set of maple knives from Ottawa brand Warehouse. It’s a great chance to snap up cool finds from local designers—and let’s face it, everyone could use a jewellery hanger shaped like a unicorn.

Jan. 22–25. 1108 Queen St. W., imm-living.com

The Goods

Stores

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Store Guide: Anthropologie’s new Queen West flagship, housed in a 19th-century church

Store Guide: Anthropologie's new Queen West flagship, which is housed in an 18th century church

(Image: Jenna Marie Wakani)

Name: Anthropologie
Sells: Women’s wear, kid’s wear, accessories and home furnishings
Contact info: 761 Queen St. W., anthropologie.com
Hours: M-W, Sa 10-7, Th-Fr 10-8, Su 12-6

Anthropologie, purveyor of pretty clothes and twee home products, recently opened its fifth Toronto outlet inside a 19th-century church on Queen West. Though the building’s façade, its stained glass windows and one intricately carved fireplace remain relatively untouched, a 16-week-long renovation saw the 7,000-square-foot interior completely transform (even the reclaimed barn-wood flooring is new).

The store is organized to resemble a home: there’s a dining table and bar on the main floor, and a boudoir next to the changing area. The second-floor “bedroom” is quite the retreat, complete with a tinkling fountain, a hand-embossed bed topped with luxe linens and an extremely Instagram-able mantle. As in all Anthro stores, basically everything is for sale, even the one-of-a-kind antiques, like a gigantic 19th-century kitchen cabinet from France. Clothing-wise, shoppers can expect the usual mix of crocheted floral vests, leather jackets and, currently, a spring roster chock-full of bright prints. Combined with eye-catching pieces of art, mod lighting fixtures and the character of the church, it all makes for a beautiful environment—unsurprisingly, the store is already fielding requests from customers who’d like to book the space as a wedding venue.

The Goods

Homes

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East Meets King West: a film producer’s 34th-floor ode to the Far East

Great Spaces: a film producer’s 34th-floor ode to the Far East

Niv Fichman’s 1,100-square-foot condo mimics a traditional Japanese house—as much as it can on the 34th floor of a building at King and Spadina. The 56-year-old co-founder of the film production company Rhombus Media (Enemy, Sensitive Skin, The Red Violin) is a self-professed Japan fanatic. His fascination was fuelled by frequent visits to Hiro Sushi in the ’90s and equally frequent visits to the country itself—he figures he’s been at least 70 times in the last 25 years. “Even before my first trip, I was sold, conceptually and aesthetically,” he says. “I love the attention to detail, the way they maximize space and the way they treat art.” So when he bought this pre-build unit six years ago, he hired architect Drew Sinclair, of RegionalArchitects, to turn it into an ode to the Far East. ­Fichman’s goal was to have as few rooms as possible—an idea he took to extremes by putting his bathroom in the centre of the open-­concept space (wooden sliders act as shoji screens when privacy dictates). The bedroom is a traditional washitsu, a Japanese room with tatami floors that serve as a sleeping pad. Yes, Fichman rolls and unrolls a futon mattress each morning and evening—something that sounds easier in theory than practice.

The Goods

Stores

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Target is closing all its Canadian stores

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

In a shocking but not altogether surprising move, Target announced this morning that it will be shutting down its entire Canadian operation. After two years of well-documented struggles north of the border, the brand’s 133 stores are expected to close permanently in coming weeks. According to a press release, it was a slow holiday season that sealed the deal. This means 17,600 employees are about to lose their jobs, although Target is promising at least 16 weeks’ worth of wages and benefits for almost everyone laid off during the wind-down. Says the brand’s relatively new CEO, Brian Cornell: “There is no doubt that the next several weeks will be difficult, but we will make every effort to handle our exit in an appropriate and orderly way.” With luck, customers will finally be able to snag some deals during the liquidation process.

The Goods

How-To

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How Lush hand-makes one of its (almost) edible soaps

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

With their fragrant concoctions of lotions, scrubs and bath bombs, it’s easy to sniff out Lush’s shops from a block away. At Lush’s Etobicoke plant, three “compounders” hand-make all of the soap for the brand’s North American outlets. The facility’s products range from simple milky bars to the crazy, rainbow-hued “Baked Alaska” (it actually comes in a giant sphere, à la the dessert, which is then chopped into colourful pieces). We followed Katie Bear, who’s been making soaps at Lush for the past three years, as she mixed a batch of Parsley Porridge, a vegan soap packed with fresh parsley, aloe and oatmeal. Flip through the gallery to see, step-by-step, how it’s done.

The Goods

Street Style

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Street Style: bundled-up out-of-towners and students show off their ice-skating style at Nathan Phillips Square

Street Style: tourists and Torontonians show off skating skills at Nathan Phillips Square

(Images: Kayla Rocca)

Whether it’s a bejewelled headband, leopard-print scarf or loud legwarmers, there’s something about ice skating that gets people thinking about cold-weather flair. Maybe it’s that, on a –10°C day, frumpy parkas are all but mandatory. Or maybe it’s the temptation to grace onlookers with Michelle Kwan–worthy moves. On a chilly Saturday at Nathan Phillips Square, we spotted the usual mix of couples skating hand-in-hand, wary tourists attempting to adapt to the Canadian climate and speedsters intent on showing off. Here, the best ice-skating looks we saw.

The Goods

Shopping

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The Find: winter running essentials, for the motivated jogger

The Find: winter running gear that'll make you want to keep those resolutions

Jogging during a Toronto winter takes determination, but it also takes something else: proper gear. Fortunately, shelling out for fancy leggings and insulated shells makes it possible to pass on expensive gym memberships, so the cost has a way of balancing out. Here, some of the best cold-weather running pieces for those who refuse to hit the treadmill, no matter how chilly it gets.

The Goods

Shopping

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Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #5. Fur doesn’t have to make you feel bad

Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #5. Fur doesn’t have to make you feel bad

(Image: Thomas van der Zaag)

After decades of guilt-induced abstinence, we’re reintroducing furs to our winter wardrobes, this time with an ethical pedigree. The plushest pelts come from Toronto designer Farley Chatto, who sources his furs from Origin Assured, an organization that guarantees its stock comes from a country where the trapping is regulated and the animals are treated humanely. Chatto’s fall 2014 runway show was a parade of luxurious furs that felt straight out of Doctor Zhivago: ­red fox coats, mink stoles and coyote hats. His designs, which run up to $200,000 for a Barguzin sable coat, have enticed celebs like Sarah ­Jessica Parker, Elton John, Richard Branson and Drake (who commissioned a silver fox and ­chinchilla coat trimmed with Russian broadtail for his 27th birthday). 331 Adelaide St. W., ­416-831-9941.

The Goods

Homes

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Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #2. Wood-burning stoves don’t have to cramp your style

Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #2. Wood-burning stoves don’t have to cramp your style

(Image: courtesy of Marsh Stove and Fireplaces)

Torontonians haven’t quite figured out what ­Maritimers, Montrealers and, of course, Scandinavians have known for decades: nothing warms the home quite like a wood-burning stove. Unlike electric heat or forced air, which can leave rooms drafty, a proper cast iron wood stove operates like a big old blanket, complete with comforting campfire scent. Most heavy-duty units are clunky, ornate beasts—charming for a log cabin but out of place in a city home. Our pick, the Jotul F370, was conceived by the noted Norwegian design firm Hareide and features large glass windows on three sides, so you can snuggle up and stare at the fire from almost anywhere in the room. From $4,800. Marsh Stove and Fireplaces, 3322 Dundas St. W., 416-762-4582.

The Goods

Shopping

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Pop-Up Pick: score massive discounts on winter goods at the Drake General Store’s warehouse sale

Pop-Up Pick: score 70 per cent off Drake General Store merchandise at the brand's warehouse sale

(Images: drakegeneralstore.ca)

If, like us, you’re someone who blitzed through all their Christmas shopping at the Drake General Store, racking up quite the bill on coasters, travel bags and grapefruit facial spritzers, you may want to look away: at a warehouse sale, the store is selling off most of its winter merchandise at massive discounts. Some deals include cozy winter socks for $3 (regularly $9-$16), the brand’s bath towels for $20 (regularly $49) and 50 per cent off these chic marble cheese platters and cutting boards. Plus, those who intend to spend January in hibernation mode will be pleased to know that the store has uncovered four more boxes of the extremely popular, sold-out Arborist adult onesie, which will be up for grabs exclusively at the sale for $20 (they originally sold for $39). If you’re not yet shopped out from the holidays, this will be a great opportunity to pick up winter apparel and gifting ideas on the cheap. Keen customers can RSVP for the event here.

Jan. 9-10, Jan. 16-17. 201 Geary Ave., drakegeneralstore.ca

The Goods

Homes

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Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #12. A heated driveway (no shovelling!) can be yours for less than two grand

Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #12. A heated driveway (no shovelling!) can be yours for less than two grand

Every generation has its own measures of success: fast cars, good wine, Cubist paintings. For the polar vortex generation, the ultimate symbol is a heated driveway. It may sound like a luxury reserved for the one per cent, but it doesn’t have to be. The Chicago-based company WarmlyYours sells most of the radiant heat technology across the GTA (it’s their largest market in ­Canada). They use either cables or mats depending on the size and configuration of your driveway, and bury them under the asphalt (or paving stones or whatever surface you like). When switched on, they melt snow at more than a centimetre per hour. The entire job can be done for as little as $1,200 plus labour. 300 Granton Dr., Richmond Hill, 800-875-5285.

The Goods

Shopping

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Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #10. Winter wear for dogs is undeniably cool

Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #10. Winter wear for dogs is undeniably cool

Rover Boutique’s cotton twill pooch peacoat has a double-breasted lapel and a pleat in the back to accommodate the tail. $103. Theroverboutique.com.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Goods

Stores

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Rosedale gets a new designer resale boutique from a former Holt’s bigwig

Clementine's

(Images: Instagram.com/clementinesluxury)

Christina McDowell has a ton of luxury retail experience: for more than a decade, she was a national image consultant and spokesperson for Holt Renfrew. Now, she’s scouring the city for the best almost-but-not-quite-new designer pieces—from Rick Owens leather to Stella McCartney frocks—and selling them at resale prices at her newly opened Yonge Street boutique, Clementine’s. Inside, racks and display cases are decorated with a mix of classic pieces (Elizabeth and James trousers or a Jil Sander jacket) and edgier accessories (Balenciaga pumps or David Yurman jewellery); there’s also a well-appointed lounge for image consulting and personal shopping services from McDowell herself. Right now, a few great bargains include Prada tortoiseshell shades for $195 (originally $350) and Paige Denim skinny jeans for $150 (originally $295). But indecisive shoppers beware: most items are one-off, so if you like something you’ll have to snap it up before it’s gone.

1260 Yonge St., 416-966-2662, clementinesluxury.com

The Goods

Homes

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Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #11. The wovel is the only winter tool you’ll ever need

Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #11. The wovel is the only winter tool you’ll ever need

(Image: courtesy of Snow Wolf)

Shovelling snow is one of the world’s great indignities—you start off freezing, then work up a preposterous sweat under all those layers, then inch your way toward the end of the driveway only to start all over because, guess what? It’s still snowing. So we’re pretty excited about the Sno Wovel. Essentially a shovel grafted onto an old-timey spinning wheel, it looks vaguely absurd, like an Amish tilling contraption repurposed for clearing snow, but it ­leverages its bizarre form for good, with that giant wheel counter­balancing the weight of the snow in the shovel. The whole exercise is as easy as walking. $149. ­Thornhill Lawn Equipment, 385 John St., ­Thornhill, ­905-889-5517.